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Travel The World This Halloween, Visiting These Haunted Hotels


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Okay, before you skip right down to the comments section to talk smack, know this: We get it, ghosts don’t exist. We know about the fear frequency and how certain infrared sounds can freak you the f*ck out. We understand how some buildings are (probably accidentally) built in ways that favor low magnetic fields and, coupled with the low frequencies, seem to attract strange phenomena.

Or as Stephen King put it

Hotel rooms are just naturally creepy places. … I mean, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many were losing their minds? How many were perhaps thinking about reading a few final verses from the Bible in the drawer of the nightstand beside them and then hanging themselves in the closet beside the TV?

Thanks, Mr. King. Now we know what we’ll be thinking every time we stay in a hotel room for the rest of the month.

Below, you’ll find a selection of hotels from around the world that have made their bank on the paranormal, the psychic, and the downright ghoulish. Let’s take it as a bit of fun and thrill-seeking and leave the ghost busting to the professionals.

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NAKAGUSUKU KOGEN HOTEL — OKINAWA, JAPAN

This hotel has it all! First, there were warnings from Buddhist monks about angry spirits and ancient burial grounds. Then there’s the massive castle looming overhead, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. And there was a swell of worker accidents and deaths during construction. Evidently, the place was so full of poltergeists they didn’t even wait for the construction to finish. The workers were scared off permanently and the hotel was left a skeletal shell, supposedly so haunted that it’s been forever abandoned.

It’s more likely the developer simply ran out of money. But where’s the fun story in that? You have to access the hotel’s ruins by foot, but they are right next to Nakagusuku Castle which is the most visited landmark in the area. The hotel is mostly used by graffiti artists, kids getting stoned, and the odd paranormal traveler looking for signs of the afterlife.

TAJ MAHAL HOTEL — MUMBAI, INDIA

W.A. Chambers was the lead architect of the Taj Mahal. After turning in his designs, he went back to his home in France. When he returned in 1903 to oversee the finishing of the building he was shocked to see that the building had been built backward. He was so distraught he flung himself from a fifth-story window of the newly built hotel right then and there. Maybe a bit of an overreaction? Now it’s said his ghost haunts the halls of the grand hotel, undoubtedly still super pissed at the hotel builder (who is also long-dead).

The Taj Mahal was the target of a terrorist attack in 2008, and was completely renovated after extensive interior damage. Now, it maintains one of the highest standards in all Mumbai and India for that matter. But if you go, you just might get a glimpse of W.A. Chambers, wandering the halls probably even more pissed about the remodel.

THE FAIRMOUNT BANFF SPRINGS — BANFF, ALBERTA

The drive up to Banff is the same drive that Jack Torrence takes on his way to the Overlook in Kubrick’s version of The Shining. If you’re going on that drive, make sure to bone up on your cannibal stories for the trip. The hotel boasts at least two apparitions. There’s a “Doomed Bride” who took a tumble down the stairs at her wedding and now stalks the corridors. Then there’s an old Scottish Bellman — who died in the 70s and had always threatened to haunt the place. Evidently, he’s still lugging lodger’s bags to the rooms.

The Fairmount Banff Springs 100 percent leans into the fun of ghostly sightings and goings-on. You can book packages that include ghost tours with local historians. Plus, just look at the hotel. If that’s not ominous, we don’t know what is.

THE ALGONQUIN RESORT — ST. ANDREWS, NEW BRUNSWICK

This hotel has a congress of ghosts to choose from. Little kid ghosts playing in the halls, multiple dead brides, luggage hauling bellmen, key-clanking security guards, lights going on and off, items disappearing, and endless rattling doors. In short, the Algonquin has something for everybody when it comes to the paranormal.

And they also do weddings! You never know, you could be the next doomed corpse bride! On a serious note, the hotel is a classic throwback to the Victorian era and also has a bit of fun with its “ghost” stories — allowing guests to indulge themselves in a little astral body terror.

MANRESA CASTLE — PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, this castle, built by a German immigrant, looms over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The idyllic location was abandoned as a residence and taken over by Jesuit monks, then later turned into a hotel. Rooms 302, 304, and 306 are believed to be haunted. So is the attic where a distraught monk hanged himself. Also, a woman defenestrated herself upon learning her husband died at war. Their ghosts are said to stalk the narrow, Victorian halls. Most notably and easily witnessed are the glasses — which are known to spontaneously shatter or turn themselves upside down with water still in them.

The castle still operates as a hotel and restaurant. It’s about 2 hours from Seattle, and worth the drive to spend the time in the Victorian streets of Port Townsend. The hotel doesn’t induce their ghosts to sell hotel rooms and seems to shy away from the whole thing. Maybe take a pair of squash googles, we wouldn’t want you getting exploding glass in your eyes.

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BOURBON ORLEANS HOTEL — NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

In a city as old as New Orleans, it’s not surprising to find a lot of haunted nooks and crannies. Bourbon Orleans boasts ghosts of children and nuns, ballroom dancers, and a Johnny Reb because, duh, it’s the South. The hotel has even brought in certified psychics to communicate with the hotel’s many spirits.

Ghosts aside, the property is a NOLA institution. And NOLA does not shy away from its murky and paranormal past, present, and the tarot-card-predicted future. You don’t even have to stay at the hotel to take a ghost tour. Just try not to drink too many Hurricanes and Hand Grenades the night before — otherwise, you’ll be the pallid specter roaming the halls.

THE MARSHALL HOUSE — SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

There’s just something about the Gothic South that makes a perfect canvas for tales of ghosts and ghouls. Maybe it’s in the swaying Spanish moss. Maybe it’s in the dark history. Either way, the Marshall House dates back to antebellum years of Georgia and hosts a fair few ghosts. The hotel was used as a hospital thrice (once during the Civil War and two times during Yellow Fever epidemics). Plenty of people perished in the hotel’s halls and rooms — which has only stoked the southern gothic meets pirate town aesthetic.

The hotel is often cited as one of the most haunted places in Georgia and even the U.S. It seems to be a big selling point for visitors frequenting the hotel — so expect a tour pitch from the concierge.

BALLYGALLY CASTLE — BALLYGALLY, NORTHERN IRELAND

Along the Antrim coast of Ireland sits the Ballygally Castle. It was built in the 1600s and has been haunted for over 400 years. Legend has it that the builder of the castle, Lord Shaw, threw his wife from the castle tower after she delivered unto him his heir. Since then, there have been sightings of a woman desperately searching for her child to this day.

Overall, the castle is very old + cramped = creepy. The hotel is open to visitors and advertises their ghost as the “friendly” variety. Although, the ghost sounds a lot more distraught than friendly, having been tossed from a tower and all.

LANGHAM HOTEL — LONGON, ENGLAND

Room 333 is so haunted that some members of the hotel’s staff don’t even step foot on the third floor. Several BBC correspondents were housed in the hotel during the war (the BBC is across the street) and reported several very disturbing paranormal events. One guest was thrown from his bed and immediately fled the hotel in the middle of the night. This all started when a doctor committed murder/suicide when he and his wife on their honeymoon in Room 333. It gets worse from there. Of the ghosts haunting the halls, Napoleon III is probably the most famous — the hotel was his home until he died.

The hotel itself is a posh castle in the middle of London. It’s too busy being one of the world’s best hotels to spend much time promoting its haunted rooms. Plus the hotel focuses on high-end family travel now. So, if you’re in London and brave enough (also wealthy enough), it might be worth a night.

ANCIENT RAM INN — GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND

Okay, we have to admit, this place is legit spooky. The Ancient Ram Inn was built in 1145 on the site where pagans sacrificed children and now boasts at least 20 ghosts and an incubus. How there hasn’t been a movie franchise built around this place already is beyond comprehension. We can almost feel the queasiness from the shaky cam already. A building this old is bound to have a checkered past of actual witch burnings, devil worship, murders, and people getting sh*t-faced for nearly a millennia.

Obviously, the landlords play up a lot of the hocus-pocus to draw in the thrill seekers. So take the stories with a grain of salt and maybe bring some salt if you plan on staying there. If we’ve learned anything from the Wincesters, it’s that ghosts hate salt.

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