I spent the Fourth of July weekend aboard the haunted Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach, California. And even though I didn’t see any ghosts, I thought I’d try to get YOU into the spirit (get it?) of staying at a haunted hotel. They’re just like regular hotels, except you spend a terrifying night with all the lights on worrying about whether ghostly intruders will walk through the walls of your room to watch you in your most intimate moments.
If that sounds appealing for some reason, check out the hotels on my list of 13 of the World’s Most Haunted Hotels…
Banff Springs Hotel – Alberta, Canada
Dying gets a bad wrap. Just look at the positive: you don’t have to go to work anymore. However, not everyone hates their job. One of those people was Sam, a bellman at the Banff Springs Hotel . He loved his job so much that he returned to work… after he died (get a life, dude… oh, wait…). That’s right, Sam the white-mustachioed bellman still wanders the halls of the hotel, helping guests locked out of their room and doing favors — without even asking for a tip. The other ghosts at the hotel aren’t as helpful. In 1932, a bride died on her wedding day when her dress caught on fire and she tumbled down the stairs. Now her ghost can be seen dancing alone in the dining room and generally depressing the guests.
But the most frequent ghostly activity occurs on the eighth floor. Rumor has it than an entire family was murdered in room 873, including a little girl, whose fingerprints couldn’t be wiped away from the mirror. Seeing as how guests would find that terribly creepy, the room was sealed off with bricks and the wall painted over to hide its existence. Even though no one can go inside the room and the hotel denies the room exists, guests report hearing noises coming from room 873.
Castle Leslie – County Monaghan, Ireland
In 2002, everyone’s favorite one-legged golddigger, Heather Mills, married everyone’s third favorite Beatle, Paul McCartney, at the Castle Leslie in rural Ireland. But that’s not the scariest thing about this place. It’s said to be haunted by a handful of members of the famous Leslie family, many of which have died in the castle over its 300-year history. Even one of the young Leslie men named Shane, who died in a war, returned to the castle as ghost to watch over the lake (apparently sensing the need for a life guard at the lake). But perhaps the most famous ghost in the hotel isn’t a person… it’s a dog named Punch.
Crescent Hotel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The idea of a tall handsome man showing up to your hotel room and asking “are you waiting for me?” sounds attractive to some amorous travelers… but things get scary when he suddenly vanishes into thin air. This man is just one of the frequently seen ghosts who haunt the Crescent Hotel. There’s also an Irish stonemason who frightens guests in room 218, where he fell and died during construction; guests complain of banging on the walls, lights turning on and off, and the ghostly hands of the man reaching out from the mirror. Then there’s a woman who frequently appears in room 419 and introduces herself as a cancer patient to guests and housekeepers. That’s because back in the 1930′s, a man named Dr. Normal Baker turned this hotel into a hospital promising to cure cancer patients… but it was all a sham. Many people died in the hotel because they didn’t receive proper cafe, including the woman in 419. Unfortunately, she’s stuck with Dr. Baker, who also never left. He’s sometime seen in the hotel’s recreation room, the same place where he often spent time not helping the cancer victims he promised to help.
Farnsworth House Inn – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
It’s not unusual for places in and around Gettysburg to be haunted by the spirits of dead Civil War soliders, but what makes the Farnsworth House Inn so special is that it’s haunted by 14 ghosts. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers used this house as a sniper stronghold. In one tragic incident, a solider accidentally killed a civilian named Jennie Wade; that young solider is said to remain in the house out of remorse. After that incident, the soliders gave away their hiding spot and many were killed in a shootout — the building is riddled with over 100 bullet holes that can still be seen today. There’s even a nurse named Mary that continues to console soldiers in the afterlife, as well as a ghost of a young boy who was run over and killed by a horse and carriage in front of the house.
The Heathman Hotel – Portland, Oregon
The Heathman Hotel is famous for its popular restaurant, luxurious accommodations… and one ghostly resident. Legend has it that not long after the hotel opened in 1927, a woman fell out of room 703 and plummeted to her death. Now, that woman is haunting all of the rooms that she passed on the way down to the pavement. Guests staying in any room that ends in an “03″ report hearing noises, objects moving on their own, cold spots, and in the case of room 703, a ghostly face peering out of the corner of the room. We sincerely hope the hotel staff tells guests about this before staying in that room because no one feels comfortable with the idea of a ghost watching them do it.
Hotel Del Coronado – San Diego, California
Ghosts don’t tend to haunt ugly hotels because no one wants to stay in an ugly hotel — not even a dead person. However, when a hotel is given four stars by AAA and named one of the Top 10 Resorts In The World according to USA Today, it makes sense that a ghost would want to hang around forever. That’s why we’re surprised that there’s only one ghost haunts that the Hotel Del Coronado (make it two after I go; this place rules). Her name is Kate Morgan, and back in 1892, she committed suicide on the beach just outside the hotel after her estranged husband stood her up. Today, guests who stay in room 3327, the room where Kate stayed, say lights flicker on and off, objects float around the room and the temperature fluctuates drastically. Some have even seen her ghostly apparition walking the halls in the black dress she died in. Men who’ve hit on her using the pick-up line “Heaven called, they’re missing one of their angels” are sorely disappointed when she disappears.
