If there’s any place on earth that is likely to be haunted, it’s a hotel. They're homes away from home for the living as well as the dead. There have been numerous sightings from around the world of shadowy figures that watch you while you sleep, ghostly maids still chained to the job and poltergeist activity so severe it’s left guests fleeing from their rooms in the middle of the night.
For the bravest of travelers only, if you’re not afraid of the dark, you certainly will be after spending a night in any of these famously haunted hotels.
1. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Where in the world: Los Angeles, United States
A brief history: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has been at the center of show business nightlife since 1927.
Paranormal activity: Marilyn Monroe is said to have been seen reflected in a mirror in room 1200. She has also been sighted dancing in the hotel’s ballroom. Montgomery Clift has apparently been heard playing the trumpet and pacing the hallways while reciting his old lines. Errol Flynn, well-known for his portrayal of Robin Hood, has also been seen at the hotel. If you fancy rubbing shoulders with the stars, dead or alive, the Roosevelt is the hotel for you.
2. Castle Stuart
Where in the world: Inverness, Scotland
A brief history: Built in 1561 by James Stuart (half-brother to Mary, Queen of Scots), Castle Stuart is said to be one of the most haunted castles in Scotland.
Paranormal activity: So the legend goes, James Stuart believed his new home to be so haunted that he offered to pay a reward to anyone brave enough to spend the night at his castle to disprove the hauntings. The only person willing to take this challenge was a local poacher; he stayed one night in the room at the top of the East Tower. The next morning the castle awoke to find the man's dead body in the courtyard after falling from his bedroom window. He had a petrified look etched upon his face.
Other paranormal activity includes ghostly cries, shouts, and the sound of crying coming from hidden rooms within the castle. Most recently, builders working on the castle reported hearing strange noises, feeling cold hands pushing at them, and finding their tools smashed and broken after leaving them unattended.
Related: 9 Most Haunted Castles in the World
3. Ragged Cot Inn
Where in the world: Cotswold, England
Paranormal activity: The Ragged Cot is a 17th-century coaching inn, said to be haunted by a mother and child who died there. Supposedly, one night, the landlord of the inn decided to hold up a stagecoach. His wife went after him to stop him from carrying out the robbery; she was holding her baby in her arms as she confronted him.
The landlord pushed her aside, causing both his wife and child to fall to their deaths down the stairs. Horrified at what he had done, he hid their bodies in a trunk. When the police arrived shortly after to arrest him for the robbery, the bodies of his wife and child were found back at the foot of the stairs where they had died. As he was led away by the police, it’s said the apparitions of his wife and child were seen walking back up the stairs disappearing into the darkness. They have been seen around the inn ever since.
4. Cecil Hotel (Now Renamed Stay on Main)
Where in the world: Los Angeles, United States
A brief history: Built in 1927, the Cecil hotel is the most notorious hotel in Los Angeles. It is known as the place where ‘serial killers stay’, thanks to Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger. Both men stayed at the hotel during their notorious killing sprees. The Cecil was also a suicide hotspot in the 1960s. Pauline Otton was one of the victims, throwing herself to her death from a ninth floor. She landed on a pedestrian on the street below, killing him instantly.
Recently, the hotel hit the newspaper headlines again. After guests reported that the water ‘had a horrible taste’, a maintenance worker discovered the decomposed body of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam at the bottom of a water tank on the hotel's roof. Residents had brushed their teeth, drank and bathed in the water for 19 days.
Paranormal activity: Hotel guests regularly report sightings of dark figures in their rooms, often waking to the tugging of their bed sheets. Perhaps the most famous paranormal phenomenon to occur at the Cecil is a photograph taken by a local resident, which shows a shadowy figure hanging or falling from the fourth-floor window. Paranormal investigators have linked it to the historical suicides that took place in the 60s.
Related: American Horror Story: The Dark History of the Cecil Hotel
5. Jamaica Inn
Where in the world: Cornwall, England
A brief history: Jamaica Inn was built in the late 18th century and was made famous by a Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. The inn is now synonymous with smugglers and wreckers, and it is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK.
Paranormal activity: There have been frequent reports of shadowy figures appearing in bedrooms at night. The ghostly sound of horses hooves on the cobbled stones outside has often been heard, despite the lack of horses. Voices have been heard speaking in the bar area in an unrecognizable language when all is quiet and everybody is in bed. It is also said that there is a figure of a highwayman who passes through solid walls on moonless nights.
6. The Skirrid Inn
Where in the world: Abergavenny, Wales
A brief history: Reputed to be the oldest public house in Wales, the Skirrid Inn has a long and grim history which can be traced as far back to the Norman Conquest. Once used as a court house and place of execution, it is believed 180 felons were put to death by hanging from the large oak beam over the stairway.
Paranormal activity: The ancient Skirrid Inn is said to be one of the most haunted inns in Wales. Some of the ghosts are thought to be as old as the inn—over 900 years. These spirits are said to be former convicts who were tried and executed in the inn. Sounds of pacing from the second floor can often be heard when no one is up there.
Some guests have claimed to have felt a hangman’s rope being tightened around their necks while they slept and struggled to escape its grip. Glasses are often thrown around the bar area, and the rustling sound of a woman’s skirt is regularly heard by visitors.
7. Chelsea Hotel
Where in the world: New York, United States
A brief history: This legendary New York hotel was built in 1884 and is world famous for its A-list guests, including the likes of Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Edie Sedgwick. It's since been converted into luxury apartments, with plans to reopen some sections of the building to guests in 2018.
Paranormal activity: It is said that the spirit of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who died at the hotel after a night of excessive drinking has never checked out and is often seen still enjoying a drink in the bar area. The ghost of novelist Thomas Wolfe is said to haunt the eighth floor. The bassist of the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious, stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungeon, to death in Room 100. He has been seen lingering near the east elevator of the hotel, and many have also reported seeing Nancy in the hotel.
8. Myrtles Plantation
Where in the world: Louisiana, United States
Paranormal activity: The Myrtles Plantation is not only said to be the most haunted hotel in the US but is also thought to be one of the most haunted sites in the world. The Plantation built in 1796 is reputedly built on a Native American burial ground. Many deaths have been linked to the plantation over the years, which lead one paranormal investigator to claim that there were over 100 spirits haunting the now guest house.
One of the most well-known ghosts is that of Chloe, supposedly a slave owned by the Woodruffs, former owners of the plantation. According to the legend, Chloe was hung on the premises for the murder of two girls. After being sexually pressured by Mr. Woodruff, she took revenge by murdering his children.
Her spirit is often seen wandering the house and connecting lands believed to be looking for her escape. The ghosts of the two murdered children have been seen playing on the veranda. A mirror in the house is also believed to hold the spirits of Sara Woodruff and two of her children. Their spirits were trapped as this particular mirror was not covered after their deaths. Small hand prints have been seen in it, as have the apparitions of the Woodruff children.
9. Stanley Hotel
Where in the world: Colorado, United States
A brief history: Perhaps the most famous of the haunted hotels on our list, the Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which he wrote after staying in room 217.
Paranormal activity: The Stanley was opened by F. O. Stanley, the inventor of America’s Stanley Steamer automobiles, at the turn of the 20th century. From its opening, paranormal phenomenon has been a part of the hotel’s history. Ms. Elisabeth Wilson, an old housekeeper who died in the 1950s, is said to have returned to work to assist guests in her favorite room 217, by unpacking and storing away their belongings. More than one guest has said that they have awakened to find their blankets taken from their beds and neatly folded.
Guest have also reported hearing the sounds of children running and giggling down the halls on the fourth floor. Hotel staff regularly feel unseen hands pull and tug at their uniforms. Additionally, Stanley and his wife are said to pass through the lobby frequently.
Related: Master of Madness: Stanley Kubrick's Near-Insane Methods on the Set of The Shining Delivered Incredible Results
10. Langham Hotel
Where in the world: London, England
A brief history: The 5-star Langham Hotel is the grand dame of London establishments. Opened in 1865 and styled after a Renaissance palace, the hotel has reputedly the most haunted room in London: Room 333.
Paranormal Activity: There are five ghosts that make appearances at the hotel. The most active of them is the spirit of a German Prince, who supposedly jumped to his death out of a window, just before the start of the First World War. He haunts the fourth floor; guests have seen him walking through walls and he is well known for moving objects from place to place.
Room 333 is the most haunted room in the entire hotel. There have been numerous sighting of a man in Victorian evening dress who walks towards guests while they lay in their beds, his arms outstretched and eyes empty, before vanishing into thin air.
This Story Was First Published on Occult Museum.
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Featured photo: DAVID HOLT / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Melody / Flickr (CC); Ragged Cot Inn