October is the season of changing leaves, fall harvests, pumpkin spice, and of course, a celebration of all things spooky culminating with Halloween. Although the spirits honored on All Hollow’s Eve are typically make-believe, tales of true hauntings abound.
Are you brave enough to risk a ghostly encounter? Consider a stay at one of these notoriously haunted hotels, verified by Historic Hotels of America’s Preservations Trust’s annual survey, and sneak a peek behind the veil this Halloween!
1. Concord Colonial Inn Virginia
Virginia’s historic Concord Colonial Inn topped the annual survey of haunted hotels in 2021.
Tales of hauntings abound at the Concord, but room 24 is the best place to glimpse the earth-bound spirit roaming the Inn. Guests reported seeing grey apparitions in the room as early as the mid-20th century. However, the ghostly residents don’t always stick to a room.
Guests and staff describe a slim, older woman and a gentleman wearing a top hat appearing in the sitting room. These may be the most famous spirits on the list – they are rumored to be the ghosts of Henry David Thoreau and his beloved aunt, who lived at the inn when it was a private residence.
2. The Omni Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead is the oldest known resort in America. Constructed in 1766, the inn has a long history of paranormal activity.
The most famous ghost resident is a jilted bride who haunts the 14th floor. According to legend, the groom succumbed to pre-wedding jitters, ditching his bride-to-be before the wedding. Distraught, she took her own life. Her spirit roams the halls, lingering on until her beloved returns.
Despite its reputation as a haunted hotel, most fall guests aren’t hunting ghosts. Travelers hoping to glimpse the spectacular beauty of a New England fall flock to the resort, so if you’re hoping to see spirits this Halloween, be sure to book early.
3. The Emily Morgan Hotel
Travelers looking for a haunt in the Southwest should head to the historic Emily Morgan Hotel in Downtown San Antonio. The hotel sits where the Mexican barracks once lay during the historic battle of the Alamo. Over 600 soldiers lost their lives on or near the hotel grounds.
Guests describe an array of paranormal happenings. Phones inexplicably ring in the middle of the night, doors close for no reason, mysterious shadows lurk in corners, and attendants discover freshly cleaned rooms in disarray.
The infamous battle is not the only source of hauntings at the Emily Morgan. The location initially served as a medical center rumored to house patients with severe psychological disorders, and visitors often report medical-related sightings. Some hear hospital carts outside their doors, while others smell the distinct antiseptic odor associated with hospitals.
4. The Sayre Mansion
Visitors report feeling mysterious yanks on their clothing, electronics turning on and off without any reason, and items that disappear only to show up later in a different location. Some think the spiritual residents are ghosts of the six Sayre children who died in the home. Others conclude that Mr. Sayre himself haunts the inn. Sayre passed away in his home in 1907, and his suite is considered one of the most active in the hotel.
The Sayre embraces its spooky reputation with special ghost hunting events throughout the year. Guests conduct paranormal investigations with Wyoming Valley Ghost tours in the mansion’s most notoriously haunted rooms. The event is growing in popularity and has limited space, so make reservations early to ensure you don’t miss out.
5. 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa
The Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka, Arkansas, burst onto the high society scene with a gala ball in 1886. The building has had many uses throughout its history, but its stint as a phony cancer clinic is the most notorious. Here, the infamous Dr. Norman Baker swindled patients with fake, often painful, “cures” for the terminal illness.
Although guests may get a glimpse of the scandalous doctor in the hotel lobby, he’s not the most famous resident spirit. A helpful haunt known as Theodora organizes guests’ closets, cleans their rooms, and folds their clothing. According to legend, Theodora is one of the unfortunate souls who lost her life in Dr. Baker’s care, remaining in the hotel to this day.
The Crescent Hotel welcomes its other-worldly guests and ghost hunters, holding a séance every Halloween to commune with spirits. The tour company America’s Most Haunted Hotel in Eureka Springs also offers ghost tours year-round.
6. Hotel del Coronado
San Diego, California, is the ideal destination for surfing and sunshine. Don’t let the sunny disposition deceive you. One of the most pristine San Diego beaches is home to a legendary haunted hotel: the Hotel del Coronado.
The most well-known ghostly tenant is Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked into the hotel alone in 1892. Five days later, employees found her body on the outside stairs after she succumbed to a fatal gunshot wound.
Morgan is a prankster who enjoys randomly moving items, opening and closing doors, and turning televisions on and off. The most active areas are her guest room on the third floor (the most requested room in the hotel – so book well in advance!) and the gift shop on the first floor.
7. The Wort Hotel
The Wort Hotel opened its doors in 1941 as one of the only luxury hotel resorts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The hotel was a hotbed for illegal gambling in the mid-nineteen hundreds and still features the famed Silver Dollar Bar.
The Wort is also famous for its helpful spirit residence, Bob Tomingas. Tomingas worked at the hotel as a master mechanic and maintenance engineer. He could fix anything and often helped residents around Jackson Hole with plumbing or electrical problems.
After his death, Tomingas continued to serve the hotel. He leads present-day mechanics to problems within the walls and sometimes reorganizes the maintenance closet. Ghost hunters may encounter a challenge when searching for Tomingas, as he’s not known to appear to guests.
8. Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans is no stranger to paranormal happenings. It’s no surprise that a city renowned for witches and vampires would also be home to one of America’s most haunted hotels.
The Hotel Monteleone may be one of the most haunted buildings in the city. Not much is known about the hotel before Antonio Monteleone purchased it in 1886, but since then, it’s been a French Quarter staple and a top destination for elites visiting New Orleans.
Visitors describe locked doors mysteriously opening, elevators stopping at the wrong floors, and phantom children playing near the end of chilly hallways. Believers say it’s the ghost of Maurice Begere, a child who succumbed to fever at the hotel while his parents were enjoying the French Opera House.
9. The Hassayampa Inn
Prescott, Arizona’s Hassayampa Inn played host to many illustrious patrons during its 100-year history. Famed actor Clark Gable, influential artist Georgia O’Keefe, and renowned poet D.H Lawrence are among its notable guests.
However, the most notorious resident is one who never left. According to legend, Faith Summers checked in with her new husband during the hotel’s debut year. Her groom left to get cigarettes and vanished, never to return. Faith stayed in the room awaiting his return for three days, then, overcome with despair, took her own life.
Legend has it Faith remains in the hotel to this day. Guests frequently encounter a young woman crying at the edge of a bed who vanishes when approached. Visitors to Faith’s honeymoon suite report cold spots and the lingering smell of fresh flowers, while employees often recount seeing a woman in a pink dress drifting between rooms.
10. The Don CeSar
A glorious tribute to the decadence of the roaring ’20s, The Don CeSar, lovingly dubbed the Pink Palace, is a grandiose beach resort located on St. Petersburg’s gulf coast.
Real estate icon Thomas Rowe built the hotel in tribute to his forbidden love. Lucretia was an opera singer who lovingly called him “Don Cesar” after a character in the opera Maritana, whose parents opposed the match. In 1940, Rowe unexpectantly passed away in the hotel lobby due to a heart attack.
Some say Rowe never left. Visitors report seeing a gentleman in a white linen suit and Panama hat wandering the hotel grounds, while employees describe a generous spirit who washes dishes, restocks carts, and holds elevator doors for them.
11. Jekyll Island Club Resort
The devil went down to Georgia to stay at the Jekyll Island Club Resort, along with the industrious elite who created the United States Federal Reserve. Jekyll Island has a long history of hosting America’s wealthiest power players.
Despite the resort’s sordid history as a political powerhouse, the ghostly residents are mostly benign. A bellhop delivers freshly pressed suits to grooms, and a former club member, Samuel Spencer, calmly sips coffee and reads the paper in the wee hours of the morning.
According to legend, the most famous ghastly resident is the spirit of J.P Morgan, the business tycoon known for building the railroads by any means necessary. J.P Morgan was a regular during the hotel’s early days and often woke early to enjoy a morning cigar in peace. Although he passed away in Italy, guests often report a lingering scent of cigar smoke wafting through the hotel near dawn.
12. The Stanley Hotel
Although Colorado’s Stanley Hotel didn’t make Historic Hotels’ list of haunted hotels in 2021, it deserves mention. As the inspiration behind Stephan King’s “The Shining,” the resort represents the epitome of haunted manors.
The hotel embraces its creepy image, offering two tours for visitors to discover the paranormal history. The first guides guests through the hotel’s cryptic corners under cover of darkness, with a knowledgeable storyteller recounting tales of potential hauntings. The second focuses on the iconic film, showcasing props and offering tidbits on the renowned author.
If real-life ghosts are too scary for you, the Stanley might be your ideal haunted hotel. Although tales of hauntings abound, they all mysteriously started after the famous film, and there’s no record of a potentially real haunting.
13. The Pfister Hotel
Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel is the only other hotel featured that didn’t make Historic Hotel’s list in 2021. We didn’t want to exclude the Midwest, and the hauntings at the Pfister have been widely reported by celebrities visiting Milwaukee.
In 2018, Cardinal’s pitcher Carlos Martinez reported being touched by the ghost, then proceeded to have a horrible game against the Milwaukee Brewers, blaming his poor performance on the ghastly encounter. Other visiting baseball players have reported mysterious banging, flashing lights, and a variety of other disturbances. Rapper Megan Thee Stallion posted a video of her ghost hunting experiences at the Pfister on Twitter.
how did we accidentally wind up staying at the most haunted hotel in Milwaukee last night 😭 pic.twitter.com/YCCg8ufWlU
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) September 17, 2021
Most believe the ghost is the hotel’s builder, Charles Pfister, who wants guests to enjoy their stay but also wants his home team to win the big game. The hotel dismisses rumors of hauntings and generally won’t comment on potential otherworldly residents.
14. Mizpah Hotel
The unassuming high desert town of Tonopah may be home to the most haunted hotel in Nevada. The city itself has a sordid history. As a mining town on the forefront of Western expansion, it’s had its fill of gamblers and scallywags, lawbreakers and law keepers. Wyatt Earp even once called this tiny town home.
Legends of hauntings abound at the Mizpah Hotel. Guests report two spectral visages resembling thieves who tried to rob the hotel in its early days. Three miners dug caverns under the hotel, attempting to reach the gold stored within, but the greedy third killed his two coconspirators on the way out, keeping the entire score for himself.
Another tale surrounds a mysterious woman in red, said to be a lady of the night. Although no one knows her true origin, guests report glimpsing a secretive lady in red, and many describe feeling her presence while in the hotel.
15. The Union Station Nashville Yards Hotel
The early 1900s train station morphed into a hotel after the second world war, but not before tragedy struck the railyard. As an epicenter for travel, Union Station was a staging area for troops destined to the eastern front to hold off the German invasion of France. Thousands of Soldiers passed through on their way to fight in World War II.
According to Legend, a young woman known only as Abigail arrived at the station to see her beau off to battle. When the war ended, she returned, eagerly awaiting a reunion with her love, only to discover he had perished in battle. Grief-stricken, Abigail threw herself into the path of an oncoming train. Her spirit lives on, claiming room 711 as her own and wandering the hotel halls searching for her lost love.
Embrace the Halloween Spirit with Real-World Hauntings
Haunted hotels offer visitors a truly unique Halloween experience. There’s no better way to celebrate the year’s spookiest night than with true tales of restless spirits. Grab your friends and book a stay for an unforgettable Halloween experience.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.