Across the country, some of America's hotels have histories that are centuries old — and reportedly still have guests that've long overstayed their welcome. Spend a night at some of these notoriously haunted hotels — some with celebrity ghosts — if you dare. Staff, guests, and even ghost hunters have spotted spirits at these hospitable properties. Some are among the scariest places in America.
20 most haunted hotels
20 most haunted hotels
THE STANLEY HOTEL
Estes Park, Colorado The Stanley Hotel, a historic Colorado property with stately Georgian architecture that originally opened in 1909, was the real-life inspiration for Stephen King's book "The Shining," after the author stayed here with his wife for a night in 1974. Hotel staff host nightly ghost tours, and say the hotel's original owner, F.O. Stanley, haunts the hotel along with his wife, dressed in formal attire on the main staircase. Guests have reported hearing ballroom piano keys (with no one at the piano) and children laughing, and claim Room 217 is haunted by a former housekeeper who was electrocuted during a thunderstorm.
HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL
Located along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has accommodated plenty of famous guests — some of whom might still be around as restless spirits. Marilyn Monroe is said to be one of the ghosts that haunts the glamorous hotel, where she lived for two years while her modeling career was taking off. She's often seen in the full-length mirror that was once in her suite. Room 928 is believed to be haunted by Montgomery Clift, the film and stage actor best known in the film "Red River" in 1948. Photographic orbs, cold spots, and mysterious phone calls to the hotel operator have also been reported.
OMNI PARKER HOUSE
In 1855, the Omni Parker House was opened by Harvey Parker, who ran the Boston hotel's operations until he died in 1884. It's said that he'll still occasionally ask guests about their stay at one of the oldest elegant inns in the city — past literary and political figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson and John F. Kennedy have favored the property. Guests have also reported smelling whiskey and hearing laughter of a businessman said to have died in Room 303, a room that also inspired one of Stephen King's short stories, "1408."
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Deep in the heart of Louisiana voodoo territory, the historic landmark of Myrtles Plantation is rumored to be built on top of an old Tunica Indian burial ground. Built by Gen. David Bradford in 1796, the now charming bed-and-breakfast is believed to have at least 12 different ghosts haunting the plantation. Guests claim to have seen a former slave named Chloe wearing a green turban wandering the plantation and heard the dying footsteps of William Winter, an attorney who was shot by a stranger and died on the 17th step of the stairs in the 1800s.
THE MAYFLOWER HOTEL
When Calvin Coolidge was in office, The Mayflower Hotel began hosting a ball for newly inaugurated presidents. Unfortunately, because of his son's untimely death two weeks prior, he missed his own celebration. To make up for it, his spirit returns to the property every year on the anniversary of the ball. Lights in the Grand Ballroom flicker at 10 p.m. — the time when honored guests were announced in 1925 — and the elevator won't leave the eighth floor, where his holding room was, until 10:15 pm when he was scheduled to make an entrance.
OMNI MOUNT WASHINGTON RESORT
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
In 1902, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney built the grand Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire with special accommodations — like an indoor swimming pool and private dining room — for his wife, Caroline Foster, who ended up being a long-time hotel inhabitant. Long since she passed, many guests claim to have spotted Caroline, known as "the princess," in Victorian dress in the hallways. She's been known to lightly tap on doors, borrow items from guests' rooms (then return them later), and appear at the edge of the bed in Room 314 in the middle of the night.
THE QUEEN MARY
Long Beach, California
Aside from briefly serving as a war ship during World War II, The Queen Mary primarily cruised with royalty, dignitaries, and Hollywood celebrities aboard in its heyday. The 1930s ocean liner is now a stationary hotel docked in Long Beach, California, and is reportedly haunted by numerous ghosts from its disaster-prone past. The ship was once the scene of at least one murder, a split hull that left few survivors, a sailor crushed to death by an engine room door, and children drowned in the pool. Needless to say, the ship's paranormal investigator has some spooky stories to share on the property's many ghost-hunting tours.
The quaint Malaga Inn is considered the most haunted hotel in Alabama. Its 39 historic rooms are still reminiscent of the Civil War era in the Deep South with Victorian furnishings and old Southern-style decor from the original carriage homes built as a wedding gift in 1862. Today, guests of the boutique inn claim to have spotted a ghostly lady in white pacing the veranda of Room 007, and have also witnessed swinging chandeliers, flickering lights, and furniture that eerily rearranges itself (and beds that shake).
1886 CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Guests at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Arkansas have claimed to witness several famous guests who've checked out but never officially left. The building in the Ozark Mountains once served as a women's college and a hospital for curing cancer (run by a millionaire inventor posing as a doctor). Strange sightings include the spirit of Morris the cat, a lady in the Victorian nightgown who likes to stand at the foot of the bed and stare at guests while they sleep in Room 3500, an Irish stonemason named Michael who helped build the hotel, and a former hospital patient from the late 1930s named Theodora. The hotel hosts ghost tours every evening — including campfire ghost stories and a midnight visit to the morgue.
LA POSADA DE SANTA FE
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Before La Posada de Santa Fe became a resort, it was Julia Staab's mansion, built in 1882 by her merchant husband. She allegedly spiraled into a deep depression after her eighth child died shortly after birth in 1896, and locked herself in her room, never to be seen again. Hotel guests staying in Suite 100, her former bedroom, have heard water running in the middle of the night, and water throughout the hotel has inexplicably turned on and off — Julia apparently loved baths.
BATTERY CARRIAGE HOUSE
Charleston, South Carolina
The historic Battery Carriage House proudly declares itself the most haunted inn (and most romantic bed-and-breakfast) in Charleston. From a headless spirit in Room 8 to a whole congregation in Room 3 to a gentlemanly apparition in Room 10, the waterfront inn dating back to the 1800s knows a thing or two about spooky encounters.
Cooperstown, New York
With more than 100 years of history, the sizeable Otesaga Resort — once a school for girls in the wintertime — is now the perfect spot for friendly spirits to linger. Visitors report hearing schoolgirls giggling in the 3rd floor hallway, even when there aren't children staying at the hotel, and adults have heard their own names called out of nowhere. SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" TV show investigated and purportedly confirmed the presence of shadowy figures and ghost whisperings, primarily in rooms on the second, third, and fifth floors.
Located in the same New England town as the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Hawthorne Hotel is no stranger to paranormal occurrences. The hotel built in 1925 has otherworldly stories of its own, mostly centered around lost sea captains returning to their gathering place. Visitors have reported flickering lights, faucets turning on and off on their own, and human-shaped apparitions, particularly in Rooms 621 and 325. The television show "Bewitched" even filmed several episodes at the property.
CONGRESS PLAZA HOTEL
Chicago's historic Congress Plaza Hotel, which opened in 1893 for Chicago World's Fair crowds, is supposedly home to many ghosts, including gangster Al Capone roaming the north tower hallways. Guests who've stayed overnight in the hotel's most haunted room, Room 441, have reportedly been awakened by an evil spirit kicking them in the night. A mischievous boy spirit plays tricks on guests on the sixth floor; Peg Leg Johnny, a homeless man who is said to have been murdered, wanders the halls and turns appliances and lights on and off; a ghostly hand reaches out of the Gold Room's coat closet wall; and guests have also heard unexplained whisperings in the Florentine Room.
OMNI GROVE PARK INN
Asheville, North Carolina
For more than half a century, a ghost referred to as the "Pink Lady" has been roaming the hallways of the Omni Grove Park Inn, a property surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Back in the 1920s, a young woman either jumped or was pushed from her fifth-floor room (545) to her death in the Palm Court atrium below. Staff and guests still see her presence — whether it's in the form of a pink mist or as a woman in a flowing pink gown — and children are especially in tune with detecting her.
Seattle's first boutique hotel, Hotel Sorrento, opened its doors just before the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (a world's fair) in 1909. The original guest registry was signed by President Howard Taft, the Vanderbilts, and the Guggenheims. Celebrity ghost sightings at the hotel include Alice B. Toklas, partner of Gertrude Stein, who lived near the hotel while studying music at the University of Washington. She's been known to roam the halls of the fourth floor, particularly Room 408, and also move glasses in the Dunbar Room.
EMILY MORGAN HOTEL
Prior to housing travelers, San Antonio's Emily Morgan Hotel was once a medical facility, morgue, and a psychiatric ward. Now known as "the official hotel of the Alamo," the neo-Gothic building is also known for its paranormal activity, including unexplained noises, apparitions, and the feeling of being touched. The 12th and 14th floors — the latter of which was formerly the site of the crematorium — as well as the elevator are said to be particularly active for paranormal activity. The on-site bar/restaurant has even hosted Psychic Happy Hours with palm readings to get in the spirit.
THE SEELBACH HILTON LOUISVILLE
Louisville, Kentucky The Seelbach Hilton Louisville, a historical landmark and architectural masterpiece that opened in 1905, is located in the center of the city's arts and culture community. The hotel isn't a stranger to drama on an otherworldly level either. It's home to the infamous "Lady in Blue," a guest who died in the hotel back in 1936. Legend has it, a lady who worked across the street came to the hotel to reconcile with her husband, but he was killed in a car crash on his way. The grief-stricken woman threw herself down the No. 3 elevator shaft. Guests and hotel staff have witnessed a woman in a blue chiffon dress with long black hair walking into the elevator through closed doors.
OMNI HOMESTEAD RESORT
Hot Springs, Virginia
Located across more than 2,300 acres of scenic Virginia landscape, the Omni Homestead Resort is the picture-perfect setting for a wedding. In the oldest wing of America's first resort — built in 1766 — it's said that a woman who'd been left at the altar on her wedding day committed suicide in the early 1900s. To this day, the distraught bride-to-be wanders the 14th floor aimlessly, pausing to ask guests and hotel staff for the time ... still waiting for her groom to return.
New York, NY
New York City's storied Hotel Chelsea is renowned for its creative atmosphere and culturally significant guests — from Mark Twain to Andy Warhol to Ethan Hawke — and now haunted by ghosts. Guests have reported some freaky occurrences: skeletons in the closet, sounds of footsteps, lights and faucets with minds of their own, and high-pitched screams. They've also seen the face of deceased writer Dylan Thomas, who died of pneumonia in Room 206 in 1953, and a ghost named Mary, a Titanic passenger and survivor, staring at her reflection in hotel mirrors. Not to mention the unsolved murder of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious' girlfriend, fellow rocker Nancy Spungen.
Due to renovations, the landmark hotel is currently closed to new guests, but is expected to reopen in early 2019. The hotel's hallmark decor — plenty of art on the walls from its decades as a muse for artists — will once again adorn the property.
New York City, NY, USA - October 1, 2004: View of the iconic Hotel Chelsea in NYC.