The Dumbwaiter Obstruction

There were 20 dumbwaiters in the original design of the Hotel Palmerston, but only 5 remained in use after the 1990 renovation. They are mostly used for moving cleaning supplies now, since they’re too dirty for food and the service elevators are much more efficient.

One of the dumbwaiters started jamming sometime in early 2000. It simply would not go above the 14th floor, and the management decided that there had to have been an obstruction. They hired a local elevator repair firm to come have a look at the dumbwaiter through the maintenance access.

Nobody knows what they found, but the 13th and 14th floors were evacuated via the fire alarm that same day. When everyone returned, the shaft had been permanently sealed and all the doors welded shut. Electric power was cut off at the mains and all the other dumbwaiters were rewired to draw their electricity from elsewhere.

The elevator repair firm was given a lucrative contract to service the entire Hotel Palmerston the following month, despite being basically a mom-and-pop operation. Word around the hotel was that they were being paid hush money for something. Since no one other than the shift supervisor and the two guys from the elevator place were around when the shaft was investigated, nobody knows for sure.

Of course that led to all kinds of crazy rumors. People started smelling things, hearing things, seeing things. But no one smelled, heard, or saw anything for nearly a month when the dumbwaiter was refusing to go north of 14.

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