Visiting the most haunted hotels in the U.S. is best done during the fall season. There’s something about the shorter days, the fall foliage, and Halloween that bring out the spooky vibes in just about everything.
As a child, did you ever look into the mirror and say “Bloody Mary” three times? Yeah, you probably won’t want to do that at one of these eight haunted hotels unless you’re looking to actually summon the ghost of Bloody Mary.
All paranormal games aside, staying in one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S. can be a ton of fun, and adventurous too! Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking it seriously or you think it’s completely tomfoolery—after all, you never know what strange things may occur.
Visits typically include touring the building, listening to staff stories, learning the area’s history, and encountering the unexplainable. If you’re looking for a paranormal experience then any one of these eight haunted hotels is worthy of a visit.
Let’s not be naive about this excursion. If you’re the type of person who can’t sit through a scary movie then definitely do not book a night at one of these hotels. However, if you’re feeling a bit brave, or you’re looking to open yourself up to the spiritual world, then this will be a trip you’ll remember for years.
Below are the eight most haunted hotels in the U.S.
1. Marshall House Haunted Hotel – Savannah, GA
Built by Mary Marshall in 1851, the Marshall House is located in one of the oldest buildings, in one of the oldest cities in Georgia. Many nights, the hotel provides guests with a complimentary wine social—they say it’s to display their southern hospitality and charm. However, we believe it’s to help nervous guests relax.
The history of the Marshall House spans more than 160 years. The property witnessed two horrendous epidemics and the Civil War, where the hotel was used as a Union hospital. In fact, during a very cold year in the 1860s, doctors were forced to bury amputated body parts under the floorboards because the ground was frozen.
Guests are constantly seeing Civil War soldiers meandering through the hotel. Specific examples of paranormal activity include a Union soldier with one arm strolling through the lobby, stretchers with bodies being carried by unknown persons, the feel of being touched in the night, lights flickering, voices, faucets spontaneously turning on, doors slamming, doorknobs rattling, the sound of children playing—just to name a few.
Book Now: Marshall House
Visitors to Savannah, who are not able to find occupancy in the Marshall House, may also enjoy staying at the Eliza Thompson “Haunted” House. Guests frequently see a girl in a white dress walking down the hallways or hearing children playing in the hallway, with their voices echoing throughout the expansive bed and breakfast. Here’s the only problem with that—children are not allowed in this adults-only historic inn. Goosebumps!
Book Now: Eliza Thompson House
2. Cosmopolitan Hotel Haunted – San Diego, CA
Built in 1829, the Cosmopolitan Hotel is one of San Diego’s oldest structures. It was originally constructed by Juan Bandini, one of San Diego’s first settlers. At the time, it was the largest home in the city and was made up of seven bedrooms, an enclosed courtyard, several barns and sheds, and a corral.
In 1869, Albert Steeley an American stagecoach operator purchased the building, converted it into a hotel, and made it a stop along his stagecoach route. Steely added a second floor and added a beautiful wraparound balcony which is still a highlight for visitors to this day.
While eerie sounds and a ghost cat are known to be heard and seen throughout the hotel, of all the rooms, Room 11 seems to have the most paranormal activity. Without explanation doors open and close randomly, items move around, and lights turn on or off. Coincidentally, Juan Bandini’s daughter used to visit the hotel after it was sold off to Steeley. Guess which room she used to stay in?
Guests frequently encounter a woman wearing all red in both rooms four and five. She is referred to as the “Lady in Red.” Folklore has it that she is a lady of the night waiting for her next customer to arrive. Also, there seem to be peculiar things going on with the furniture.
To get a preview of what’s in store for your stay, be sure to watch season five episode seven of “Ghost Adventures.”
Book Now: Cosmopolitan Hotel
Excursion: Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour
3. Vrooman Mansion – Bloomington, IL
Located in Bloomington, along Illinois Route 66, the Scott-Vrooman House is steeped in history. Once owned by Julia Scott Vrooman, the iconic mansion was constructed in 1869 and served as her home until she died here in 1981 at the age of 104.
As a wealthy, childless socialite, Julia spent her life passionately serving her country. For example, she served twice as the National President of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
During the 1918 influenza pandemic, Julia opened her home to serve as a makeshift hospital and later she housed WWII soldiers. Thus, souls definitely departed their Earthly bodies within the walls of the Vrooman Mansion.
