You don’t have to be a horror movie buff to know that more than a few scary movies are set in haunted hotels and abandoned buildings. The dimly lit hallways, flickering lights, absentee hotel attendants…they all make for a truly haunting tale. If you’re looking to take your fascination with these sites to the next level, you can book your stay or tour some of the country’s most haunted hotels and places. You never know just what (or who) you might encounter.
1. Villisca Ax Murder House (Villisca, Iowa)
The Villisca House was the site of a horrible tragedy in 1912, when a family that lived there was brutally murdered. The killer was never found, and the small town of Villisca was deeply troubled. Today, the entire house can be rented and guests can stay overnight at the risk of encountering some troubling spirits.
2. Shanley Hotel (Napanoch, New York)
The Shanley Hotel has been the site of paranormal activity, unexplained incidents, and overall terror for years. What looks relatively friendly on the outside contains a dreadfully grim basement and hidden rooms. You can stay in your own room, or even rent out the entire hotel for a truly ghostly experience.
3. Stanley Hotel (Estes, Colorado)
The Stanley Hotel is a breathtaking resort in Estes Park, Colorado. Since its opening in 1909, the hotel has been the setting of many ghost stories. One of the earliest tragedies happened in 1911, when a housekeeper was electrocuted during a terrible lightning storm. The hotel is perhaps most famously known for being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s The Shining. In 1973, King and his wife checked into the hotel and stayed in Room 217. Guests can request to stay in this room today, and it is not surprisingly one of the most frequently booked in the hotel.
4. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville, Kentucky)
In the early 1900s, there was an awful tuberculosis epidemic, and the Waverly Hills Sanatorium was built to house patients. The institution used experimental procedures in hopes of finding a cure, but unfortunately thousands died as a result. In fact, death was such an inevitable part of the sanatorium that a tunnel was built to transport the bodies out. Today, anyone interested in performing their own ghost hunt can sign up for an overnight investigation which costs roughly $100 and starts right at midnight.
5. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, West Virginia)
This building in West Virginia happens to be the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in the entire country. But most people associate the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum with being one of the creepiest institutions in the country. The space is set to comfortably house about 250 patients; however, in the 1950s there were over 2,000 people in the building. The overcrowding caused for insufficient treatment and the establishment was shut down in the 90s. Today, visitors can pay a fee to explore the ground overnight in search of any paranormal activity.
6. The Copper Queen Hotel (Bisbee, Arizona)
The Copper Queen Hotel was completed in 1902 and is considered Arizona’s longest-running hotel. Employees and visitors alike have sworn to have witnessed 16 separate ghostly beings within the hotel’s walls. One of the most famous ghosts is that of Julia Lowell – a prostitute from the 1920’s who frequented the hotel’s halls. She fell in love with one of her clients and after being rejected, continues to haunt room 315.
7. The Biltmore Hotel (Coral Gables, Florida)
During the 1920s, the Biltmore Hotel was the place to see and be seen. It wasn’t rare to spot a celebrity or socialite here. By the mid-1940s, the hotel had to be shut down so that the building could house wounded soldiers from the war. The building was abandoned by 1970, left to crumbling ruins. Today, the hotel has been restored to its former glory days, although not without a few hauntings. Some of the notorious ghosts on the premises are mobsters and gamblers from the early days.
8. The Colonial Inn (Concord, Massachusetts)
The historic Colonial Inn dates back to 1716 and while it is a beautiful building, it has more than a few haunted tales to tell. One of the Inn’s original buildings was used in the eighteenth century as a storage space for provisions and weapons during the Revolutionary War. Some of the famous guests here included Henry David Thoreau, who stayed during his time at Harvard. The ghost in residency is said to be relatively friendly, residing in Room 24. This room also happens to have one of the best views of the town square in the entire building.
9. Bourbon Orleans Hotel (New Orleans, Louisiana)
The iconic Bourbon Orleans Hotel opened its doors in 1964. It was founded much earlier, in 1816, and in its time has been used for diverse purposes, such as a ballroom, convent, and legislative meeting place. During the 19th century, the convent housed an orphanage and it is believed that the ghosts of these children continue to haunt the halls of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. There have also been reports of ghostly Confederate Soldiers and nuns roaming the halls.
10. The Omni Grove Park Inn (Asheville, North Carolina)
The story behind the beautiful Omni Grove Park Inn is perhaps more odd than anything else. Apparently, there’s a rather mischievous ghost on site known as the Pink Lady. No one quite knows her origins, but she has reportedly appeared to many guests in the form of a pink mist. Some of her quirky behaviors include tickling the feet of sleeping guests, turning off the air conditioning units, and holding people’s hands. While these may not be terrifying behaviors, there is something eerie about them nevertheless.
Have you spent time in any of these haunted spots lately? We’d love to hear about any and all of your experiences there.