We arrived at the place that Buffalo Bill called, "just the sweetest hotel that ever was," and immediately located their dining room for a bit of lunch. We noticed a huge bar along one wall, and when a waitress saw us admiring it she said that it was very famous, since it dated back to the period when the hotel was first built. It is made of cherrywood, and with its intricate carving and embedded cases and mirrors, the piece is one of the most photographed items in the hotel. The food was good, the service was very attentive, and once we got our bellies full after the drive from Yellowstone, it was time to retire up to our room.

We climbed the stairs to get there. We'd been told that a ghostly cowboy had been seen on those stairs, and that phantom footsteps had been heard in the hallway. We had booked the Colonel Cody suite, which had belonged to old Buffalo Bill himself, and as soon as I opened the door, my wife took a step in and suddenly said, "I can't stay here. There is something that doesn't want me in this room." After such a long drive, I wasn't about to go hunting another place so I dismissed her hesitation with a wave of my hand. "There's nothing in here to worry about," I told her, and we went on to explore the suite. It was simplistic, yet elegant, and we could only imagine Mr. Cody himself walking across the suite and out onto the balcony. Something was still bothering my wife, but I kept insisting that it was only her imagination. That's when the weird stuff started happening.

When we came in from checking out the patio, there was a distinct smell of cigarette smoke in the sitting area of our room, as if someone had just been in there smoking. We don't smoke, and in fact there is a no-smoking policy at the hotel, so we had no idea where it came from. Later, as Tami was showering, the soap kept jumping out of the soap dish. The water also suddenly turned scalding several times. Now, I try to come down on the skeptical side of things, and when she got out of the shower I was doing my best to explain away everything that was happening. The soap was wet and the dish was probably just slippery; the pipes were old, and someone in the next room flushing a toilet could cause the cold water to turn off. As I was offering these explanations, the faucet in the sink turned on... it literally turned on and began to run water. We just stared at it - I had no explanation.

More apprehensive than ever, Tami got dressed and we decided to go out onto the patio. As she was standing in the doorway looking outside, the door slammed shut in her face. This time I tried to explain that there was probably a draft in the room that caused it. With every little thing that happened, though, she felt more and more unwelcome. Finally, she said, "I can't tell you why, but I believe that there's a female presence here that isn't happy about me being in the room." Deny it as I tried, the host of little things that were happening to her in the room increased, and it was getting harder to convince her to stay.

The culmination of the evening came when we were sitting out on the balcony watching a gorgeous sunset. We'd stopped at a local store and purchased two plastic wine glasses and a bottle of Chardonnay, and were sipping our drinks and talking about the vacation. I was directly facing her, and as we were speaking, the glass of wine was slapped out of her hand by some unseen force the plastic wine glass went skipping across the balcony. Keep in mind that I was staring directly at her. She didn't drop the glass, she didn't toss it, she was merely holding it when something literally knocked it away. "That's it. I'm outta here!" she said, standing up to leave the hotel.

I was still a little shocked. We visit haunted places across the country, but we don't often have an experience in the one or two evenings that we're there certainly not of this magnitude! I didn't want to leave, though, because it was getting late and our other prospects in town wouldn't be anything like the room that we'd booked at the Irma. So I took a chance. I asked my wife to just wait a few minutes and let me try something a little radical. I went back into the room, and began speaking to whatever presence might be there. I said something to the effect, "To whatever spirit might be in this room my wife and I are staying here for the evening, but we're only guests. We'll be leaving in the morning, and we certainly don't mean any disrespect or harm. You've been bothering my wife since we've come in, making her feel unwelcome, and I would like to kindly ask you to stop. Let us spend the night, and we'll be gone. We certainly don't want to make you mad; we're simply enjoying the beauty of the hotel, and the warmth of your room."

I went back out onto the balcony and told my wife what I'd done, and with a little apprehension, she walked back into the room. "This is completely different," she said with a smile. "For the first time since we arrived, I feel like it's okay for me to be here." From that point on, we had a wonderful time at the Irma. We explored the downstairs, had drinks in the bar and visited with one of the waitresses who told us ghost story after ghost story: a figure who's been seen on the stairs, that many believe to be Buffalo Bill; a knocking on the wall of the hallway beside the room that we were staying in; and many other tales that we were fascinated by. In our eyes, they all paled in comparison to the experience that we'd had in Colonel Cody's Suite upstairs.