Going to be out of town this Halloween? Well you don’t have to miss out on the spooky fun. Steven Knight rounds up nine different haunted hotels for ghoul-seekers on the go! From murdered lawmen to abandoned lovers, come see the story behind the hauntings that have made these locations famous for their paranormal activities.
1. Rockliffe Mansion, Hannibal, MS
Once deemed “the finest home in Missouri” when it was first built, the Rockliffe Mansion is so accommodating that its original owner, John J. Cruikshank, Jr., decided he wasn’t interested in leaving – even after he passed away in 1924. Caretakers of the mansion report smelling cigarette smoke around midnight and the sound of footsteps pacing the room that Mr. Cruikshank had occupied. There have also been reports of Mrs. Cruikshank being spotted hanging around the grand music room.
2. Groveland Hotel, Yosemite, CA
Located a stone’s throw from Yosemite National Park sits the historic gold-rush town of Groveland, and the Groveland Hotel. It is said that Lyle, the ghost of an old gold-miner, enjoyed staying in the hotel so much that he decided never to leave. The longtime guest of room 15 is a notorious neat-freak and is infamous for removing items that have been left cluttering up his dresser, especially women’s cosmetics, as well as turning the sink and shower on and off.
3. The Stanley, Estes Park, CO
This historic hotel, first opened in 1909, was built by F.O. Stanley, best known for his Stanley Steamer. Numerous sightings of ghosts have occurred by those staying at the hotel, especially in the Ballroom where there are often sounds of music or partying to be heard when the room is completely empty. It is also said that the ghost of Nora Stanley, Stanley’s wife, can be heard from time to time playing the piano in the Music Room. Those who have heard the music in the room claim to also be able to smell her distinctive rose perfume.
The hotel also served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. During King’s time as a professor at the University of Colorado he ended up spending the night at the hotel in room 217 on what happened to be the last night of the season. As a result of the imminent closure the hotel was empty except for King and the staff. During the night King said he experienced incredibly vivid dreams, and two weeks later, he handed in the manuscript for The Shining. And while it’s never been confirmed that it was the inspiration for his other novels, there is a pet cemetery on the grounds.
4. Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, LA
Built more than a century ago in New Orleans’ French Quarter the Hotel Monteleone is considered one of the most haunted sites in the U.S. and boasts more than a dozen known ghostly inhabitants. Most of the paranormal activity is said to be focused on the 14th floor of the hotel which, in reality is the 13th, but there are sightings of activity all throughout the hotel including the spirits of some former employees who it seems may have taken their jobs a bit too seriously. One of the most commonly told sightings is that of small children running throughout the halls, and especially two young boys playing hide-and-seek. Another spirit known to the staff as “Ms. Clean” is supposedly that of a former housekeeper who has stuck around to keep an eye on her predecessors and ensure the quality of their work.
5. Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, CA
San Diego’s Hotel Del Coronado isn’t just famous for its beautiful location and architecture, it is also said to be home to a restless spirit since 1892. The story goes that a Ms. Kate Morgan first checked into the hotel under the name of Mrs. Lottie Bernard, with the intentions of meeting her lover who never arrived. Distraught at her jilting she took her life five days later and has hung around ever sense. Visitors report seeing the ghostly image of a beautiful young woman dressed in black lace around the hotel, especially by room 3502, the room that Kate had been staying in. Stories of the haunting and paranormal activity in the room would eventually inspire another work by Stephen King, the short story “1408.”
6. Davenport Hotel, Spokane, WA
There have been numerous sightings by guests of a ghostly woman dressed in 1920’s style garb at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane Washington. Recently reopened in 2002 after being abandoned in 1985, the haunting spirit which appears to be searching for someone in the lobby is believed to be Mrs. Ellen McNamara who fell to her death through lobby skylights in 1920. Others claim to have seen the hotel’s founder Mr. Davenport himself dropping in from time to time, ensuring everything is still in order.
7. Mendocino Hotel, Mendocino, CA
Originating as a Temperance House in 1878, the Mendocino Hotel quickly changed its mission, being converted first to a brothel and then to a hotel. Guests have reported seeing ghosts hang around the restaurant and bar as far back as World War I, but by far the most common sighting is that of a woman dressed in Victorian style who frequents tables six and eight of the hotel’s dining room. Various other ghosts have been spotted along the halls and in the rooms, and have been described as jokesters, liking to open and close doors and windows.
8. Historic Anchorage Hotel, Anchorage, AK
Like many old hotels, the Historic Anchorage Hotel has its share of spooks, in fact, it has so many that the hotel keeps a “guest ghost log” for its patrons to share their stories. Aside from the usual rattling of windows and turning on and off of water, the Anchorage Hotel is home to two especially frequent restless spirits. The first is that of Anchorage’s first police chief John “Blackjack” Sturgis who was shot and killed from behind with his own gun. The murder was never solved and many believe that Sturgis hangs around to this day working on the case. The second famous ghost of the hotel is that of a young woman who hung herself in her wedding dress after being abandoned by her fiancée. She is frequently spotted walking the halls still dressed in the gown. Other reports include pictures being thrown from over the mantelpiece and the sounds of children running through the empty halls.
9. Grove Park Inn, Ashland, NC
Ashland, North Carolina’s Grove Park Inn is said to be haunted by the mysterious “Pink Lady.” Assumed to be the spirit of a young woman who fell to her death while wearing a pink dress in the 1920s, The Pink Lady appears most often as a dense cloud of pink smoke. The story goes that she was staying in the hotel while carrying out an affair with a married man and, supposedly he either broke her heart causing her to leap to her death from the fifth story, or pushed her to her death upon her revealing that she had become pregnant. Either way her spirit is said to frequent her former room, 545, as well as the atrium where she died. Her spirit is said to be a bit of a prankster – many who have encountered her recount being woken by her tickling their feet – but is benevolent and sometimes even comforting.
For more haunted travels, check out:
- Travel Tip: Zombie Halloween
- Halloween Travel Deal in Florida
- Haunted Halloween Ideas
- Seven Spooky Spots for Halloween Travel
By Steven Knight for PeterGreenberg.com