Forgive me, blog readers, for I have sinned. It has been more than five months since my last blog post. Do not fret, for I am not dead. Through, after a weekend in New Braunfels, I wish I were.
Last year, my husband and I started a new tradition with some friends of ours. Around this time of year, we go out of town for a “couples” weekend. I’m not sure why I feel the need to put “couples” in quotes. We’re not swingers or anything, and we are actual couples, but still, I’m going to say “couples” weekend for an air of mystery. Anyway, it works like this:
Our friends leave their two kids behind, typically with some sort of supervision like a set of grandparents or their pet fish or a really nice homeless person, my husband and I fill up our cats’ food bowl to the brim and secretly hope that they run away while we’re gone, then we all load up into the car and drive to a small Texas town of our choosing where we proceed to treat ourselves to all of the luxuries the town has to offer. For us, those luxuries are usually comprised of a multitude of baked goods and beds that aren’t covered in cat hair. Oh, and beer! We drink beer always.
Last year, we journeyed to the far reaches of Fredericksburg, scaling the treacherous peaks of Enchanted Rock and eating schnitzel like there was no tomorrow. We tried to think of an equally thrilling destination this year, and after Dallas’ Medieval Times was ruled out due to our friend’s unpleasant (but technically very authentic) bout of food poisoning he suffered during a prior visit, we decided on New Braunfels. When we learned that New Braunfels was home to Faust Hotel & Brewing Co., and that guests could get house-made brews on the first floor of the hotel and take them up to their rooms for imbibing purposes, we knew our weekend was going to be the metaphorical tits. We booked a room immediately.
A week before we left for our lovely little vacation, I was at my parents’ house visiting with Penny, a family friend. Penny, my mother and I were chatting in the dining room while my dad sat at a computer desk nearby, losing himself to the Internet on a quest for radio tubes, as usual. As my mom got up and walked into the connected kitchen, Penny inquired, “What exciting things do you have going on this week?”
What luck! I had a great answer. “We’re going to New Braunfels with our friends to stay in a hotel that’s also a brewery and also amazing and also a dream come true,” I blurted.
My mother interjected from the kitchen, “Oh, are you talking about the Faust Hotel?”
I confirmed that I was indeed talking about the Faust Hotel and was a little surprised that my mom knew about it. I mean, she’s a cool mom, but she’s not I-know-about-awesome-hotel-breweries cool.
“I have a cool story about the Faust Hotel,” she said.
I waited anxiously to hear what her “cool” story could possibly be, since, as I’ve just informed you, my mom is not I-know-about-awesome-hotel-breweries cool. But as it turns out, I was partially wrong about this. My mom apparently knows the Faust Hotel very well…
“That’s the hotel you were conceived in!” she exclaimed.
Ew, what?! Ew. No. That’s not cool, mom. That’s not cool at all.
I don’t remember exactly how I responded to her, but I think it was something along the lines of “The eff, mom?!”
“Oh, she could have gone without knowing that,” Penny sympathized.
“Well, I’m sorry, honey. I thought you’d like to know,” my mom said.
I sighed heavily and said, “I just hope they’ve changed the mattresses since 1987.”
My father, who evidently was not in the Internet stupor I thought him to be, responded to my comment without even taking his eyes off the computer screen. “They had to after we were done!”
Touché, dad. Gross, but touché.
I left my parents’ house wondering what I had done to deserve this. Then I realized that I didn’t have to go through with the trip if I didn’t want to. I called up my husband and told him to cancel our reservations. When he asked why, I explained to him that I couldn’t stay in the same hotel I was conceived in. He laughed and then informed me that not only were we going to keep our reservations, but that he was going to share my news with our friends. Dammit. If mockery were bullets, I’d just declared hunting season on myself.
Later that day, as I was coming to terms with the fact that I might end up spending the night in the same hotel room in which my parents sexed me into existence, I got a text from my husband. He had suddenly remembered that he stayed at the Faust Hotel as a kid. His parents liked to book the family in haunted hotels, and the Faust was one of the most haunted they ever stayed in. His dad swears to this day that he woke up in the middle of the night to the sight of a little girl ghost standing at the foot of his bed.
Oh. Hell. No. Like I needed anything else to haunt me at this hotel besides the thought of my parents “loving” me to life. To be sure, as a grown-ass woman, I don’t believe in ghosts. But all that really means is that if I ever actually see a ghost, I’d be totally unprepared for it and I would die immediately or at least entirely lose my shit forever and then still die a little later.
As much as I wanted to back out of this trip that was sure to wreak havoc on my soul in so many ways, everybody else was looking forward to it. I didn’t want to ruin it for them. “At least there will be beer,” I told myself again and again.
