If you dare to find out what—or who—lurks behind the doors at these 10 spirited spots, check out our list below. But enter at your own risk…
Widely regarded as one the most “spirited” hotels in America, The Stanley is best known for inspiring Stephen King’s The Shining after the author stayed one winter night. In 1909, the hotel was originally built to house traveling, bourgeois city-folk and provided cars and servants to all their visitors. Today some of their spirits still remain as modern (and alive) guests report the sounds of untraceable piano music and maniacal laughs throughout the hotel. These happenings are said to be the playful spirits of deceased employees and guests.
Tip: Make sure you book one of Stanley’s night spirit tours. Out of everyone, the staff is likely most familiar with supernatural goings on and they will have many stories to share.
2 Malaga Inn
The inn stands today as the only boutique inn of its kind and is considered the most haunted hotel in Alabama. Built in 1862, this historic property in the deep south is still reminiscent of the Civil War era. It boasts 39 private rooms, Victorian furnishings, and an outdoor courtyard. Originally, the two townhouses were constructed by two brothers-in-law as a wedding gift for the two sisters in the family—but that doesn’t mean they ever left… Guests claim to have spotted a ghostly lady figure in white, swinging chandeliers, lights that turn on themselves, and furniture that eerily moves on its own.
Tip: If you want to catch a glimpse at the lady in white, guests claim to have seen her pacing the balcony of Room #007.
Bretton Woods, NH
Knock, knock. Who’s there? At this resort, possibly no one…whom you can see, anyway. The resident invisible resident here, Carolyn Stickney (“d.” 1939), is known to tap on doors, and once inside your room (whether you invite her in or not) she has no qualms about borrowing your belongings. However, she’s a Victorian lady through and through—all manners—and will return your possessions to exactly where she found them.Tip: Rumor has it that checking into Room 314 nets the best chance of spotting the Princess, as she’s known. Her four-poster bed still sits here, along with Carolyn on the edge of it in the middle of the night, if you’re lucky (or unlucky).
Back in the 1920s, a young woman either jumped or was pushed to her death from her 5th floor room, 545, to be exact. Nearly a century later, employees and guests still report her presence, most often as a pink mist or as a woman in a flowing pink gown, hence her nickname, the Pink Lady. How do you like these apples?Tip: Allegedly, young children are particularly sensitive to spotting her, so if you really want a glimpse, you know whom to let loose on her trail.
Sizeable resort + over a hundred years of history + no sinister sagas = a perfect breeding ground for a ghost community, and a friendly ghost community at that. Earlier in its life it was a school for girls in the wintertime, and to this day, the giggling of a gaggle of girls still echoes through the 3rd floor hallway, when no children are checked into the hotel. (Warning: They may be laughing at you, but they are young girls, after all, so don’t take it personally.) The adults, however, do want you to take it personally—people have reported hearing their name called, entirely out of nowhere.Tip: SyFy’s Ghost Hunters investigated the property several years back and, through the miracle of modern technology, confirmed the presence of shadowy figures, ghost whisperings, things that go bump in the night, the works. Rooms on the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th floors were deemed to be hotspots for haunting mischief. Case closed? Nope—it’s actually just been opened for you.
Hot Springs, VA
It’s a timeless story: In the oldest wing of one of the oldest resorts in the country (built in 1766), a jilted woman commits suicide after her fiancé left on their wedding day and never returned. Since that tragic day in the early 1900s she’s wandered the 14th floor aimlessly, stopping guests and employees to ask for the time, hoping that she’ll catch the hour when her groom-to-be was supposed to come back to her and that this time he’ll be there.Tip: Wear a watch.
Santa Fe, NM
This hotel’s spectral highlight, a German named Julia Staab (pictured, right), feels right at home here—because before it became a resort, it was her mansion, built by her merchant husband in 1882. After her 8th child died shortly after birth, Frau Julia spun into a deep depression, eventually holing up in her room, never to be seen in the flesh again after 1896. However, in wisps and wafts she’s still ever present, most frequently in Suite 100, her former bedroom.Tip: Julia was said to love baths. Guests in Suite 100 have reported hearing water running in the middle of the night, and water throughout the hotel has inexplicably turned on and off. Best advice? Don’t hog the bathroom.
San Francisco, CA
Not all ghosts will leave you cold. Miss Mary Lake, the former headmistress of the school for girls that opened here in 1890, has been known to look after guests who stay in her former office, Room 410, just as she surely did for her pupils many generations ago. Some have reported that their clothes were unpacked for them while others have woken up during the night to find their blankets tucked neatly around them.Tip: Don’t judge a ghost by its cover.
Presidential alert: The inaugural ball tradition at the Mayflower began while Calvin Coolidge was in office, but he missed his due to his son’s untimely death two weeks earlier. To compensate for the lost celebration, he supposedly returns to the site every year on the anniversary of the ball. But Silent Cal largely remains just that in his eternal phase—the only hints of his presence are the flickering lights in the Grand Ballroom at 10pm, which would have announced the ball’s guests of honor back in 1925, and an elevator that won’t budge from the 8th floor (the location of his holding room) until 10:15pm, which is precisely the time that he was scheduled to make his entrance to the event. Plus, one year there was a plate of fancy hors d’oeuvres left on the balcony of the Grand Ballroom, yet those refreshments had not been served that day. Try as they may to fight it, ghosts don’t have a digestive tract—what better evidence is there?
Tip: January 20th is the big day. What else are you going to do in January?
Keuka Park, NY
It’s uncertain whether this one should be chalked up to local folklore, but there are some who believe that there is a phantom lady, decked out in white, wandering the property. Like any ghost worth his/her weightlessness, she’s also very adept at keeping us mere mortals in the dark—no one knows exactly who she is or where she came from. It’s probably better this way.Tip: If you need a break from waiting for the lady in white to show up, refocus your paranormal energies on nearby Spook Hill. Legend has it that if you park your car here and shift it to neutral, the car will creep uphill on its own. Draw your own conclusions. Or run. Your call.