Spend the Night in These Haunted Hotels — If You Dare
Halloween may be behind us, but ghosts and spirits don’t know the difference. They still linger around their chosen habitat, occasionally offering up a sign to the living to notice them. If you are the type of person who doesn’t mind a celestial visit to your room in the middle of the night, then these haunted hotels are the perfect getaway.
Or if you’re a skeptic with a healthy dose of Casper curiosity, spend the night in one of these hotels — if you dare. The ghosts never check out.
In Estes Park, Colorado sits the Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909. In there resides the ghostly duo of Freelan Oscar and Flora Stanley, the hotel’s original owners. The wife’s tinkling of the ivories can sometimes be heard from the ballroom. A visit to this hotel from Stephen King actually inspired The Shining.
Guests will delight in the hotel’s evening ghost tours, which introduce you to the “active” phenomena and spirit folklore, including Victorian seances.
Perhaps you prefer meeting up with spirits in paradise. Moana Surfrider in Honolulu was established in 1905. Nestled on oceanfront property in the heart of Waikiki Beach, it is now a Westin Resort & Spa. Back in 1901, Stanford University co-founder Jane Stanford retreated to the hotel, where she died of strychnine poisoning in her room. It became the scene of an unsolved crime. Guests and staff have seen a woman in a white dressing gown prowling the hallway, searching for her room.
The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, New York dates back to 1883, when the wealthy millionaires summered and rowed away on the shores of Lake George. The ghosts in this hotel must like to dine, as several have been spotted in the restaurants. A ghostly couple who were among the hotel’s first guests visit the fine dining restaurant The Trillium. They are said to descend from the second floor and take a seat in the restaurant reception room before disappearing. Mrs. Brown’s — another dining establishment in the resort — is frequented by the ghost of a tall woman with flowing, sandy blonde hair wearing an all-white dress. It is said that the woman spoke to one of the staff, walked through him, and disappeared. Golfers at the hotel have also reported seeing the spirit of a little boy from the early 1950s, who chased errant balls during his time and sold them for money. It is believed that he was hit by a car while chasing one of the balls.
If you are a diehard fan of dead celebs, there is The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where celebrities who stayed there, now deceased, return to perform. The first strange event took place in December 1985, about two weeks before the grand re-opening. An employee was dusting a mirror in the manager’s office when she looked into the glass and saw the reflection of a blond woman there. The reflection remained for some time before fading away. It was later learned that the mirror once hung in Suite 1200, a poolside suite that was frequently used by Marilyn Monroe. The “haunted” mirror is still hanging on the wall at the Roosevelt and can now be found in the lower level elevator landing. Some visitors believe that Monroe’s tragic life has been permanently impressed in the glass.
Salem, Massachusetts is a haunted town unto itself, where tortured souls from the Salem witch trials roam outside. Other ghosts, such as sea captains and a wailing baby, stay inside and possess the Hawthorne Hotel. Room 325 is the most haunted room in the hotel and one of the most requested by ghost seekers. Many believe the room is home to the ghost of a baby or a toddler because they wake to hear the sounds of a child crying in the wee hours of the morning. Children who stayed in the room told their parents about a baby’s cries waking them in the middle of the night. Guests also found that the faucet in the bathroom turned itself on and off, and other guests woke to the feeling of something abruptly pulling their sheets and blankets off the bed.
Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina is haunted by the ghost of New Yorker Ned Cohen, who died of an apparent suicide in the 1930s. Cohen had stayed there in 1924 on an upper floor of the grand hotel with a southern paramour, who deserted him in the night after a loving weekend. The jilted, heartbroken ghost swishes the silk drapes, rattles the windows, and brushes the cheeks of guests. Some people have seen a figure in shirtsleeves around the midnight hour.
The Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock, North Carolina — established in 1891 — is proud of its ghostly inhabitants. They maintain a “ghost log” in the lobby for guests to browse and report paranormal encounters. Room 318 is a popular spot for supernatural sightings. As the story goes, Laura Green, the daughter of the inn’s founder, killed herself after her beloved ditched her at the altar. It seems that they found love in the afterlife, as guests have reportedly seen Green and her would-be groom rendezvousing on the third floor.
The Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore dates all the way back to 1770, where it was once a theater and boarding house whose regulars included seamen, immigrants, and prostitutes. Guests have often reported seeing floating sailors and butlers knocking on their doors, but no one is there. A hotel manager is also said to have heard a loud party after the hotel was evacuated during a hurricane in 2003.