That Saturday morning we arrived in New Braunfels, and after an amazing breakfast at Union Street Station, we whiled away a few hours wandering around the town, waiting for what most people might consider an “acceptable” time to start drinking, whatever that means. We decided to check into New Braunfels Brewing Company before checking into our hotel, and I’m glad we did. With a sample of everything in their tap room, our taste buds embarked on a fascinating journey through traditional wheat beers and sour experiments.
Most intriguing was perhaps their PKL FKR, a berlinerweisse that tasted like, yep, pickles. The aptly named liquid got everyone saying the F word when they ordered it and again when they drank the strange brew. We were in good company with Willy and Bryce behind the bar. We all swapped brewing stories and sampled their lovely lime-laden gose, Mexican Cannon. Everything was going well until we told them we were staying at the Faust.
They said that many people believed that the Faust Hotel is haunted, which wasn’t news to us, so I took the opportunity to pry a little and asked them who haunts it. I’ll be honest, I was really hoping they’d just say “Nobody! We were joking! It’s a totally safe and ghost-free place to sleep. You’re gonna love it!”
Instead they said it was mostly haunted by some old guy named Walter, and that actually didn’t seem too bad to me. Old guys aren’t very scary, and I get along with most old men if I can manage to steer the conversation toward beer. And I can always manage that.
Yes, my mind was almost at ease until Bryce added, “Oh, and there’s also a little girl who supposedly stands at the foot of people’s beds.”
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! My heart leapt from my chest, into my throat, and then dropped into my butt. Up until this point, my death at the Faust Hotel had only been speculation. Now I knew my life was certain to end in the same hotel it began because I was going to be ghost-murdered by a ghost-girl in my ghost-bed. Ugh.
Reluctantly, I followed my husband and friends from New Braunfels Brewing Company to the Faust Hotel & Brewery, which is sufficiently creepy inside and out. We checked in and went up to our room, which was extremely small and murder-y and at the end of a murder-ific hallway. We turned on the TV in our murder room and watched about 20 minutes of a show about haunted hotels that just so happened to be playing. I was waiting to see if our hotel would make the list, but thought that it might be a better idea to just have more beer instead, so we all headed downstairs to the brewery.
At Faust Brewing Co., we had the three house beers they were offering: a pilsner, an altbier, and a pale ale. All three were tasty and accompanied my German-style nachos very well, a dish that might have been one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was almost enough to take my mind off of my impending death, except for the little reminders that kept popping up all over the place. The pale ale, for example, was called Walter’s Ghostly Pale Ale, and there was a picture of the late Walter hanging in the lobby of the hotel, looking like a regular quidditch-lovin’ d-bag. Not to mention I kept finding notes in our hotel room, which were written in my husband’s handwriting, but apparently came from Satan. Thank, Satan.
We partied into the wee hours of the morning, meaning we went to the drive-in and got back after midnight. So, by the time we were all headed to bed, I was exhausted and I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep. That part was fine. It was the waking up at 4:00A.M. that caused some problems for me.
I woke up with a start, sweating, my head completely under the covers. The room was quiet and dark. I kept perfectly still, trying to gather my wits. Alright, I knew I had woken up suddenly, but why? My feet. Something had grabbed my feet. That’s why I woke up. I slowly pulled my feet in towards me, hoping that whatever had grabbed them wouldn’t notice the movement. I sat in a panic, debating about whether or not I should look at the foot of the bed. On the one hand, there might be nothing there and I could convince myself I had made it all up and go back to sleep. On the other hand, that little girl could be standing there, waiting for me to look at her so that her horrible face would be the last thing I saw before she stabbed me with her ghost-knife and I died a silent death in bed beside my husband.
Speaking of my husband, where the hell was he? I was searching for his hand underneath the covers, but he was nowhere to be found. He’d left me alone in the middle of the night surrounded by murderous evil. Classic husband move. Or maybe the ghosts got him first. That was probably it. Everyone I came to the hotel with was surely dead. I was a widow, and my cats were orphans (because I’m not going to keep those little shitheads if my husband isn’t around to take his turn scooping their litter box).
My scattered thoughts all came suddenly crashing down around me when a roar ripped through the room. I bolted up, certain the noise was a cry from Satan himself to announce his intent to grab me and drag me down to Hell with him. Just as a scream was building in my throat, I saw my husband emerge from the bathroom, having just flushed the toilet. He shuffled back to his side of the bed, squeezing between the foot of the bed and the wall, grabbing at the blankets where my feet had been previously, trying to keep his stability as he slid past.
Completely unaware of the terrifying brush with death I’d just had, my husband kissed me and told me goodnight. I lay in the bed for a while, allowing reality to soak in. What an awful place for my parents to have spent a romantic night. I wondered if they knew this place was haunted when they stayed here. I wondered if my overactive imagination and fear of the dark came from them. I wondered if they stayed in this same room when they made me. And with that last uncomfortable thought, I wondered if it was too late for Satan to come back and kill me.