For those who are keen on having the daylights scared out of them, nothing is quite as fearsome as a haunted hotel.
Hotels, especially very old ones, are notorious for being populated with spooks. Some spectres are out for vengeance. Others merely enjoy a good laugh at the expense of horrified guests.
Whether you’re planning a playful Halloween or one that’s genuinely terrifying, use the list below to find some of the world’s most ghostly accommodations.
Skirrid Mountain Inn
Llanvihangel, Crucorney, Monmouthshire, U.K.
Given its idyllic surroundings, it’s hard to believe that the oldest surviving inn in Wales could have such a macabre history.
The inn dates back to 1100. Patrons visited the pub either to chat with mates over a few pints or to attend court. Accused criminals were tried, convicted and summarily hanged on the premises before happy hour got underway.
Today, a judge and his hangman reportedly appear above the oak beam where some 200 men fell victim to the noose. Odd shadows, slamming doors and upended tables are frequently reported. Apparitions of a kindly parish priest and a good-natured housekeeper are less unnerving.
Airth Castle Hotel
Airth, Stirlingshire, U.K.
The family of Robert the Bruce once owned the castle, which dates back to the 14th century. The surrounding graveyard is around 200 years older.
Children at play can be heard in several guest rooms. Visitors have seen a nanny and two young ones who match the description of a group who perished in a fire years ago. A woman is often heard sobbing or screaming for help. Guests frequently complain about an ill-tempered phantom dog that actually bites their ankles.
Dragsholm Alle, Denmark
Although Dragsholm does not fully operate as a hotel, you may stop over for the night if you dare. The former prison and military fort, built in the 13th century, is said to be haunted by at least 100 ghosts.
One such entity is the White Lady. She was only a girl when her father, the nobleman who owned the castle, forbade her romance with a common labourer. The ill-fated pair continued to carry on until her father imprisoned her inside a wall.
Some 700 years later, during a restoration effort, workers discovered a small skeleton wearing a white gown entombed behind a wall.
Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, U.K.
According to local legend, a lady’s maid was so tormented by her mistress that she committed suicide. She still lurks gloomily in the hallways. Some know her as the Grey Lady while others insist that she’s the Woman in White. Whether or not the two are the same individual is hotly debated. It is, perhaps, telling that they’ve never appeared in the same room at the same time.
Other apparitions include a black Labrador retriever and a little drummer boy who makes a racket all through the night. The drummer at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, being headless, is slightly more menacing.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, U.S.
The hotel was built in 1886 as a luxury resort and spa, and it later housed a young women’s conservatory.
Nothing much of interest happened until 1937 when a man called Norman Baker purchased the property and opened a rather unconventional hospital. Baker fancied himself a medical expert, but rumours abounded that his supposed cures were poisonous and that he experimented on live patients.
In 1987, several overnight visitors reported seeing a long-departed nurse wheeling a gurney through the hallway and vanishing through a door. Guests in Room 202 have complained about an annoying ghost who swans in and out of the closet while they’re trying to dress for dinner.
Some years ago, a telephone switchboard received repeated calls from the basement, which was locked and unused at the time. Investigators always found that the receiver of the basement’s telephone had come off the hook. Several attempts to keep the receiver in place were unsuccessful, and the switchboard was finally torn out.
Britannia Adelphi Hotel
The oldest hotel in Liverpool is thought by many to be the most generously haunted in all the U.K. The present structure was built in 1912, the same year that the Titanic sank to its watery grave.
Both the staff and at least one paranormal investigator have sighted spectral beings. A roomful of people in the Sefton Suite were astonished when three naval officers dressed in braided jackets suddenly vanished. Housekeepers have reported a frail, elderly woman in Victorian dress walking through the basement. Once, several alarmed passersby outside the hotel reported a person hanging from a window. Upon investigation, the room that they had pointed out was found to be vacant. The window was locked.
The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, Colorado, U.S.
The inspiration for Stephen King’s novel “The Shining” and Stanley Kubrick’s subsequent film has become a wildly popular destination for ghost hunters.
Guests who claim to get spooked by two creepy little girls playing in the hallway are just plain daft. The girls never really existed, after all, and the twins who played the fictional roles are still alive and well. One is a lawyer and the other a scientist.
However, ghosts of the builder, Freelan O. Stanley, and his wife frequently entertain on the piano. A former housekeeper has been seen roaming around Room 217 as though she is lost.
Carrickfergus, County Antrim, U.K.
Beginning in the 13th century, several prominent local families lived in the historic house.
In the late 1500s, Hugh Dobbins became the owner. His ravishing wife, Elizabeth, fell in love with an intriguing soldier. The pair regularly met for trysts in a secret tunnel behind the main fireplace. Unfortunately, Dobbins uncovered the affair and murdered the two without fanfare.
The property was converted to a hotel in 1946, and the enormous fireplace at the heart of the story remains. Several guests have pointed to a flying ghost who enters and leaves the reception area through the chimney.
Many visitors are awakened from sleep by Elizabeth’s poor soul stroking their faces.
Coombe Abbey Hotel
Coventry, Warwickshire, U.K.
If you thought that living monks were somewhat mystical, try one who’s been dead for almost 700 years.
The hooded ghost of Abbott Geoffrey storms about the grounds seeking to avenge his own brutal murder. The killer was never apprehended, but perhaps it was a chef – Geoffrey’s most outrageous disruptions take place in the kitchen.
Young Matilda, a former employee who cursed the property after giving birth to a stillborn baby, runs through the corridors slamming doors. A horseman patrolling the grounds at night and a sad woman riding a bicycle have also been spotted.
Edenhall Country Hotel
Edenhall, Penrith, Cumbria, U.K.
Edenhall, built in the 17th century as Woodbine Cottage, is not for the modest; a number of voyeuristic spirits haunt the place.
One woman is fond of staring down guests during bedroom activities. She has even gone so far as to watch while travellers have their baths. The bar used to be lined with mirrors. For years, guests complained about creepy apparitions peering at them from behind the glass. The mirrors were finally removed.
There is no better time than Halloween for a hair-raising holiday. You may not stay as long as you planned, so be sure to travel light.