Fancy a good scare? To get into the mood this Halloween, check out (or should that be check in to) some of North America’s haunted hotels. But, you might not be able to sleep after that. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Stanley Hotel, Colorado
As the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, The Shining, it’s not surprising that this hotel in Estes Park tops the list. The hotel, which has been operating for over a century, is said to receive “ghostly visits” from its founder FO Stanley who has been seen walking through the lobby, or his wife, playing the piano in the music room, and even a former housekeeper who died at the hotel in 1911, is said to often “help” guests in Room 217 unpack and store their belongings. Creepiest is of course the spectral children who are heard playing in the halls on the fourth floor, especially Room 418. How fitting then that the hotel also plays the movie version of The Shining on a loop on one of its cable channels and offers ghost tours.
2. The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Arizona
Located in Eureka Springs, this extravagant hotel and spa that was built in 1886, became bankrupt and re-opened as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women in 1908. Everything was in order until it became a fake cancer hospital. Dr Norman Baker, a man without any medical training, started the hospital as a front to experiment on people, whether they were alive or dead! He gave them useless treatments and milked them of their money. Eventually, he was jailed for fraud. But his experiments continue to haunt the grounds till this day. The apparitions include the doctor himself; a stonemason who fell off the roof and died; a nurse pushing a wheeled stretcher; Theodora, a cancer patient; and a former student who committed suicide. There are ghost tours as well, which include a midnight visit to the morgue.
3. Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, Massachusetts
Just like in the old nursery rhyme: “Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother 40 whacks, When she saw what she had done, gave her father 41”, in 1892, a spinster named Lizzie murdered her stepmother in cold blood with an axe, as well as her father for having the audacity to remarry. The crime scene is today a Bed & Breakfast and the ghosts of the victims are said to haunt its halls. Interestingly, the inn uses crime scene photos for decor instead of the usual paintings or flowers.
4. Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Massachusetts
Guests staying at this hotel in downtown Salem where the Salem Witch Trials took place, have reported hearing creepy sounds in the stairwell and feeling uncomfortable when staying there. In a room called “Lower Deck”, a hotel employee who had set up the room and arranged the tables, was startled upon returning later to find it had been rearranged, and refused to work any night shifts after the experience. It is believed that Bridget Bishop who first owned the land where the hotel is located was hanged for her love of practising witchcraft.
5. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
Further up north, a ghostly bellman and bride are said to haunt the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Guests and staff have claimed to encounter a bellhop in full uniform on the ninth floor. What is strange is he seems to disappear after helping guests. It is believed that he was an employee who died in 1975 and promised to return to haunt the hotel. The bride was said to have tumbled to her death at the marble stairwell on her wedding day. Guests apparently feel a mysterious chill around that area of the hotel.