Live from the haunted hotel

The ghosts at Oregon's Geiser Grand Hotel are going live.

A popular Japanese television show highlighting the supernatural will broadcast live on New Year's Eve from the restored 1889 hotel in the historic Old West town of Baker City, Ore.

That's live for Japan, that is: The broadcast begins Wednesday evening and concludes at 6 a.m. Thursday.

So will the ghosts that visitors have gossiped about for years, such as the Lady in Blue, make an appearance?

"I wish so," Takayoshi Nakayama, director of the television show "Unbelievable," said through a translator. "Other than news and sports, this type of live broadcasting is extremely rare in Japan."

The broadcast is the first time the show is taping live at the Geiser Grand Hotel, but overall it is Nakayama's third visit. Twelve years ago, he was convinced he took a spirit home from the hotel in his suitcase after his toddler son spent days chatting with it.

The last taped broadcast, in October, drew 25 million viewers on television and more than 400 million hits on Yahoo, Nakayama said, much of it likely from viewers in Korea and China.

"Unbelievable" is one of the highest-rated television shows in Japan, with more than 15 million viewers each episode. Broadcast by the Fuji Television Network, the show is entering its 11th season.

The hotel's owners are open about what is happening at the hotel, he said, and keep it open in an elegant manner.

"That is why the Japanese audience is so impressed and interested in it," he said.

Numerous articles and television shows have contemplated supernatural activity at the hotel, which was shuttered for 30 years and scheduled for demolition in 1993 before a community effort to save it. The hotel reopened in 1998.

Most of the activity center on the Lady in Blue, known as Grandma Annabelle — the mother of a previous owner — who smells of rose water and floats into room 302. Others have recounted party noise emanating from an empty dining room, the clinking of glasses, chatter of conversation and laughter and soft play of music.

Located in rural eastern Oregon, Baker City served as a commercial and cultural hub for surrounding gold mining towns in the late 1800s and prime stop on the Oregon Trail, with two opera houses and numerous churches and banks. Today, the city is one of the most intact historic districts in the American West.

Most guests in the hotel's 30 rooms couldn't care less about ghosts, said Barbara Sidway, one of the owners. Rather, they're interested in the restaurant menu, which includes locally grown, organic ingredients, and the city's historic district.

But some guests have had a special connection with the hotel, she said.

"It's a very special place that is utterly real. In this case, we have this really big, international television network that has made this magical connection to the hotel and is coming back," she said. "We're very excited."

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