The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio, Texas — built in 1924 — has a sordid history. It was named for Emily D. West (c. 1815-1891), a woman of mixed race who was contracted to James Morgan when she was 20 years old. She was due to work as a housekeeper at the New Washington Association’s Hotel when, in 1836, Morgan and some of her colleagues were kidnapped by the Mexican Cavalry.
Before it was a hotel, The Emily Morgan was a medical building with a morgue, psychiatric ward, and crematorium – all hot spots for paranormal activity. The most haunted floor is said to be the seventh, where the most activity has been reported, along with the ninth and 14th, which functioned as the psychiatric ward, surgery level, waiting area, and morgue. Signs have included an overwhelming medicinal smell on the 14th floor. Guests have reported opening the doors to the hallways, only to find a scene from a hospital waiting right inside. Guests staying on the 12th floor were roused from their slumber only to hear the drip-drip sound of trickling water from the bathroom when the faucet was tightly shut.
Ride the elevators at your own risk, as they mysteriously are known to ride up and down without a single rider aboard. And when a guest does embark on it, the elevator will skip past the requested floor. Doors will cling shut and remain closed for hours, effectively locking people in until help arrives to rescue them from the mischievous specter.
The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Florida looks pleasingly pink from the outside, dating back from the era of The Great Gatsby. But inside live the ghosts of Thomas Rowe, who built the pink palace in honor of his Spanish opera star lover, Lucinda. However, her parents disapproved of the lowly American and whisked Lucinda back to Spain. Thomas and Lucinda began a series of clandestine rendezvous in London — where he attended university — and they would meet under the moonlight at a closed courtyard with a beautiful fountain. In 1925, Rowe moved to St. Petersburg and built a monument to his beloved. In the hotel lobby there is a replica courtyard and fountain of their rendezvous spot. A front-desk clerk claimed he saw the ghosts of the distinguished couple — he in a white suit and Panama hat, she in a Spanish peasant dress — often promenading hand-and-hand around the property before disappearing.
Soldier ghosts reportedly live at the Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary War, the hotel’s Liberty Room served as a hospital owned by Dr. Timothy Minot. When patriot soldiers were injured at the Battle of Lexington and Concord they were brought to Room 24, which served as his operating room. Several soldiers who were operated on in Room 24 unfortunately passed away during surgery. The deceased were carried directly downstairs into Room 27, which was used as a morgue.
In 1966, newlywed Judith Fellenz and her husband of Highland Falls, New York were given Room 24 to celebrate their honeymoon in the quaint New England inn. The next morning, however, the bride looked rather pale. Weeks later, the innkeeper at the time received a letter from Mrs. Fellenz.
“I have always prided myself on being a fairly sane individual, but on the night of June 14 I began to have my doubts,” the letter read. “On that night I saw a ghost in your Inn. I was awakened in the middle of the night by a presence in the room — a feeling that some unknown being was in the midst. As I opened my eyes, I saw a grayish figure at the side of my bed, to the left, about 4 feet away. It was not a distinct person, but a shadowy mass in the shape of a standing figure. It remained still for a moment, then slowly floated to the foot of the bed, in front of the fireplace. After pausing a few seconds, the apparition slowly melted away. It was a terrifying experience. I was so frightened I could not scream.”
Guests at the Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Arkansas receive a unique type of pampering. Established in 1886 in Eureka Springs, it was an exclusive resort for the “Carriage Set” and a cancer hospital with a sham doctor named Dr. Baker. Their famous spirits go by a first-name basis. There’s Michael, an Irish stonemason who fell to his death while building the hotel in 1885. Theodora, a cancer patient of Dr. Baker, seems to need help finding her room key. A mystery patient in a Victorian white nightgown appears in the luxury suites at the foot of the bed in Room 3500. The hotel has profited from its famous guests who never leave, holding nightly ghost tours.
And lastly, we have the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., with its ghostly lighting. Suite 870 is the eternal home of the owner’s wife, daughter, and housekeeper. After the hotel’s construction, Henry Doherty — a minority shareholder and wealthy businessman — moved with his family to an exquisite eighth-floor apartment with the executive housekeeper of the hotel, Juliette Brown. Guests in neighboring rooms have noted strange noises coming from the “Ghost Suite,” such as slamming doors, loud piano playing — despite no piano — moving furniture, rolling carts, and vacuuming. Televisions and lights would suddenly go on. And the time of the disturbances? 4 a.m., the hour of Juliette’s death.