Friday, October 30, 2015
BY AARON SAGERS
Although we're about to check out of the Halloween season, it doesn't mean the time is over to check into some scary action. In fact, all across the country there are haunted houses (and hotels, and B&Bs) worth a visit for year-round paranormal tourism.
As a lover of ghost stories, and professional paranormal pop culture nerd, I am often on the hunt for haunts, with my tastes leaning more towards comfortable hotels with a ghosty rep and less creaky old drafty mansions. This used to be a more daunting task, when establishments were reluctant to embrace their spectral folklore for fear they might attract the wrong crowd, appear less reputable, or basically scare away guests.
Thankfully, things have changed in the past decade or so, with the popularity of paranormal reality TV, such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, and successful movies like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring. Now ghost stories are a selling point for many locations, and with American Horror Story currently taking on the hotels, I would not anticipate a good haunted hot spot to have much difficult in filling its vacancy.
I currently have a running tally of more than 100 supposedly haunted hotels, and I've stayed at a large number of them. And many have become well known in the mainstream, and dubbed some of the "most haunted" destinations in America.
The Stanley Hotel, aka The Shining hotel, is a part of pop culture in its own right - and for good reason. Shown above, the Estes Park, Colo., location is luxurious and set in the scenic Rocky Mountains. Meanwhile, the RMS Queen Mary, moored at Long Beach, Calif., is an ocean liner that carried civilian passengers and then troops during World War II. Now it is a tourist attraction, party venue, and the focus of many ghost hunts.
But what of the less-famous locations, and how do you hunt down your haunts? To that end, I have a beginner's guide of 50 haunts for all 50 states (plus Washington D.C.). This is by no means a comprehensive list, but is just to kickstart a spooky stay. In my search, I relied on active listings using Booking.com's database, and tried to lean towards the lesser-known. Don't just take my suggestions, or only use these listings. Instead, begin your own ghost hotel hunt.
The Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa
Stay on the fourth floor of this hotel, and you might feel "dips" on the bed, have your faucets mysteriously turn on, and catch a shadow figure.
Home to Alaska's oldest operating bakery, the Juneau spot is said to be haunted by the friendly ghost of founder Gus Messerschmidt.
Copper Queen Hotel
Well known in ghost-hunting circles, guests at the Brisbee hotel report disembodied voices, unexplained smells, and even levitating objects.
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs reportedly hosts four ghosts - including a classic Lady in White - and a spectral cat. It has appeared on multiple shows, and has a special "Spirit of the Crescent" package.
Queen Anne Hotel
Since I already mentioned the Queen Mary, let's move on to the Queen Anne in San Francisco. This Victorian hotel counts the ghost of Miss Mary Lake as an occupant of Room 410.
I have already mentioned The Stanley Hotel, so let's focus on this Aspen spot. The Hotel Jerome supposedly has multiple ghosts, including that of a boy who may have drowned in the pool in the 1930s.
Captain Grant's B&B
Locatedin Poquetanuck, the B&B is known for the sightings of a ghostly woman and two children, dressed in Colonial clothing and holding hands, in the Adelaide Room.
Miss Helen's Guesthouse
This spot in the town of Bear is actually less than two miles from the haunted destination of Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island, where spirits of imprisoned Confederate soldiers are said to stalk the fort.
Perhaps more well-known than other listings, the Coral Gables location was a hangout for gangsters in the 1920s. Thomas "Fatty" Walsh was murdered here in '29 and is said to haunt the elevators. And a "lady in white" is seen, who resembles a woman who threw herself out a window.
The Ellis Hotel
Formerly known as the The Winecoff, the 15-story Atlanta building was the site of the most deadly hotel fire in 1946, when 119 people died. People report smelling smoke, and seeing faces in windows, or the sound of many people running down hallways.
Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel
Hawaiian warriors are said to haunt this spot where King Kamehameha died (and is buried in a hidden grave somewhere on the property). Listen for battle cries and chants, and look out for warriors on the top floor.
Oxford Suites Boise
Seen in an episode of Ghost Adventures, the nearby Old Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise is notoriously creepy for its inmate specters.
You can't go far in Chicago without finding an excellent haunted hotel, but the Ruebel in Grafton is worthy of a look. Located near where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers meet, this hotel served river workers for more than 100 years. Now one guest, the possible ghost of a young girl name Abigail, refuses to check out.
