Halloween, for some, brings to mind kids, candy, and cute costumes. For others, it brings about ghosts, goblins and hauntings. I’m not talking about your favorite bar, your boss when she’s mad, or even a psycho ex. I’m talking about real bona fide hauntings. The kind where myth ends and legend begins.
Several years ago, I had my first encounter at the Knickerbocker Hotel with several “unexplained episodes” that ended up on the TV show Sightings – thus becoming the genesis of my fascination and intrigue with haunted places. Here is a short list of my personal favorite haunted haunts:
The Knickerbocker Hotel - Hollywood, CA
Opened in 1925, the Knickerbocker Hotel had a sordid past with Hollywood and certainly saw its share of dramatic moments. William Frawley (Fred, from the I Love Lucy TV show) lived there for nearly 30 years, and died of a heart attack in the lobby. Houdini’s widow used to hold séances on the roof in attempts to contact her deceased husband. Costume designer, Irene Lentz, committed suicide from the 11th floor. Studio head D.W. Griffith died of a cerebral hemorrhage after collapsing in the lobby. Rudolph Valentino was a regular at the bar, and his ghost has been spotted there by many. Guests have reported seeing ghosts, having things fly at them or fall off the wall, feeling someone breathing on their neck, and many other hair-raising events. Today, it serves as a senior living facility where residents share their own creepy stories of more unexplained events.
Photo Credit: Gary Minnaeart (Creative Commons)
Queen Mary – Long Beach, CA
The Queen Mary is a retired luxury ship that sailed her maiden voyage in 1936 as a transatlantic passenger service for over 30 years. During World War II, she served briefly as a troop ship and ferried soldiers during the war. Since 1967, she has been moored in Long Beach, California. It was voted “Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America” by Time Magazine in 2008. It has reported over 49 deaths aboard the ship, since it became a luxury liner, mostly crew members. It’s been investigated by many paranormal researchers and TV shows for ghost activity and has had many goose bump worthy moments.
Virginia City, Nevada
In a town with only 1,000 residents and over 20,000 people in the cemetery with a celebrated history, you are bound to find more than a few fascinating ghost stories. Bats of the Belfry Ghost Tour takes you on a walking night tour of the city with ghost meters and high interaction and activity that won’t disappoint. It is rumored that Janis Joplin’s ghost can be found here. This was the town that gave her an early break in her career as a singer. It’s also where Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain in 1862. His old newspaper office is the spot for the Mark Twain Museum, an actual registered portal for ghosts. Many people have reported a “kick” while sitting on the 3rd barstool at the Washoe Club. Yes, I felt it. I figured it was Mark Twain reminding me to finish my book. It’s the previous home of the Millionaire’s Club, where some of the greatest minds have gathered. It’s considered, by many paranormal experts, as one of the most haunted places in the West.
Photo credit: Melanie Warner
Jerome Grand Hotel - Jerome, AZ
The Jerome Grand Hotel is considered to be “Arizona’s mile high historic landmark” Built in 1927, it was a former hospital. It has seen its share of deaths over the years, so it’s no wonder it’s a hotspot for ghost sightings. It sat empty for over 44 years and was revamped in 1994 as a hotel. One person was crushed by an elevator, and two others committed suicide by hanging themselves from trees on the grounds. Guests have reported seeing apparitions and also hearing voices, coughing, and heavy breathing coming from empty rooms, plus overwhelming smells of flowers, cigar smoke and whiskey.
Photo Credit: Finetooth
Moss Beach Distillery - Half Moon Bay, CA
Formerly Frank’s Place, a big speakeasy during prohibition days, Moss Beach Distillery is now a restaurant and bar. It’s best known for being haunted by a beautiful young woman who was murdered there years ago in a lover’s quarrel. “The Blue Lady” makes regular appearances for staff and customers, and was also featured on the TV show, Unsolved Mysteries. It’s a fun place to sit on the patio with fire pits and blankets, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and telling good ghost stories.
Wolfe Manor – Clovis, CA
Wolfe Manor was built as a private mansion in 1922. In 1935, it became the Clovis Sanitarium for many years. Death was a constant and bodies were allegedly stored in the basement until someone could pick them up. It’s considered one of the most haunted spots of the West. Ghost hunters and paranormal experts flocked to the location and featured it on many TV shows. Many photos contain white orbs that are widely considered captured spirits and apparitions. One guest was reportedly pulled backwards into an empty room and many others report strange noises, smells, and feeling something touching them frequently. Starting in 1996, “Scream If You Can” launched and prospered as a Halloween attraction for years. Sadly, the current owner could not find an investor or anyone to take the house, so it is has been deemed a nuisance and is now scheduled for demolition.
Photo Credit: Rob Ray
What’s the most haunted place you have ever been? What was your experience?
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.