Take a Haunted Vacation

hotel hallway with figure at the end

Bert Kaufmann/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

It's one thing to read about the paranormal—ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists—and quite another to experience it for yourself. Do you have the curiosity, the courage, the sense of adventure to confront the unknown? Think about it. It's easy and safe to read books and articles from the security of your easy chair about ghostly apparitions and unnerving poltergeist activity that other people have experienced. But what would it be like to actually place yourself in a location where there has been a tradition of spirit sightings and unexplained events? Could you handle it?

You have an opportunity to find out the next time you take a vacation or a weekend trip. There are dozens of motels, hotels, and bed and breakfasts around the U.S. that claim to have unregistered guests or unpaid staff—in other words, ghosts.

There is no guarantee that you'll have a paranormal experience at any of these places, of course, but all make the claim that employees or other guests have had a brush with the unknown: a vaporous apparition, a touch by unseen hands, unexplained noises and fragrances, and objects being moved, broken, or disturbed.

Here are some resources that can help you plan your itinerary for your haunted vacation

AllStays - Haunted Hotels

This site has a long list of haunted hotels in most states of the U.S. Here are some examples:

  • Monte Vista Hotel, Flagstaff, Arizona: "One of the ghosts residing here is that of a phantom bellboy who knocks on doors and then vanishes. This annoying phantom has been experienced by dozens of guests over the years and he is joined by the ghost of a woman who has been seen outside of the Zane Grey suite and another man who endlessly paces in one of the rooms."
  • Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colorado: "Ever find a lost, shivering and soaking wet boy in your hotel room? Well, you might at the Hotel Jerome. A woman recently found just that in Room 310 of the Hotel Jerome. When a staff member arrived to help, the boy had vanished, leaving only wet footprints."
  • The Inn at 835, Springfield, Illinois: "Stories seem to indicate that the spirit of Bell Miller is still in residence. One resident noted hearing a warm and friendly voice saying 'Well, hello there.' No one was around. Another event included a single book being placed in the middle of the room multiple times. Each time it was moved from a tightly packed shelf, where it would not have fallen from and landed in the middle of the room."
  • Hotel Maison deVille, New Orleans, Louisiana: "A 23-year employee of the hotel first encountered a ghost around 20 years ago, while she was letting a guest into Cottage No. 4. She and the guest entered the room and saw a man dressed in a military uniform. She felt a chill, shook a bit and then the apparition disappeared."
  • Grove Park Inn Resort, Asheville, North Carolina: "A mysterious Pink Lady has been seen, felt and experienced by hotel employees and guests at The Grove Park Inn Resort in Asheville for more than three-quarters of a century."
  • Brass Lantern Inn, Stowe, Vermont: "The guests at the Brass Lantern Inn have a similar story to tell. They may hear some people arrive late in the night, speaking loud and talking about the good time they just had, possibly at a party. In all cases, it's in reference to the same room."

Haunted Lodging Adventures

Guide to adventure travel, Carla Land, has found some very adventurous places to stay in your travels. Examples include:

  • John Stone's Inn, Ashland, Massachusetts: "The apparition of a 10-year-old girl is often reported staring out a window in a storage room near the kitchen, and an invisible intruder likes to put his hands around the necks of customers in the dining room."
  • Bullock Hotel, Deadwood, South Dakota: "The ghost of Deadwood's first sheriff, Seth Bullock, walks the halls of the hotel he founded. Over 30 people have seen his ghost."
  • Historic Sheridan Inn, Sheridan, Wyoming: "This inn is said to be haunted by the spirit of Miss Kate Arnold, a housekeeper who lived here for 65 years. The ghost of Miss Kate is felt most strongly in her former room on the third floor, near the front downstairs windows, or in the ballroom. Sometimes, she is detected as a moving cold spot, at other times only her soft footsteps are heard."

Haunted Hotels, A-Z

Gary L. Chisholm Jr., a guide to hotels/resorts/inns, has compiled an extensive list of accommodations "where some of the guests are permanent residents." Some examples include:

  • Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas: "A number of rooms are haunted in this historic hotel. Room 218 is the spot where Michael, an Irish stonemason, landed when he fell from the hotel's roof during construction. His ghost is said to bang on the walls and turn the lights and television on and off. Rooms 202 and 424 are also said to be haunted."
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, California: "The hotel was a focal point for the movie business in the 1920s and 1930s. Ask for Room 928, where Montgomery Clift stayed during the making of From Here to Eternity. Rumor has it you can still hear Montgomery Clift play his bugle."
  • Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix, Arizona: "In 1928, Leone Jensen went to the roof of the hotel dressed in an evening gown. Said to be brokenhearted over the lost love of a local bellboy, she jumped from the roof to her death. Since that night, guests have reported odd breezes, ghostly noises and the pale shadow of a woman floating in the air."
  • Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado: "If you are a Stephen King fan, request room 217. It was in this room that King, inspired by the hotel, wrote half of "The Shining." The ABC miniseries was filmed here as well. The ghosts in this hotel aren't evil as in the book. Room 418 seems to have the most ghostly activity reported. In fact, the entire fourth floor (formerly the servants quarters) is quite active."

Haunted Travels

This site lists various inns and restaurants in many regions of the U.S., with descriptions of the ghostly goings-on. Here are some examples:

  • Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon, Virginia: "The most romantic ghost is that of the young lady named Beth that haunts Room 403. Staff have seen apparitions of a woman enter the room, or see her sitting near the bed, and have heard faint violin music."
  • Red Brook Inn, Old Mystic, Connecticut: "Guests who have stayed in the North Room of the Crary Homestead have seen a white-haired elderly woman wrapped in a black shawl."
  • The General Wayne Inn, Merion, Pennsylvania: A séance held in 1972 revealed many ghosts still wandering around the inn. The most witnessed ghost is that of a Hessian soldier, one of a group of German soldiers hired by the British in the Revolutionary War. He is seen most often in the basement, but has been spotted in other areas as well."
  • Grace Hall, Selma, Alabama: "Guests have seen a woman in a long white dress with a little black dog. It seems the ghost is Miz Eliza, the lady of the house in the late nineteenth century."

Haunted Bed and Breakfasts

Guide to bed and breakfasts Elizabeth Arneson has gathered several B&Bs with more to offer than just comfy rooms. Examples include:

  • Thayer's Historic Bed and Breakfast, Annandale, Minnesota: "A number of other 'guests' from the other side visit on a regular basis."
  • The Notchland Inn, Hart's Location, New Hampshire: "Guests tell about encounters with spirits. One couple took a nap in mid-afternoon, and when they awoke the name 'Abigail' was written in the steam on the mirror in their bathroom. But no one had taken a shower or bath in that room for several hours!"
  • The Inn at Merridun, Union, South Carolina: "We have 10 spirits, energy forces, or ghosts that share Merridun with us. We have a history of unusual happenings and occasional sightings, and our cat talks to 'someone' fairly frequently."
  • Thornewood Castle, Lakewood, Washington: "Chester Thorne was the builder of Thornewood Castle, and he has made appearances to several people over the years. Some guests have seen Anna, Chester's wife, sitting in the window seat of her room overlooking the garden."