The allure of the wakened spirit world is a strong one. Witnessing a roaming apparition is either unbelievably frightening or, quite oppositely, exhilarating depending on who you ask. In fact, many people spend weeks hunting down the most haunted of places just so they can tour those said hotels and experience the walking dead for themselves. Personally, I am a firm believer in ghosts and I have witnessed a couple over my life time, perhaps the most odd of which occurring in my step-aunt's house in Cambria, California. So, whether you enjoy being scared on purpose or just like to read about places you'd hope to avoid, here are the top 10 haunted hotels in North America.
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10) FORT GARRY HOTEL - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA
The most notoriously 'active' level of the hotel is the second floor where sits Room 202. Guests of the room have reported waking up to find the dark silhouette of a figure in a robe or cloak standing at the end of the bed, which vanished before their eyes. There are also stories of maids cleaning the room reporting blood running from the walls, as this was the location of a rumored suicide. Though something of a focal point for the reports of paranormal activity on the floor, the entire second floor has something of a 'haunted' reputation. Other reports have a woman in a ball gown appearing at the foot of a bed or wandering the hotel's hallways.
In 1989, an employee reported seeing a ghostly figure sitting at a table in the dining room, busily eating away at an 'invisible' meal and apparently completely unaware of the employee's presence. Employees also report strange moaning noises that seem to reverberate from nowhere and a phantom light is said to be sighted floating down the halls throughout the hotel. For the most part, the claims of spiritual activity throughout the hotel seem to indicate a friendly presence of some years-dead customer enjoying their stay in the afterlife.
9) DRISKILL HOTEL - AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA
The Driskill Hotel is the home to myriad of revenants. The spirit of a young girl bouncing a ball is believed to haunt the lobby of the first floor, the second floor ladies' washroom and the staircase to the mezzanine. The girl is believed to be the spirit of the daughter of a Senator who fell to her death down the hotel's grand staircase while chasing that same ball. Today, guests report hearing the sound of laughter and a ball bouncing down the staircase.
According to Austin Ghost Tours, the original owner loved the hotel so much that his spirit remains on the property. Driskill's presence is accompanied by the sight and often the smell of cigar smoke. It is believed they the ghost turns bathroom lights on and off, as well.
The ghost called the "Houston Bride" is the tragic tale of sorrow after the woman's fiance called off wedding plans at the last moment, in the 1990's. The woman stayed in room 29 and helped herself to her fiance's credit cards. She went on a shopping spree, and was last seen on the elevator of the fourth floor with arms full of packages. Three days later her body was discovered. She had committed suicide by shooting herself in the stomach with a gun supposedly purchased with her to-be husbands money.
8) JEROME GRAND HOTEL - JEROME, ARIZONA, USA
One of the first reports of a spectral soul was that of a woman dressed in white that was first seen on a hospital balcony shortly after its opening. Thought to have been a nurse or an aid, the phantom lingered for years, but apparently has moved on as she has not been seen since the building became a hotel.
One spirit that is has lurked in the building for many years is that of an old bearded miner. His “appearance” was first reported by a hospital patient who reported having seen the bearded man floating down the hall, while turning on all the lights on his way. Another nurse during the building’s hospital reign reported having seen a bearded man standing at the very end of a hallway. However, when she approached, the man mysteriously vanished. Today, guests of the hotel continue to report spying the ghostly vision of a bearded man, especially on the second and third floors.
Another spirit, a sorrowful visage of a small boy described to be about six-years-old has also been spied on the third floor.
The phenomena described in the historic hotel includes all manner of strange occurrences including the sounds of phantom footsteps going up and down the stairs and hallways, doors that open and close of their own accord, objects that inexplicably move of their own will, and appliances that turn on and off by themselves. Many of these bizarre happenings occur in the presence of the housekeeping staff, who have seemingly become rather favored targets, sometimes hearing their names being called out by phantom voices.
7) THE CRESCENT HOTEL - EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, USA
6) THE GALVEZ HOTEL - GALVESTON, ISLAND, TEXAS
Yes,according to the Galveston residents, the Hotel Galvez is haunted! Staff and guests have experienced many unexplained events, leading them to suspect that there isn't merely one, but several ghostly residents. The most well known spirit is the lovelorn lady of the fifth floor. Many years ago she checked into room #500. She would go upstairs to the turrets, and gaze out at the bay. Her fiancé was at sea, and she was deeply destraught over his wellbeing. One day her greatest fears were realized when she got word his ship had wrecked. But she refused to believe he was really gone. After a month of denial, in utter despondence, she returned to one of the turrets on the top of the Hotel Galvez and hung herself. In a sad twist of fate, a month after her death, her fiancé returned, alive, looking for her. Now her spirit is “locked” here, at the Hotel Galvez. The staff knows this lovelorn lady is around when they feel a sudden cold breeze from nowhere. They know she wants room #500 all to herself when their equipment mysteriously malfunctions when trying to make an electronic key for that room. As many times as they try, they cannot make the key work. Another sign of the lovelorn lady was a strange light coming from one of the turrets. A guest
mentioned the odd light up in the turret, yet the staff knew this was impossible because renovations were underway and the turrets were unlit! Staff and electricians investigated, but found no source of power to the turret, nor had anyone gained access with candles or flashlights.
5) FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS HOTEL - BANFF SPRINGS, ALBERTA, CANADA
Sam the one-time 'past' bellman, supposedly haunts the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Sam retired in 1967 but said he would, "be back". Sam passed away a few years later but some people think he has kept his word anyway. There have been guests who claimed that they spotted a bellman wearing a 1960's style uniform. The helpful bellman has opened locked doors and helped with lighting. When people try to draw him into conversation he then disappears.
A tragic tale involves that of a bride on her elegant wedding day at the hotel. The bride was descending down the ornate marble staircase when her beautiful flowing white bridal-gown train twisted into her path, causing her to stumble. the bride fell to her death, breaking her neck and fracturing her skull on the marble floor below. There have been reports of a beautiful girl wearing a flowing white dress dancing in the ballroom or descending the staircase.
4) JEFFERSON HOTEL - JEFFERSON, TEXAS, USA
A former desk clerk named Michael was ending his shift one night in the middle of a slow week and there were no "paying" guests staying at the hotel overnight. Michael made his rounds upstairs, turning off lights and locking rooms before leaving for the night. He was closing the last door in the long, dark hallway when the doors started opening and slamming shut all at once.
Lights turned on and off as Michael dashed downstairs and phoned his friend, Phyllis, a desk clerk at the Excelsior Hotel across the street. Phyllis reported that Michael was in a complete state of panic when he called, screaming that he was alone in the hotel but that "all hell" was breaking loose upstairs! He said he could hear doors slamming and the sound of footsteps and someone dragging furniture.
At other times, there is a thick white cloud with a thin, long-haired blonde in the mist. She seems to be emotionally attached to a bed that was moved from ROOM 12 to ROOM 14.
A ninety year old man reluctantly told his tale of wandering the hotel at one in the morning after not being able to sleep. He saw the petite blonde woman floating down the stairs smiling at him, only to disappear before she reached the bottom step. He said he never believed in ghosts until he saw her.
3) HOTEL DEL CORONADO - CORONADO, CALIFORNIA, USA
2) HOTEL PROVINCIAL - NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, USA
A former soldier supposedly haunts the grounds of the Provincial. Guests have reported everything from doors opening and closing to hearing disembodied voices and footsteps when no one else was around. There have been several séances held in the hotel over the years, many of which produced spiritual visions and recorded audio of things like, "Tell Dianne I have to go." A female guest reported being pulled from her bed by a hand and dragged across the room while she kicked and screamed. Another conventioneer claims to have seen the soldier fully apparate in the closet, complete with full-dress uniform, before disappearing into thin air. A former military hospital sat on the same site in 1722. Twin houses took the place of the hospital in 1831 -- both burned down in 1874. Staying at the Provincial may not guarantee you a ghost sighting, but you'll definitely be spooked.
1) STANLEY HOTEL - ESTES PARK, COLORADO, USA
In addition to its regular 'paying' guests, the hotel is reported to play host to a number of 'ghastly' visitors. The most notable is F.O. Stanley himself who is most often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was still alive. On one such occasion, he was said to have appeared during a tour group’s visit to the Billiard Room, materializing behind a member of the tour. Bartenders at the old hotel also report having seen F.O. stroll through the bar, disappearing when they try to cut him off at the kitchen.
Flora Stanley purportedly haunts the hotel as well, continuing to entertain guests with her 'beyond the dead' piano playing in the Music room. Employees and guests have reported hearing music coming from the room, and when they take a peek into the room they can see the piano keys moving. However, as soon as someone walks across the threshold to investigate further, the music stops.
Cleaning crews report having heard many strange noises coming from room 418, as well as seeing impressions on the bed when the room has been empty. Guests often report they hear children playing in the hallway at night. One couple reportedly checked out of the hotel very early in the morning, complaining that the children in the hallway kept them up all night. However, there were no children booked in the hotel at the time.
In 2002, a guest reportedly recorded a ghostly man wearing a cowboy hat and a mustache staring out of the window of room 408. The image stood in the window for a few minutes then fades to the left of the window. Upon questioning the front desk about the odd image, the employee explained that nobody was checked into that room that evening and nobody could have stood in that window since it was above the bathroom sink and the "fading" direction would have taken the person through the wall.
In 2006, a guest attending her sister's wedding (held in the Music Room) had an unearthly and unexplained encounter. During the wedding reception, she went upstairs to the Bride and Groom's suite and -- as a joke -- wrote "RED RUM" on the bathroom mirror in lipstick. Returning downstairs, walking down the grand staircase leading to the lobby, she felt a distinct shove on her lower back, lost her footing, and fell eight steps landing face down on the wood floor below. After being helped to her feet, she looked behind her to see who did it, and no one was there.
The neoclassical hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's novel The Shining. While he and his wife were staying at the Stanley, King conceived the basic idea for the novel. The Stanley Hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick's The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.
THE MOST HAUNTED HOTEL IN MICHIGAN (MY HOME STATE)
THE LANDMARK INN - MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN, USA
Around the time the hotel first opened in 1930 on the shores of Lake Superior, a librarian in town fell in love with a sailor. He was to make one last journey before coming home to marry her, but the ship and crew never returned. The librarian is said to still haunt the Lilac Room, which has a view of Lake Superior. She is believed to be watching for her sailor's return.