5 Haunted Hotels for Halloween 2011
By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- If you're into things that go bump in the night, there is no better time of the year than Halloween to stay in a purportedly haunted hotel.
From television shows such as "Ghost Hunters" to talk shows that report ratings spikes on days they feature nationally known psychics, Americans are fascinated by ghosts.
Paranormal tourism not only gives traveling ghost hunters a chance for an encounter with something otherworldly, but ghost tours routinely provide a wealth of knowledge about the history of the town and establishment as well.
MainStreet took a look at five of the most haunted hotels in America and their spooky stories. If you want to stay in a haunted hotel, book soon because Halloween will sneak up on you like a... well, like a ghost.Read on if you dare: The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa
Eureka Springs, Ark. Ghost tour leaders on the nightly excursions through the hotel tell visitors that the professional ghost hunters from the television show proclaimed this luxury hotel-turned-school-turned-cancer-hospital-turned-hotel as the third most haunted building they had ever investigated. The hotel is one of the only places the team supposedly caught a full-bodied apparition on infrared camera. Those aren't the only cameras capturing spirits though, as guests routinely share photos of ghostly faces and orbs -- round balls of light thought by some to be spirits. Many of the photos can be seen on the website or in the "ghost book" at the front desk. One of the most playful ghosts to inhabit the grounds is Michael, a young Irish stonemason who came to America to help build the hotel. According to legend, when he leaned over the landing to see a pretty girl passing by, he fell to his death near room 218, one of the rooms with the most reported paranormal activity. Another part of the hotel that is haunted involves the area on the 4th floor in which Dr. Baker, who wasn't actually a doctor, lived when he converted the hotel to a cancer hospital. Under his care in the 1930s and 40s, it is thought that nearly 300 residents died there. Baker, along with some of his patients and nurses, have reportedly been seen roaming the halls as ghosts. One patient has been seen numerous times fumbling for her keys outside of room 419. Recently, a little girl who was visiting the hotel with her parents began talking to someone in their room who the mother could not see. The parents concluded from the girl's description and reported conversation that she had seen Irene Castle, a famous ballroom dancer of the 1920s who was later depicted in a movie by Ginger Rogers. Castle frequented the hotel in her later years and died at her nearby home in 1969. Perhaps she is one of the spectral dancers who have been heard in the ballroom late at night. The hotel also houses a former morgue where autopsies were performed and bodies were stored, with some reportedly taken and hidden on the grounds to conceal the actual mortality rate at the facility. Believers typically have some sort of experience at the hotel, say staff members, and skeptics -- well, they have been known to leave in a hurry in the middle of the night.
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