You may be surprised by the paranormal activity experienced in haunted hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and inns across the U.S. Some of the heart-stopping encounters that guests have with ghosts and other spirits make them flee in fear. So if you're looking for the most haunted places to stay, you have plenty of options.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel is best known around the world as the haunted hotel in Stephen King's novel and subsequent movie, The Shining. The Stanley Hotel opened its doors on July 4, 1909. Built by Freelan Oscar Stanley (Stanley Steamer Automobile), the hotel resort boasted 140 rooms. Designed to be a vacation destination for the rich and famous, it was also a retreat for healing. During this era, many people suffered from tuberculosis, and The Stanley Hotel was prepared to cater to this upper-class clientele as well, especially since Freelan, known as F.O., suffered from the disease.
Today, unlike many haunted hotels, The Stanley Hotel embraces its paranormal activity. There's no doubt, The Stanley Hotel has a ghostly reputation. Many believe this is thanks to the cave system directly beneath the hotel with its rich quartz and limestone deposits that are believed to be conduits for ghosts and spirits.
Guests are fascinated with Room 217, where King and his wife stayed, during their one-night visit in the 1970s. Of course, the long hall and the walk past Room 401 and the bell tower are included in the tour. And the open attic is an especially freaky part of the tour where the tour guide encourages guests to whisper, "REDRUM!"
It's a Ghostly Experience!
Long before Stephen King's book, The Shining, The Stanley had a reputation of being haunted. The stately ghost of F.O. Stanley was seen by guests when checking in. Other guests reported hearing piano music coming from the music room when no one was there. The playing was attributed to Flora Stanley, F.O.'s wife. These sightings continue to this day.
Fourth floor guests report hearing children laughing and giggling as they run down the long hall. Originally, the fourth floor was a big attic where children of the guests along with their nannies slept.
Room 428 is known for its scary phantom footsteps, and the furniture being rearranged. There's also a nice friendly cowboy who hangs out at the corner of the bed. Any woman sleeping in this room will receive a goodnight kiss from the kindly, gentleman cowboy.
Other paranormal encounters that guests report include:
- Flickering lights, disembodied spooky laughter, and shadow figures
- Moving objects
- Paranormal activity throughout the 11 buildings
You can book a room in the historic part of the hotel for the best chance of seeing a ghost or two. If you aren't up to spending the night in this part of the hotel, you can always choose to stay in The Lodge, The Residences, or the Aspire.
The Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California
The Hollywood Roosevelt was the hotel for Hollywood royalty back in the Golden Age of Hollywood when glamourous stars were looked upon with awe and envy. That era may be long gone, but the ghosts of those stars aren't gone. Many of them stuck around, and today they haunt The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
The ghosts of film stars like Clark Gable, his wife Carole Lombard, and Marilyn Monroe are seen regularly in the famous hotel, along with actor Montgomery Clift.
In fact, Montgomery Clift seems the biggest attention seeker. He pops in his old room 928 and appears in the mirrors. He likes to be seen in the hallway. and often touches guest shoulders or brushes against them. Some guests have reported hearing him play his trumpet. Perhaps the creepiest sightings are of him watching the guests staying in his old room. Maids claim he also watches them as they clean the rooms.
- Guests of Room 1200 have reported seeing the spooky apparition of Marilyn floating about.
- Two male ghosts haunt the Blossom Ballroom.
- There's reportedly a young girl named Caroline who can't find her mom.
The Marshall House, Savannah, GA
The Marshall House is Savannah's oldest historic hotel, having opened its doors for business in 1851. Like most of historic Savannah, The Marshal House is haunted. During the Civil War, the hotel was occupied by the Union army and its 68 rooms were transformed into a Union hospital from 1864 until the end of the war in 1865. The hotel was later transformed again into a hospital during two separate yellow fever epidemics.
When the hotel underwent renovations, the ghastly discovery of human bones were found underneath the floorboards of the downstairs area used for surgery. Amputated limbs were no doubt from wounded Civil War soldiers.
