Fact Check

Is a Wingate Hotel in Illinois Haunted by a Ghost?

A video showed a purported incident in room 209.

Published May 20, 2021

Image Via Jimmynut22/YouTube
Security camera footage from a Wingate Hotel in Illinois captured a screaming ghost leaving room 209.

In 2012, a video appeared on YouTube that purportedly showed a "screaming ghost" leaving room 209 at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois.

On May 19, 2021, the video was reposted by popular TikTok user @sloowmoee, where it was played more than 2 million times in 24 hours.

'Screaming Ghost' Video

According to the YouTube video's description, the ghost clip was given to YouTube user Jimmynut22 by hotel security.

"This video was submitted to us by the hotel security manager who was standing watch on September 14, 2003, at a WINGATE HOTEL in Illinois. His voice can be heard in the background of the recording."

In the video, John, a purported employee of an Illinois Wingate Hotel, leaves an elevator on the second floor. He walks to room 209, where he hears screaming coming from inside. A "hotel security manager" communicates over a walkie-talkie. After John opens the door, a figure appears to leave the room.

Various security camera angles are shown. Elevators, stairwells, a large indoor swimming pool, a hotel entrance, and hallways all appear in the clip.

Several moments in the video indicated that it was fake. However, one final clue confirmed it. It appeared to simply be an entertaining and promotional film that was created all in good fun.

HD Cameras in 2003

We will first study some of the minor clues, some of which might have been intentionally left behind by the creator.

First, if this footage was really shot at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois in 2003, it certainly had a large number of expensive high definition cameras for the time period. Widescreen, high definition video was far from the norm at the time. For example, five years later in 2008, "only 23 percent of U.S. households owned at least one HDTV."

Further, in 2021, the average night's stay for a Wingate Hotel in Illinois is just over $100. It would be highly unlikely that such an inexpensive hotel would invest in such pricey, state-of-the-art technology.

Tripod in the Elevator

It appears that color and grain effects may have been added to all of the supposed security footage for added drama.

Also, at the 0:13 mark in the video, a camera inside the elevator shakes more than expected for a mounted security camera. This indicated that it was likely positioned on a tall tripod.

Security Staff

The video appears to indicate that John, the man who inspects room 209 in the video, was part of the hotel's security staff.

The description of the video also said that a "hotel security manager" was speaking with him over a walkie-talkie.

As noted before, the average price of a Wingate Hotel stay in the state of Illinois averages just above $100. It would be highly unlikely that a hotel at this price would have two security employees on the clock at the same time.

The Indoor Swimming Pool

A large indoor swimming pool is visible in the video at the 0:12 mark. Its ceiling appears to be around two floors in height, with windows to the second floor visible on the wall. It's perhaps likely that a camera on a tripod was pointed out of one of these windows to give the effect of a birds-eye security camera look.

A Wingate Hotel in Illinois was supposedly where a screaming ghost came out of room 209.
The indoor swimming pool as seen in the YouTube video. (Courtesy: Jimmynut22/YouTube)

We researched Wingate Hotels in Illinois and found that this kind of large indoor pool is not consistent with any current properties.

For example, a search for the company's hotels in the state only showed much smaller swimming pools without a tall ceiling:

A Wingate Hotel in Illinois was supposedly where a screaming ghost came out of room 209.
An indoor swimming pool at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois.

Turner Clay

The Anomalies Research Society blog appeared to have identified the YouTube user who posted the video. According to the website, Jimmynut22 is a filmmaker named Turner Clay. According to IMDb, Clay has experience in a number of filmmaking roles, including visual effects.

A screenshot posted by the blog showed Jimmynut22 saying "my name is Turner Clay." However, that comment has disappeared.

On the same YouTube channel, Jimmynut22, or Turner Clay, also promoted a series of films called "The Blackwell Ghost."

One Final Clue

"The Blackwell Ghost" film series from Clay is available on Amazon Prime Video.

At the end of the film, the credits show a special thanks to "John & Jimmynut22 (Ghost Screaming In Haunted Hotel)."

A Wingate Hotel in Illinois was supposedly where a screaming ghost came out of room 209.
This indicated that Turner Clay provided the acting and voice work for the Wingate Hotel video.

One bit of trivia added to the film on Prime Video said: "The hat Clay wears in his plan has appeared in another one of his 'found' footage films." This appeared to reference the hat worn by John in the hotel video.

Another trivia line read: "Turner Clay also played John, the security guard from the popular Screaming [Wingate] Hotel guest in 209 hoax paranormal video on YouTube. He references at the beginning. (not sure how he talks to himself ;) )."

At the 4:19 mark in "The Blackwell Ghost," Clay purportedly talks on the phone with John. Clay says: "I actually saw the video organically." This, of course, is inconsistent with the fact that Jimmynut22 is Turner Clay and was the original poster of the video purportedly shot at a Wingate Hotel in Illinois.

All five films in "The Blackwell Ghost" film series are available to be streamed in high definition. Clay's future work can also be followed on his Facebook page, where quite a few fans of the movies enthusiastically received the fifth and most recent installment in the franchise.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.