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Written by Sean Erickson, Apr. 2015
In honor of American Horror Story: Hotel, we took a look at the classic motels and hotels that have made for some good to great cinema in the past. But what real life haunted hotels can American Horror Story season 5 use to creep the living daylights out of television viewers? Like John Cusack’s character in the movie 1408, let’s take a tour of the most notoriously haunted hotels in the US, shall we?
Why not start the list off with the hotel that actually owns the URL, America’s Most Haunted Hotel? The Crescent Hotel is one of many supposedly haunted establishments that had a previous life as a dubious hospital before it was turned into the infamous hotel it is now. Unfortunately, while it was a “health resort”, it was under the control of a Norman G. Baker who had no real medical knowledge whatsoever and instead peddled “cures” for cancer which turned out to be nothing more that giving patient’s spring water.
Theodora is the most famous of the hotel’s ghosts, a victim of cancer and one of Baker’s clients, she appears as an apparition at the foot of the bed in “Theodora’s Room” at the Crescent Hotel – the second most requested room at the hotel, apparently. There’s also Norman Baker himself, who is also rumored to be haunting the premises along with many other mysterious guests – including the Irish stonemason Michael, who fell to his death while working on the construction of the hotel.
The hotel was even featured on a season 2 episode of Ghost Hunters, where they captured a full body apparition of a creepy guy in a top hat nodding his head. Book your room now, folks!
Is a former health resort not spooky enough? How about a former mental hospital?
Trip Advisor calls the Hotel Parq Central “An Oasis, Slightly Haunted”. If you don’t mind whispery voices floating around you, the occasional cold spot enveloping you out of nowhere, or your sheets being torn from your bed in the middle of the night, this could be your ideal destination on your next stay in the American Southwest.
Previously known as the Memorial Hospital, the psychiatric institution has seemed to bring many of its former patients with it into the building’s new life as a hotel. The top floor of the right wing of the building seems to be the best place to spot the ghost of a woman hanging out and watching over the residents of the hotel. Even while it was a functioning hospital is is said that former patients and staff alike were routinely treated to floating objects, haunting voices and unexplained phenomena that gave them nightmares for years to come.
Formerly a Ramada Inn that was formerly a nursing home which was a psychiatric hospital before that, the Retlaw Plaza Hotel has another haunted history that is right up American Horror Story‘s alley. Ratings on Trip Advisor can be summed up with, “Loved the hotel, not the ghost.”
Aside from its ghost producing past life as a psychiatric hospital, the hotel also sits on top of tunnels that were used by Chicago gangsters for clandestine meetings and other nefarious things. At some point the hotel’s owner Walter (that’s Retlaw spelled backwards) Schroeder was murdered in the hotel and his spirit haunts the place to this day.
Room 717 is the hotel’s hotbed for paranormal activity but residents and staff say the ghostly activity doesn’t stop there. In fact staff kept a daily log of weird activity which includes hair pulling, televisions changing channels, lights and faucets going on and off, banging on the walls, disembodied male voices, phantom footsteps and unseen bodies bumping into people. There are even sightings of a redheaded woman in a white robe disappearing into the walls.
If all this ins’t enough, it is believed that two of the hotel’s ghosts are man who hung himself on the second floor, which is now the ballroom, and a ballerina who jumped out of her seventh floor room window.
The Stanley Hotel, and the infamous Room 217, is where Stephen King was staying when the idea for The Shining came upon him.
Both of the original hotel proprietors, F.O and Flora Stanley are said to haunt the hotel and can be heard playing piano at odd hours throughout the hotel. There are also numerous reports of lights and faucets going on and off and items suddenly being flung across hotel rooms.
Perhaps the creepiest tales form the Stanley Hotel have to do with the ominous sounds of children playing that can be heard in the halls of the hotel and behind the closed doors of Room 408. But when guests go to investigate there are no children. Guests of Room 408 also report to have left the room for a short period only to return and find the entire room trashed and creepy hand prints of small children all over the mirrors. *shudder*
The Stephen King tale has probably made The Stanley Hotel the most investigated haunted hotel in America, if not the world. Nothing sends shivers up the spine like ghostly kids who love to terrorize the guests at hotels in their spare time.
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Written by Sandra Weyant, Apr. 2015
While filming a live segment about a haunted house located in Hanover, Pa., a CNN reporter claimed that an evil entity attacked her and one of the crew members.
This was no ordinary spook, and it was more than hearing a strange noise in the house. The Examiner called attention to the event that occurred last summer, as the Pennsylvania family is still being haunted by unidentified apparitions inhabiting their property.
Reporter Katie Kyros said that she and her crew members were reportedly scratched and then pushed down the stairs.
The CNN reporters were in the middle of an interview with homeowner Deanna Simpson when Kyros’ photojournalist Nick started feeling a burning sensation in his arm, according to The Examiner.
When Kyros examined Nick’s arm, she found red marks and scratches, and admitted that during the interview she was “touched and pinched.”
Simpson revealed that the reporters weren’t the only ones who experienced the mysterious touches. She said that it has happened to her and her husband, as well as friends. Before Nick revealed what had happened to him, Simpson already knew, and said that the spirits harmed the reporters because they were there to expose and tell the story.
“That is their way of a warning, because you’re putting it out there,” Simpson said.
The crew members also saw strange lights cast on the walls and heard noises before even going into the basement.
Simpson believes that there are multiple negative spirits residing in her home, and because of her unrest, she placed a camera in the basement with hopes to catch the evil entity. The camera is equipped with a motion sensor feature, and it picked up a shadowy figure that she claims to have seen before.
She showed the photo of the nearly 7-foot shadow to Kyros and her crew, and explained that she will have difficulty selling the house because of the demon that she thinks is attached to the home.
“When it came on me, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t move,” Simpson told CNN of the black figure.
The homeowner has also witnessed other strange sightings, including a creepy black hand near one of the bedrooms upstairs. While the crew was there, they allegedly filmed the basement door closing by itself upon Simpson’s command.
“If that is you, would you please shut that door?” she asked, and within one second, it closed.
The family has tried multiple ways – mediums, paranormal investigators and priests – to rid the house of evil, but nothing has worked. They have lived in the home for seven years, and Simpson said her daughters refuse to stay there.
Simpson believes that a series of “grisly deaths” occurred in her home, and she wants to prove to people what her family encounters on a daily basis.
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Written by Sophie Freeman, Apr. 2015
If you think you have seen a ghost, you may have been suffering the effects of exposure to mould, according to a group of scientists.
Researchers claim that older buildings where hauntings are usually reported, often have poor air quality from pollutants like toxic mould, which can affect our brains.
Exposure to the mould can cause mood swings, irrational anger and cognitive impairment.
‘Experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by individuals exposed to toxic moulds,’ said Professor Shane Rogers of Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York.
‘Psychoactive effects of some fungi are well-known, whereas the effects of others such as indoor moulds are less researched.
‘Although allergy and asthma symptoms and other physiological effects are well established, there has long been controversy over the effects of indoor mould exposure on cognitive and other functioning of the brain.
‘Reports of psychiatric symptoms including mood swings, hyperactivity, and irrational anger, as well as cognitive impairment are prevalent among those exposed to moulds.
‘Other reports include depression and loss of memory function.
‘More recent work is emerging that supports brain inflammation and memory loss in mice exposed to Stachybotrys charatarum, a common indoor air mould, as well as increased anxiety and fear.’
Professor Rogers is currently leading a team of researchers measuring air quality in several reportedly haunted places around New York State.
The group will compare samples taken from several buildings where ghost sightings have been reported with samples taken from properties with no paranormal activity, to see if there is a difference in the types of fungi.
Professor Rogers said: ‘I have long been a fan of ghost stories and shows related to investigation of haunted places and have to admit to some strange occurrences in my own past.
‘Many of the places under investigation and from my own experiences may be prime environments for mould and other indoor air quality issues.
‘We would like to see if we can parse out some commonality between the mould microbiome in places that are haunted relative to those that are not.’
The team have only just begun their investigations, but have been to a handful of ‘haunted’ buildings to collect samples, as well as properties with mould, but no connection to ghosts.
‘In one historic house turned into an office building there have been reports of noises, moving ceiling tiles, moving items on shelves and desks, apparitions, and a general feeling of unease among building occupants,’ he said.
‘There have been long-standing stories of some of the original family members still occupying the place.
‘In another location, the Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg New York, there is a long history of ghost stories involving the former occupants and others.
‘A week prior to our visit, they had a visit from a psychic who took a reading in several rooms in the museum that we then used to target our air quality studies.
‘She reported a few “folks” came to speak with her, children running in and out of some of the rooms in the house, and a woman that claimed she was “not won in a poker game”, which was related to a long-time story related to the Remington family.
‘So far, we haven’t been spooked out of a location, but time will tell.’
Bereft of beauty as well as fortune, the exceedingly plain Miss Jane Featherstone has failed to attract any suitor during her three Seasons. Rather than be a burden to her brother and his obnoxious wife, Miss Featherstone vows to accept the first man who asks—even though she’s always worshipped a lord who’s far above her touch. . .
Lord Slade must marry an heiress in order to honor the deathbed vow he made to his father, and he needs Miss Featherstone’s help in wooing her beautiful cousin. After her initial anger, Miss Featherstone agrees to his scheme, telling him she’s doing so because she admires his Parliamentary record of humanitarian legislation and his reverence for truth. But the more he’s with the two cousins, the more attracted he becomes to Miss Featherstone. What’s a man of his word to do? Break a vow to a beloved father—or follow his heart with Miss Featherstone?
Cheryl Bolen has written a lovely short regency with His Lordship’s Vow. I thoroughly enjoyed the unlikely romance between a plain Jane and the sexy Lord Slade as they both struggle with feelings they don’t expect. The story is shorter than a traditional novel, so some plot points are rushed and a few times I wished the author had given herself more room to explore the romance, but overall, it was a quick and sweet read.
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Written by Pol O Conghaile, Mar. 2015
Irish Ghost Hunters (IGH) visited Loftus Hall on Wexford’s Hook Peninsula to carry out several paranormal investigations this March.
The spectre-seekers found “major temperature drops” as well as “significant spikes” in electro-magnetic fields (EMF) in some areas of the house, they say.
“Our team is scientific, we don’t work with psychics or mediums,” Tina Barcoe, Location Manager and Lead Investigator with IGH, told Independent Travel.
“We go in with our equipment and try to debunk everything before we say it is paranormal. But there were things that happened at Loftus that we just couldn’t debunk.”
Those things included mysterious footsteps, readings indicating “an energy source” close by, and responses on a K2 meter (EMF) “which seemed to be in connection to our questions,” Barcoe says.
“Our investigation left us with more questions than answers.”
Of course you might say that such reports are coincidences, unverifiable, impossible to replicate – or just plain hogwash.
But they still make a good story.
Loftus Hall cuts a desolate dash on the Hook Peninsula. And somewhat creepily, there is said to have been a dwelling on the site since 1350 – almost 666 years.
Its most chilling story concerns a dark stranger who was called to the mansion one foggy night in 1765.
Lost on the Hook, the stranger was invited into the then-Tottenham household, and soon found himself playing cards and making an impression on a daughter of the house, Anne Tottenham.
As the stakes grew higher, Anne dropped her cards onto the floor. Dipping down to recover her hand, she saw that the stranger had a cloven hoof.
Unmasked as the devil, the stranger is said to have bolted through the roof in a ball of fire.
“The very same roof has been irreparable ever since,” says Aidan Quigley, owner of Loftus Hall.
Quigley, who acquired the house in 2011 and has been developing it into a visitor attraction on the Hook Peninsula since, revealed the Irish Ghost Hunters’ findings in advance of its seasonal re-opening for 2015 – so there’s assuredly a hint of theatrics behind the latest tales of terror.
Loftus Hall has its skeptics, and other buildings (such as Leap Castle, for instance) vie with it for the title of Ireland’s most haunted, but it continues to throw up crashes and bumps in the night.
Last year, it hit the international headlines when tourist Thomas Beavis, 21, snapped what appeared to be a ghostly apparition (below) in a window of the Hall.
The figure, claimed to be that of Anne Tottenham, quickly went viral.
“I zoomed in to find this girl in the window,” Beavis later said.
“I had to take some time before I showed it to everyone just because I didn’t really understand what I was looking at.”
Skeptics might wonder why the face of the ‘ghost’ appears sharper than the girl in the pink top, whether it’s a reflection, or just call it a hoax.
Quigley insists, however, that he and his team continue to notice “strange goings-on… such as light bulbs not working and frosty temperature drops in certain areas of the house.”
So is it, or isn’t it, Ireland’s most haunted?
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For the past six years, Donna Ayres has been plagued by a series of disturbing supernatural experiences. The mother-of-four from England has witnessed everything from the casual levitation of spoons, to light fixtures swinging violently without any wind, and once she was badly bruised from a spirit pinning her down to a bed.
Before you jump to the very logical conclusion that Donna’s house must be haunted, we should note that she’s moved five times since these eerie instances started happening and no matter where she goes, she can’t escape the ghoul who she believes is the ghost of her brother.
“Ever since my brother died strange things have occurred in every house I’ve lived in, it’s been a living hell.”
She says that she and her brother had a very troubled relationship adding, “Perhaps that’s why he’s come back to haunt me.”
“The paranormal activity first started in 2009, around the time my brother died, when I began to hear bangs at night, and then scratches appeared on the wall. Since these first encounters I’ve had nothing but rampant paranormal activity in every house I’ve lived in, I’m just at the end of my rope.”
“I have even woke up with bruises some mornings, despite not being in contact with anyone.”
We know one thing’s for certain—someone is messing with this woman. Whether or not it’s actually a poltergeist, we can’t say.
On Monday afternoon I received one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever had. My 35-year-old brother, my only sibling, had suffered a brain aneurysm. After four days in a coma, he remains in ICU fighting for his life.
Obviously, finishing NaNo has taken a back seat to making phone calls, driving two hours to LA every other day, and sitting in terrible waiting rooms. I remain at the 40K mark, but I don’t think I’ll make 50K by the 30th, and that’s okay.
If you’re still in the race, good luck. I’m rooting for you.