October 12, 2007 / 1:52 PM / 13 years ago

Travel Picks: Haunted hotels where the guests never left

NEW YORK, (Reuters Life!) - If you actually like to hear things that go bang in the night, a list of haunted hotel rooms in the United States could be a good guide for your next vacation.

The Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has just released a list of stories from hotels offering “permanent” guests, from star-crossed lovers to loyal employees, who never checked out:

1. The Night-Shift Nurse - Baltimore, Maryland

In May 2007, room 218 of the Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore was occupied by a scientist attending a lecture. In the early morning, he was awoken by the sound of creaking floor boards and looking up saw the image of a tall, slender woman wearing a white cap. The woman turned and smiled at him and proceeded to walk through the wall. The inn’s main building was built in 1889 as a hospice for sick and injured sailors and it is believed the spirit was that of a Mission nurse.

2. Follow the Bouncing Ball - Austin, Texas

Built in 1886, The Driskill Hotel is home to the spirit of a young girl bouncing a ball who is said to haunt the first floor lobby, the ladies’ restroom on the second floor and the staircase leading to the mezzanine. While the Texas Senate was in session in 1887, the daughter of one of the senators fell to her death while chasing a ball down the staircase.

3. Sixth-Floor Spirit - Salem, Massachusetts

A number of guests have reported the strong sense of a presence roaming room 612 in The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. In one month, two guests staying at different times recalled seeing a woman moving down the 6th floor hallway and pausing in front of 612. The spirit’s identity can only be speculated upon - maybe a heartbroken bride returning to a happier time or the lonely widow of one of Salem’s sea captains.

4. The Woeful Widow - Galveston, Texas

The Hotel Galvez, built in 1911, is the only historic beachfront property in Galveston. Legend says many years ago a woman checked into a 5th floor room to await her fiance’s return from sea. She would climb to the hotel’s turrets every day to watch for his ship. Learning that her beloved’s ship had sunk, she continued her watch but finally took her life.

5. The Cigar-Smoking Man - Parkersburg, West Virginia

Many reports have been made of clouds of cigar smoke in hallways at the Blennerhassett Hotel, wafting through doorways or rising from the bar. The source is never discovered, but many believe it belongs to William Chancellor who built the hotel in 1889. Others claim it is the spirit of Mr. Stealey, a former general manager of the hotel who smoked cigars.

6. The Perfect Stranger - Coronado, California

Kate Morgan checked into The Hotel del Coronado on Thanksgiving Day 1892 and never checked out. Earlier this year, a guest who stayed in a fifth floor room reported waking to the sounds of footsteps coming from the room above him — but the hotel does not have a sixth floor.

7. The Dapper Disappearance - Baltimore, Maryland

Fran Carter, a long-timer employee of the Radisson Lord Baltimore, was with a woman and two men standing in the dark in the hotel’s ballroom. She inquired if they would like some light, walked within feet of the group and turned on the lights. The three visitors immediately vanished.

8. A Helping Hand - Napa, California

Built in 1886 as the Hatt Mill building, the Napa River Inn seems to be frequented by the spirits of the Hatt family. One night, a maintenance manager was straightening the shelves in an upstairs storage area when a heavy box lifted itself in the air and moved across the shelf.

9. Solemn John - New Orleans

The International Society of Paranormal Research spent several days investigating the Hotel Monteleone which dates back to 1886. One of the spirits identified himself to them as “Solemn John.” Originally from Tennessee, businessman John Wagner was a frequent visitor to New Orleans. Distraught over deals that went bad during the Great Depression, he took his own life.

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