French Lick Springs Hotel
The French Lick hotel has a rowdy ghost, former owner Mr. Taggart, who reportedly throws spectral parties and rides a horse through the ballroom. And the entire sixth floor has stories of hauntings.
This Davenport hotel hosted many celebrities, including Cary Grant. Although it fell from glory into disrepair (and a meth lab exploded on the eighth floor in 2006), it is once again a beauty. Grant's spirit is allegedly still checked in, as is a woman in a red evening gown.
The Eldridge Hotel
More than just a single ghost, guests in Room 506 of the Lawrence hotel get a possible portal to the spirit realm. The historic hotel, which still has an original cornerstone, was destroyed during the brutal Lawrence Massacre of the Civil War.
Historic Boone Tavern Inn
Located in Berea, the Boone Tavern Inn was part of the Underground Railroad. As such, the ghost of a 12-year-old African American boy has been seen in the basement, and pops up in some photographs
There are so many great New Orleans spots with haunted stories, but the Monteleone is a favorite for how many they have. Day and night, there are stories such as a naked ghost, a jazz singer playing in the night, a child who takes the hand of helpful guests, and even the hotel's original owner is said to haunt the halls.
Captain Lord Mansion
The Kennebunkport mansion was built for Captain Nathaniel Lord in 1812, though he never lived to see it completed. Now, the ghost seen in the Lincoln bedroom, is said to be his wife.
Lord Baltimore Hotel
This Baltimore hotel is supposedly fully occupied by ghosts. The 19th floor is of particular interest, with a young girl (who is said to have committed suicide) being seen there. The elevator also constantly runs on its own to that floor. Guests also frequently report nightmares during their stay.
Concord's Colonial Inn
The ghost of Ralph Waldo Emerson allegedly haunts one of the oldest inns in America. Room 424 is also the focus of ghost hunts as it was once an operating room.
The Inn on Ferry Street
Maybe visitors to this Detroit location are just pulling our leg, but a ghost in the Owen House, Room 4102, is said to grab people's arm. Also, a woman in a wedding dress in seen in the Roehn House.
Kahler Grand Hotel
The Kahler in Rochester is near the Mayo Clinic, and connected to the odd death of Brach candy heiress Helen Voorhees Brach. She visited the clinic in 1977, checked out of her room, and vanished (and later declared dead, in 1984). But people report seeing her ghost on the hotel elevators.
Monmouth Historic Inn
After secessionist and then governor of Mississippi General Quitman was believed poisoned, he supposedly stuck around his Natchez home in death. During restoration of the plantation house, he apparently started stomping around rooms, and poking into guest rooms in the middle of the night.
Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center
What was once the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, this hotel was at the center of a tragedy in 1981 when 114 people were killed when walkways collapsed on the lobby. Now a ghost moving through the building is thought to be one of the victims, Kathryn Sullivan.
The Pollard Hotel
This one from the city of Red Lodge involves a ghostly woman in a yellow dress on the third floor, as well as the strong scent of perfume on the second floor. But the unexplained noises in the basement? Might that be the ghost of a monkey entombed down there?
Element Omaha Midtown Crossing
This site is six miles from Hummel Park, a rumored active location where ancient Native Americans were supposedly buried. Also, the creepy 200-acre location contains "Devil's Slide," named for the many suicides that happened there.
Out of the many haunted stories in Las Vegas, the cries for help reported to emerge from poker rooms, scrawled on mirrors, and heard in multiple guest rooms are particularly unnerving. There is a story of a mother killing her young child, then herself, in Room 123, and that it's the boy crying.
The Notched Inn
A guest at this Notchland was said to discover the name ''Abigail Jones" on their mirror. The name meant nothing until two years later when a mid-1800s box full of letters was found in the attic -- signed by Abigail Jones.
The ghost of the Macomber in Cape May is said to be the "trunk lady" Irene Wright who loved the hotel and often stayed in Room 10. Now it is said to be the focus of bumps, and doors closing on their own. Paranormal investigators report getting good EVP recordings in the room.
Hotel Parq Central Albuquerque
Outside of being known for Breaking Bad, ABQ was once home to a psychiatric hospital for children in the 1970s. Stories are now told of poltergeist activity, and a feeling of being watched.
