The Lotus Room

The days of farming have ended and the days of tourism have begun. Winter and spring awaken and summer begins. Busy people with busy lives from busy cities escape to Beach Haven. Today two twin homes stand at the intersections of Atlantic and Coral Street and Atlantic and Berkeley. They are larger than the homes around them. Each home features a sharp spire standing from the roof and an onion shaped rotunda called the Lotus Room. Both homes are now elegant bed-and-breakfasts, but they were once the summer residences of twin sisters. Built by their father as wedding presents, these two homes featured eight bedrooms each with its own character and charm.  The young girls would get married and have plenty of children each and escape metropolitan life in Manhattan every summer in order to enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves by the seaside. If only the lives were as harmonious as this sound. Well… supposedly… the more attractive of the two sisters caught the eye of her sister’s husband and an illicit summer affair began. Lies were told and the two somehow evaded publicity for decade.  They would crawl out of the balcony of their respective houses and meet on Pearl Street Beach and gush about their undying love for each other. Until one day, the man woke his wife accidentally on his descent from the Lotus Room and she caught him and her sister holding hands on their way up the Pearl Street Pavilion. Instead of calling them out right then she decided she have her own fun and made her way to her sisters home where her sister’s husband lay alone in his Lotus Room. She woke him seduced him and murdered him. Awaiting the return of her sister, she hid behind the armoire. When she heard her climbing back up the house to get into her room she emerged from her hiding spot and threw her sister down from the balcony. No one really knows what happened to her husband but I think it’s safe to say his end was just as painful as those of his lover and brother-in-law. My only advice is at all costs avoid the Lotus room.

N has spent his summers in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey since he was born. The tiny town was established in the late 19th century and holds incredibly rich and often, dark history in the original structures that still stand. Many Victorian buildings still exist, which gives the beach town a unique flair. A popular pastime of teenagers on the island is to bike ride at night to the various, rumored-to-be-haunted locations and scare each other. Thus, the telling of ghost stories is prevalent in the childhoods of the children who grew up on the island. These twin houses are the most prominent and well-recognized because of their rotundas and spires. It is popular to dare each other to spend a night in the bed and breakfast because of all the ghosts that are rumored to haunt the premises.

Of the four island ghost stories, this one seems the creepiest and most plausible, as two proven murders took place on the premises. I can understand why local youth would be fascinated and simultaneously scared by this story.