Top 10 Haunted Hotels
As far as we can tell, ghosts like their hotels. These territorial phantoms stick to their turf and never, ever leave. (They have good taste at least – many of their stomping grounds come with five-star service and an atmosphere to match.) The unbelievable and inexplicable seem almost mundane at these eternally haunted haunts, but we've narrowed down the creepy contenders to those that have the ghost tales and the "evidence" (i.e. paranormal expert backing, documented deaths on the premises) to go with it. Devilish reputations aside, many of these storied American mainstays – Hotel Monteleone and Queen Mary, for instance – embrace their spooks, and even offer ghost tours and ghost-themed events, while others only whisper about their suspected presence. One thing is certain: The legends surrounding these beings and the mysterious circumstances that led to their demise never die.
Beverly Hills Inn
Respecting your elders takes on new meaning at Atlanta's Beverly Hills Inn, an 81-year-old Buckhead property now supposedly haunted by the souls of three old ladies. The 18-room neo-classical inn became a bed and breakfast in 1982, but its first stint was as an apartment building for widowed women in 1929. It is the alleged apparitions of those former residents that both the Atlanta Ghost Hunter and Haunt Analyst Georgia Ghost Hunters have caught on tape. Although the images from both investigations are specious (white, cloud-like fog; shadowy, imperceptible blotches; and floating orbs that look like dust particles make up most of the photographic evidence), the audio, on the other hand, evokes chills. The Haunt Analyst investigation in 2007 recorded hoarse voices whispering phrases both ominous (“Get out!”) and encouraging (“Make it happy”).
Book a room on the haunted hotel's third floor, where Haunt Analyst and Atlanta Ghost Hunter collected most of their proof, for a similarly creepy experience, but be prepared. Like many old biddies, these ghouls are kind but spirited: The elderly souls have apparently tucked in respectful guests before bed, but visitors who bad-mouth the dead have seen drinking glasses suddenly smash to pieces. Rooms from $119/night.
Congress Plaza Hotel
During the prohibition era, Chicago was chockfull of hotels that moonlighted as gangster hideaways, headquarters, and, quite often, grisly crime scenes. Today, one of the few left standing is the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue. Built in 1893 to accommodate visitors to the World’s Fair, this landmark hotel comes with history-ridden public spaces, two towers comprised of 850 guest rooms, and a lot of, shall we say, permanent residents. In the late 20s, the Congress is rumored to have been one of Al Capone’s hangouts (old-timers at the hotel say he played cards here, perhaps with fellow mobster Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik who lived at the hotel). Rumored secret escape routes likely stemmed from the original “Peacock Alley,” an underground marble passageway that was constructed when the hotel was built to connect it with the auditorium building next door. The Congress Plaza may not be as public with their hauntings as some of the other hotels on this list, but we got the after-dark scoop from nighttime security. Johnny D., who has been on the job for 25 years, talks about several incidents (and entities) which he says are very regular occurrences. The staff often sees the ghost of a young boy in the rooms and hallways of the north tower (legend has it that he and his brother were tossed off the roof by their mother before she took her own life and jumped); a few guards refuse to even walk into the Florentine Room (one of the banquet rooms) for fear of a female ghost that whispers in their ears; and, perhaps, most startling, is the mysterious circumstance that surrounds room number 441. Security is called to 441 more than any other room and guests all report seeing the same thing: the shadowy outline of a woman. Rates from $129/night in fall.