Le Pavilion – New Orleans, Louisiana
The four ghosts that haunt Le Pavilion have been the subject of over 100 catalouged sightings and incidents. The most frequently seen ghost is Adda, a teenage girl who was killed by a horse and carriage just before she was about to board a ship with her family. Sometimes guests see her ghostly spirit manifest in her old room on the third floor, asking for a ride to the docks. The second ghost is a prankster who wears bell bottoms and walks shoeless through the halls; he likes to rip the sheets off the bed and move thing around people’s rooms. The other two ghosts are a happy couple who stroll around the hotel grounds holding hands, though we’re not sure how happy they were in real life because they stayed in different rooms. His former room on the fourth floor often smells like the cigars he smoked, even when nobody has been inside (can’t quit a bad habit even when you’re dead), and the girl’s former room on the third floor often smells like her rose perfume.
Lizzie Borden Inn – Fall River, Massachusetts
The Lizzie Borden trial was like the O.J. Simpson trial of its time. In 1892, Lizzie was accused of killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet in their home. Even though the overwhelming consensus was that Lizzie did it, she was eventually acquitted (apparently using the same “if the glove does not fit, you must acquit” defense). Today, guests who don’t like to get a good night’s sleep can stay in the rooms where the bodies were discovered. Many have reported seeing ghostly black mists, hearing noises, feeling cold spots, and some have even seen the shape of a body indented into the bed where her father was murdered.
Ostrich Inn – Colnbrook, England
This story will make you never want to sleep in a hotel again. In the 17th century, the Ostrich Inn was a popular place for travelers. But for some reason, no one ever noticed that over 60 people never left. That’s because the owners installed a secret trap door under the bed in what they called the “best room” in the hotel. This room was located right above the kitchen. When their guests fell asleep, the owners would pry open the trap door and tilt the bed so that the guest would slide into a boiling cauldron. Many of the victims still haunt the Ostrich Inn, probably to make people realize how ridiculously unobservant they are (seriously, no one realized that people were going in and not coming out!?).
Provincial Hotel – New Orleans, Louisiana
Any time a hospital is converted into a hotel, you’re asking for problems. And that’s exactly the case with the Provincial Hotel. It used to be a Confederate hospital during the Civil War, and many of the soldiers that died inside its walls have never left. But here’s what’s really scary: one particular solider has a thing for country music. Whenever the radio is turned to classical, the ghost quickly changes it to a country station. And if the guest insists on changing the station back, he’s been known to materialize and frighten them away from the radio. Don’t mess with a ghost that digs country music (we really hope that’s not the preferred musical genre in the afterlife).
Queen Mary Hotel – Long Beach, California
When the RMS Queen Mary was in service, it was only involved in one tragedy (when it crashed into another boat and killed people on that boat). Oddly enough, it’s experienced more tragedies since being permanently docked in Long Beach. In typical California fashion, most of the hauntings take place at the pool. A young girl who drowned in the second class pool now haunts the first class pool (because it’s easy to get past the bouncer as a ghost). She’s accompanied by another woman who was murdered in the first class women’s change room. Together they walk around the pool, leaving wet foot prints on the deck and making splashing noises… even when the pool is drained. Some guests have even seen the ghosts of the women wearing bathing suits from the eras in which they died.
Schooner Hotel – Alnmouth, England
The Schooner Hotel has twice won the title of Most Haunted Hotel in Britain thanks to over 3,000 ghost sightings through the years. The hotel has been the site of so many murders, suicides and massacres — some involving babies thrown into a fire — that 60 individual ghosts inhabit the property. To get revenge, they freak out guests by making eerie noises, turning on electrical devices, opening and closing doors and sometimes manifesting into ghostly form.
Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
Remember “The Shining”? Well, Steven King conceived the idea for that book during a stay at The Stanley Hotel. The freaky thing is, he didn’t know the place was haunted until after he started developing the idea. Maybe he got the idea because he heard the ghostly voices of kids running through the halls, or had an encounter with the alleged “ghost thief” that steals people’s jewelry (we think the thief is really just an employee wearing a white sheet and pretending to be a ghost). The hotel is also believed to be haunted by the former owner, Freelan O. Stanley, and his wife, Flora. Apparently Flora liked to entertain her guests, and she continues to do in the afterlife: her ghost is often seen playing the piano in the lobby.
Have you ever stayed in a haunted hotel?