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Looking for a spine-chilling place to stay? Then spend a night at any of these 15 historic hotels across the United States. From Boston to Nashville, each is known for its paranormal activity, so be sure to keep one eye open during your stay.
Haunted hotels might sound like the stuff of nightmares, but if you’re envisioning run-down, deserted motels or isolated cabins in the woods, then think again. Some of these hotels are as fancy as they are phantom-filled, from a stately Louisiana plantation to a glamorous 1920s resort on the coast of Florida. Regardless of how they look, each one has had reported specter sightings that could convert even the most skeptical ghost hunters.
A favorite of past literary and political figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and John F Kennedy, the Omni Parker House is one of the oldest hotels in Boston and boasts an old-world elegance. Open since 1855, the historic property was founded by Harvey Parker, who guests have reported sighting in their respective rooms. Room 303 has been described as having paranormal activity, and served as the inspiration behind horror author Stephen King’s short story, 1408.
Known as “America’s most haunted hotel,” the Crescent Hotel, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a former hospital, is said to be haunted by patients and doctors, and visitors have even claimed to have spotted the spirit of a pet cat, Morris. The hotel hosts ghost tours, and some stories are told around a campfire with a creepy midnight visit to the morgue.
Built in 1924, the Emily Morgan Hotel, in San Antonio, Texas, once served as a medical arts building housing doctors’ offices and a hospital. The hotel boasts eerie gothic architecture with an array of gargoyles each portraying a medical ailment. Guests have described hearing noises and seeing spirits on certain floors of the hotel.
In the old town of Mobile, Alabama, check into the quaint Malaga Inn, where beds shake, furniture rearranges itself, and the ghost of a lady in white strolls across the veranda of room 007. Originally built as two townhouses during the Civil War, this inn offers rooms that are furnished with antique Charleston four-poster rice beds and old southern-style decor.
For a taste of Southern hospitality and a dose of disturbing nightmares, this Savannah hotel, on Broughton Street, served as a hospital during the Civil War and lived through two yellow fever epidemics, making it a hotbed for ghost stories. Faucets have reportedly turned on by themselves, and the eerie voices of children are rumored to be heard alongside the sound of feet running down hallways. Peak season here is October, so early booking is recommended.
The glamorous Don CeSar hotel, or the Pink Castle, in St Pete Beach, Florida, is said to be haunted by its original founder, Thomas Rowe. Stories of seeing Rowe strolling through the hotel, in his traditional white suit and panama hat, hand in hand with his forbidden raven-haired lover, Lucinda, abound. A courteous spirit, he opens doors for staff members and greets guests in a gentlemanly manner.
A bustling railroad station in the 1800s, Union Station Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, is reportedly haunted by a love story gone awry. It was here that a young bride by the name of Abigail took her own life, jumping from the balcony onto the train tracks when she learned that her love had been killed on the battlefields of World War II. Her ghost has been spotted roaming the balcony and haunting room 711. Moreover, numerous hotel guests have reported unexplained tapping and lights turning off, with an overall creepy sensation looming in the rooms during the night.
This plantation home in Louisiana is rumored to be built on top of an old Tunica Indian burial ground. Allegedly home to more than 12 ghosts, the 22-room bed and breakfast is haunted by the ghost of William Winter, an attorney who lived on the plantation in the 1800s. When shot by a stranger, he staggered up the stairway and died on the 17th step. Today, guests in the hotel claim to hear his dying footsteps.
Just 5mi (8km) from the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, this historic hotel was the setting that inspired Stephen King’s best-selling novel The Shining after an evening spent in room 217. The story may be fictional, but guests and employees at the 100-year-old hotel claim to hear a piano playing by itself in the hotel’s music room and the laughter of children on the fourth floor, while room 217 is claimed to be haunted by a Ms Elizabeth Wilson, a former housekeeper who was electrocuted during a thunderstorm.
The Logan Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania, is said to house spirits from the colonial era. As the story goes, during the Revolutionary War, some of the dead were stored in the basement of the inn until a proper burial could be made for the soldiers elsewhere. One of these soldiers is said to haunt the grounds, and guests have also spotted spirits of both children and adults. Windows are also seen to open themselves up in the night.
Molly Codyre contributed additional reporting to this article.