Across the Great Divide

“Some Debts are Hard to Pay”

Many of us have visited a casino at least once for a number of reasons- perhaps some time in the limelight with friends at the slots amid conversation and drinks or walking in the shadows feeding the crave of a gambling addiction. Gambling conjures up some rather strong images and opinions on all sides; this is neither the time nor place to debate those points- I only mention this because there arise, from time to time, some bizarre events that are connected with this highly-charged activity. On these rare occasions, such events can leave a chill running up your spine and a lingering wonder in the back of your perplexed mind as your psyche tries to make sense out of what just happened.

For two Metro Detroit girls a seemingly amusing time at the Motor City Casino was about to become a convergence of these possibilities as they unwittingly walked across the great divide into the world of the paranormal.

I am often presented with pictures and stories that set my mind reeling with questions and answers related to paranormal research- but mostly questions. A coworker relayed a story that had made national news back in 2000 when an off-duty police officer from the Detroit suburb of Oak Park had visited the Motor City Casino and quickly ran up a $15,000 to $20,000 debt at the blackjack tables. Perhaps from the weight of such an overwhelming loss (we’ll never really know), the decorated officer stood up from the table, cried out “Noooooo!,” drew his gun and put a bullet in his head while others ran for safety.  The death, believed to be the first suicide inside a U.S. gambling establishment, highlighted concerns about casino gambling. The debates consumed the nation, as tragedies are so often prone to do. Time passed. The cards kept coming and the slots kept dinging. The horror of that day was all but forgotten- at least until a few weeks ago.

She pulled up a news archive photo of Sergeant Solomon Bell.

A happy and decorated officer- or so it would seem.

My coworker then proceeded to pull up a photo on her smartphone, taken by her cousins in one of the restrooms of the casino. What they saw in the image would shock them to say the least:



Having been to the Motor City Casino, myself, I am familiar with how the restrooms are laid out. There is a large retaining wall that blocks and seperates the entrances to the rooms- Men’s to the left and Women’s to the right. Once inside there is a short L-shaped entryway before actually reaching the sinks and stalls.

That being said, there is no way- in my mind- that a patron coincidentally passing by the bathrooms could possibly be reflected in the mirrors unless they were inside and standing directly behind the ladies pictured above.

It would seem, judging by the facial features in the image, that Sergeant Bell remains at Motor City, walking among us and searching for a way to settle a debt that can never be repaid.



Sources: Associated Press, LA Times,

© 2013 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions