Things to Do

Ghostly Getaways: 8 Haunted Hotels to Visit During Spooky Season

Photo Courtesy of: The Seelbach Hilton Louisville

Spooky season is here, and Halloween is coming up fast, but what if you’re bored with haunted houses, plastic skeletons, pumpkin patches and all the rest of the holiday trappings?

If you need something to spice up your October, maybe you should consider a visit to one of the most haunted hotels in the nation! Whether you’re a fan of the paranormal or just love a good ghost story to chew on, here are some of the places you may want to visit:

1. The Congress Plaza Hotel – Chicago, Illinois

Overlooking Lake Michigan and the Million Dollar Mile, the historic Congress Plaza Hotel has a reputation for being pretty creepy – especially since the gold ballroom and long carpeted hallways are reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining.”

With over a century of history, it’s no wonder that the hotel is rumored to have multiple apparitions. Among the resident ghosts, there’s the Shadow Man, who is believed to be the ghost of a suicidal veteran of the Spanish-American War, “Peg Leg Johnny,” and even a retired judge with a penchant for practical jokes. Other eerie occurrences include unexplained noises, flickering lights and moving objects in some of the guest rooms.

2. The Seelbach Hilton Hotel – Louisville, Kentucky

Do you dare to check in at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel? This historic luxury hotel has hosted numerous famous guests over the years, including such notables as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Al Capone.

But it’s not just the brushes with fame and infamy that have earned this hotel its spot on this list. The hotel is also known for being a hotbed of paranormal activity. The most famous ghost in the Seelbach is one Mrs. Patricia Wilson, known as “The Lady in Blue.” She unfortunately ended up at the bottom of an elevator shaft (either by accident or design) and is said to leave behind the lingering scent of her perfume when her wraith passes by startled guests.

3. The Golden Lamb – Lebanon, Ohio

The Golden Lamb is one of the oldest continuously operating inns in the United States, and it’s also among the most haunted. Dating back to 1803, this historic establishment has welcomed countless guests, including a dozen U.S. Presidents, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

One of the most famous ghostly inhabitants of The Golden Lamb is thought to be the shade of Sarah Stubbs, the daughter of an early innkeeper – but nobody knows for certain. Whatever the case, she’s particularly known for approaching the children of guests and asking them to play. Guests also report seeing the ghost of a lawyer, Clement Vallandinghim, who famously died there after accidentally shooting himself in the abdomen while mishandling evidence in a murder case. If you like your ghosts mixed with a lot of history, this is definitely the place to visit.

4. The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado 

Speaking of Stephen King’s “The Shining,” the Stanley Hotel was the actual inspiration for the Overlook Hotel that was featured bot in the book and movie – and it really is considered one of the most haunted hotels you can visit!

Ghosts include a disgruntled head housekeeper who has been known to give guests she doesn’t like a nudge toward the door and pack their bags for them. There are numerous other spirits around, including children, a dog, a cat and the former owners. Guests report everything from disembodied laughter and the smell of bread baking to flickering lights and mysterious cold spots. If you want to really test your mettle, book room 217 (which was changed to Room 237 in the movie) – but take a flashlight along, just in case.

5. The Old Talbott Tavern – Bardstown, Kentucky

The Old Talbott Tavern dates back to the late 18th century. The current owners are perfectly happy with its reputation for being haunted – and they encourage guests who stay overnight in one of their six rooms to keep an open mind (and maybe to sleep with one eye open, too).

The tavern is downright notorious in its own right for the ghostly encounters it spawns. There have been reports of glowing balls of light that hover over beds, furniture that moves on its own and mysterious music, among other paranormal events. They even supposedly have a “woman in white” who appears randomly to both overnight guests and dining room patrons.

6. The Canyon Inn – Spencer, Indiana

Located in McCormick’s Creek State Park, Canyon Inn is known for its serene surroundings as well as the spectral presence of numerous ghosts.

It was rumored to have formerly been an insane asylum, or “sanitarium,” prior to it being used as a hotel. Modern visitors claim to have heard screaming in the night, phantom footsteps and the sounds of crying. As the nights get longer and the veil between the worlds thins, this is certainly a great spot to explore all the thrills and chills of the season.

7. The Culbertson Mansion – New Albany, Indiana

The Culbertson Mansion once belonged to William Culbertson, the wealthiest businessman in the state during his time. Today, it’s believed the man himself still resides there in ghostly form.

Now a bed and breakfast, guests can take guided tours that delve into the history of the building and its reported supernatural encounters. This makes it a must-visit for those interested in the paranormal. Ghostly encounters are so numerous and frequent, that guests with heart conditions and pregnant women are encouraged to find other accommodations.

8. The Buxton Inn – Granville, Ohio

This quaint bed & breakfast dates back to 1812. While it is known for its old-world charm and historic ambiance, the Buxton Inn is also famous for being host to numerous ghosts (including a cat).

One of the most famous apparitions is that of Orrin Granger, a former owner who is said to still roam around the inn. Guests can even stay in the Orrin Room, where many paranormal experiences have been reported. Major Horton Buxton is another ghost known to walk the grounds, leaving the scent of his cigars lingering in the air as he makes his rounds. There’s also allegedly a “lady in blue” who smells of gardenias.

Whether you’re a seasoned ghost hunter or just looking for a unique and chilling adventure, these haunted accommodations offer a glimpse into the supernatural side of life (and death). So, if you’re brave enough to check into a hotel where some of the guests never leave, you are sure to find plenty of adventures.