Above: central square of the abandoned hotel. Below: cistern located underneath the hotel.
Longtime followers of Pulsations will remember that back in the fall of 2010, I lived for four months in Alanya, a Turkish town on the Mediterranean coast. One of the first adventures I had after moving there was to explore, Lara-Croft-style, an abandoned hotel sitting atop an ancient underground well. At the time, I was deeply spooked by the surreal place but ultimately came away from the cistern disabused of the notion that it was actually truly haunted. However, I recently my fears were justified–it turns out the well does have a ghost story.
Another visitor to Alanya, CB, recently contacted me to tell me about her own harrowing experience at the cistern. While touring around Alanya, CB came upon the derelict hotel, dared to enter the underground well, and was shocked to discover something I failed to notice: the strung-up remains of a centuries-old prisoner, condemned to die in the dark, frigid well water. Her photos of the remains are below; click to experience the full brunt of the creepiness.
According to CB, “A man had been shackled to the wall when the water level in the well was considerably higher and had been put to death there.” At first I was skeptical–these cisterns were constructed as part of the immense Selcuk fortress that still encircles the peninsula, and it seems unlikely that the inhabitants would contaminate their vital water supplies with human remains from executions. However, the wells have remained standing long past the Selcuk civilization, so it’s not beyond belief that they might have been put to more sinister use in the intervening centuries… And there’s something truly creepy about the smeared, tortured, wrathful demeanor of the supposed corpse, which the reader insists was life-sized, apart from the fact that he only has a torso.
So is this calcium and mineral deposits that happen to resemble the shape and size of a human, or is it actually the remains of a tortured prisoner? In the absence of decisive evidence, I think the real question is… What is the better story?
If you know anything about the hotel, why it was abandoned, or why the property remains in a state of decay, get in touch with me! Until we learn otherwise, we will assume that the hotel owners and guests were spooked away by the vengeful spirit of the drowned prisoner. Also, look for resumed coverage of Turkey soon, as I move to Eskişehir in less than one month for a Fulbright fellowship.
All photos by CB. Thanks again for getting in touch with me!