There’s something vaguely creepy about hotels. What did past guests do in their rooms while staying at the hotel? Who is staying in the hotel while you are? Are there any stories that the hotel staff really prefer that you don’t know? With the growing popularity of paranormal investigation, many haunted hotels are finally revealing the ghostly history of their establishments, with some hotels even offering ghost tours and the opportunity for guests to perform their own investigations. Listed below are ten haunted hotels that are sure to delight those who are looking for a ghostly vacation.
10. Hotel Chelsea New York City, New York
The Hotel Chelsea is a proud old establishment built in 1894 by Philip Hubert of Hubert, Pirsson & Company, a New York architectural firm. Initially intended to be an apartment complex for artists, the Chelsea found itself in financial trouble soon after opening due to the financial strains of the time, which resulted in its bankruptcy. In 1905 Knott Hotels reopened the Chelsea as a hotel, but the building again went bankrupt in 1939. It was only after the building was purchased by Julius Krauss, Joseph Gross and David Bard that the hotel took off, becoming a hotspot for film, literary and musical artists including such notables as William S. Burroughs, Stanley Kubrick, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and Madonna to name a few.
With the age of the building, not to mention the variety of guests that have passed through its doors, it’s not surprising that the Chelsea is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S. In October 1978, Nancy Spungen was found stabbed to death in the bathroom of the room that she and her boyfriend Sid Vicious, bassist of the Sex Pistols were sharing. He was charged with her death, but died of an overdose in February 1979 while out on bail and awaiting trial. It is believed that Nancy still roams the halls of the Chelsea today, with guests stating that they have seen a female apparition believed to be her ghost. Other paranormal activity has also occurred including the sighting of the ghost of poet Dylan Thomas, who slipped into a coma at the Chelsea after returning from the White Horse, a nearby pub on November 3rd, 1953. He later died at a nearby hospital. The Chelsea is also known for its fair share of cold spots, unexplained breezes, unusual sounds, loud footsteps, doors opening and closing, and shadow figures.
9. The Marshall House Hotel Savannah, Georgia
The Marshall House Hotel has a long history that contributes to its reputation of being haunted. It was built in 1851 by Mary Marshall and unlike many other Savannah hotels; it was built with the specific intention of it being a hotel rather than a private residence.
The Marshall house was occupied by the Union during the Civil War and was used as a hospital until the war ended. During the yellow fever epidemic during the 19th century it was also used as a hospital and it’s believed that many of the ghosts who are said to inhabit the hotel originate from these troubling times in its history. During renovations in the 1990s human remains were discovered on the premises, but it was eventually determined that the lower floors had once been used for surgery during the Civil War and that the bones discovered were amputated limbs left from injured soldiers.
Guests and staff members report a wide array of paranormal activity on the property including electronic items malfunctioning, faucets running on their own, flickering lights, loud unexplained noises, doors opening on their own, doorknobs turning, foul unexplained odors, and disembodied voices. Perhaps the most disturbing occurrences center on the children that are said to haunt the Marshall House. Numerous apparitions of children playing have been sighted and their ghostly cries and laughter linger as a reminder of their presence.
8. Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago, Illinois
The Congress Plaza Hotel saw its beginnings in 1893 when it was built during the Chicago World Fair as a demonstration of Chicago’s bounce-back from the Great Fire of 1871. Right from the start the Congress began developing a rather dark history. H.H. Holmes, the prolific serial killer who took the lives of at least 20 and possibly as many as 200 victims used to troll the lobby of the Congress for young victims to lure back to his murder castle just a few blocks away.
The Congress has housed a variety of famous guests including celebrities, two presidents, and most notably, Al Capone, who had a suite on the 8th floor of the hotel and is believed to haunt the site even today. Along with Capone, the Congress is also haunted by the ghost of a hobo called Peg-Leg Johnny, a spirited character known for mischievous activities that include playing with appliances and lights and roaming about the lobby. Guests and staff also regularly encounter the playful spirit of a young boy on the 6th floor. It’s believed that this is the spirit of a boy who along with his brother, was killed by his mother in the 1930s. Dealing with severe depression, the mother threw her sons out of a 6th story window and then leapt behind them to her death. Only one of the boy’s bodies actually made it to the morgue and it’s believed that the lost boy haunts the hotel in the hopes of finding his body and being put to rest. He’s particularly mischievous and often plays tricks on guests staying on the 6th floor.
Even with all of the activity already named, room 441 is what really sets the Congress Plaza Hotel apart as one of the country’s most eerie hotels. While no actual deaths have occurred in this room, guests still report the terrifying experience of being kicked awake by the shadow of a woman who is seen standing at the foot of the bed. This has resulted in numerous calls from upset guests to the front desk as well as security. This room is so actively scary that it even inspired Stephen King to write 1408, a short story about a cursed hotel room.
7. The Red Lion Inn Stockbridge, Massachusetts
The Red Lion Inn’s humble beginnings started in 1773 when it was first established by Silas Pepoon as a market that quickly grew into a tavern and inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The inn has passed through the hands of approximately 20 property owners over the past two centuries and was rebuilt after a fire razed it in 1896. It has played host to a variety of celebrities, presidents and other public figures and now plays host to a variety of ghosts and spirits as well.
Several students, while doing a history assignment on the hotel, managed to capture some footage that apparently shows several orbs of light float past a doorway.
The 4th floor seems to be a hotspot of paranormal activity, with sightings of the apparition of a flower bearing young girl and a man in a top hat being frequently mentioned by guests of the inn. Cold spots, strange knocking sounds, and electrical disruptions have also been noted, and there have also been reports of the sensation of someone standing over the beds while guests are trying to sleep.
Like several other haunted hotels, the Red Lion Inn also has a “most haunted” room that seems to be a magnet for paranormal activity. In room 301, guests have reported being touched, having their hair pulled, and having the bed sheets tugged. There have also been reports of loud footsteps as well as pressure on the bed as if some unseen force was adjusting the comforter on the bed.
Other strange incidents have occurred throughout the inn, and it’s interesting to note that one particular instance involved medium James van Praagh, who eventually asked to be moved to a different room due to the excessive spirit activity in the room that he was originally checked into.
6. Bourbon Orleans Hotel New Orleans, Louisiana
The bourbon Orleans Hotel actually started out as a theater – the Theatre d’Orleans. It was built in 1815 but was rebuilt by John Davis in 1817 after it burned due to arson. Davis decided that the theater wasn’t enough and went on to construct the Salle d’Orleans next door to the theater. The Salle d’Orleans, also known as the Orleans Ballroom, was an instant success with Creole society and soon became a primary location for masquerade and carnival balls as well as the famous Quadroon Balls. The Civil War brought a halt to the heyday of the theater and ballroom and in 1881 the building was purchased by the Sisters of the Holy Family, an African-American convent. The convent used the location as their cloister as well as an orphanage and only sold the building to the Bourbon Kings Hotel Corporation in the 1960s when they had outgrown the location and required more space.
There has been a variety of haunting activity at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. During the 19th century yellow fever outbreak, the sisters at the convent did their best to care for the sick orphans in their charge, but the disease was devastating and many of the children died. Today, the sounds of children laughing can be heard in the hotel. Guests also report childish pranks such as their shirts being tugged only to turn around and find no one there.
There’s a darker side to the Bourbon however. It is alleged that room 644 is the most haunted room in the hotel. It’s thought that one of the nuns committed suicide in the room, and terrible cries can be heard coming from number 644. Guests also report waking to the sight of a woman in a habit standing by the bed. Other strange occurrences include reappearing blood stains in the former Salle d’Orleans, believed to have originated at a duel fought over a Quadroon beauty at one of the infamous Quadroon Balls.
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