Wednesday, July 18, 2012

North Fresno hotel rumored to be haunted by ghost of suicide victim

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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think that particular hotel was there in 1972.

Michael said...

I wonder the same thing. But when I visited there some of the construction elements looked like something akin to being built in the 1970's. If anything the hotel has been remodeled over the years. But I won't know for sure on this story until I find that article in the Fresno Bee, if it even exists.

Karl said...

I grew up in Fresno (born in 1963) and I'm pretty sure that hotel wasn't there in 1972 - unless I'm losing my mind, which is entirely possible.

Matthew Davis said...

Not true that street wasn't built Intil 1997

Anthroslug said...

I looked up the USGS topo maps for the location, and while there was a building in that general vicinity by the late 1960s, as of the mid-80s it was of a very different shape and size, indicating that either the Rodeway Inn had their building demolished and rebuilt, or, far more likely, the building was for a completely different purpose, and a hotel was later built on the property.

Michael said...

Anthro, you are probably right. The more and more I dig on this one, the more I start to question it. I need to go to the Fresno County library and see if they have any archives from The Bee from that time frame. If I can't find anything then I will put this story to rest. And that I don't mind. I'd rather know a story is complete bullshit then to perpetuate it thinking there is some truth to it.

Anonymous said...

Moved here in 1974 and lived a coupe of miles east of there. I don't recall seeing it back then. Think it went in mid-80's. Think it bogus...

Anonymous said...

Isn't that hotel off the 99?

Herschel Sudden said...

I am an amateur genealogist that read this and had to comment. There was a Rollyn S. Gibson who was 70 years old when he died on June 21, 1972. I hope this helps in your research. You might be able to go into the microfilm from here since you now have a date.

Herschel Sudden said...

You can check in the business directory for 1972 at the library to see if the inn was there. Also check the city directory to see if it was there then.

Anonymous said...

Rollyn Gibson reincarnated into a bass guitar that Peter Townsend smashed to bits on stage in 1979. After that Rollyn Gibson reincarnated again into a giant guitar amp that is in use at a pentecostal revival church in Gravette, Arkansas.