Ruth & I have stayed in at least 4 hotels that claimed to be haunted. Rather than be quiet about strange occurrences, we have found staffs more than willing to tell us about their haunting guests. A waiter in the restaurant at the Davenport in Spokane chillingly told us about its ghost. However, living humans who regale guests with tales of hotel mayhem are often both short on details and report knowing someone who has actually seen the ghost although they have not.
Our personal ghost detecting experiences began at the venerable Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, TX. After checking in, we were on the elevator with a female guest who asked us which floor we were on. I said, “We’re on the 19th,” to which she replied, “Oh, that’s the floor with the ghost”. I got very little sleep that night while hoping for an encounter with The White Lady. Guests on the 19th floor, which used to contain this hotel’s ballroom, have reported slamming doors, the mysterious opening of windows, the sound of someone running down the hall at night, and music playing with no possible source. I had no ghostly encounters at The Adolphus.
The 2nd place we have visited with a ghost is the grand Mizpah, a historic hotel in Tonopah, NV. The Lady in Red, who had a nasty death outside her room, haunts the 5th floor. She was strangled and stabbed by an excitable ex-lover and never left this property. Again, we heard about her from the staff but didn’t meet the Red Lady directly.
Our most recent hotel encounter with a famous ghost happened at the old Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Ellen McNamara truly died in 1920 while staying there. Guests, but not us, report seeing a lady dressed in 1920s fashion looking over the railing down to the lobby. Ellen, who was apparently ill and fainted, actually crashed through a skylight onto a crowded floor. About 100 people witnessed her fall, and she survived it but died within an hour.
Ruth & I were lucky enough to find an employee at another Texas hotel, the Driskill, in Austin, TX who was willing to show us around and talk about its 2 regular ghosts. Its original owner, Jesse Driskill, lost this property in a poker game but hung around after dying. But the ghost our host really talked about was the daughter of a US Senator staying there who toppled down a flight of stairs to her death. If you are staying at The Driskill and hear a bouncing ball, you have 2 choices. Wait for her to appear or run.
I took these ghosts more seriously when I found none of them listed among the 25 hotels on forbes.com’s list of “America’s Most Haunted Hotels–Where It’s Always Halloween.” Its list is headed by the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, which was the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. It offers ghost tours during which guests hope to meet its first owner and his wife. They still haunt the place.
Santa Fe’s best old hotel is La Fonda. We have not stayed there, but it’s supposedly haunted by a man who was shot to death in its lobby. The man who became a ghost there was Territorial Supreme Court justice John P. Slough. Another man also haunts La Fonda. He became upset during a card game and killed himself by jumping into a well.
I must conclude that hotels report more ghosts than private homes do.