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Haunted Hijinks

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2006—If the little devil in you still prefers “tricks” over treats and goose bumps are your gauge of a good time, members of National Trust Historic Hotels of America can offer a ghastly good time. Spanning over three hundred years of history, these hotels have seen their share of unrequited love, untimely deaths and unsolved mysteries—all ingredients that stir the interest of supernatural specters.

Make your Halloween a truly haunting experience with a visit to one of these spooktacular sites. Choose to go ghost hunting with a group, participate in a murder mystery weekend or book a stay in a “preoccupied” room (click here for the events and packages section).

For a listing of more than 40 ghostly hotels and stories, visit the Historic Hotels of America “eerie archives.”

The Vanishing Vino
Napa Valley is a region renowned for its wine. It seems only fitting that any otherworldly apparitions would appreciate it as well. A recent guest in room 201 at the Napa River Inn in Napa, Calif., called the front desk to complain that strange noises and “white blobs in the mirror” were preventing her from getting to sleep. Seeking some relaxation, she opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass. When she turned to lift the glass, the wine had been drained from it. Passing it off to absentmindedness, she poured a second glass and carried it into the bathroom. She set it aside and stepped into the shower. Upon emerging, the glass had once again been emptied, although the guest insisted she had not taken a sip.

The Spoon Snatcher
Green Room Grace is a playful spirit said to inhabit the General Morgan Inn in Greeneville, Tenn. Grace, a former waitress in the Grand Central Hotel (predecessor to the General Morgan Inn) seems to have developed a fascination with spoons in the afterlife. For more than 75 years, there have been repeated reports of spoons disappearing from the Green Room, the hotel’s restaurant. Never a fork or knife – always just a spoon. Despite diligent sleuthing, none of the missing utensils has ever turned up.

Floyd the Doorman
Last summer, Big Bend Ghost Tracker, a group of ghost hunters, spent the night at the Windsor Hotel in Americus, Ga., and monitored several areas of the hotel where strange sightings have been reported. Fully equipped with flashlights, thermometers, cameras, tape recorders, infrared equipment and electromagnetic monitors the ghost hunters were looking for signs of a haunting. Among the spirits they encountered on the hotel’s third floor was the silhouette of Floyd Lowery. Floyd worked at the Windsor as a doorman and elevator man for forty years. It is likely that Floyd is still wandering around the hallways of the Windsor because he so loved the hotel and doesn’t want to leave.

The 4 o’clock Knocker
Many nights the night auditors at The Blennerhassett in Parkersburg, W.Va., would report hearing a loud sequence of knocks around 4:00 a.m. When they checked the security monitor that covered the area, no one was there. “The 4 o’clock Knocker” has also been reported at guest room doors, but when the door is opened, no one is in sight.

These Boots Were Made for Walking
Local legend “Boots” Berry was born in 1840 in room 302 of the Green Mountain Inn in Stowe, Vt., the son of the inn’s horseman and a chambermaid. Boots followed in his father’s footsteps, caring for the horses and outfitting them for the stagecoach. One day, the stagecoach team bolted and Boots bravely risked life and limb to stop the runaways. He was dubbed a hero, and there wasn’t a place in the county where he could pay for his own drinks. Sadly, he descended into drunkenness, lost his job and wandered aimlessly, eventually landing in jail in New Orleans where he learned to tap dance from a fellow inmate.

Boots eventually drifted back to Stowe, where a devastating blizzard hit the area. A small girl was somehow stranded in the snow on the inn’s roof. Boots recalled a secret passage from his own childhood and managed to safely rescue the child. Sadly, Boots himself slipped and fell to his death below. He had been standing on the roof atop room 302, his very birthplace. The inn has had reports from guests who have heard the sound of tap dancing on the third floor on stormy days.

A guest at Brick House Tavern, one of Colonial Williamsburg’s Colonial Houses in Virgina, was awakened one night to the loud tramping of boots across the floor in the adjacent room. The boots proceeded into the guest’s own room—despite the fact there was no door and the floor was carpeted. The steps continued out the door, down the stairs and out the tavern’s front door. The story was told to a housekeeper who related that while cleaning the very same room, she had glimpsed a man in an old-fashioned, puffy-sleeved white shirt. No guests were checked into that room.

