All around the world people flock to hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts for a little rest and relaxation. They plan their vacations hoping to get away from their stressful routines by checking in to quaint little inns or fancy hotels. As singles, couples, and families arrange their happy-go-lucky sightseeing itineraries, what they didn’t expect during their time off was to come face-to-face with a few of our friends who have crossed over to the other side, as they say.
There was a time when hotels wouldn’t disclose their “haunted” status for fear that people wouldn’t patronize their establishments anymore. However, over time these lodges have found that they can capitalize off of their macabre reputations by embracing their tragic histories. They’ve become the inspirations behind best sellers such as Stephen King’s 1408 and his classic thriller The Shining which Stanley Kubrick turned into one of the most celebrated creepy dramas in movie history.
If these fictionalized stories are pulled from the histories of real haunted hotels, how many more are there that are equally or infinitely more frightening? We’ve compiled a list of 15 of America’s ghost-driven hot spots that boast true life tales of death and misfortune. Thousands of guests have shared their spooky experiences with the supernatural- experiences that struck so much fear in some of them that they vowed never to return. After reading about how people lost their lives at these properties, there will be little wonder as to why they’ve decided to make these hotels their permanent residences after death.
15. Stanley Hotel- Estes Park, CO
A familiar name on this list is the Stanley Hotel, the eerie inspiration behind the book and film The Shining. Paranormal investigators frequent the hotel, hoping to catch a sight of one of their ghostly visitors including F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora, ghosts who have made themselves known in the Billiards Room.
According to history, a thunderstorm once took out all of the power in the hotel, and when a chambermaid named Elizabeth Wilson went into room 217 with a candle, she didn’t know there was a gas leak and there was an explosion. She survived but has been seen putting away guests’ clothes or sleeping between couples who aren’t married. There are other ghosts who were once employed at the hotel like “Prankster Paul” who’s a Ladies Man that kisses female guests on the cheek.
14. Hotel Chelsea- New York City, NY
A staple in New York City’s artistic scene, Hotel Chelsea has seen its share of rock ‘n’ rollers and creative influencers come through its doors. People like Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Alice Cooper, Patti Smith, Tennessee Williams, and Mark Twain have stayed overnight. This was also the location where Sex Pistols musician Sid Vicious lived with his girlfriend when she was stabbed to death- a murder he was accused of committing. Soon after Sid died of a drug overdose and guests are said to have seen both his and poet and writer Dylan Thomas’s ghosts haunting the hotel. Dylan’s ghost is frequently seen in and around room 206 where he died of pneumonia and possibly alcohol poisoning.
13. The Winecoff Hotel- Atlanta, GA
When it opened in 1913, the Winecoff Hotel was promoted as being “absolutely fireproof” just as the creators of the Titanic bragged that it was “unsinkable.” The structure was made of steel encased in protective concrete and patrons flocked to the new hotel in droves. One early morning in December of 1946, a fire broke out in the sold-out hotel. There were 304 guests staying there that day and over a third, 119 people, died in the fire that was suspected of being started by an arsonist. The hotel stood abandoned for years but now it’s open for business as The Ellis. Both guests and staff have smelled smoke when there is nothing burning and heard screaming in the hallways. Fire alarms often go off at 2:48AM, something staff believes to be a warning from the ghosts of those who lost their lives.
12. Bourbon Orleans Hotel- New Orleans, LA
Upon visiting New Orleans, you can’t help but sense the mysticism in the city’s air. It’s documented as being one of the most haunted cities in America, and the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is one of the many reasons why. When it opened in 1827, it was a ballroom for special, grand events for the glamorous crowd. By the end of the century the Sisters of the Holy acquired the property and it was turned into a convent, orphanage, school, and medical ward. The yellow fever epidemic ran rampant and it didn’t take long before many children lost their lives to the disease. Now the French Quarter location operates as a hotel, and guests have reported seeing ghostly nuns throughout the property and hearing the voices of children who aren’t there. There’s also a phantom dancer who still occupies the hotel’s ballroom.
11. The Marshall House- Savannah, GA
Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia and beyond its architectural beauty hides a rich history. During the Civil War the 68-room Marshall House once accommodated Union soldiers and some living guests say they haven’t left. When the yellow fever epidemic arose the hotel was also used as a hospital for victims and remnants of that time were found while the property was being renovated in the late 1990s. Beneath the floors, construction workers found piles of bones that historians later revealed were the amputated limbs of soldiers who underwent surgery when the hotel operated as a clinic. There are a number of ghosts that guests say they’ve seen wandering around the halls along with hearing children running around and seeing faucets turn on by themselves.
10. Roosevelt Hotel- Hollywood, CA
With all of the glitz and glamour that Hollywood has to offer, it makes sense that a few of the iconic classic figures who called the city home don’t want to leave — even after they’re dead and buried. The Roosevelt continues to be a staple for the rich and famous, but back in the day celebrities from some of our favorite black and white films would frequent the hotel. It’s said that actor Montgomery Clift hangs out in room 928 where he stayed while filming From Here to Eternity. Some claim to have seen Marilyn Monroe’s reflection in a mirror in her favorite suite or have felt cold spots in the Blossom Room. Guests have also been serenaded by the sound of a ghostly trombone.
9. La Fonda- Santa Fe, NM
Near downtown Santa Fe on San Francisco Street sits the historic La Fonda, a place that was also utilized as the town’s courtroom. Many criminals were hanged in the lobby before the inn became a popular gambling hall. In 1857, one gambler was targeted by an angry mob that lynched him behind the hotel. A decade later a politician was shot and killed in the lobby after calling a peer a liar.
