America’s Best Hotel Ghost Stories
From the Top Haunted Hotels of America
If you like things that go bump in the night, we have legendary stories to share. The halls of many of our historic hotels are rumored to have played host to more than just paying customers. Believe or don’t believe, but one thing is certain - these friendly hauntings are sure to make for a visit you’ll talk about for years.
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1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
Eureka Springs, AR
In the 1930s, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas became an experimental cancer hospital. "Dr." Norman Baker, claiming to be a licensed physician, examined cancer patients in the hotel's basement while charging unsuspecting families their life savings. Several apparitions from the hospital visit the hotel today. "Dr. Baker" has been seen in the hotel lobby. He is described as a man in a purple shirt and white linen suit matching photographs of the entrepreneur. "A nurse pushing a gurney" residing in Dr. Baker's old morgue area is known to squeak and rattle down the halls of the hotel.
A female guest at the hotel awoke one night to the vision of a young girl standing next to the bed. Knowing her own daughter was not along on the trip, the woman noticed the child was wearing an old-fashioned petticoat and holding a small rag doll. After several minutes, the girl vanished. A few months later, the guest and her family returned. Upon entering the hotel elevator, she noticed an antique photo of a group on the steps of the resort. There in the photograph was the girl who had visited her in the night.
Steve Garrison, a cook at the hotel, swears he doesn't drink on the job. In fact, he doesn't drink, period. However, Garrison may have been tempted by two strange encounters in the kitchen of the hotel's Crystal Dining Room. One morning, while slicing vegetables, he looked up and saw a little boy with "pop-bottle" glasses, dressed in old-fashioned clothing and knickers, skipping around the kitchen. Another morning, Garrison flipped on the lights to begin the day's preparations when "some or all of the pots and pans came flying off their hooks."Read more >
Admiral Fell Inn
There always seems to be a presence in room 413 at the Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore. Some say a man died in the room but the story is vague. Housekeepers often talk about a strange feeling they get when cleaning the room. One housekeeper in particular, Frances Gale, used to clean 413 almost daily. She says she would always get a chill when in the room. Many times, she would feel a slight breeze against her face or arms, like when someone walks close by. On some occasions, she has had the sensation of someone placing a hand on her shoulder.
In September 2003, during Hurricane Isabel, the guests of the Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore were evacuated to safety. The only people remaining behind in the hotel were the Hotel Manager John Lowe and several other managers. Everyone stayed on the lobby level. While the group recessed to another room for dinner, Assistant Hotel Manager Iwona Diaz stayed in the lobby to keep watch and handle the phones. When the others returned, Iwona reported that she had heard a lot of noise, footsteps and loud talking in the rooms directly above her in the lobby-like a bunch of people having a party and dancing around. It was jokingly suggested that it must be the inn's ghosts, who were celebrating the fact that the hotel was empty and they could reclaim their rooms. The next night, John Lowe kept watch in the lobby. As everyone else was down the hall enjoying dinner, he sat on a sofa by the lobby fireplace. Suddenly, he was aware of muffled sounds and many footfalls on the ceiling above. He reported even seeing the floors above vibrate! The "dancing" grew louder and more raucous until it sounded as though 20 people had joined the party. The arrival of another manager and his query, "John, want some pizza?" put an end to the celebration above.Read more >
The Gettysburg Hotel, Est.1797
Several times a year, guests of the Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., tell of their friendly encounter with Rachel, a civil war nurse. Believe it or not, Rachel details her frustration with caring for wounded soldiers and their damaged limbs. Moonlit ghost tours stroll through the streets of Gettysburg giving the opportunity to meet Rachel and other wandering souls. Earlier this year, Rachel made two visits to the same room, with different guests. Each told stories of the dresser drawers being opened, clothes mysteriously being removed and a cold draft or breeze in the room.Read more >
Green Park Inn
Blowing Rock, NC
Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock is the last of the "Grand Manor Hotels" in Western North Carolina. Guests who check in at historic Green Park Inn will find a ghost registry at the front desk to report any supernatural occurrences. There have been sightings reported of a woman who died in Room 318, apparently of a broken heart or suicide after being jilted by her lover. Some witnesses have seen the apparition in the room or wander along the halls, as well as felt a haunting presence while on the third floor.Read more >
The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Mass., is surrounded by historic buildings, many of them built by the Salem sea captains who founded the Salem Marine Society in 1766. The society's building was razed for the construction of the Hawthorne Hotel in the 1920s. Some wonder if the spirits of these dynamic seafarers still return to the site they knew so well. Employees and guests alike have witnessed the large ship's wheel, used in the nautical decor of the Main Brace Restaurant, turning back and forth as though following a ghostly course even though no one was near. Those who stopped the wheel found that it immediately resumed its motion. At least one houseman working in the Lower Deck meeting room has refused to work nights after several instances in which his room setups were rearranged the opposite direction.
A guest in suite 612 finally asked his travel planner to find alternate accommodations after he spent two sleepless nights at the hotel. Throughout the course of the first night, in and out of troubled sleep, he could not quite get rid of the sense that there was a woman in the room with him. He chalked it up to a long flight and overly tired but remained most uncomfortable with the sensation. On the second evening, there was unquestionably a presence in the room and most definitely a female. While he never saw a figure, he did see very conspicuous shadows and light that moved about the room traveling from the parlor area and back to the bedroom as though on constant patrol. In spite of this guest's experience, the travel planner continues send her clients to the Hawthorne Hotel-and she tells this tale to all of them.Read more >
New Orleans, LA
The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans dates to 1886 and is home to several friendly spirits. Recently, the International Society of Paranormal Research (ISPR) of Los Angeles conducted investigations at the hotel. According to Andrea Thornton, director of sales at the hotel, "The findings are in accordance with what guests and employees have been experiencing for years." She continues, "Most of the reports we receive about our ghosts are sightings, but some detail benign mischief like opening doors and moving soap. We had no idea this investigation would unearth such rich stories."
A handful of stories involve past employees:
The "doormen" of Le Cafe are caught in the act on film by ISPR. For years the doors of Le Cafe have unexplainably opened and closed. Employees attributed this occurrence to a draft although they could not find the source. Investigations captured on film show that the mysterious opening is caused by the spirits of two former employees, one, a maintenance worker who prefers the doors open as they were when the area currently occupied by Le Cafe was a maintenance area. The other entity is a butler or a waiter;
"Ms. Clean," a maid for whom good housekeeping is a family affair (she, her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all worked at the hotel). When ISPR asked her why she continues to haunt the hotel she replied that she picks up after the current housekeeping staff ensuring the hotel is cleaned to her high standards; and
"Red" is a middle-aged man and a faithful engineer from years past who continues to make his rounds at the hotel.Read more >
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Jekyll Island, GA
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1886) in Jekyll Island, Georgia seems to have a bellman with a cap and suit like the ones we see in movies of the 1920's, a far different look from actual bellmen who greet you at this historic hotel today. This bellman, from post WWI days, is very particular about delivering freshly pressed suits to bridegrooms. He has been seen, mostly on the second floor of the club building, knocking gently on a guest room door and announcing his purpose. More than one bridegroom, who had not ordered these services, has inquired about the mysterious bellman. Those who have seen this spirited bellman include contemporary bellmen and guestsRead more >
Santa Fe, NM
La Fonda on the Plaza (1922), located in the center of Santa Fe, harbors paranormal tales stemming from Old West brawls and shootouts. Shot to death in 1867 in the hotel lobby (then operating as the U.S. Hotel), the Honorable John P. Slough, chief justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, never left. He is still rumored to linger along the hotel's hallways. More often reported are sightings of the ghost of a distraught salesman emerging from the fountain in the center of La Fonda's restaurant, La Plazuela. More than a century ago, the salesman jumped into a well that was located just outside the gambling hall when the hotel operated as The Exchange Hotel. He had lost all of his company's money in a card game.Read more >
Loews Don CeSar Hotel
St. Pete Beach, FL
"Time is infinite. I wait for you by our fountain . . . to share our timeless love, our destiny is time." Thomas Rowe received this note upon the death of his beloved Lucinda. The two met in the 1890s when Rowe was studying in Europe. Lucinda's parents forbade the relationship and the forlorn Rowe returned to America. For years his letters to her were returned unopened.
In 1925, Rowe built the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The lobby of the hotel included a replica of the courtyard and fountain where Rowe and Lucinda used to meet. Although the fountain no longer exists, employees at the Don CeSar tell tales of seeing a couple who suddenly appear walking hand-in-hand in the hotel and then disappearing.Read more >
Lord Baltimore Hotel
Fran Carter has worked at the Radisson Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore for nearly a decade. One night, while preparing a small meeting room on the nineteenth floor, she caught sight of a little girl wearing a long, cream colored-dress and shiny, black shoes and bouncing a red ball. As the girl passed by the doorway, Fran ran to ask if she was lost. The little girl had vanished, but as Fran turned, she saw an older couple dressed in formal attire. Assuming they were the child's grandparents, Fran turned to point where she had seen the girl. When she turned back to them, they too had vanished. Several years later, a hotel guest told Fran that she had been awakened in the night to the sound of a child crying. Sitting up in bed, she saw a little girl crying and rocking back and forth in the window. She was wearing a long, cream-colored dress and black shoes.Read more >
The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection
The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection in Washington, D.C. hosted its first Inaugural Ball, honoring Calvin Coolidge, on March 4, 1925, just two weeks after the hotel opened. Mourning his sixteen-year-old son's tragic death from blood poisoning, the president did not attend the ball.
