Wednesday, July 18, 2012
North Fresno hotel rumored to be haunted by ghost of suicide victim
The Rodeway Inn near Herndon and Blackstone, the hotel rumored to be haunted.
Photo by Michael Banti
I was recently contacted by a reader asking if I had heard of the R.S. Gibson story. Apparently Gibson committed suicide at a local hotel and is said to haunt the very room in which he died.
From what I was told the incident occurred sometime in June of 1972. Gibson was having an affair with a woman named Marilyn (who was said to look like the legendary Marilyn Monroe) and they would have their rendezvous at a hotel on the outskirts (of then) Northern Fresno near Herndon and Blackstone. Gibson, who had owned a used car lot on Abby Street, had met Marilyn when she was a cocktail waitress at the old Tropicana and their affair lasted for over four years.
But their torrid affair was not meant to last. One night Marilyn met with Gibson in the hotel room they frequented and told him that she didn't want to see him any more. Distraught after she left, Gibson grabbed a pen and paper and wrote a final note to his love before grabbing a gun and ending his life with a self-inflicted gun shot to the head.
Since then guests have claimed to hear whispers in the very room where Gibson ended his life. A hoarse voice would cry out the name Marilyn over and over again scaring any guest that was in the room. Most would check out the next morning not wanting to deal with whatever is in the room.
The e-mail stated that the hotel in question is the Roadway Inn, which does lie on the corner of Herndon and Blackstone. They were unable to tell me the exact room where Gibson committed suicide but claimed that an article ran by the Fresno Bee in June of 1972 would have more information. Unfortunately I was unable to find anything to back up this claim in the Fresno Bee archives or any other online news archive. So I decided to head to the hotel and talk to the help there to see if any of these stories were true.
When I arrived at the hotel there was a lone worker at the front desk. I introduced myself and told her what I knew of the story. She told me she hadn't hear of anything in particular, but that she had only been there for four months. I left my card and thanked her for her time, but I definitely want to go back and talked to someone who has worked there longer.
So is this story true? It's hard to say. The person claimed that the story could be found in the Fresno Bee archives, but I couldn't find anything. Doing a Google search of the name "R.S. Gibson" did come up with an auto dealership, but the address was on Broadway not Abby as I was told. To verify this story I'm going to have to dig further. But still the story is an interesting one. And if it is true it is a tragic one.