The inn became the “The Exchange Hotel” for sixty years and during this time a traveling salesman lost all of his company’s money betting on cards. He became so upset that he killed himself by jumping into a deep well nearby. Guests say they have seen his apparition, as well as a ghost who likes to pace the halls and another that walks in the dining room before he leaps into the floor and disappears.
8. The Omni Royal Orleans- New Orleans, LA
Another spooky hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter is the Omni Royal Hotel, the inspiration behind Stephen King’s 1408. Of the phantoms that guests have seen canoodling with the living, the freakiest are from when the Omni Royal was the center of a bizarre murder-suicide back in 2006.
Zach Bowen was in a tumultuous relationship with girlfriend Addie Hall. The two enjoyed heavy drinking and loud fighting, and they received media attention after Hurricane Katrina because they stayed in their apartment during the storm. Their volatile relationship came to an end when Zach strangled Addie to death and cut her up into pieces. He tried to cook some of her remains but burnt them. He stayed in the apartment for days before going to the roof of the Omni Royal and jumping to his death.
If want to give yourself the chills, visit the third floor. A guest committed suicide in room 303 and so many strange occurrences have happened there that the hotel eventually turned the room into a storage closet.
7. Logan Inn- New Hope, PA
The history of the Logan Inn dates back to the Revolutionary War era, and if you visit the hotel you may just run into a soldier. The popular ghost has been seen dressed in his full uniform while marching to the beat of a drum. Other spirits of soldiers roam through the hallways and guests who wake in the middle of the night may see a transparent military man watching over them.
Those hoping to send chills down their own spines – stay in room six. A male ghost likes to stare at women as they primp in the mirror and two ghostly children play in the room. Other guests say that an invisible force presses them on the chest as they sleep. The little girl in the parking lot is said to be the ghost of a child who fell off a nearby bridge and drowned.
6. Hotel del Coronado- Coronado, CA
There’s no arguing that the Hotel Coronado is stunning, but with the beauty and luxury accommodations comes a dark history that may have not ever left.
Kate Morgan was 28-years-old when she checked into the hotel on Thanksgiving day. She was the wife of Thomas Morgan, but she left her husband and son for her lover, Albert Allen. She was supposed to meet up with her lover but after five days, he still didn’t show. Kate was discovered on the steps leading to the beach, dead from a gunshot wound to the head with a gun in her hand. Some believed she killed herself over being abandoned while others suspected foul play.
5. 1859 Historic National Hotel— Jamestown, California
In the late 1800s, a young woman named Flora, around the age of 19, was engaged to a handsome lawyer named Henry. While the two lovebirds were looking forward to their future together, Flora knew that her family wouldn’t approve. Planning to elope, the couple agreed to meet up at the hotel in six weeks. Henry showed up right on schedule.
The day after Christmas, Henry was making his way down the stairs to the lobby of the hotel when a drunken man stumbled inside and shot him dead. Flora was heartbroken and staff heard her loud sobs coming from her room for days, until she fell silent. On New Year’s Eve they finally checked on Flora and found a cold corpse. She had died of heart failure and is said to still be searching for her Henry.
4. The Lemp Mansion- St. Louis, MO
The 1860s mansion was purchased by William J. Lemp, who used his brewery fortune to transform the 33-room home into a palace. Still, the family couldn’t rid themselves of their misfortune. William’s favorite son Frederick died in 1901 under mysterious circumstances and three years later, William shot himself in the head in one of the bedrooms.
The brewery closed in 1919 due to Prohibition and William’s daughter Elsa killed herself the following year. William Jr. shot and killed himself just like his father, and his brother Charles became a bitter man who lived in the mansion as a recluse until he, too, shot and killed himself.
3. The Oxford Hotel- Denver, CO
The Oxford is the oldest hotel in Denver and has a past that’s just as captivating as its decor. In 1898 tragedy struck when a woman named Florence Montague walked into room #320 and found her lover in bed with another woman. Without hesitation she shot and killed him before turning the gun on herself.
If you happen to be a male guest visiting by yourself, you may want to make sure you aren’t staying in that room. Single men have complained of the sheets being ripped off the bed as they slept or having their arms being yanked by an invisible force. Bartenders in the Cruise Room bar also share stories of a mail carrier male ghost who walks in and mumbles about “getting gifts to his children” before leaving.
2. Hotel Queen Mary- Long Beach, CA
Visitors flock to the Queen Mary for one of their ghost tours because the ship’s reputation of being haunted is widespread and well-documented. People have seen the apparitions of a young girl who broke her neck after falling off a banister and a sailor who died in the ship’s engine room.
The children who died in the pool can be heard splashing around and the ghost of the 18-year-old who was crushed to death by “Door 13” in 1966 walks Shaft Alley before vanishing in front of the door. You might be able to see Jackie, a giggling ghost of a little girl who drowned in the second class pool room. If you have your dancing shoes on, join the beautiful female ghost dressed in an evening gown who dances by herself in the corner of the Queen’s Salon.
1. The Myrtles Plantation- St. Francisville, LA
Impressively listed as one of the most haunted homes in America is the Myrtles Plantation, built around 1796, and rumored to have been constructed over a Tunica Indian burial ground. Plenty of people have lived and died on this vast property over the years, including victims of the reported 10 murders that occurred on the property, but the horrific events that have happened here make this a haunted hot spot.
The most well-known story is that of the slave Chloe. She was owned by Clark Woodruff and when she was caught listening in on his business dealings, one of her ears was cut off. According to legend, Chloe got her revenge by baking a birthday cake poisoned with oleander leaves which killed Clark’s wife Sara and their two daughters. The other slaves hanged her and threw her body into the Mississippi River, but her spirit returned to the plantation. Guests report hearing children playing in the hallways and have seen a slave girl wearing a turban looking back at them through mirrors.
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