Given the history of so much suffering and death that took place within the hotel, it's easy to understand why it has so much paranormal activity. Like so much of the historic Savannah district, ghosts seem to be very happy hanging out at the hotel. Guests and staff alike report seeing ghosts suddenly materialize in the rooms and on the premises. In fact, The Marshall House is a smorgasbord of ghosts and paranormal activity.
Many guests report hearing the sound of children running up and down the halls when there is no one there. Guests are often frightened by doorknobs rattling during the night and bathroom faucets turn themselves on and off. These are just some of the minor types of paranormal activity.
Other paranormal encounters include:
- Disembodied voices and loud unexplained phantom noises, such as crashing sounds, bangs, and knocks
- Man sitting by a window reading a book
- Children bouncing a ball in the hallways at night
- Two ladies in white floating about the halls and the ladies restroom
- Bites from a young boy ghost
20 South Battery, Charleston, SC
20 South Battery, formerly known as the Battery Carriage House Inn, was completed in 1843. The famous landmark reopened in 2020 as a luxury boutique hotel. A Preservation Society of Charleston marker now officially graces the graceful historic property.
Considered one of the most haunted places in Charleston, the Battery Carriage House was completed in 1843 as a private residence. Like many homes during the Civil War, it was war torn and changed hands over the decades. New owners added onto the house and eventually, it was turned into an inn.
Ghosts' Favorite Rooms
Dubbed as Charleston's most haunted inn, 20 South Battery hosts a collection of ghost residents. These long-time specters congregate mostly in Rooms 3, 8 and 10, although they do tend to wander about the inn at all hours.
Room 3 is known for interfering with electronic devices. Guests hear strange sounds and see orbs floating through the room. Some report seeing several glowing apparitions that never fully materialize.
Room 8 has the most disturbing ghost that is also very freakish. Guests are inevitably awakened by some type of noise only to find a headless torso floating over them. One guest attempted to touch the apparition but was terrified when a low evil growl resounded from the torso. Needless to say, if you're a skeptic, book Room 8 for your stay to test your mettle.
Room 10 is haunted by The Gentleman Ghost. This very polite ghost is said to have a gray-colored appearance. He seems to glide across the room and doesn't attempt to frighten the guests. Some guests experience an eerie feeling as though they are being watched. However, he is a bit quirky. It seems The Gentleman Ghost likes to lie down in the bed with the guests. He isn't menacing, but it appears when he's ready to go to bed, it doesn't matter who else is sleeping there.
The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA
Surrounded by tales of murder, the Myrtles Plantation is considered one of America's most haunted places. With all the paranormal activity that occurs daily, it is truly a ghost hunter's playground. Not only can you stay in the historic house converted into a B&B inn with 18 types of accommodation, but you can tour the plantation and learn about the dramatic events that took place on the plantation. You may even hear about some of the many resident ghosts.
It all started when General David Bradford built The Myrtles Plantation in 1796. Known as Whiskey Dave, Bradford was one of the leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania caused by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's excise tax on whiskey. Fleeing from arrest, Bradford bought 650 acres and started construction.
One of the ghosts said to roam the plantation is that of a young girl who died in 1868. The story goes that the voodoo priest failed to save her and now her ghost performs voodoo rituals on sleeping guests.
While there are rumors of numerous murders that happened in the house, there's only one documented. In 1871, while on the veranda, owner William Winter was murdered by a stranger. The story tells how Winter managed to get inside the house and tried to climb up the staircase, but collapsed, dead, on the 17th step. Staff and guests report hearing his phantom footsteps on the staircase. Others report seeing his apparition stagger and then crawl up the staircase until reaching the 17th step when the ghost just vanishes.
There are two well-known photos of ghosts taken on the plantation. The first was captured in 1992 when the owner was taking photos of the grounds for the insurance company. She discovered the apparition of what's believed to be a slave girl standing in the breezeway of the store and B&B. The photo was dubbed Chloe Postcard.
According to legend, Chloe was a nosy slave house servant and was caught eavesdropping. The plantation owners had her ear cut off as punishment. Chloe got her revenge by poisoning a cake she served to the plantation family laced with oleander leaves. Her malicious dessert killed the plantation's mistress Sara Woodruff and her children. Chloe was hanged in the courtyard for their murders. This story has been told and retold although historians haven't turned up any evidence that the story is true. Supposedly, there is a mirror in the house that contains the spirits of Sara and her children.
The other apparition was captured in a photo several years later of a different ghost. Dubbed Ghost Girl, the photo clearly reveals the image of a young girl dressed in Antebellum attire gazing out the window of the house. What makes this image so eerie is the way the Ghost Girl is looking straight into the camera.
1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, AR
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa was built in 1886. In 1937, Norman Baker, a known criminal and scammer, bought the hotel and made it into a health resort/hospital advertising the resort/hospital could cure cancer patients. In 1940, Baker was sent to prison for four years on mail fraud charges. The hotel was bought in 1946 and in 1967, nearly burned to the ground. It changed ownership a few more times. In 2016, the hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are many claims of various ghosts haunting the hotel. Based on the hotel's past, many people feel these may be some of Baker's unsatisfied customers hanging around for their refunds. Some of the ghosts from when the hotel was a pseudo health spa/hospital include:
- Ghosts of nurses are seen in the halls.
- The ghost of a man who resembles photos of Baker is seen in various places wearing the purple doctor's outfit Baker favored.
- The sound of medical carts creak down halls or in rooms.
- A nurse pushes a gurney toward the basement morgue.
The hotel has been featured on various ghost hunting TV shows over the years. Guests report some very personal encounters with the hotel's ghosts.
In the Governor's suite, a couple reported waking up each morning to find themselves snuggly tucked in by some unseen motherly type of ghost.
Room 419 has a resident ghost named Theodora a very proper staff member of Baker's hospital staff. Theodora is known to tidy up the rooms when hotel guests are out.
Room 221 guests reported a Victorian garbed gentleman showed them to their room and locked their door with the key they presented to him. Before they could tip him, the man disappeared. That night when the couple returned from dinner, they discovered the key didn't fit the lock. It turned out they'd been given the key to room 321, but the ghostly man had still been able to open their door.
Room 218 is the residence of Michael, a rather flirtatious ghost. Michael was an Irish stonemason and tragically died when he fell from the second floor during the 1885 construction. Michael will touch or tap female guests in his playful and flirty manner. According to Adria English, one woman visitor reported the ghost grabbed her toes and cleared his throat by her ear. She also reported seeing the ghost roam about the room and mistook him for her husband. However, in the morning her husband revealed he never left his bed across from hers. Terrified when she realized she'd encountered a ghost, the woman and her husband immediately checked out.
The RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA
The Queen Mary is one of California's famous haunted places and just happens to be a ship. The first class ocean liner's maiden voyage was in 1936. During World War II, she was used to ferry Allied troops. After the war, she became a transatlantic passenger ocean liner until her retirement in 1967. She was permanently moored in Long Beach and in 1971 became a tourist destination museum with a restaurant and hotel accommodation.
The ship is on the National Register of Historic Places and is listed as one of the Historic Hotels of America in The National Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, she is widely considered one of the most haunted hotels in the world.
Some of the paranormal activity on the ship includes:
- Spirits of two women who drowned decades apart in the ship's pool are seen in this area of the ship.
- Visitors and guests report seeing the spirit of a little girl who died near the pool area.
- A stateroom is said to be haunted by someone murdered in the room.
- The ghost of an engineer is seen in the ship's engine room.
- Ghost children are said to play in the pool area.
- The Lady in White is seen floating through the Queen's Salon area.
- Suite Room B-340 is officially recognized as notoriously haunted by the hotel.
- Witnesses report hearing a pounding from outside the ship's hull, believed to be the ghosts of an escort ship that sank.
There are many ghostly activities you can enjoy, such as the Haunted Encounters Tour that operates during the day. At night, you can explore the ship's ghosts by participating in a séance or twilight tour. You can participate in a paranormal investigation or go on a ghost tour walk through the ship. You may even want to Dine with the Spirits to get everything you can out of your stay.
Most Haunted Places You Can Stay in the U.S.
There are many haunted places you can stay in America. Some hotels, inns, and B&Bs offer guests more than a place to stay, with a complete experience of possible paranormal encounters.