A friend of mine posted this story on Facebook, saying Nicolas Cage was signed on to do a movie about an urban legend about the largest mass disappearance in U.S. history which happened at a hotel outside of Williamsport, allegedly.
[Note: Yahoo and Variety updated the story to say Cage hasn’t officially signed on yet.]
I went to college in Williamsport. I’ve lived in the Valley for the majority of my life and I’ve never heard of this. Ever. Not once.
So I went to Google for answers. And the answer is complicated.
It appears to be a story contrived to scare up publicity for the movie with the crew that currently in Williamsport making a documentary about the hotel.
Here’s a version of the legend, from Hotel33Dissappearance.com:
Williamsport, PA: On May 10, 1953, police discovered that all 32 people that were in the Grand Hotel on opening night— including guests and staff – disappeared. They vanished without a trace; their possessions left behind. The city boarded up the hotel and swept the story under the carpet. It became an urban legend, a myth, and residents started referring to the property as “Hotel 32.” In early 1993, the hotel was reopened and turned into a haunted tourist attraction. On April 10, 1993, three boys—Troy Belger, Rob Laden and Jacob Carr—spent the night in Hotel 32, Jacob Carr was never to be found again. On April 12, 1993, Detective Richard Kaminsky died while interrogating the two boys regarding their missing friend. Shortly after, the hotel mysteriously burned down and “Hotel 33” would become the center of a controversial haunted house tale for years to come.
So this is a move to conjure up some publicity for the movie and the city? Why am I so offended?
Here’s some commenters on the movie’s Facebook page saying it better than I could:
Anthony Leone: Never mind, it’s a fake. You know, faking events actually leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. This is the age of the internet where facts can easily be searched. (Or just a few simple phone calls.) But now that I know that it’s a faked and people are being lied to, I really don’t want to see the movie now. Had Hotel 33 just came right out and been truthful that they are making a new movie and the events aren’t real, then I would have seen it.Michael Blackwell: I’m all for a good ghost story Melissa, but not this crap they are trying to push. If you want to use our town for a ghost story, than at least use something like Allison’s Grave that has a history. Don’t make up a history and try and tell everyone it happened.Theresa Brundage: Dear people of Williamsport, We’re filming a horror movie in your city and we hope you like it. It’ll be a great economic boost for the area and we think it’s good story. We won’t insult your intelligence by shoving a flimsy charade down your throats and insist it’s all fact. – Hugs, Hotel 33 (There I fixed it for ya).