NBA Finals: Miami Heat players not worried by Skirvin ghost stories

The Skirvin Hilton Hotel has hosted numerous NBA teams, and it's scared at least a few of them. But the Heat didn't seem too worried about the possible haunting of the Oklahoma City landmark.
by Steve Lackmeyer and Jason Kersey Modified: June 14, 2012 at 11:05 am •  Published: June 14, 2012
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Talk to any NBA player who has visited the Skirvin Hilton Hotel and it's likely they've at least heard the tales that its rooms on the 10th floor might be haunted.

Some players with the Knicks claimed the ghost of “Effie” led to their loss against the Thunder in 2010. The legend was enough to prompt a visit by NBA on TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager to spend the night — one that resulted in an amusing report that re-aired during the recent Thunder playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite such notoriety, the hotel, which last year celebrated its centennial, remains a top destination for visiting NBA teams. The hotel's current guests, the Miami Heat, have so far dismissed any potential haunting of their performance in Tuesday night's loss to the Thunder.

“I don't know,” Heat player Udonis Haslem told The Oklahoman. “I've heard stories, but ghosts ain't knocked on my door, so I'm cool.”

Even if ghosts do haunt the Skirvin, they're not likely to upset fellow Heat player Shane Battier.

“Personally I don't believe in ghosts,” Battier said. “This is my chance to get some sleep. I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old at home, so I don't get much sleep. It's going to take a little more than ghosts to keep me from my catch-up sleep here.

So are the ghost stories true? Past Skirvin managers have sought to downplay such tales. Throughout the 1990s when the hotel was closed, electric was not just cut off — the power box itself was removed. Yet one single bulb inexplicably stayed lit that entire time in the lobby chandelier above where founder W.B. Skirvin once sat and greeted guests. The power source for that light remains a mystery, but is it really evidence that the hotel is haunted?

Another question often asked: is there any truth to the legend of a housekeeper named Effie being impregnated by hotelier W.B. Skirvin and then jumping to her death, baby in arms, from a 10th floor window?

W.B. Skirvin, who built the hotel in 1911 and owned the it until 1945, was a notorious womanizer and drinker. And a lot of wicked things did occur on the 10th floor, which originally was the top of the hotel before a third tower and three more stories were added between World War I and 1930.

Rooms on the floor consisted of salesman's suites, built extra large to accommodate temporary displays set up by traveling salesmen. But were they also used for gambling and vice?


by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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