In 1937, Inauguration Day was changed to January 20. The hotel has since experienced unusual occurrences on January 20. In the Grand Ballroom, the lights seem to dim and flicker around 10:00 p.m. It was at this hour that the fanfare announced the guests of honor at President Coolidge's Inaugural Ball. The electrical circuits have been checked by experts who can find nothing wrong. Hotel staff have reported finding a plate of exquisite hors d'oeuvres along with a glass of fine wine left in the Grand Ballroom balcony. Strangely, neither item was served at any function on that day. One elevator refuses to move from the eighth floor to the lobby level until 10:15 p.m. This is the approximate time the President would have arrived from his holding room to the ball.
Knowing that he missed his Inaugural Ball at the Renaissance Mayflower, perhaps "Silent Cal" Coolidge is making up for that historical evening and attending, in spirit, each January 20.Read more >
Napa River Inn
The Vanishing Vino
Napa Valley is a region renowned for its wine. It seems only fitting that any otherworldly apparitions would appreciate it as well. A recent guest in room 201 at the Napa River Inn in Napa, Calif., called the front desk to complain that strange noises and "white blobs in the mirror" were preventing her from getting to sleep. Seeking some relaxation, she opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass. When she turned to lift the glass, the wine had been drained from it. Passing it off to absentmindedness, she poured a second glass and carried it into the bathroom. She set it aside and stepped into the shower. Upon emerging, the glass had once again been emptied, although the guest insisted she had not taken a sip.
Built in 1886 as the Hatt Mill Building, a warehouse and feed store, it is now The Napa River Inn in Napa, Calif. The son of the building's original owner, Captain Albert Hatt, seems to still be visiting. Albert Jr. married a woman named Margaret in 1889 and together they had five children. Margaret died in 1906. Within a few years Albert Jr., 46, was overwhelmed with caring for his five children and in poor health. On April 1, 1912, Albert Jr. hung himself from a beam in the warehouse. It is the area now occupied by Sweetie Pies Bakery.
Nancy Lochmann, general manager of the hotel, says the first ghost sightings when the hotel opened were visions of a woman. "A woman in a white dress, who seems to be searching, looking for someone," says Lochmann. "It might have been Margaret, so much in love with her husband, perhaps trying to stop him from taking his life."Read more >
Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods, NH
Known affectionately by staff members as the princess, Caroline Stickney, is a long-time inhabitant of the Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods (1902) even though she passed away in 1939. Princess Caroline Stickney's ties to the resort go back to its inception when her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, built the grand resort in 1902. Incorporating special accommodations for his wife, construction of the resort included an indoor swimming pool and a private dining room for Caroline known today as the "Princess Room." A prominent figure at the resort since its opening, many guests who have visited continue to report sightings of the regal Caroline. Visions of an elegant woman in Victorian dress are often spotted in the hallways of the hotel, there are light taps on doors when no one is outside and items that suddenly disappear and then reappear in the exact place they were lost. But perhaps the most common sighting of the beloved Caroline is in room 314, where guests report seeing the vision of the woman sitting at the edge of their guest bed. The same custom made four-post bed Caroline shared with her husband.Read more >
Omni Parker House, Boston
Many people believe a soul returns to a place that holds significant meaning. In the case of hotels, this may apply to an owner, an employee or a long-term guest. A mother and daughter were spending the night in room 1012 at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. The daughter awoke around daybreak to find a gentleman dressed in attire from the late 1800s standing at the foot of her bed. He sported a large grin, as if asking, "Are you enjoying your stay?" When she smiled back at the friendly apparition, he gracefully vanished. When the young woman descended for breakfast in the dining room the next morning, she was amazed to see her nighttime visitor on prominent display. It was Harvey Parker, founder of the venerable hotel.Read more >
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC
When the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. opened in 1930, owner Harry Bralove needed some financial backing. He approached Henry Doherty, who agreed to become a minority shareholder in the hotel and took a suite of rooms where he lived with his wife until 1973. In addition to the couple, the suite of rooms was occupied by their adopted daughter Helen and the hotel's Executive Housekeeper Juliette Brown, who looked after the family. Early one morning, Juliette awoke feeling ill, and reached for the telephone. She died before she could complete the call and was discovered by a hotel engineer. Some time afterward, Helen Doherty also died mysteriously in the same suite. Although no cause was ever disclosed, both suicide and a drug overdose were rumored. Once the Dohertys vacated the premises, televisions and lights were reported turning on spontaneously at 4 a.m. (the time of Juliette's death?) and although the suite was unoccupied, guests in the adjacent room reported hearing loud noise coming from next door. The suite has since been redesigned, restored and renamed the Ghost Suite, perhaps in honor of Juliette or Helen-or both.Read more >
Paso Robles Inn
Paso Robles, CA
The phone at the front desk of the Paso Robles Inn in Paso Robles, Calif., seems to receive mysterious calls from Room 1007 on a regular basis. At first, the inn's management wrote the calls off to a glitch in the phone system. Mike Childs, head of maintenance at the inn, even went to the room to inspect the phone line. While standing in the room, he witnessed the phone light up and call the front desk. When he tried calling the desk himself, the phone, which has two lines, cut him off and called the front desk on the second line. The spirit took matters into its own hands one night and placed a call to 911. When police arrived, they found the room unoccupied. General Manager Paul Wallace attributes the call to a story in a 1940 newspaper article. On December 19, 1940, night clerk J.H. Emsley discovered a fire on the second floor of the hotel. Emsley rushed downstairs, sounded the alarm and then died of a heart attack on the spot. Thanks to Emsley's action, all of the hotel's guests were evacuated, but Wallace thinks the ghostly clerk doesn't know that.Read more >
The Pfister Hotel
Charles Pfister, founder of The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, still visits to ensure that his guests are well taken care of at his century-old "Grand Hotel of the West." A "visitor" has been spotted surveying the lobby from the grand staircase, strolling the minstrel's gallery above the ballroom, and passing through the ninth floor storage area. He is always described in roughly the same terms: "older," "portly," "smiling," and "well-dressed." Upon seeing a portrait of Pfister, witnesses swore that it was the man they had seen. If this visitor is Charles Pfister, then he is a most welcome guest indeed.Read more >
Bolton Landing, NY
Located on scenic Lake George, it is no wonder past guests keep wanting to return to the beauty of The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, N.Y. The Trillium, the resort's fine dining restaurant, is regularly visited by the image of a couple who were among the hotel's first guests in the 1880s. They descend from the second floor and take a seat in the restaurant's reception room before departing. Mr. Brown's, another of the resort's dining outlets, was visited by an apparition of a tall woman dressed in long, white evening attire with flowing sandy blond hair. She spoke to a prep cook, then proceeded to walk toward him, then through him and disappeared. The cook packed his things, quit his job and never returned to the resort.
Another legend cites a maid in the early 1900's that was having an affair with a gentlemen at the hotel during his summer stay with his wife. After hearing his wife's suspicions he had broken off the affair and the maid confronted him in his room to talk about it. During this discussion, the wife came in to the room and assuming the worst began wrestling with the maid, strangling her and killing her. The husband and wife immediately checked out and when the maid was discovered the next day it was assumed that she died of natural causes while cleaning the room. Upset that the husband and wife got away with murder, it is rumored that the maid continues to haunt the occupants of this room trying to induce havoc in their relationship. It is said that the room gets very cold. Some couples have asked to move because they can't get the room warm enough. There have been stories that the blankets are removed during the night and when the lights are turned on no one is there.Read more >
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
Tale of the Lady in Blue
On a cold winter day in 1987, a hotel Chef was preparing waffles and omelets in The Oakroom Ante room for Sunday Brunch. He looked out toward the number three elevator and to his surprise, he saw a lady with long dark hair wearing a long blue chiffon dress walk into the elevator. The doors were still closed. He reported what he observed to security. Within minutes of his report, a housekeeper from the second floor reported seeing the same lady. In both reports the doors to the elevator were never open.
A trip to the local library produced a newspaper article from 1936 where a lady working at the Starks building came across the street to the Seelbach Hotel to meet her husband. He, unfortunately, was killed on his way to the hotel. She was so upset she plunged to her death in the number three elevator shaft wearing a long blue chiffon dress. She also had long dark hair.
The lady in blue has not been seen since.
May She Rest In Peace.Read more >
Estes Park, CO
When The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., opened in 1909, founder F.O. Stanley marked the occasion by presenting his wife Flora with a Steinway grand piano. Since that time, the hotel has had a long tradition of bringing great music to the Rockies. In the early 1980s, the hotel's night manager was on duty during an electrical storm. The lobby was deserted on the dark and stormy night, but he was sure he could hear the strains of music. Taking a walk through the lobby, he noticed that the lights were on in the Music Room. As he approached the doorway, he could clearly see the piano keys moving, filling the room with music. Once he crossed the threshold, the music abruptly stopped.Read more >
Little Boy Lost
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
Steve Garrison, a cook at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Ark., swears he doesn’t drink on the job. In fact, he doesn’t drink, period. However, Garrison may have been tempted by two strange encounters in the kitchen of the hotel’s Crystal Dining Room. One morning, while slicing and dicing vegetables, he looked up and saw a little boy with “pop-bottle” glasses, dressed in old-fashioned clothing and knickers, skipping around the kitchen. Another morning, Garrison flipped on the lights to begin the day’s preparations when “some or all of the pots and pans came flying off their hooks.”