Most properties with this amount of historical significance function only as a museum. However, today the gorgeous estate operates as a bed and breakfast. Guests can experience Julia Scott-Vrooman’s luxurious lifestyle by overnighting in one of the mansion’s many rooms.
Learn About Performing an Exorcist: The Exorcist’s Handbook
The Vrooman Mansion does not have a tragic story or notable history of paranormal activity. However, during our stay, we definitely felt the essence of the home’s past occupants. In fact, we filmed some very peculiar noises coming from the walls. Was it Julia’s spirit letting us know she was still there? Watch and see for yourself.
At night, overnight guests are welcome to enjoy the property. We recommend sipping on a cocktail while quietly taking in the presence of the space. While enjoying the home, be open to the spiritual world that may be sharing the common space with you.
Book Now: Vrooman Mansion
Excursion: David Davis Mansion State Historic Site
Another good option to visit in Illinois is the Desoto House in Galena.
Desoto House Hotel – Galena, IL
With just a few thousand residents, it may be surprising that both locals and paranormal experts claim that Galena is one of Illinois’ most ghostly towns. One property that offers a significant number of apparition sightings is the DeSoto House in Galena, Illinois.
Opened in 1855, and hosting guests ever since, the hotel claims to be the oldest operating hotel in the state. Therefore, the property has a long history of tragedies and hauntings. In fact, the first reports of paranormal activity began in the 1880s when both employees and guests began witnessing “the lady in black” walking down staircases and disappearing into a wall.
If you’re a skeptic, consider that in July 2011 a flood forced the hotel to make repairs. When they removed the drywall they discovered an open passage that used to be an old doorway. This is the exact spot where the lady in black is often seen disappearing into the wall. Today, it remains open for visitor viewing, and a plaque documents the hotel’s spooky events. Still not a believer?
Book Now: Desoto House Hotel
Excursion: The Haunted Galena Tour Company
4. Hotel Alex Johnson Haunted – Rapid City, SD
Hotel Alex Johnson opened in 1928, one year before work began on Mt. Rushmore. The property was named after its founder, Alex Carlton Johnson a railroad vice president. Johnson dreamed of creating a hotel that would blend Native American and Germanic culture. As a result, Hotel Alex Johnson is now considered one of the most historic hotels in the U.S.
Paranormal enthusiasts flock to Hotel Alex Johnson to get a glimpse of their favorite spirits including the “Lady in White,” the “Young Girl,” and even Alex Johnson himself.
It was reported in the 1970s that a young bride jumped out of the window in room 812, committing suicide. However, there seems to be some foul play in the timeline because friends and family of the deceased insisted she was much too happy to do such a thing. Also, she was in line to inherit a significant sum of money, which created a financial motive.
For this reason, guests are constantly seeing a lady in a white dress wandering on the eighth floor, possibly searching for her killer. To make the situation even more interesting, visitors continually awaken in the morning to find their dresser drawers are upside down. What?
Guests have heard a young girl laughing and giggling in the hallway on the eighth floor. Also, it seems that it’s quite common to have a young girl knock on your door, night after night. However, when you go to answer no one is there.
Alex Johnson died in 1938. Many guests have reported seeing him strolling through the hotel. Paranormal investigators believe his spirit is sticking around to safeguard the hotel and its operations.
To get a preview of what’s in store for your stay, be sure to watch season seven episode five of “Ghost Hunters.”
Book Now: Hotel Alex Johnson
Excursion: The Northern Black Hills Adventure
5. Omni Parker House Haunted – Boston, MA
Since 1855, the Omni Parker House Hotel has been part of Boston’s historic district. It sits directly across the street from King’s Chapel, one of Boston’s oldest cemeteries, and was named after its founder, Harvey Parker. Most of the paranormal activity takes place on the third, ninth, and 10th floors.
As both an overseer and resident, it comes as no surprise to historians and paranormal investigators that Harvey Parker is the most scene ghost on the property. Also, Parker was a known perfectionist that micromanaged every little detail of the hotel. It’s believed that his spirit is unable to find the peace of mind to leave the hotel in the hands of another person.
Many unusual things happen on the third floor, the same floor Charles Dickens occupied for five months in 1867-68. Guests have seen the ghost of Dickens in mirrors and wandering through the rooms and hallways. Moreover, room number 303 sees a proportionately larger quantity of paranormal interactions which includes things like the bathtub filling itself up and shadows disappearing, which is probably why it was eventually turned into a storage closet.
Also, the sound of a creaking rocking chair is frequently heard and the elevator periodically stops (on the third floor) even though none of the buttons were pushed. Other ghosts on the third floor include a man who smoked loads of cigars and drank ungodly amounts of whiskey and a woman who was an actress who died in the hotel in 1876. Finally, elevators are oftentimes called to the third floor (the floor Charles Dickens occupied for five months in 1867-68) without a button being pushed or a guest waiting for the elevator.
Ninth and 10th Floors
A bearded man wearing a stovetop hat that is believed to be the ghost of Harvey Parker is habitually seen on the ninth and 10th floors. Also, orbs of light and loud noises are seen and heard by guests. However, when the staff come up to investigate the disturbance there’s nothing present.
Book Now: Omni Parker House
Excursion: Ghosts & Gravestones Night-Time Trolley Tour
6. Pfister Hotel Hauntings – Milwaukee, WI
Opened in 1893, The Pfister Hotel was labeled the “Grand Hotel of the West.” One of the most interesting aspects of the hotel is that it houses the largest Victorian art collection of any hotel in the world—nothing creepy about that.
There is so much paranormal activity happening at Pfister that professional sports teams eliminated the hotel from their list of acceptable accommodations. One player was so scared that he slept with a baseball bat. Other players complained of apparitions, object manipulations, and electrical anomalies—not exactly what you want to deal with before the big game.
With the countless number of disturbances, some paranormal investigators believe that the Pfister Hotel may be a gateway to some spiritual world.
Book Now: The Pfister Hotel
Excursion: Milwaukee Ghost Walks
7. Copper Queen Hotel Haunted Rooms – Bisbee, Arizona
A night at the Copper Queen Hotel gives guests the opportunity to overnight in one of three haunted rooms. Furthermore, each of the rooms is shared with a separate supernatural resident.
“No Name Room” or 401 is considered the most haunted, visited by an older gentleman who often leaves behind the faint aroma of his cigars. The “Julia Lowell Room” or 315 was featured on paranormal TV shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Julia hung herself in the room after professing her love to a man who refused to leave his wife despite their love affair.
“The Billy Room” or 412 is haunted by a small boy named Billy who drowned in the San Pedro River. If you’re not brave enough to stay in one of the haunted rooms, there are 45 other rooms to choose from, some of which have had hosted popular celebrity guests.
Book Now: Copper Queen Hotel
8. Ghost Adventures The Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, Louisiana
Each plantation in America’s south has a distinctive history. Located about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge, the Myrtles Plantation has quite the claim to fame! Its turbulent past has deemed it as “One of America’s Most Haunted Homes.”
In fact, some sources even celebrate the notion that the property offers the most ghosts per square foot! This is because, over the course of over 200 years, the home has been the site of multiple deaths. And while some have simply been from natural causes, others have been the result of brutal murders.
Over the course of a decade, the property’s owners share that over a thousand reports of paranormal activity have been reported by guests, most of them relate to the traumatic events including up to 10 murders, that have taken place on the plantation since it was built back in 1796.
Of all of the shootings, the murder of William Winter is the only one with verifiable historical documentation. After being shot, Winter attempted to ascend to the second floor but died when he reached the 17th step. To this day, the sound of footsteps on the stairway is heard by an endless number of employees and visitors.
Chloe is a former slave that lived on the plantation. Her ghost also referred to as Chloe haunts the plantation. Many times, Chloe is seen wearing a green turban, which covers the ear that Mark Woodruff, her former lover removed.
To retaliate against Woodruff, and seek revenge, Chloe poisoned his children who later died. As a result, Chloe was hanged and her body was disposed of in a nearby river. Paranormal investigators believe her spirit roams the grounds of the plantation because she has unfinished business there.
Many visitors have seen aspirations of children or children’s handprints in one of the mirrors that hangs on a wall in the home.
Book Now: The Myrtles Plantation
Have you visited one of the haunted hotels on our list? Or, have you personally had a paranormal experience at another hotel that’s not on the list? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments.