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Scary Slumber in Haunted Hotels

by Debra Bokur

Oct 22, 2019

Andrew Howson | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Adult Children

Take this however you like, but I grew up in a haunted house. We lived in a small town in Rhode Island and the two-story, white clapboard was more than 100 years old. In its heyday, it had been the vicarage attached to the town’s main church, which had long been abandoned and was derelict by the time my family moved in. There was even a creepy graveyard adjacent to the church, complete with tilted headstones.


Our house spirits were pretty benign — more mischievous than malicious; but a haunted house is a haunted house. Decades later, my new husband and I moved into a historic house in Colorado that also came with a resident ghost that liked to hide our car keys, leave things upside-down on the kitchen counter and randomly open doors we’d not only closed, but had placed chairs in front of.


All this is to say the idea of overnighting in a haunted hotel — or one associated with a great scary movie — ranks high on my travel fun scale. If you’re looking for a haunted address for your next adventure, consider Dragsholm Slot in Zealand, Denmark. In 1578, The Earl of Bothwell spent his final days and nights in the dark, dank cellars of the castle. Though this 12th-century edifice is now a member of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux hotel collection, the trio of ghosts said to haunt its spaces are likely unimpressed by this designation. Reports of the earl and two women — the Gray Lady and the White Lady, one a servant girl or maid — are reported to be full-time residents. Psychics and past guests claim the earl is fond of making an entrance, and arrives in the castle courtyard in a horse-drawn carriage.

Castle Dragsholm and gardens, Denmark. Photo: Jennifer Thompson | Dreamstime.com

Not surprisingly, there are dozens of hotels in Great Britain where ghost sightings are said to regularly occur. A gentleman wearing Victorian evening attire frequents Room 333 of the Langham Hotel in London, but limits his appearances to the month of October. A German prince who took his own life by leaping from a hotel window on the hotel’s fourth floor joins him. At Ballygally Castle Hotel in Northern Ireland, a grieving mother is believed to stalk the castle in an attempt to find the baby son who was taken from her after his birth. And in East Sussex, England, the historic Mermaid Inn is reportedly populated by the spirits of long-ago smugglers. Some guests reported the half-formed images of men in period dress engaged in duels.


Former housekeeper Elisabeth Wilson is rumored to haunt the iconic Stanley Hotel in the mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado, about an hour from Denver. She’s an unusually helpful ghost, however: Rather than rattling chains or wailing eerily into the night, Wilson, who passed away in the hotel in 1911, is said to sometimes unpack for guests who book guestroom 217. The ghost of late owners Mr. and Mrs. Stanley are also occasionally seen in the lobby area, or heard in the Music Room where Mrs. Stanley may make a brief appearance to play the piano. Later made famous as the setting for the film adaptation of Steven King’s novel The Shining, the hotel sits on a hill close to the center of town, backdropped by the Rocky Mountains. You can book a room any time of the year and take a tour of the historic property.


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