Numerous hotel guests crave comfort, cleanliness, and order when looking for lodging, but select individuals jump to the other side of the spectrum and opt for the creakiest, creepiest, culty hotel arrangements available. Horror hounds and ghost-hunters find the most haunted overnight stays to chance their luck with spirits and those no longer with us. As October— or as some call it, Spooky season— approaches, the hunt for spooky stays rises, and we’ve compiled a list of the top dwellings.
Spend the Night, If You Dare: Hunker Down In One Of These Haunted Hotels
If you're looking to amp up the scare factor this Halloween season and want to spend the night where terrible, creepy, and often unexplained things occurred, you can. Here's a list of where you can sleep with the ghosts if you dare.
1. Sallie House, Atchison, KS
At the turn of the century, Sallie House lurks in the middle of 508 N 2nd St. in Atchison, Kansas. During its first few years, the decrepit white abode doubled as a physician’s office, and one of the patients never left.
Sallie, a six-year-old Kansas resident, collapsed from abdominal pain, resulting in her mother rushing her to the esteemed physician. Upon arrival, the doctor injected her with anesthesia and began the operation to prevent her appendix from bursting. However, he didn’t wait the minimum amount of time before operating on the child. Unfortunately, Sallie’s six-year-old self couldn’t handle the pain level, and her last words came in the form of shrill shrieks and cries.
According to visitors and ghost hunters, Sallie’s spirit continues to float through the house, turn still air to a shiver, inflict pain, and scratch the abdomen of those spending the night. For individuals brave enough to possibly meet Sallie, the hotel permits individuals (two guests minimum) 18 and up to spend the night.
Please note that the Sallie House isn't a hotel per se. If you're staying overnight, you'll have to bring your own sleeping bags, pillows, etc. You might also want to have a hotel room in Atchison or nearby Leavenworth booked just in case you don't last the night in the Sallie House.
2. The Stanley Hotel Shining Hotel, Estes Park, CO
If you ever wish to witness the inspiration behind Stephen King’s bestselling novel The Shining, book your stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. In 1903, Oscar Stanley constructed this stunning mountainside villa. Although Stanley dealt with tuberculosis, he felt revived and refreshed after completing construction, lending his gratitude to his creation. He returned each year for the healing effects and remained in the hotel post-mortem with his wife, Flora.
Stanley occasionally roams the billiard room after grabbing a cocktail from the bar with his wife. Stanley’s wife, Flora, shows off her piano skills. The mountainside villa offers a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains and some interactions with otherworldly beings.
For maximum spook, check out Room 217, the last resting place of the hotel’s housekeeper, Elizabeth Wilson. Wilson lit lanterns to light the room, not expecting the fixtures to erupt and permanently affect her. Wilson tends to cast a cold spell between unmarried couples during their rest. Ghosts of children also gallop and giggle through the hallways.
3. The Read House Chattanooga, TN
311 is the name of a famous band and the number of the most haunted rooms in Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Read House. Guests can only in room 311 stay six nights out of the year and must enter a lottery for selection. The rest of the hotel is fully bookable all 365 days of the year.
Annalisa Netherly lost her head at the hands of a lover in 1927 and continues to disturb those in the room. Her boyfriend at the time beheaded her in the bath, or so the story goes. The Read House recently restored the original look of the 1927 space, complete with a claw foot tub and a physical key lock. Lucky guests have the opportunity to experience crumbs of the infamous Netherly story, what with silhouette spottings, flickering lights, and random noises heard in the room.
Tours of Room 311 are available if there's available staff. Inquire at the front desk.
4. Hotel Del Coronado, San Francisco, CA
In the haunting case of Kate Morgan, she checked into the Hotel Del Coronado and never turned in her keys. Morgan hoped to have a secret romance with a man who was not her husband, but the suitor never showed up, leading Morgan to end her own life. Tourists claim Morgan still occupies the gift shop and the beach, and she meanders down the hotel's hallways. She stayed in Room 3327, and if you’re lucky enough to book that space, you may hear strange noises emanating throughout the room, random objects flitting through the atmosphere, or strange smells lingering through the space.
5. Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, MA
The greatest unsolved murder in U.S. history doubles as a haunted attraction that directs thousands of guests annually. In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden minded their business, navigating their daily duties, napping and cleaning when they encountered their fate. The two made contact with an axe and passed away, but who killed them? Their two children, Lizzie and Emma, and their maid, Bridget Sullivan, were the only other residents in the house. A jury deemed Lizzie guilty but soon acquitted her and found her not guilty, leading the public to wonder, who killed Andrew and Abby?
