Previously: Sauer Castle.
I don’t know about you, but something I’ve always wanted to do — one of my bucket list activities, if you will — is to spend Halloween in a haunted hotel. Or a haunted inn, or a haunted bed and breakfast… even a spooky Airbnb will do. I haven’t done it yet; to be honest, it will probably be a while before I’ll be able to make it happen. But that hasn’t stopped me from continually researching allegedly haunted accommodations to look into booking at a later date — so as this year’s Halloween season gets rolling, I figured I would share some of that research with you, Gentle Readers. Just, y’know, in case any of you wanted to stay in a haunted hotel during this spectacularly spooky time of year.
I know, I know — lists of haunted hotels are a proverbial dime a dozen on the internet these days. What’s more, all of those lists tend to be more or less the same list, reproduced with a few variations over and over and over again, all featuring pretty much the same spots each time. (I’m looking at you, Stanley Hotel.) I’m sure they’re all great places to stay, and there’s a reason their stories are so well-known… but I’m honestly a little tired of hearing the same tales and recommendations repeated time and time again.
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So, I tried to look deeper. I went off the beaten path a bit, attempting to find less commonly covered accommodations — or at least, digging up hotels, inns, B&Bs, and Airbnbs whose stories were new to me. They represent a variety of price ranges, too, so as long as you’re willing to travel to the right spots, you should be able to find something to fit your budget here. (They are all in the United States, though; if there’s enough interest, maybe I’ll put together a global edition in the future.)
I do have one request, though: If you end up staying at any of these places, tell us all about it. Because, I mean… what else is the Halloween season for but sharing the spookiest tales you know with a rapt audience?
Three Chimneys Inn, Durham, New Hampshire
The Three Chimneys has everything you’d expect to find in a classic New England inn: Centuries-old buildings, picturesque landscapes, and — of course — ghosts. The main homestead is one of the oldest buildings in the entire state of New Hampshire, as well as being the oldest building in Durham; originally built in 1649, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. The carriage house, meanwhile, arrived about 150 years later in 1795.
The most persistent ghost story that clings to the inn is that of Hannah. Either the daughter or granddaughter — reports vary — of Valentine Hill, who built the original homestead, Hannah is said to have drowned in the nearby Oyster River; much of the activity observed at the Three Chimney is chalked up to her playful, mischievous spirit. (She likes to play with people’s hair, apparently — and she does not like electronic devices.) The apparition of an unidentified man has also been spotted on the property, and doors sometimes have a habit of locking themselves.
In the off-season, rooms start at $125; during the spring and summer, though, you’re more likely to pay between $150 and $230.
Haunted Castle Bed And Breakfast, Brumley, Missouri
Previously an Airbnb listing, the Haunted Castle Bed And Breakfast is now a full-fledged business of its own. Established in 1850 by Dr. Walter Dixon and his wife, Martha, the building spent over a century doubling not only as a home, but also as a doctor’s office, hospital, morgue, and funeral home; there’s also a cemetery and a mass grave nearby, making it a literally death-adjacent property.
In its new life as a B&B, guests have reportedly woken up to their beds shaking, or to a gentle tapping on their shoulders, as if someone were trying to wake them. More disconcerting, though, are the reports of a woman in an old-fashioned party frock who hangs around the staircase and the second floor — she’s known alternately as “the crying woman” and “the screaming woman” for, uh, obvious reasons. The B&B also posts alleged ghost photos taken on the property on its Facebook page periodically.
There are three rooms available — two equipped with queen beds and one with a full — with rates ranging from $119 to $149 per night, depending on the room and the day (weekends are more expensive). Your booking also includes the Ghost and Graveyard Tour, too, though — and if you’re just in the area and not interested in spending the night, you can go ahead and book the tour separately as well.
The “Dead And Breakfast,” New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in the Bywater area of New Orleans, Otter Campbell, who lists herself in her Airbnb bio as a psychic medium and paranormal investigator, has five different rooms available in her allegedly haunted house for guests to stay in: The Manhattan Room, a large kitchen which has been converted into a small apartment with two queen beds arranged in a bunk-style formation; the Master Bedroom, which has both a California king and a queen-sized bed in it; the king-sized bed-equipped Mediterranean Room; the Drawing Room, which has two king beds and a dining table; and the ground-floor Temple Room, which has an iron four-poster.
I’m not sure exactly who or what allegedly haunts Campbell’s house, but the listings for all the rooms are careful to note that paranormal investigations and séances are carried out in the building between 9pm and midnight regularly — and yes, you can join if you like: Campbell and a few co-hosts run an Airbnb experience called “Learn to Be a Paranormal Investigator!” The rooms are available at prices starting at $45 or $55 per night, while the paranormal investigation costs $75 a head.
The Benson Hotel, Portland, Oregon
Built in 1913 by entrepreneur and businessman Simon Benson, the Benson Hotel is both beautiful and allegedly haunted. According to Haunted Rooms, the seventh, ninth, and twelfth floors experience the most activity; a helpful porter, a lady in white, a lady in blue, a little boy, and Simon Benson himself are among the apparitions that have been spotted in the hotel. None of them seem to be malicious, though, so if you’re looking for a spot full of relatively benign spirits, the Benson might be worth checking out.
The Benson is expensive, though — it averages around $325 a night — so it, uh, may not fit everyone’s budget; however, some of the spirits tend to hang around the lobby and other common areas (the lady in blue, for example, appears as a reflection in a mirror located in the hotel’s lobby). So, you can always just pop in for a quick look without staying the night if you like.
The Historic Anchorage Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska
Bearing the distinction of being the only hotel in Anchorage on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Haunted Rooms, the Historic Anchorage Hotel opened its doors in 1916, added an Annex in 1936 (the building of which is the hotel’s current home), and underwent an extensive renovation and overhaul in 1989.
The most well-known ghost said to hang around the hotel is that of a jilted bride; however, she’s far from the only spirit that might haunt the place. Jack Sturgus, Anchorage’s first Chief of Police, is believed to linger — he was found “shot in the back with a bullet from his own gun” on Feb. 20, 1921 right by the hotel, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that he would choose to stick around. He might still be trying to solve his own murder.
The hotel even offers a logbook for guests to document their experiences: According to the Anchorage Daily News, entries include, “May 30, 2007: The guest in room 202 called saying somebody was pranking them by tapping on the door and then running away. He said her heard a couple of children giggling. No children in-house,” as well as one dated October of 2011 detailing a guest finding “a small child … standing in the closet smiling.”
You can expect to shell out anywhere between $109 to $200 per night, depending on the room.
The Stroud House Airbnb, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Built in the 1940s, the Stroud House has been in its current owners’ family for five generations. Like many allegedly haunted Airbnb spots, it’s not totally clear what might be occupying the house; according to the listing’s hosts, however, friends, family members, and guests have experienced “footsteps in the hallway or upstairs, the hall and basement lights turning on randomly, a shadowy figure in the kitchen and dining room, glowing orbs in the living room, and even a music box that has played by itself.” The good news is that activity has never occurred directly in the guest bedroom, so at least you’ll (probably) be able to get an undisturbed night’s sleep. It’ll set you back around $42 per night.
The Atlantic Hotel, Berlin, Maryland
Located near the coast of Maryland, Berlin was founded in the late 1700s and incorporated as a town in 1868. The Atlantic Hotel opened just a few decades later in 1895 as a grand Victorian accommodation — an air it maintains even today.
In addition to its earthly guests, a number of spirits are believed to occupy the hotel — including that of a little girl who haunts the second floor. Laughter, the sound of a ball bouncing, and the squeak of a tricycle’s wheels have been heard echoing down the hallway, according to Chesapeake Ghosts; she’s never been seen, though, so it’s not known if she’s able to manifest as a full apparition.
Rates run between $95 and $350, depending on the time of year and type of room; a standard room with a full-sized bed, private bath, and shower stall booked during January makes up the cheaper end of the spectrum, while the Anna Suite — a three-room suite with a living room, kitchen, and bedroom — occupies the highest end of the spectrum when booked during July and August.
Pro tip: Book Room 16 if you want to experience something really weird.
The Kahler Grand Hotel, Rochester, Minnesota
When the Kahler Grand Hotel first opened in 1921, it was unlike anything the world had ever seen before: A hybrid between hotel and hospital. The building, housed the Mayo Clinic in its early days, with six of the floors making up the hotel portion and five of them hosting the hospital — including three operating rooms and a morgue. Although the hotel remains connected to the current site of the Mayo Clinic via a pedestrian walkway, the building’s hospital functions were shut down in 1953 and the clinic itself moved next door.
Some say, of course, that a number of former patients still occupy the Kahler Grand Hotel. Odd smells, sudden changes in temperature, and unusual noises have all been reported — but the strangest story of all has to do with a disappearance and an unsolved mystery.
Helen Voorhees Brach was a wealthy widow; he had, after all, married into the E.J. Brach & Sons Candy Company in 1950, so when her husband, Frank, died in 1970, she was left quite comfortably off. In February of 1977, she traveled from Chicago to Rochester for a routine check-up at the Mayo Clinic; she stayed at the Kahler while she was in town. On Feb. 17, she checked out, stopped by the gift shop, and left to fly home.
She was never seen again. The flight crew didn’t even remember seeing her on the plane.
Although she was declared legally dead in 1984, we still don’t know what happened to her, or when, or where — but many believe her spirit is still at the Kahler, riding the elevator and wandering the halls.
Rates begin at $89 to $420 per night, depending on the type of room you book.
Farnam Manor, Richfield, Ohio
Built in 1834 by Everett Farnam, Farnam Manor is now a museum — but it’s haunted by more than history. In 1858, Farnam’s daughter, Emily, drowned in the cistern; she’s now said to hang around the manor and its land. Farnam himself may also still be around — he died in the upstairs bedroom in 1884. Indeed, upwards of 65 different spirits are said to inhabit the property; activity recorded includes objects moving on their own, voices and footsteps sounding through the house when no one else is there, and the scent of cigar smoke drifting about when no one is smoking. The environment is said to be quite benign, however; it’s been described as “an angelic vortex,” so if you’re looking for a spiritual experience, rather than a spooky one, Farnam Manor might be worth checking out.
You’ve got a variety of options for lodging, too. The Ellis Guest House, the Charles Brush Lodge, and the Eden’s Garden Cottage can all be booked if you’d like an entire house capable of sleeping large groups; or, if you’re into camping, the manor offers a Haunted Camping Experience for $65 per person (minimum 10 people; you’ll also need to bring your own camping gear).
The Historic Kahn Hotel Jefferson, Texas
The Kahn Hotel’s history is as colorful as you’d expect it to be: Built in 1865, it’s been at various times a saloon and a brothel — and, accordingly, it’s seen an awful lot of shootouts, robberies, and other similar incidents that were common at such establishments during the “Wild West” era.
These incidents seem to have left an indelible mark on the place, as well. Paranormal investigators have reported hearing the echoes of gunshots fired long ago reverberating around the building; the spirits of Jessica, a former madam of the brothel, and Andrew, her 7-year-old son, who were both killed during a robbery, have been seen on the property; a possible poltergeist named Billy, who may be the spirit of a man murdered by his sweetheart’s father when the couple attempted to elope at the saloon, sometimes makes trouble for guests he doesn’t like; blood stains randomly appear at the back door, no matter how often or thoroughly they’re scrubbed away; and on, and on, and on. Not for nothing is the hotel considered one of the most haunted hotels in Texas.
Rates run from about $89 to $200, depending on the season and room.
The San Remo Hotel, San Francisco, California
San Francisco doesn’t lack for haunted hotels — you’ve probably heard of the Queen Anne, for example, a beautiful, Victorian-style building that allegedly houses a whole host of spirits—but one of the less talked-about spots still deserves your attention. Originally known as the New California Hotel, the San Remo Hotel was built following the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed around 80 percent of San Francisco and killed some 3,000 residents. In 1922, however, it was renamed; its new moniker was drawn from the Italian town of the same name, also granting a nod to the Genoa-style fare served at the hotel’s well-known restaurant.
The rooms to book for a haunted experience are Room 33 and Room 42. A “painted lady” — believed to have been a madam from the period in which the hotel was run as a brothel — is said to knock on the door to Room 33 before disappearing; meanwhile, a little girl has been seen running through the hallways and attempting to get into Room 42. In either case, it’s, uh, not recommended that you open the door if you happened to hear a knock when you’re inside the room.
Although the San Remo has been modernized to an extent, it’s styled as a blast from the past: The rooms don’t have phones or televisions, the furnishings are heirloom, and the bathrooms are shared. There’s internet access in the main hallway, though — and the rates can be as cheap as $79 per night, depending on the season, day of the week, and type of room you book.
Laura’s Cottage, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is universally acknowledged as one of the most haunted cities in the United States, so naturally, there’s no shortage of allegedly haunted places to stay, should you choose to visit overnight. But you’d be hard pressed to find one spookier than Laura’s Cottage — even though it’s also incredibly picturesque. Located in a designated historic district, the building dates back to 1799; it still retains its centuries-old charm, but has also been modernized for convenience.
Oh, and just so you know, it isn’t named for its owner; it’s named for the ghost that lives there.
Not much is known about Laura, but we do know she was a former resident who grew beautiful flowers. It’s recommended that guests who stay in the cottage introduce themselves when they arrive; she’ll leave you alone if you do.
A night in Laura’s Cottage will set you back around $178; the place sleeps four.
Happy haunting, gang!