RISMEDIA, October 30, 2009—As costumed monsters, superheroes, and creatures of the night take to the streets in search of candy tomorrow, many Americans will seek a good scare at theme parks, parties and eerie locations. In anticipation of the occasion, AAA polled its professional inspectors for their favorite haunted hotels and restaurants, garnering the 13 top picks below.
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Legend has it that several ghosts reside within the walls of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, often cited as one of the most haunted hotels in America. During construction, a workman fell to his death from the roof, landing on the future site of room 218, considered to be the most haunted room. In the late 1930s, Norman Baker leased the property for use as a hospital and health resort. Despite his lack of formal medical training or maybe because of it, many of his unfortunate cancer patients made the establishment their eternal resting place.
Bower’s Harbor Inn, Traverse City, Michigan
Built in the 1880s and remodeled in the 1920s, this restaurant was originally a summer retreat for Chicago lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife Genevive. The establishment has since gained notoriety as the home to Genevive’s ghost. While Genevive inherited the property on her husband’s death, he left the remainder of his wealth to the nurse hired to care for Genevive, driving her into severe depression. She eventually hung herself from the rafters of the elevator shaft and, since her demise, lights have suddenly turned on, mirrors and paintings have fallen off walls, and guests have reported the appearance of a blurry female figure in their vacation photographs.
Buxton Inn-1812, Granville, Ohio
Among the many owners of this former stagecoach tavern was Major Horton Buxton who owned the inn from 1865 to 1902. He is said to still make an occasional appearance, favoring a chair by the fireplace on a chilly evening. The tavern is also haunted by the ghost of a former owner’s cat. The spectral figures may be spotted by guests enjoying dinner.
The Fairmont Algonquin, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Winter guests at this hotel have repeatedly mentioned seeing an older gentleman dressed like a bellman who greets them at the elevator to help with their bags. However, the hotel does not employ a bellman in the winter and the gentleman doesn’t match the description of anyone on staff. Perhaps he is an employee from long ago.
The Golden Lamb Restaurant, Lebanon, Ohio
The Golden Lamb Restaurant is a red brick structure that opened as a stagecoach tavern in 1803. Its many celebrity guests over the past two centuries have included Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and various presidents. One guest in permanent residence is the spirit of a little girl believed to be Sarah Stubbs, niece of former manager Isaac Stubbs Jr. Sarah grew to be an adult, but some say her ghost remains in the building. Sarah’s room, located on the fourth floor, is the recreation of her childhood bedroom, named in her honor.
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Cincinnati, Ohio
This hotel, originally opened in 1931, is reputedly haunted by the “Lady in Green” who wanders through the ornately decorated Hall of Mirrors and the Mezzanine. The lady’s husband was allegedly killed in an accident during the construction of the hotel. His body was never found and her mournful spirit still seeks his remains, according to the story.
Hotel Bothwell, an Ascend Collection hotel, Sedalia, Missouri
Built as a 119-room hotel in 1927, this establishment was the hub of society in Sedalia for many decades. In the 1980s the property was converted to an assisted living facility for 10 years before it was closed. It reopened in 1999 as the Hotel Bothwell with some challenges in the haunting department. Many occurrences of unexplained noises and sightings of objects have been reported, including the occasional apparition. The elevator has been known to operate on its own, and guests often mention missing items from their rooms. While most of the experiences happen at night, nearly every staff member has a story to tell. If a truly spooky stay is what you want, request a room on the third floor where many sightings are centered.
Hotel Provincial, New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in the French Quarter, this hotel was a hospital during the Civil War and there have been reported sightings of Confederate soldiers. Additionally, linens have been found to have blood stains that vanish as curiously as they appear. Some people have claimed to hear wounded soldiers cry out for help. Building Five is recommended for those wanting to experience paranormal activity.
Le Pavillon, New Orleans, Louisiana
Built in 1907 and located in the heart of downtown New Orleans, this hotel is often called “The Belle of New Orleans.” The hotel has had many guest and staff sightings of unexplained movement. Paranormal experts have counted anywhere from four to 100 friendly spirits that want to have fun. Where else can you find ghosts and complimentary evening peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
The Mayflower – A Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Strange occurrences reported at The Mayflower appear to be linked to the inauguration of President Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge did not attend his own inaugural ball in 1925 because he was mourning the death of his 16-year-old son. Every year on January 20, the lights dim and flicker at 10 p.m., the time the first guests were announced at the ball. One elevator stops on the eighth floor and refuses to move to the lobby until 10:15 p.m. – the approximate time Coolidge would leave his room to attend.
Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas
The Menger Hotel was built in the 1850s and is located next to the Alamo mission, site of a bloody battle for Texas independence. The hotel is renowned for several infamous guests who refuse to check out. Theodore Roosevelt, who makes an occasional after-hours visit to the bar, first visited the Menger in 1892, returned in 1998 to recruit his Rough Riders, and was back in 1905 for a banquet. Sallie White, a hotel employee murdered in 1876, continues to make up rooms. And the irrepressible Captain Richard King, founder of one of the world’s largest ranches, is said to be seen late at night writing the memoirs he began in the late 1880s on learning of his impending death.
Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Two mysterious deaths occurred in what is now referred to as the “Ghost” suite. The first, in 1930, was executive housekeep Juliette Brown, who apparently awoke at 4 a.m. feeling ill and died while reaching for the phone. The second was the hotel owner’s adopted child, Helen. Witnesses report seeing housekeeping carts move and televisions and lights come on suddenly at 4 a.m., while guests in adjacent rooms have heard loud noises coming from the suite while unoccupied.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
This hotel is most famous for inspiring Stephen King to write The Shining after staying at the near empty hotel with his wife the day before it closed for winter. They stayed in room 217, which they later discovered was said to be haunted. Although the Kings did not experience any paranormal activity, other guests report hearing piano music and party sounds from the empty ballroom, children running in the empty hallways, and awakening to the sight of a man standing over their bed. If you feel adventurous, stay in room 217, 401, 407 or 418, which report the most ghost sightings.
For more information, visit www.AAA.com.