October 30, 2009

A haunting anyone? (Yes Charles we do.)

Estes Park, Colo.: The Stanley Hotel (the Granddaddy)

Do you believe in ghosts? Accommodations across the country say they do. Whether it’s the historic Hotel Chelsea in New York City, the Queen Mary ocean liner that’s permanently berthed in California or the towering Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast in Oregon, these hotels offer something more than chocolates on your pillow: a room with a boo.

Stephen King’s visit to this 138-room Georgian hotel in Estes Park, Colo., inspired him to write “The Shining.” Picture it: King was there with his wife, in Room 217, in late October; the hotel about to close for the season, with its large, empty corridors and the threat of a Rocky Mountain snowfall on the horizon. Is it any wonder that he wrote a spine-tingling tale of terror about a possessed, alcoholic innkeeper and his psychic son? The Stanley Hotel says there are nonfiction ghosts, too. It offers tours of its most haunted rooms and places. Relax with a cocktail in the bar afterwards — just don’t order the “Redrum.”

Victoria, British Columbia: The Fairmont Empress

Visitors flock to the Fairmont Empress’ elegant lobby to indulge in the British tradition of afternoon tea. But you may wish to put down that teacup and cucumber sandwich for a minute to hear a tale of murder and mystery. Francis Mawson Rattenbury, the architect of both the Empress and the British Columbia Parliament buildings, met an untimely end, bludgeoned to death by his second wife’s 18-year-old lover. Today, guests frequently report seeing the figure of a tall, thin man with a mustache and a frock coat lurking in the hallway. Is that one lump on your head, Mr. Rattenbury, or two?

Groveland, Calif.: The Groveland Hotel of Yosemite Park

When this historic 1849 hotel touts “in-room extras,” it's not just talking about champagne and chocolates. Innkeepers Grover and Peggy Mosley delight in telling you about Lyle, the ghost of a gold miner who “plays tricks” on staff and guests in or near his former hangout, Room 15. It is said that Lyle does not care for clutter or women's cosmetics on his dresser. Whoosh! Could that be the curtains rustling, or is it Lyle knocking your stuff on the floor? It’s hard to say, when the lights keep switching on and off …

Jerome, Ariz.: Jerome Grand Hotel

The Jerome Grand Hotel, as it turns out, has more to offer than historic accommodations. The hotel’s Web site boasts “ghost hunter nights” where visitors can use “state-of-the-art equipment” to search for orbs and apparitions, including the ghost of Claude Harvey, who apparently prefers to hang out in the elevator shaft. Is that a smudge on your camera lens, or a visitor from another dimension?

Yachats, Ore.: Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast

Ocean mist swirls around this working 1894 lighthouse, towering 205 feet above the ocean. But is that really the mist … or is it a shadowy female shape that floats above the rocky cliffs? Some say it is Rue, the mother of a girl who fell off the cliffs and died, who’s been reported lurking about the keeper’s house and the attic. What is her purpose, we wonder? Perhaps she takes comfort in finding shelter in a storm.

Marfa, Texas: El Paisano Hotel

What’s that in the distance? Vehicle lights? Porch lights? Swamp gas? Or could it be the mysterious Marfa Lights? The unexplained “ghost lights” have been seen on U.S. Route 67 east of Marfa and attract tourists to town to sneak a glimpse of the strange, nocturnal orbs. Check into Marfa’s El Paisano Hotel for a convenient place to stay. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and once hosted the cast and crew of the film “Giant,” starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and others.

New York City: Hotel Chelsea

The 12-story, blood-red Hotel Chelsea was built in 1883 as a private apartment cooperative. Nowadays, it’s quite the hip spot to visit. Famous artists, musicians and poets check in to the Hotel Chelsea — but some of them never check out. The poet Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning here in 1953, and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols is believed to have stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death on Oct. 12, 1978, a few months before his own death from a drug overdose. Is that anarchy in the elevator, or could it be that Sid’s back to raise a ruckus?

Milwaukee: The Pfister

Hark! Is that the sound of the Pfister’s blood-red awnings rustling in the wind? Or could it be the ghost of Charles Pfister? The founder of the Milwaukee hotel has been dead for quite some time, but several guests have reported seeing his apparition hovering over the grand staircase, peering over travelers as they check in.

Text “ghostwritten” by Robin Dalmas, Bing Travel;
photos Connie Ricca

for Charles, who believes we Yankees are "ghostless".


Charles said...

Yes, you do. But, they are mild in comparison to ours.

Ms Edna said...

Well, we do not yet have had centuries of burn and slash, pillage and rape.
So our ghosts are mostly social misfits or disgruntled lovers. Although we have our share of battle-fatigued and otherwise tortured souls walking restlessly. They just do not check in to hotels.

Russ (in Texas) said...

well, guess where I am staying next time.

Alistair said...

aha, and where are you ghosting about this week-end?

Ms Edna said...

up the haunted Pacific coast.

UCLA fan said...

may you encounter only benign ghosties.

Bill said...

rats, and I was planing on coming to trick and treat with my Martini shaker, just like "the good old times". Maybe next year?

Karen (DB) said...

Well, that means we have to ghost along "the Strip" alone this year.

CAL TECH groupies said...

Will miss you at our frat party.

Robert S. said...

and where are you going?

Ms Edna said...

up "the Coast". Maybe I write about it. Ya'll have a bloodcurdling Halloween.

C and C said...

Whatever, and wherever you go, don't get bitten by a vampire.

Ms Edna said...

I should be so lucky!

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