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Haunted Hotels and Ghostly Events for Halloween

Everyone’s favorite spooky holiday is back on Oct. 31st and after suffering through drive-by trick-or-treating in the U.S. last year, it’s high time to really experience the thrills and chills of a truly haunted Halloween –whether you believe in ghosts, the great pumpkin or just eating your favorite candy.

There are copious amounts of hotels from coast to coast in America that claim to be haunted from the Thompson Hollywood (where Marilyn Monroe once lived) to the Biltmore in Miami — but some have serious receipts. Here are a handful of our favorite spots around the world that we wish we could check into, and a couple of fun events for a less-scary encounter.

Naples Hotel Exterior

Naples Hotel, New York  

Built in 1895, the historic 32-room Naples Hotel (in the city of the same name) has hosted many guests over the years, but not all of them have checked out. Visitors have reported seeing as many as six ghosts, including a woman and her phantom children, and a man named Topper in the Saki room. The spirits have been known to move hanging pictures, turn lights on and off, and lock doors. You can book a room and dinner in the on-site restaurant and also book a ghost tour if you dare.

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

This tiny town on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park holds the hotel which became the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. Opened over a century ago, the former owner of the eponymous hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (of Stanley Steamer Automobiles), are said to walk through the property, along with sounds of children laughing and running down the halls on the fourth floor. Room 217 is reportedly haunted by a former housekeeper who died there in 1911 and likes to unpack the guest’s suitcases. Now, that is creepy.

Naples Hotel Haunted Saki Room

Salem, Massachusetts

Of course, Salem, Mass is ground zero for a good haunting. This is the site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century. You can start in Boston at One Dalton (not reportedly haunted but a good home base for the journey) and cruise up through the New England fall foliage on the North Shore. The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem is reportedly haunted by Bridgett Bishop, the first woman who was hung for practicing witchcraft. If that sounds a little too daunting, you can just go apple picking for the non-poisonous type of fruit. Carlson Orchards is home to 50 acres of fruit trees with more than twenty varieties of apples. And you’re only a 2.5 hour drive up the Atlantic coastline to Portland, Maine, one of the best foodie towns in New England.

London, England

For paranormal activity seekers, London has been dubbed the most haunted city in the world. And, many have reported that the most haunted hotel room in the city is Room 333 at the Langham Hotel on Regent Street. Guests have seen a German Prince, who jumped out of the hotel window during the First World War, walking through the door to that very room. And, for another chilling tale, a silver-haired man dressed in Victorian clothing has been seen every year but only during the month of October. This posh property was opened in 1865 and hosted literary legends such as Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde to name a few, so there is no telling who that man could be.

Haunted Castle in Scotland

Haunted Castles

Europe is filled with haunted castles in the UK but if you really want to set the tone for a chilling trip, Houska Castle in the Czech Republic is located deep in the forest north of Prague. This spot was built on a bottomless pit and referred to as the “gate to hell” by ghost hunters who claim it’s one of the most haunted places in the world after spotting winged creatures. And, while in eastern Europe, you can’t miss Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania which legend has it was Dracula’s home base dating back to 1377.

Fairmont Pacific Northwestern Canada

“When you have thousands of people in a building for more than 50, 60, 100 years, with all of those collective experiences, the residue they leave behind and the wake — we all leave a wake like a boat behind us — allows the past to invade upon the present,” said Dan Aykroyd, when speaking to the Fairmont Empress on the show Hotel Paranormal. “At the Fairmont Empress Hotel, in Victoria, which opened in 1908, guests report seeing the hotel’s architect, Sir Francis Rattenbury, roaming the halls.” The ghost in question is an apparition of a thin mustached man walking the halls with a cane. As the story goes, Rattenbury was murdered in 1939 by his chauffeur, who was also his wife’s lover. If you’re looking to explore the eerie history of the hotel, take a self-guided haunted Victoria tour, purchase tickets to the “Discover the Past” tours led by local historian John Adams. Sister property, The Fairmont Banff Springs is also magically haunted, so keep that in mind for your ‘haunted tour’ if you’re heading to Alberta, B.C. during the ski season.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

To lighten things up a little, it is said that ghosts haunt not where they met their demise, but rather where they were the happiest. Since opening in 1939, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver has hosted the who’s who of dignitaries, celebrities, state leaders and even a ghost. Over the years, there have been numerous sightings of a “Lady in Red.” The elegant apparition is believed to be Jennie Pearl Cox who, along with her husband and daughter, was a regular at the hotel’s luxurious social gatherings. In the summer of 1944, she was killed in a tragic car accident at the corner outside of the hotel. Rumored hotel location sightings of her graceful spirit have included the fourteenth floor, exiting the dummy elevator shafts, and in The Roof event venue.

Del Coronado porch

Hotel Del Coronado, California

The grand Victorian architecture of the Hotel Del Coronado lures millions each year to vacation near its sunny San Diego shore but it’s also, reportedly, one of the most haunted properties in the world. Legend has it that a young woman from Los Angeles named Kate Morgan checked into the property in 1892 for a rendezvous with a man that never showed up, and she never checked out. After being found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she earned the title as the resort’s “resident ghost.”  Guest and employees have reported that her spirit is gentle and not threatening but have witnessed flickering lights, electronics turning on and off, doors opening and closing and items moving without being touched. If you want to take a deeper dive, you can read the book Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel Del Coronado. You can also book her room (which is the most requested) or visit the gift shop where there have also been Kate sightings.

Winchester Mystery House

Haunted Houses and Ghost Tours

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

The Winchester Mystery House has a new Halloween event launching this year that explores the legendary estate’s supernatural lore. All Hallow’s Eve is an estate-wide Halloween experience, featuring both indoor and outdoor activities. “Lost in the House” is a nighttime tour exploring the dark hallways of the cursed Winchester Estate in search of those who have been lost in the house. The “Jack O’Lantern Trail” features hand-carved Jack O’Lanterns throughout the estate’s Victorian Gardens. Finally, “Lost in the House” is a projection-mapped light show that uses the iconic front of the mansion as a canvas for some chilling shadows.

Santa Barbara Ghost Tours, Santa Barbara, CA

You might not know that the bucolic city of Santa Barbara by the sea is also the home of a few ghosts. Join Professor Julie Ann Brown as she tours through the streets of downtown, sharing the stories of the local resident ghosts. Santa Barbara Ghost Tours offers a variety of intimate tours including the Downtown Paranormal Wine and Spirits Tour, Legends, Myths and Mayhem Tour, Dead of the Night Tour, among others.

Williamsburg, VA

Haunted houses, ghost walks, and creepy carriage rides can be had in Greater Williamsburg on the one-hour candlelit Haunted Williamsburg tour at 7:00 each night. This includes exclusive access to historic outdoor spaces and costumed storytellers who share their unnerving tales. The Twilight Ghost Tour will take you to one of Virginia’s most historic plantations, where you can listen to tales of paranormal activities on a guided tour through the 1726 Berkeley Plantation mansion in Charles City, followed by a lantern-led walk through the gardens, grounds, cemetery, and corn maze.

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