Broken Engagement
The resident ghost at The Sainte Claire in San Jose, Calif., is Julia, the spirit of a prominent young woman who was to be married in the hotel’s Palm Room in the early 1930s. Tragically, Julia was abandoned at the altar by her fiancé and despondently took her own life in the hotel’s basement. Today, hotel workers claim to feel Julia’s eerie presence in hotel offices where they often find files and papers mysteriously rearranged. Guests sometimes report hearing a woman’s high heeled footsteps clacking against a hardwood floor, despite the fact that the hotel’s floors are all carpeted. One guest taking photographs near the Palm Room fireplace, reported that his pictures contained a bride’s feet and the train of a wedding gown in the background.

Steinway Spirit
When The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., opened in 1909, founder F.O. Stanley marked the occasion by presenting his wife Flora with a Steinway grand piano. Since that time, the hotel has had a long tradition of bringing great music to the Rockies. In the early 1980s, the hotel’s night manager was on duty during an electrical storm. The lobby was deserted on the dark and stormy night, but he was sure he could hear the strains of music. Taking a walk through the lobby, he noticed that the lights were on in the Music Room. As he approached the doorway, he could clearly see the piano keys moving, filling the room with music. Once he crossed the threshold, the music abruptly stopped.

Located in the colorful, historic city of New Orleans, Hotel Monteleone is a natural home for wayward souls. Phyllis Paulsen, a guest at the hotel, was visited one morning by a three-year old boy wearing a striped shirt who emerged from her sitting room on the 14th floor. Paulsen says, “one moment he was there and the next he was gone.” When Ms. Paulsen went to check, the door was securely closed. This story of the young boy is consistent with many others from guests. Legend has it that he is the son of Josephine and Jacques Begere who stayed at the hotel in the late 1800s. Their son Maurice was left with his nanny while his parents went to the opera. While returning to the hotel following the opera, the horses were startled sending Jacques from their buggy killing him instantly. It is said that Josephine died within a year of a broken heart. Some believe little Maurice roams the hotel in search of his parents who stayed on the 14th floor. Since the original sighting, Paulsen has stayed at the Monteleone twice requesting the same room but Maurice hasn’t reappeared.

Vicious Circle Vixen
New York City’s Algonquin Hotel was home to the famed “Vicious Circle,” a group of celebrated wits, including Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. The clique met daily for lunch at the hotel and it appears at least one of them may have stayed on. The hotel recently renovated an attic space on the 13th floor into a small room, which seemed to displease the hotel’s spirits. There were many strange noises in the room the night it was completed. Around 3 a.m., the picture of Dorothy Parker fell off the wall and shattered.

The Merchandise Flies Off the Shelves
Ghostly goings-on have been reported at the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, Calif., almost since it opened in 1888, most of which are associated with Kate Morgan, a young woman who checked in on Thanksgiving Day in 1892 … and never checked out. Hotel Historian Christine Donovan says, “One of the most active areas of the hotel is in one of our shops, Est. 1888, where stuff literally ‘flies off the shelves’ – but never breaks! Various groups of employees and guests have witnessed out-of-the-ordinary events like cocktail glasses falling off a shelf and landing perfectly upright on the counter beneath or books that reposition themselves in bookcases backwards.”

The Noisy Party
The Pierpont Inn in Ventura, Calif., is the location of many ghostly happenings. Several years ago, a woman and her traveling companions arrived to the hotel for a family reunion. As the evening progressed, she heard loud noises coming from the room next door—similar to a New Year’s Eve party with horns blowing, noise-makers and dancing music. She also heard voices of many people having a “good old time.” She complained and asked to be moved to another room. When the hotel management went to the room to ask the guests quiet down, no one answered the door. Finally, the management entered the room to find it in “check-in” condition and no evidence of a party. They then verified that no one had ever checked into that room. Other guests also called the front desk to complain about these “noisy guests.”

Little Girl Lost
A female guest at the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Ark., awoke one night to the vision of a young girl standing next to the bed. Knowing her own daughter was not along on the trip, the woman noticed the child was wearing an old-fashioned petticoat and holding a small rag doll. After several minutes, the girl vanished. A few months later, the guest and her family returned. Upon entering the hotel elevator, she noticed an antique photo of a group on the steps of the resort. There in the photograph was the girl who had visited her in the night.

Fran Carter has worked at the Radisson Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore for nearly a decade. One night, while preparing a small meeting room on the nineteenth floor, she caught sight of a little girl wearing a long, cream colored-dress and shiny, black shoes and bouncing a red ball. As the girl passed by the doorway, Fran ran to ask if she was lost. The little girl had vanished, but as Fran turned, she saw an older couple dressed in formal attire. Assuming they were the child’s grandparents, Fran turned to point where she had seen the girl. When she turned back to them, they too had vanished. Several years later, a hotel guest told Fran that she had been awakened in the night to the sound of a child crying. Sitting up in bed, she saw a little girl crying and rocking back and forth in the window. She was wearing a long, cream-colored dress and black shoes.

The Permanent Guest of Room 413
There always seems to be a presence in room 413 at the Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore. Some say a man died in the room but the story is vague. Housekeepers often talk about a strange feeling they get when cleaning the room. One housekeeper in particular, Frances Gale, used to clean 413 almost daily. She says she would always get a chill when in the room. Many times, she would feel a slight breeze against her face or arms, like when someone walks close by. On some occasions, she has had the sensation of someone placing a hand on her shoulder.

Secret Rendezvous
The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, Calif., has been part of the local landscape since 1913 and a retreat for Hollywood celebrities performing at the nearby La Jolla Playhouse. One room in particular was favored for discreet liaisons, thanks to its semi-private entrance. It seems the secretive spirits linger on as the front desk often receives calls from the room, only to find no one on the line. Upon checking the room, one employee saw a figure hiding behind the curtains. As he approached, the curtains fell flat. There was no breeze or open window to account for the movement.

Historic Hotels of America is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Historic Hotels has identified 210 hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance. To be selected for this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or recognized as having historic significance. A directory of member hotels can be purchased for $4.00 by sending a check to National Trust/HHA, P.O. Box 320, Washington, D.C. 20055-0320. Rooms at any of the member hotels can be reserved by calling 800-678-8946 or at Historic Hotels of America is aligned with Historic Hotels of Europe, a federation of 16 European hotel associations in 16 countries. Reservations made through Historic Hotels of America support the National Trust, a non-profit organization of 200,000 members that provides leadership, education and advocacy to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize our communities.

National Trust Historic Hotels of America
Haunting Events at Historic Hotels
Experience the Unexplained

For those with a passion for the paranormal, several HHA members give you the chance to get up close and personal with a poltergeist. Check out these haunted happenings at the following hotels:

Spirits of the Crescent Package at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, Eureka Springs, Ark. (through December 28, 2006)
Since 1886, guests of The Crescent Hotel have been reporting unexplainable experiences with what are commonly known as ghosts. In fact, the well known “Ghost Hunters” of the SciFi Channel spent an entire week here… and caught “one” on videotape. Now you may never experience a close encounter with a Crescent apparition… but you won’t know for sure until you’ve tried. Package includes a premium guest room for one night, breakfast for two in the Crystal Dining Room and two tickets to the nightly ghost tour of what some are calling “The Most Haunted Hotel in America.” Sunday through Thursday for $139, Friday and Saturday nights $179. For reservations call 800-678-8946.

Ghost Tours at The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver (October 3-31, 2006, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 1:00 p.m.)
To commemorate 114 years of Halloweens at the Brown Palace, hotel historian Julia Kanellos will conduct specially-themed ghost tours. These 45-minute historical tours will be offered to the public for free with advance reservations by calling 303-297-3111 ext. 3104.

Haunted Holiday at the Oxford Hotel, Denver (October 13, 27-31, 2006)
The Haunted Holiday Package includes double occupancy hotel accommodations and tax, overnight valet parking, a Bloody Mary or Full-Moon Martini in the blood red lights of the legendary Cruise Room with a reading from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Mask of the Red Death, and a haunted historical tour of the Oxford and its environs by Denver History Tours. Classic accommodations are $259; Victorian Deluxe room is $299, based upon availability. For reservations or details call 303-628-5400.

Hauntingly Romantic Package at the Don CeSar Beach Resort, a Loews Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla. (October 1-November 9, 2006)
Florida’s legendary pink palace provides the perfect balance of history and romance including guest room accommodations, a ghostly historical tour, and a book filled with the Don CeSar’s mysterious times past. Following the ghostly footsteps of Thomas J. Rowe, former owner and builder, and his lost love Lucinda, couples will share a secret meeting place on the beach with a blanket-for-two and bottle of wine to toast everlasting love. Starting at $569 for two nights. Based on availability. Tax and resort fees additional. For reservations call 727-360-1881.

Murder Mystery Night at the Windsor Hotel, Americus, Ga. (January 19 & 20, 2007)
Footprints, chills and strange sightings will happen at the Windsor’s Murder Mystery Night. The evening begins with a cash bar at 6:00 p.m. during which critical clues will be given to guests. The performance continues during dinner at 7:00 p.m. Halloween costumes are welcome, and a prize will be given to the best Halloween costume of the evening and to all guests that solve the mystery. A special overnight rate is offered for attendees of the evenings festivities. For information and reservations call 229-924-1555.

Ghostly Getaways at The Admiral Fell Inn, Baltimore, Md. (October 6, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28, 2006)
Have you ever wondered what spirits may lurk in old buildings, or what messages your loved ones would pass on to you from the other side? Come visit the historic maritime Fell’s Point neighborhood and stay in the gracious (and haunted) Admiral Fell Inn and find out. Ghostly Getaways include the Original Fell’s Point GhostWalk, a one-hour walking ghost tour, presented by Fell’s Point Ghost Tours. The tour covers the ghosts of many of the beloved neighborhood taverns, highlights the well-hidden Fell-Bond cemetery and points out some of the more “spirited” residences. Last Halloween, the Admiral Fell Inn was featured on NBC’s Today show as one of America’s haunted hotel. Find out why Peter Greenberg called it, “A great hotel.” Rates from $189. Call 410-522-7380 for reservations.

Murder Mystery Weekend at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mich. (October 6-8, 2006)
Enter the 1930s. The worldwide craze for health and rejuvenation has drawn celebrities, socialites, athletes and politicians everyone who’s anyone to the famous Grand Hotel. Yet in their search for renewed vigor and vitality they’ll stumble upon something far different and sinister in “The Fountain of Youth Murders.” Package includes two nights’ lodging, full breakfast and five-course dinner daily, Friday evening welcome reception, Saturday grand luncheon buffet, Saturday reception, murder mystery activities and entertainment, half-off golf greens fees on The Jewel, all gratuities and baggage handling charges, special discounts on ferry boat tickets. $889 per couple, $789 per single. $299 per additional adult. Stay Thursday, October 5 for $119 per room. For reservation call 906-847-3331

10th Annual Halloweekend at Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, N.H. (October 27-28, 2006)
A howling good time with tricks and treats all weekend! Have your tarot cards read, explore the darkest nooks and crannies of the hotel with walking ghost tours, taste Tarantula margaritas in the lobby on Friday from 3 p.m.-5 p.m., enjoy wagon rides and carve your own scary pumpkins! Get caught up in our tarantula spider webs at our annual Halloween Bash Saturday evening sponsored by Tarantula Tequila. Costume rentals are available all weekend long. Special two-night package including two nights accommodations, dinner and breakfast each day and all Halloweekend activities. From $389 per couple per night. For reservations call 603-278-1000.

Halloween Haunts and Happenings at Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, N.Y. (October 27-29, 2006)
Spend a wicked weekend indulging in ghoulish goodies and harvest-time treats—this weekend event has become one of Mohonk’s most popular family events. Enjoy a visit full of nature’s distinctive autumn offerings–a bracing hike and breathtaking view. Don’t miss the fun from a creepy campfire or a night of dancing and to pumpkin-carving and a gala Halloween costume ball. The Mohonk Kid’s Club will be available on Saturday and Sunday and includes monstrous crafts, creating costumes, trick-or-treating and a costume party. From $415 per night double occupancy (taxes and a 15% gratuity additional). Overnight rates include three meals daily, Afternoon Tea and Cookies, along with most resort activities and program sessions. Call 845-255-1000 for details and reservations.

Ghostly Package at The Gettysburg Hotel, Gettysburg, Pa. (ongoing)
At the heart of Gettysburg’s historic district, this landmark has witnessed some of America’s bloodiest history. The stories echo through the ages and speak to those with an ear to the past. Package includes overnight lodging, buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and cookies, dinner for two and a one-hour Ghosts of Gettysburg candlelight walking tour. $245 per couple, double occupancy including tax and gratuity. Call 717-337-2000 for reservations.

Midnight with Edgar Allan Poe Package at The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pa.
(November 4, 2006)
The Hotel Hershey presents the extravagant works of the Master of Horror, Edgar Allan Poe. Join us for a midnight reception and spine-tingling entertainment by Poe impersonator David Keltz. This package includes deluxe accommodations at The Hotel Hershey, a midnight reception with entertainment, and admission to Hershey Gardens and Hershey Museum. From $466 per person, per night, double occupancy. For reservations call 717-533-2171.

Spoo-Tacular at Skytop Lodge, Skytop, Pa. (October 27 to 29, 2006)
Enjoy devilish delights at the Spoo-Tacular weekend at Skytop Lodge with activities ranging from Halloween treats, tractor drawn hayrides and a masquerade ball—spine-tingling fun for the family. Kids can enjoy spooky sing-a-longs, pumpkin carvings and a Live Creepy Crawly Animal Show with the resort’s resident naturalist, John Serro. Parents will be thrilled with champagne toasts, elegant dinners and a Monster Mash party in the Tap Room. Package includes accommodations, three meals per person per night’s stay and all weekend festivities. Rates from $205 per person per night based on double occupancy for a two night package. For reservations call 570-595-7401.

Ghoulish Getaway at Green Mountain Inn, Stowe, Vt. (October 20-31, 2006)
Intrigued by ghosts, goblins or things that go bump in the night? Then visit one of Vermont’s oldest haunted hotels, the historic Green Mountain Inn in Stowe and have an opportunity to meet our resident ghost, Boots Berry! The Ghoulish Getaway includes two nights lodging, full country breakfast daily, a welcome box of handmade chocolates, “pick your own pumpkin” at a nearby farm and discover the mysteries and legends of historic Stowe village by a candlelight lantern tour. Standard rooms from $165 per person, Fireplace rooms and suites from $220-$277 per person. Rates based upon double occupancy. For reservations call 802-253-7301.

Ghosts and Legends Package in Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
(Through November 21, 2006)
Colonial Williamsburg’s Ghosts and Legends Package presents tales woven from colonial mysteries and the unexplained in the former 18th-century capital of Virginia. In addition to spine-tingling adventure, the Ghosts and Legends Package includes two-night’s accommodations, a length-of-stay ticket to the Historic Area, daily breakfast, a special tavern dinner and a lantern-guided ghost tour in the Historic Area. Stay a third night and the special Tavern Ghost Walk is free. The elegant Williamsburg Inn per person, per night prices start at $205. The Colonial Houses per person, per night rates begin at $168. Two night minimum stay required based on double occupancy. For information or reservations call 757-229-1000.

Halloween at the Mansion at Rosario Resort & Spa, Eastsound, Wash. (October 1-November 4, 2006)
A special Halloween experience at Rosario Resort & Spa awaits guests on Wednesday and Saturday nights during month of October. The Halloween at the Mansion package includes accommodations, freshly baked Halloween cookies, a private tour of the mansion, and credit to the dining room for a gooey Halloween dessert. The mansion is home to frequent sightings of the ghost of Mrs. Rheem, the wife of the mansion’s second owner. The package is also available nightly from October 28 through November 4 and guests will receive a special tour by “ghost hunters” from Freelance Supernatural Investigations. $189 Friday and Saturday night stays; $159 Sunday through Thursday. Rates based on double occupancy. Tax and resort fee not included. For information or reservations call 360-376-2222.

Haunted Parkersburg Package at The Blennerhassett, Parkersburg, W.Va. (September 29-October 28, available Friday and Saturday nights only)
Whether you’re a true believer of the supernatural or simply love a good scare, the experience of haunted Parkersburg is sure to give you a chill! The package includes overnight accommodations in a ghostly guestroom at The Blennerhassett, two tickets for the Haunted Parkersburg Walking Tour, two grande coffees or hot chocolates from the hotel’s Starbucks® Coffee Bar, a flashlight for the tour and breakfast for two in Spats. All gratuities and taxes are included. The ghost tour meets in the hotel lobby and begins promptly at 7:30pm. The tour takes approximately two hours and rarely is canceled due to temperature or inclement weather. Rates from $139 to $229. Rates vary with room type and are based on double occupancy. For reservations call 304-422-3131.

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