The Algonquin Hotel
This Manhattan icon is known less for ghosts, and more for the biting wit of "Vicious Circle" writers like Dorothy Parker. Still, since a 2004 renovation, there have been reports of apparitions and noises.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
This Asheville hotel has been haunted for over half a century by a mysterious ghost known as The Pink Lady. According to local rumors, The Pink Lady is a young woman who fell to her death from the atrium and spends her days haunting hotel guests in a mischievous fashion.
The Hotel Donaldson in Fargo is less than three miles from the 1876 brick Yunker farmhouse that now serves as an interactive children's museum. The ghost of Elizabeh Yunker haunts the museum, and as Elizabeth loved children in life, she is often seen upstairs where many of the children's activities take place.
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is a French Art Decco-style hotel haunted by a "Lady in Green" believed to be the wife of a worker who died while the building was being constructed. Her frequent haunts include the hotel's Hall of Mirrors.
The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is host to a hotel haunted by "Effie", a maid who became pregnant by the hotel's original owner and was locked away to avoid scandal. After giving birth, a depressed "Effie" jumped out of a window and continues to haunt the hotel to this day. Even NBA teams staying at the hotel have reported hauntings.
Geiser Grand Hotel
In Baker City, a ghost named Annabelle (also known as "the Lady in Blue") spends most of her days haunting her former home, room 302. She is also a bit of a cheeky ghost and has been reported to pinch the behinds of men who dare to occupy her bar stool in the hotel saloon.
The Logan Inn
Located in New Hope, this inn was opened in 1722, and has a lot of connection to our nation's Revolutionary War. Interestingly, Revolutionary War soldiers are spotted in the hallways. There is also a mist that forms in Room 6, which dubbed Emily's Room. Ghost children have also been spotted in the room, and there are reports of crying noises.
This Newport stay dig throwing a party, and have disturbed guests with music, laughter, and the sounds of a spooky shindig. Normally the ghosts of colonist or Native Americans can be heard in the hotel courtyard when no one is there.
Meeting Street Inn
Room 303 and 107 are the haunted highlights of this Charleston spot. Guests may be mysteriously locked out in the former, while the torso of a cheery woman sitting on the bed might be seen in the latter.
Historic Bullock Hotel
Named for its founder, and the first sheriff of Deadwood, Seth Bullock, some have claimed to see a tall ghost resembling the lawman. A man's voice calling their name, and whistling, as well as other occurrences on the second and third floor are reported.
Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection
This Nashville hotel was once a train station, so ghostly passengers and victims of accidents have been reported. Room 711 also has a paranormal reputation.
The Menger in San Antonio has been around for more than 150 years, and has picked up a collection of ghost stories. Former chambermaid Sallie White, murdered by her husband in 1878, has been spotted in suites. King Ranch founder Richard King is seen peering at guests in the same room he died in.
Ben Lomond Suites, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
Located in Ogden, a mother and son ghost are seen in Room 1102. After his mother died in a tub, that is said to run on its own, her son arrived to collect her items. He fell into a depression and committed suicide.
Green Mountain Inn
Room 302 of this Stowe location was where local hero Boots Berry was born in 1840. He was a caretaker for horses, but also saved passengers on a runaway coach. He eventually ended up in a New Orleans jail, where he learned to tap. But his tapdancing, singing spirit is still heard in the room he was born in.
The Charles City plantation is known for it story of Southern Belle Lizzie Rowland, who died of a broken heart. After her love did not return from the Civil War, she perished and is said to roam the halls now, and seen peeking out upstairs windows.
Sounds of a 1920s Prohibition-era party are reported here (breaking glass, jazz music), but the ghost of a worker who died following a fall is also in the Seattle hotel.
Once known as the Marshall House, the hotel was in operating during the Civil War; its sixth floor ghosts are supposedly James W. Jackson and Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, who died during the war.
Located in Parkersburg, the Blennerhassett hosts the dapper, bearded ghost of builder William Chancellor, as well as spirit children who like to play tag.
Retlaw Plaza Hotel
In the ballroom of the Fond du Lac hotel, there is said to be the ghost of a hanging man. The seventh floor has reports of horrible screams, and guests being kicked, or having their hair pulled.
Historic Plains Hotel
This Cheyenne hotel has stories of all three ghosts from a triple murder suicide. Jilted suicidal wife Rosie has been seen in her blue wedding dress; the groom she murdered, with his own gun, has been spotted on the fourth floor in a dress coat; the murdered prostitute seen on the second floor in a red dress.