To this day, all we have are conspiracy theories surrounding the case, yet the house remains how it looked in 1892. The original furniture, doors, and artifacts attract true crime enthusiasts to peruse the house. Can you solve the unsolved murder?
6. The Welty House/ Brick House, Gettysburg, PA
The Welty House looks like one haunted house films model their sets after. The two-story redbrick home housed Solomon Welty starting in 1854. Unbeknownst to many, the Confederates used the Welty House as a battle scene and home base for several fighters during the Battle of Gettysburg. Following the fight, Confederate and Union soldiers designated the house as the official burial site for over 30 men.
Welty also opened the house’s cellar up to individuals looking for shelter since a spring ran through the basement. Today, visitors note the bullet scars left on the building from the Battle of Gettysburg and look out for any of the resting soldiers and Welty’s ghost.
7. The Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles, CA
If you yearn for a one-on-one talk with Marilyn Monroe or Montgomery Clift, The Hollywood Roosevelt is your destination. Hotel staff stated that Marilyn Monroe adored Room 1200 during her life, always asking to stay there. Before the workers rearranged Room 1200 for tourists’ interest, Marilyn fancied showing herself in a full-length mirror nuzzled inside the suite. As guests looked at themselves, they noticed Monroe’s silhouette. So, staff moved the mirror from the room to the hallway to allow more people to interact with the haunt and avoid spooked visitors. Experts also claim Monroe favors the Blossom Ballroom, the location of the initial Academy Awards.
Another Academy Awards aficionado, Montgomery Clift, decides to spend his afterlife at the Roosevelt. Clift enjoys running through chromatic scales on his trumpet, watching over those in Room 928, and paralyzing people assigned to that room.
Two other spirits, little Caroline and a former actor, fly through the Roosevelt. Little Caroline dons a pink jacket and jeans while airing her grievances over her missing mother, and the actor sits in the Blossom Ballroom, hoping to collect his Academy Award.
8. Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
Right across from Grant Park, the location of Chicago’s annual music festival, Lollapalooza, stands a creaky browning 19th-century hotel. According to locals, the two haunted beings occupying the hotel are none other than Al Capone and a guy called Peg Leg Johnny.
Capone likes to hang out around his old room on the eighth floor, while Peg Leg Johnny likes to mess with guests, flicker lights, and tamper with electronics. Theorists have three theories surrounding Johnny’s identity. They think he may have been a homeless man who met an ill fate in the alley or a child whose mother threw him and herself out of a window, ending their lives, or he is Charles Conway’s ghost, a killer clown who performed with a peg leg.
Aside from those infamous individuals, Room 441 is the kicker. An unnamed ghost chills under the bed, kicks patrons' feet to jolt them from slumber and watches them from a corner of the room. The Congress Plaza Hotel is another hotel that inspired Stephen King’s creative process. He based his story 1408 on the Congress Plaza Hotel.
9. The Lemp Mansion
Who would think a former brewery doubles as one of the most haunted places in America? That’s the case with the Lemp Mansion in Missouri. Johann, or Adam, Lemp emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in the `1800s, bringing his larger knowledge to the states to capitalize on it. Succeeding Johann’s death, his son Frederick passed away due to heart failure, his eldest son, William Sr., died by his own hand after his best friend fell ill and died, and a few years later, William’s son, William Jr., shot himself, and so did his daughter. Charles Lemp became the last living resident until he shot his dog and himself.
Is there something in the air? Visitors and workers account for shadows, whispers, flying glasses, opening and closing doors, and strange noises wafting throughout the mansion. Staff feel a lingering presence eyeing them, and some workers flee their shifts, never to return.
10. The Conjuring House, Harrisville, RI
Before the world learned of the hauntings of the Old Arnold Estate through The Conjuring franchise, the Perron family experienced the terrors in the 1970s. Andrea Perron describes the estate as “a portal disguised as a farmhouse,” and those who’ve seen the estate in person attest that. The Perron family moved into the house with their five daughters, and each of them experienced strange phenomena like their beds floating into the air, brooms thrashing throughout rooms, and foul aromas wading through the house.
Three main spirits haunt the house today. Bathsheba, a former resident of the dwelling—and an alleged murderer/satanist— Abigail Arnold, another former resident who warns visitors to stay out of the cellar if malevolent beings are there, and Matthew, an interactive spirit who loves the piano.
Hunker Down for Halloween
You have endless choices when it comes to booking haunted hotels this spooky season. Follow your childhood dreams of seeing a ghost in reality, or make a note to stray away from these places if you wish to remain unharmed and unaffected this October. Which one will you choose?
About Gabrielle Reeder
Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old, and blames her love for jet setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and ten countries by her 26th birthday. During her trips, she loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues.