Top Ten Haunted Hotels

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Corbis

An unexplained chill abruptly descends. A weeping lady in white appears then vanishes. Objects float across the room.

Hundreds of lodgings from grand resorts to intimate B&Bs swear the dead make themselves at home like their living guests. Many allegedly haunted hotels happily market their spectral residents to eager ghost hunters; others fear publicity will scare away customers.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

An unexplained chill abruptly descends. A weeping lady in white appears then vanishes. Objects float across the room.

Hundreds of lodgings from grand resorts to intimate B&Bs swear the dead make themselves at home like their living guests. Many allegedly haunted hotels happily market their spectral residents to eager ghost hunters; others fear publicity will scare away customers.

While hauntings are controversial and nearly impossible to prove, the hotels on the following pages are all well-known for "mysterious" happenings. In this case, we've restricted our choices to benign, Casper-like ghosts. No desecrated Native American burial sites à la Poltergeist or Amityville Horror shows: We want to ensure you fall into a dead sleep and check out the right way.

Keep reading to find out which two hotels inspired Stephen King novels, where Marilyn Monroe reportedly "hangs out," and where the ghost of a small boy is said to steal golf balls.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

This Hollywood landmark, which hosted the first Academy Awards presentation, opened in 1927 and immediately became a celebrity haunt, luring luminaries like Chaplin, Fairbanks, Swanson and later Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Cary Grant. Since its 2005 makeover by decorator-to-the-stars Dodd Mitchell, current cavorters include Kirsten Dunst, Eva Longoria, and Prince. No surprise that spectral superstars, including Marilyn Monroe (who lived here for two years during her early modeling career), seek the spotlight. Supposedly her spirit floats around the VIP Tropicana poolside lounge; guests have also reported seeing her reflection in the full-length mirror from her original suite, which sometimes sits near the gift shop, as well as a voluptuous blonde dancing in the ballroom. Another restless resident, Montgomery Clift, occupied room 928 while filming From Here to Eternity. It's said the strains of his bungled bugling (practicing for the movie) resonate in the hallways.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

This sumptuous Art Deco ocean liner sailed the Atlantic from 1936 to 1967, before being permanently berthed in Long Beach. The ship, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been a filming location for maritime adventures from the original Poseidon Adventure to Pearl Harbor. Sections were gutted to expand the museum and add themed restaurants, a theater, and guestrooms (recently modernized with iPod docking stations and LCD TVs). At least 50 former crew members and passengers met an untimely demise during its thousand-plus Atlantic crossings (not including possible WWII casualties while it served as a POW transport). Oddly apparitions weren't reported until after its retirement. People hear infants crying in the nursery (the original third-class playroom), while the first-class swimming pool sightings include a little girl named Jackie and women in vintage swimsuits; wet footprints and splashing sounds allegedly appear though the pool is drained. A watertight engine room door crushed engineer John Pedder during a 1966 fire drill; he supposedly still cruises the area.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

This exclusive, yet relaxed, Adirondacks summer retreat debuted in 1883, fell into disrepair a century later, and eventually was restored to its original glory. Today is on the National Register of Historic Places and is popular among present guests and, reportedly, among "former" guests, including a mysterious lady in white who rouses sleepers with her chilly breath, a couple who argues violently through the fine-dining Trillium, and a portly walrus-mustachioed man dubbed Walter by employees who "bump" into him in the elevator. Supposedly a stately blonde in white evening dress rebuked then walked through a sous-chef at Mr. Brown's, a resort restaurant (the chef promptly resigned). Golfers also claim to see a boy in 1950s attire struck on the golf course. Legend has it that he was hit by a car while he chased golf balls for resale to the pro shop. Today he spirits away your balls and flings them from behind a tree while giggling.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

Another member of Historic Hotels of America, this 1925 Federal-style, brick hostelry faces site of the infamous 17th-century witch trials (it was also the hotel that starred in the film Ghost Hunters). Some parapsychologists believe former witch victims may reside here, including the first person executed, orchard owner Bridget Bishop, who is believed to be responsible for the aroma of apples often permeates the hotel. Guests also claim a woman paces the sixth floor, pausing to pine at room 612. The front desk has also received complaints about suite 325-it seems that ghostly "strangers" use the bathroom in this room (indeed closing the door modestly) with running water, lights turning on, and flushing toilet.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

A National Historic Landmark, Hotel del Coronado is best known as the hotel where the film Some Like It Hot was shot. Named "one of the top ten resorts in the world" by USA Today, The Del has hosted newsmakers from Edison, Lindbergh, and Babe Ruth to every president since LBJ. It ostensibly inspired Stephen King's novel 1408, which is based on parapsychologist Christopher Chacon's investigation of a famously haunted room, 302 (now 3327). It was in this room that lonely, lovelorn, 20-something Kate Morgan was found dead several days after checking in under an alias in1892. Kate claimed she was waiting for her brother, but it was really her reprobate estranged husband (some believe he murdered her, though the coroner's inquest ruled suicide). Hotel guests and employees have reported flickering lights and TVs, floating objects, strange sounds from footsteps to voices, sudden chill spots, and mystifying breezes. Her apparition (in black lace Victorian garb) and antics occur throughout the grounds, often at the Established 1888 gift shop.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

On the National Register of Historic Places, this Victorian charmer welcomed such VIPs as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, Oscar Wilde, Dwight Eisenhower, Mae West, and Babe Ruth. The owners seem equally proud as haunted hosts to 32 ghosts. "Teddy" Roosevelt recruited several Rough Riders over drinks here in 1898 to fight in the Spanish-American War and he supposedly continues to imbibe beverages here in the cozy dark bar off the lobby. After arguing with her jealous husband, chambermaid Sallie White stayed overnight. She died two days after her husband's brutal March 28, 1876 assault; the Menger paid the $32 funeral cost. Sallie still wanders the Victorian wing halls, carrying towels but ignoring housekeeping requests. Richard King, owner of the famed King Ranch, died in his private suite here and supposedly walks through walls. Staffers report hearing heavy footsteps only to find a pair of army boots by the door: The hotel was constructed 23 years after the adjacent Alamo fell, prompting speculation that soldiers haunt the land. Interactive entities range from a buckskin-clad cowboy to a woman knitting, while utensils float around the kitchen and restaurant.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

War often evokes bloody phenomena: The spirit of Gettysburg lives on in this 1797 handsome historic hostelry. At one time, the Cashtown Inn served as Confederate General A.P. Hill's headquarters and triage center for the wounded-some of whom may not have departed. The inn's brochure reproduces an 1895 photo that purportedly caught the apparition of a Confederate soldier standing on the front porch. The entity is particularly active during summer (Gettysburg raged from July 1-3), prowling the attic and halls, rapping on room 4's door, even mischievously appearing in a chair opposite the bed. Rooms contain guests' journals to note paranormal occurrences, like the door of Room 1 slamming of its own accord, mysterious scrawling on mirrors, creaking floorboards when adjacent rooms are unoccupied, even an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) supposedly clearly stating, "OK," in response to the guest's comment "I am leaving this recorder on... If you would like to talk to us just speak."

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

When this early 20th century, neo-Italianate Renaissance classic (also on the National Register of Historic Places) was renovated in the '80s, it became the linchpin in downtown Portland's redevelopment. Sadly, it's also known for a jumper who jumped down the stairs outside of room 703-according to rumor, his spirit now haunts the rooms on the way down (though baffling phenomena occur up to room 1003). Rooms in that vertical column are particularly susceptible to supernatural doings, but 703 features the eeriest events of all-inexplicably moving objects, mysterious tapping, and cold spots. Photos taken in this room occasionally depict a dark cloud and videos contain strange shadows, distorted faces, even EVPs. Guests report that upon returning to their room, glasses are out, towels used, chairs moved---though the electronic key record indicates that no one entered. One reported hearing increasingly heavy breathing as the sheets practically mummified him. When he finally freed himself from their stranglehold, his large heavy luggage flew across the room towards him, followed by a figure running into the closet. Security demonstrated he was quite alone in the room.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

Originally a fashionable Victorian spa, Eureka Springs is one of America's quirkiest towns. In the past, Native Americans touted its healing waters; Today this alternative, artsy destination welcomes everyone from Hell's Angel conventioneers to LGBT activists. Over the years, the Crescent has served as a college, hospital, and hotel and there are nearly as many ghosts here as there are incarnations of the property. The ghost of Norman Baker (who ran a hoax "Cancer Hospital" and health resort here during the late '30s) rambles about. The Crystal Dining Room is a hotspot for sightings of Victorian-garbed spirits. Elsewhere, a wailing woman carries her infant's blanket. A tall bearded gent knocks on doors, asking, "Are you waiting for me?" An Irish stonemason who crashed from the roof into Room 218 during construction bangs on walls and flicks the lights and television on and off. A nurse floats around the third floor. A woman in Room 419 introduces herself as a cancer patient. A waiter in old-time attire bearing a tray of butter followed teenagers closely in and out an elevator and down the hall to their room.

Top Ten Haunted Hotels

Read Full Story

From Our Partners