For Halloween last year, we shared some of our team’s onsite horror stories, from eerie encounters to stressful situations. This year, we again enlisted their expertise as we get into the spooky spirit with haunted hotels from across the country. Our team shares some of their top picks for paranormal properties, all of which are still open for overnight stays… if you dare!
For even more mysterious and macabre options, check out this list from U.S. News & World Report.
Congress Plaza Hotel
Chicago has its fair share of haunted hotels, but none is more famous than the Congress Plaza Hotel. First opened in 1893, there’s now an impressive collection of ghosts who call the Congress home. One such spirit is Louis Ostheim, who shot himself the night before his wedding in 1900. His shadowy specter is now one of the hotel’s most seen ghosts. Another death was that of six-year-old Karel Langer, who was pushed from a window in 1939. He now spends his days running the halls of the 12th floor. Meanwhile, the most haunted room is 441, where an unidentified woman is often seen hovering over the bed, pushing the bed, and tugging on the covers.
Even those who never stayed at the hotel have contributed to its storied reputation. One of the most famous? H. H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer. During the 1893 World’s Fair, Holmes would linger around the hotel lobby to identify victims and either stalk them or lure them back to his own hotel. Al Capone also reportedly kept a suite in the hotel, and some say they can still feel his presence.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Those who have been to Mackinac Island, Michigan’s car-free home of beautiful bike rides and delicious fudge, have undoubtedly admired the Grand Hotel, the picturesque summer retreat dating back to 1887. Now a National Historic Landmark full of old-world hospitality and charm, the resort has a spooky history. Rumored to be built atop a burial ground, there are supposedly still human remains in the foundations. It’s also said to be full of ghosts.
Staff have reported seeing an incorporeal man in a top hat playing the piano, and there have been multiple sightings of women in Victorian-era dresses roaming the halls and, on occasion, climbing into beds. The hotel’s most popular paranormal story centers around Harvey, who died on resort grounds in the 1960s and whose body wasn’t discovered for six months. It’s debated whether Harvey killed himself or was murdered, but it’s generally agreed that he prefers to haunt the hotel’s theatre, where he often pinches and pokes at guests.
Hotel del Coronado
Since 1888, Hotel del Coronado has been the image of the California dream. Unfortunately for some, it’s also been a place of nightmares. Case in point: Kate Morgan checked into her room in 1892 and never checked out, killing herself in her room. She is now famously known as the hotel’s resident ghost.
Many guests have shared stories of her ghostly activities, most of them centered around her third-floor guestroom. Reports include flickering lights; the television turning itself on and off; unexplainable breezes, scents, and sounds; items moving on their own; doors randomly opening and closing; abrupt changes in temperature; and unexplained footsteps and voices. Sightings have also been reported in the gift shop, in the hallways, and on the beach. Still, these stories have only added to the allure; the hotel says that Kate’s guestroom is the most requested room in the hotel.
Jerome Grand Hotel
Unlike some of the properties featured here, the Jerome Grand Hotel did not start its life as a hotel. It first operated as the United Verde Hospital from 1927–1950. During that time, around 9,000 people died onsite—patients and staff alike—so it’s unsurprising that the hotel is known as one of the most haunted places in Arizona. When the hotel opened in 1996, many of those spirits became the first guests.
During renovations before opening as a hotel, owner Larry Altherr reported a general feeling of uncertainty around the property. By the second month, this feeling had subsided and, over time, even changed to a happier, more protective feeling. In Larry’s words, “If the spirits that be are happy, I’m happy.” Since then, stories have ranged from ghostly figures to mysterious sounds and voices to unexplained orbs of lights. Much of the activity happens on the third floor, the site of the hospital’s operating room. A common report is the sound of a gurney being wheeled down the hall. Today, the hotel lobby houses a guest book for visitors to record their own supernatural experiences; the book is filled every year.
The Pfister Hotel
First opened in 1893, The Pfister Hotel is known for its historic charm, longstanding luxury, and plethora of paranormal activity. From the time it opened, the hotel was reported to be built on an old burial ground, lending a spooky aura from the start. Today, its haunted reputation is famously supported by multiple Major League Baseball players, who often stay at the hotel when playing against the Milwaukee Brewers. Numerous players have reported hearing weird noises, seeing flickering lights, and having electronics act strangely. Some players have been so spooked that they’ve taken their bat to bed with them.
One of the most famous stories is that of Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez. In 2018, he claimed he was touched by a ghost in the middle of the night. (He played terribly the next day, so it appears the ghost is a Brewers fan.) Other celebrities have reported interactions with the Pfister ghost, including actor Joey Lawrence and rapper Megan Thee Stallion. Many guests report that the apparition appears as an older gentleman, leading many to believe that it’s the ghost of the hotel’s founder, Charles Pfister.