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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Story Behind The Haunt

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What is it that fascinates and makes people willing to visit haunted places?  Is it the anticipation of experiencing or gathering proof of the paranormal?  Perhaps, but I think what attracts the average tourist to ghost tours, houses and hotels is the story behind the haunt.  There is always a story, often one mingled with tragedy, mystery, injustice or murder.  It seems these agoraphobic specters spend all eternity roaming their place of death – or do they?  Maybe it is just the story that lingers, either way it is thrilling, intriguing and has many of us, including myself, asking for more and wanting to visit.  After all, who doesn't love a good ghost story, especially, haunts with this kind of setting!

Hotel ProvincialLocated in the New Orleans’ French Quarter and owned by the Dupepe family.  The "500 building," originally belonged to Ursuline Nuns and was the military hospital for American and British soldiers during the Battle of New Orleans, and during the Civil War.

Hotel La FondaHas a bloody history where gunfights frequently erupted and convicted killers swung from the gallows.  The current building was built in the 1920s, but its paranormal roots go back to the 1850's.  The story tells of a businessman who lost his fortune in the hotel's gambling hall.  Penniless and suicidal, he jumped to his death down a deep well.  This hole has since been covered by the hotel's colorful La Pazuela Restaurant.

Stanley Hotel: Built in 1909 by automaker F.O. Stanley.  However, the hotel sits on a former private hunting reserve owned by the Earl of Dunraven who was run out of town by irate locals and legal battles.  As for Stephen King, he claims he encountered the ghost of a hotel maid in room 217.

Hotel ChelseaWhere Dylan Thomas who drank away his final days and the Sex Pistol's, Sid Vicious, stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death in room 100.

Hotel Queen MaryReportedly two women drown in the pool (1930's & 1960's).  A young boy died when he fell overboard.  The Queen Mary sliced the British Light Cruiser Curacoa in half during World War II.  Because of her wartime sailing orders, the Queen Mary was not allowed to stop to rescue survivors, and 338 men perished in the cold ocean. Sixteen crewmembers, two G.I.s and 31 passengers have died on the ship.  In addition there was an accidental poisoning in 1949, when a worker drank tetrachloride that the staff captain kept in an old gin bottle.

Crescent HotelAn early account reports in 1885 an Irish stonemason who worked on the hotel fell from the roof and died on the second floor.  Later in the 1930's the building was used as a controversial hospital/health resort.  The notable, Dr. Baker, a well-known charlatan who ran the hospital appears as a confused ghost still roaming the place.

Myrtles PlantationIs built on an Indian burial ground.  The owner Judge Woodruffe began an intimate relationship with one of his slaves, Chloe.  In reaction to events, Chloe put a small amount of oleander leaves, similar to arsenic poison, into a birthday cake that was made for the birthday of the Judge's oldest daughter.  In just hours, they were all three dead.  The other slaves, afraid that the Judge would punish all of them, dragged Chloe outside and hanged her from a plantation tree.  In addition, four murders have taken place over the years in the gaming room.

Hotel Del CoronadoIn 1892, Kate Morgan checked in and waited to meet her estranged husband for the Thanksgiving holidays.  He never arrived. A few days later, Kate's body was found on the hotel steps leading out to the ocean.  Was it suicide or murder?

Have you had a personal experience at a haunted hotel?  What is your story?

1 comment:

  1. re myrtles plantation. no burial ground. no murders. no chloe. pure fiction motivated by greed, created by frances kermeen.

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