America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Heathman Hotel; Portland, OR
Photo: Photo courtesy of Heathman Hotel

Haunted restaurants and hotels abound in America, waiting to be explored by specter-seeking guests. "You have to be careful what you wish for; you just might see something," says Judy Kahlor of the St. James Hotel in New Mexico. —Justine Sterling

01 of 19

Hotel del Coronado (San Diego)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Hotel del Coronado; San Diego, CA
Photo courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

A vestige of old Hollywood, this beachfront hotel was featured in such films as Some Like It Hot and may have inspired writer L. Frank Baum's vision of the Emerald City in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It's no surprise that some guests never want to leave. According to hotel historian Christina Donovan, Kate arrived at the hotel in 1892 hoping to meet up with her lover. The morning after he stood her up, Kate was found with a bullet in her head on the hotel's steps. Despite Kate's untimely death, her tall, statuesque ghost is said to be gentle and lighthearted, tossing objects towards guests, or peering out to sea, presumably still waiting for her lover.

02 of 19

Muriel's (New Orleans)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Muriel's, New Orleans, LA
Photo © Sara Essex

There is one unavailable table at this Jackson Square restaurant. It's freshly set every night with bread and wine for a previous owner of the property, Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, whose ghost has a standing reservation. Gambling ruined Jourdan in 1814, when he lost his house in a poker game. Inconsolable at having to vacate, he died of suicide on the second floor. The appropriately named Séance Lounges upstairs are where Mr. Jourdan is said to spend most of his time knocking on walls, but the staff claim that glasses have flown from behind the bar and shattered against the far brick wall three times since 2001.

03 of 19

Algonquin Hotel (New York City)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Algonquin Hotel; New York, NY
Photo courtesy of The Algonquin Hotel

In the 1920s and '30s, the Algonquin Round Table, a group of authors and thinkers including Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx and Edna Ferber, met at the Algonquin Hotel to eat lunch and discuss each other's work. Many believe that the group continues to meet. "Dorothy had such a huge impact on the Algonquin while she was here that her spirit lives on," says Gary Budge, the hotel's general manager. Budge says that after renovations were done on the 13th floor, a framed picture of Parker dropped and shattered because she didn't like the changes. Though he has never seen Parker, Budge understands why she would return. "The Dorothy Parker suite does have a lot of her memorabilia, so if she did return she would feel right at home."

04 of 19

Brennan's Restaurant (New Orleans)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Brennan's Restaurant; New Orleans, LA
Photo courtesy of Brennan's Restaurant

Chef Paul Blangé created many of this restaurant's iconic dishes, like bananas Foster flambéed tableside, and staff says he never leaves the kitchen — even though Blangé died in 1977. The chef was so dedicated that he was buried with the restaurant's menu and a knife and fork across his chest, and he is said to mark the end of a night's shift by banging pots and pans as the restaurant's doors are locked. In the wine cellar, the ghost of sommelier Herman Funk — who helped build the restaurant's legendary collection of wine and spirits — now signals his selections to servers by clinking bottles.

05 of 19

Poogan's Porch (Charleston, South Carolina)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Poogan's Porch; Charleston, SC
Photo © Paul Cheney

The Charleston police have received so many calls about a distressed woman dressed in black trapped inside this upscale Southern restaurant that authorities disregard new reports. The woman is believed to be the ghost of Zoe St. Armand, who owned the house in the early 1900s and changed after the death of her sister, her only friend. Legend has it that Zoe fell down the stairs to her death while fruitlessly searching for her sister one night. "Occasionally you can see her looking for her sister in the front dining room," says assistant general manager Terell Ham. The restaurant's namesake, a Wheaton Terrier named Poogan who died in 1979, is also rumored to still run through the dining room. "Little children say they feel Poogan running under the table," Ham says.

06 of 19

Succotash (Kansas City, Missouri)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Succotash; Kansas City, MO
Photo courtesy of Succotash

Before being rechristened as local brunch favorite, this 100-year-old saloon was the Dutch Hill Bar & Grill. One of its old regulars still haunts the bar. Succotash owner Beth Barden first encountered the visitor while renovating the abandoned restaurant. "We would smell cigars," Barden recalls. "I spoke to one of the old neighbors and some of the old staff, who said there was a gentleman named Radar who was there all the time. He used to sit at the end of the bar and smoke these cigarillos." To this day, after closing up the restaurant, the staff will smell the distinct musk of a cigar. "I guess this was his home away from home," Barden says, "He was a barfly who spent many, many days here, and when he died, he just stayed."

