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Hotel Gets Giant Ouija Board on Roof

Friday, November 4, 2016

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An old hotel in southwestern Pennsylvania already had a reputation for being haunted, but now its owners have taken it to another level: They claim to have painted the world’s largest Ouija board on the building’s roof.

The Grand Midway Hotel, in Windber, PA, has traded on its reputation for ghosts and spirits since being bought by independent filmmaker Blair Murphy in 2001. The building, Murphy’s home (and an artist co-op and coffeeshop) has been featured on shows like SyFy’s Scared!, allegedly because it is haunted by turn-of-the-century characters who died there when it was still a working hotel.

Roof as Canvas

Recently, the hotel needed some roof repairs, according to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat—and after new layers of rubber and tar were added and a silver roof coating was applied, Murphy got to thinking that perhaps that roof could become something more interesting.

According to reports, Murphy contacted Guinness World Records to find out if there was a current recordholder for Largest Talking Board. (That’s the generic term for a Ouija board, which is a trademark of Hasbro.) There wasn’t. So the project began.

Weather Problems

The board is 44 feet by 29 feet, and was designed and produced by a team working under the direction of artist Camille Zamboni, Murphy’s girlfriend. The project had its challenges: Like any crew laying down paint, the artists had to consider the weather.

“The first day we started, it was rainy out," Murphy told the Tribune-Democrat. "All the letters dripped like black blood. It was pretty dramatic.”

They started again from scratch, watching the skies, and pulled it off. The giant talking board was unveiled in October, just in time for Halloween haunted tours at the Grand Midway.

Murphy has reportedly submitted the board for approval by Guinness; the company has not yet sent official word of its certification.

No word on whether the board itself has weighed in on the matter with a “yes” or “no.”


Tagged categories: Artists; Color + Design; Decorative painting; Murals

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