07 of 19

Stone's Public House (Ashland, Massachusetts)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotel: Stone's Public House; Ashland, MA
Photo © Tarryn S. Colson

John Stone, the original owner of this inn-turned-gastropub, had a secret. A psychic who visited in 1984 claims resident spirits told him that in 1845, Mr. Stone killed a New York boarder named Michael during a fight, after Stone accused the man of cheating in a card game in which Michael won $3,000. Witnesses to the crime aided Stone in burying the body. Now the staff dreads Stone and other spirits placing ghostly hands on customers' necks and throwing glasses from the shelves.

08 of 19

Catfish Plantation (Waxahachie, Texas)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotel: Catfish Plantation; Waxahachie, TX
Photo courtesy of Catfish Plantation Restaurant

Known as "the most haunted restaurant in Texas," this Cajun restaurant occupies a Victorian house and boasts the presence of multiple specters. Caroline, a former resident who died in 1970, seems to be under the impression that she still runs the kitchen. The restaurant's owners in the 1980s, Tom and Melissa Baker, reported finding a pot of coffee brewing one morning and teacups stacked in the middle of the floor another morning — though no one else had keys to the restaurant. Since then, others have witnessed the apparition of a bride standing by the window.

09 of 19

Beardslee Castle (Little Falls, New York)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Beardslee Castle; Little Falls, NY
Photo © Randall Brown

This restaurant, set in a faux Irish castle in the Mohawk Valley, appeared on the TV show Ghost Hunters because of rumors that ghosts shatter glasses, move objects and close doors. In 1983, Norm Gauthier, a ghost hunter from the New Hampshire Institute for Paranormal Research, surveyed the property and concluded that there were definitely two spirits present in the castle. While one legend says that Indigenous people were killed on the property in the 1700s, the ghosts in residence are believed to be younger: Anton "Pop"; Christensen, the former owner who died by suicide in the ladies' room in the 1950s to put an end to his failing health; and a bride-to-be named Abigail who died the night before her wedding. (Weddings are still held on the property.) In 1989, a fire broke out in the castle and destroyed the kitchens without harming the original structure. Some believe that this was the ghosts' way of rebelling against all the attention. Not all of the ghosts' activity is destructive; some say they also reset tables.

10 of 19

Lemp Mansion (St. Louis, Missouri)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Lemp Mansion; St. Louis, MO
Photo © Tim Trunnell

Three Lemp family members died of suicide at this Victorian mansion and brewery turned restaurant and inn. The family's story begins with Adam Lemp, a German immigrant who found success selling German-style lagers in America. His son, William J. Lemp, successfully expanded the brewery after taking over in 1862 but ended his life after his fourth son, Frederick, died suddenly at the age of 28. Billy Lemp, Jr., was next in line, but Prohibition shut the company down. Billy died by suicide in his office, which now serves as a dining room. His brother Charles inherited the house in 1929 with only two servants and his dog for company. In 1949, he killed his dog and then himself, leaving behind no explanation except a note reading: "Blame it on no one but me." Now guests say the piano in the bar plays on its own, glasses fly through the air and doors lock and unlock. Full-body apparitions have been reported.

11 of 19

Patrick's Roadhouse (Santa Monica, California)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Patrick's Roadhouse; Santa Monica, CA
Photo © Suzanne Cummings

Known for celebrity sightings, overstuffed omelets and a funky, shamrock-adorned exterior, this narrow roadhouse has ghosts from the building's former incarnations as a motel, hot dog stand, brothel and trolley station. But the most vibrant ghoul is the Roadhouse's last owner, Bill Fischler, who was known to publicly ridicule customers who complained about food. He occasionally pops in to check on his restaurant and its employees. One chef even quit after seeing Fischler's ghost appear in the back of the restaurant, glaring at him with dissatisfaction.

12 of 19

Ear Inn (New York City)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Ear Inn; New York, NY
Photo courtesy of the Ear Inn

One of New York City's oldest bars is also one of its most haunted. Built in 1817 as a house for an aide to George Washington named James Brown, the inn has served as a bar and restaurant since the mid-19th century. Spirits who died during Prohibition, when the bar operated as a nameless speakeasy, are rumored to still visit the bar, but the most famous ghost is Mickey, a sailor who lived in the inn's attic during the 1960s. He was killed by a car in front of the building and returns to ignite the fireplace and feed off the energy from patrons' cell phones, which suddenly go dead. The owners blame Mickey for starting a fire in 1996.

13 of 19

The Queen Mary (Long Beach, California)

The Queen Mary; Long Beach, CA
Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary

Between carrying troops in World War II and operating as a luxury cruise ship, this historic ocean liner has been the site of nearly 50 deaths. The dead are said to roam the decks of the now-anchored ship, which serves as a novelty hotel. One particularly haunted space is the kitchen, where a chef was supposedly stuffed into an oven during WWII and roasted by a crew who didn't take to his cooking. People still hear his screams. Another presence is thought to be the ghost of Leonard "Lobster" Horsborough, who was a chef during the ship's final voyage. He died in 1967 of either heatstroke or heart trouble and was buried at sea. Many think his spirit returned to the kitchen where he spent his last 15 years. Staff members have reported seeing "Lobster" suddenly appear and disappear, still going about his duties in the kitchen.

14 of 19

St. James Hotel (Cimarron, New Mexico)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: St. James Hotel; Cimarron, NM
Photo courtesy of St. James Hotel

"This hotel isn't possibly haunted—it is haunted," says event coordinator Judy Kahlor. "There are seven ghosts that are here all the time, and we get the good, the bad and the ugly." Kahlor knows the troublemakers when she senses them: "That's when we get the parties in the bar, poker games in the high roller room, and people get pennies thrown at them in bed at four in the morning." Room 18 in particular has become a haven for visiting spirits. If a particularly angry ghost is staying there, the hotel's staff will leave a glass of whiskey in the room to appease the wild specter.

15 of 19

Hotel Monte Vista (Flagstaff, Arizona)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Hotel Monte Vista; Flagstaff, AZ
Photo © Tom Bean / Alamy

This hotel, which once hosted Hollywood guests like Bing Crosby and Humphrey Bogart, now harbors several ghosts. Front-desk employee Chelsea Green recalls a large, burly Los Angeles biker who was staying in Room 305, which the lady in the rocking chair is known to haunt. "She's nice. She'll just sit there and talk to you," Green told the man when he came down into the lobby, refusing to return to his room. He tried to act tough when she took him back upstairs but a few minutes later he was sleeping on the couch in the lobby. "He left pretty early the next morning; I think he was embarrassed," Green says. Guests in Room 210 have heard phantom knocks and a voice that calls "Room service!" when no one's at the door.

16 of 19

Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Stanley Hotel; Estes Park, CO
Photo courtesy of Stanley Hotel

A stay at this hotel near Rocky Mountain National Park inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Resident paranormal investigator Callea Sherrill first encountered the hotel's otherworldly inhabitants in Room 407, where she was staying one night with two friends. "I heard footsteps come down the hallway," Sherrill recalls. "They stopped outside the door. I waited for a knock, but nobody knocked. Just then I felt someone sit down next to me on the bed — I even saw the mattress dip." The next morning her friend Terry, whom Sherrill had thought was asleep, asked, "Who sat down on the bed with us last night?" Sherrill, who now leads the hotel's ghost hunts from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., believes it could have been the ghost of one of the nannies who used to be employed on the fourth floor. There have been many reports of the nannies still hard at work, tucking in hotel guests as if they were children and making beds — occasionally while guests are still in them.

17 of 19

Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Carolina Inn; Chapel Hill, NC
Photo courtesy of The Carolina Inn

There is a permanent doctor on call at the Carolina Inn. Though Dr. William Jacocks died in 1965, he is believed to remain in Room 256, which was his home for the last 17 years of his life. Jacocks's ghost has a friendly sense of humor, according to the staff, and will occasionally play practical jokes on the guests by locking them out of their rooms. After tiring of his games and once having to break into a room from the outside with a ladder, hotel management switched to electronic locks. But it hasn't helped — Dr. Jacocks still manages to jam them.

18 of 19

Crescent Hotel & Spa (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Crescent Hotel & Spa; Eureka Springs, AR
Photo courtesy of Crescent Hotel & Spa

The hotel's history began badly when an Irish stonemason named Michael fell and died while constructing the building. His ghost is said to haunt Room 218. Bill Ott, the hotel's director of marketing and communications, has experienced Michael's presence firsthand: While leading a group from the TV show Deal or No Deal on a ghost hunt one summer night, Bill and the group heard something that sounded like a prerecorded laugh track. "There was raucous laughter for three or four seconds, and then it stopped. There was no one around," Ott remembers. When the paranormal experts from Syfy's Ghost Hunters came to the hotel, they witnessed a full-body apparition. "The holy grail of ghost hunting," says Ott.

19 of 19

Heathman Hotel (Portland, Oregon)

America's Haunted Restaurants and Hotels: Heathman Hotel; Portland, OR
Photo courtesy of Heathman Hotel

Legend has it that a guest who fell from the window of Room 703 now haunts the whole line of rooms ending in 03. The housekeeping supervisor says she's often met with resistance when trying to enter one of these rooms — even if it is known to be vacant. Towels are taken from shelves and piled on the floor. Visiting psychics have assured the staff that the spirits are friendly and mean no harm.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles