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The 10 most haunted hotels in the US

Halloween is a time for trick-or-treating and scary movies. But for some people, getting a real scare is part of the season’s appeal. And there's no better time to up the ante on celebrating the frightening festivities by spending the night in a haunted house.

All over the country there are hotels that appear to be hosting eternal guests, and if you're brave enough, you might just spot one. Here are the 10 most haunted hotels in the country — where it might not be so easy to rest in peace.

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Nathan Hughes
In 1892, a young woman checked into the Hotel del Coronado on California’s San Diego Bay to meet her husband. He never arrived, and a few days later, she was found dead. Since then, guests and staff have noticed the pale figure of a young lady in a black lace dress on the premises.

Bullock Hotel

Deadwood, South Dakota

With a name like Deadwood, there's bound to be a few ghosts floating around town. The most famous in the area is that of Seth Bullock, who moved to the area to open a hardware store and never left. Building on his successful business, the entrepreneur later opened an extravagant hotel above his store and became sheriff of the town. The hardworking gentleman died in 1919, but he wasn't ready to give up his passion. Today, guests and workers at the hotel report seeing Bullock in the hallways of the second and third floors, the restaurant and Seth’s cellar. Some have even heard voices, felt shoulder tapping, and seen flying objects and electrical appliances functioning – even when they’re unplugged!

Hotel del Coronado

Coronado, California

While people flock to this luxury hotel for its stunning views and elegant accommodations, some come for the chance to spot the ghost of Kate Morgan. The 24-year-old checked into the property on Thanksgiving Day in 1892 and never checked out. After waiting five days for her lover to meet her, the heartbroken young woman took her own life with a handgun. Though her story is tragic, many report that she is a friendly ghost. You can stay in the original third-floor guestroom where there have been reports of lights flickering, self-working TVs, breezes, mystery odors and sounds, objects moving by themselves, footsteps, voices and sudden changes in room temperature.

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Admiral Fell Inn

Baltimore, Maryland

This historic hotel may tout itself as pet friendly, but it’s apparently ghost friendly as well. Dating back to the 1700s, the site has sparked numerous tales of apparitions appearing to guests and staff in all seven buildings that make up the property. While no people in particular have been pinpointed as specific spirits, everyone agrees they're friendly and looking for a good time. Sounds of a party were even reported during Hurricane Isabel in 2003, though the hotel was closed at the time. Embracing their ghoulish guests, the hotel hosts several ghost tours a week.

The Marshall House

Savannah, Georgia

It's hard to narrow down a single hotel in one of America's most haunted cities, but the bustling activity of this property makes it a top contender. It was used as a hospital for the Union Army during the Civil War and twice during yellow fever epidemics -- making for a lot ghostly potential. People have seen spirits walking around, heard children's voices at night and seen faucets turn on by themselves. Many local tours include this spooky spot on their routes, or you can dare to spend the night yourself.

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    Courtey of The Myrtles Plantation

    The Myrtles Plantation

    Haunted destinations

    From the inspiration for "The Shining" to the Headless Horseman's hangout, visit the world's spookiest tourist attractions ... if you dare.

  • Alcatraz

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    The former maximum security facility on an island in San Francisco Bay was once home to Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. It is no longer used as a prison, but visitors and tour guides have claimed to hear screams, slamming cell doors, and footsteps.

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  • Amityville house

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    The house at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, gained infamy in a best-selling book and several movies. Former owners reported creaking noises, voices, the music of a full marching band in the middle of the night, foul odors, and a black, shapeless apparition.

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  • Bran Castle

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    Bran Castle, Dracula's castle, in fog, Transylvania. Bran Castle is alleged to have been the seat of Vlad III - a cruel Romanian ruler better known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. Notorious for brutal impaling his enemies, the character of Vlad III inspired Bram Stoker to write his famous horror novel Dracula.

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  • Paris Catacombs

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    In the 1800s, Paris's cemeteries were coming dangerously close to being filled, so some bodies were moved to tunnels that had been dug beneath the city by workers quarrying for building materials. Bones and skulls are stacked up throughout the Catacombs, and visitors have reported strange voices.

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  • Hotel Chelsea

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    A familiar haunt for artists and bohemians in the Chelsea district of New York City since it was built in 1883, the Hotel Chelsea still puts up guests today ... if they don't mind sharing accommodations with the reputed ghosts of former residents Dylan Thomas, Eugene O'Neill, and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious.

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  • Eastern State Penitentiary

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    Located in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia, this prison was designed to encourage solitude, supposedly helping prisoners open themselves up to God. But it is said that many went mad instead ... which may explain the eerie noises that have been reported since it closed.

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  • Edinburgh Castle

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    This ancient stronghold overlooking Edinburgh is one of Scotland's most popular tourist attractions. It is reputed to have many ghosts, including a drummer who only appears when the castle is about to be attacked, and a piper who disappeared in the tunnels underneath it.

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  • Hotel del Coronado

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    In 1892, a young woman checked into this luxury hotel on California's San Diego Bay to meet her husband. He never arrived, and a few days later, she was found dead on the hotel steps. Since then, guests and staff have noticed the pale figure of a young lady in a black lace dress....

    Nathan Hughes
  • Inverary Castle

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    It is said that the ghost of a harpist who was hanged in 1644 for peeping at the lady of the house can be seen wandering this castle in western Scotland, and can be heard playing every day in its library. The castle is home to the 13th Duke of Argyll today, but sometimes opens its doors to brave visitors.

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  • New Orleans

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    he Big Easy's French Quarter is well-known to tourists for its hot jazz and spicy food. But New Orleans is also the historic center of voodoo traditions that African-Americans brought to Louisiana during the days of the slave trade. Although those customs were suppressed by slave owners, they linger on today.

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  • The Myrtles Plantation

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    Now a bed and breakfast, this antebellum estate northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been called "America's Most Haunted Home." Reported phenomena include an oil portrait whose features become animated, a "bloody handprint" on the adjacent wall, and doors that open and close by themselves.

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  • Petzow Castle

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    This 18th-century castle near Potsdam in eastern Germany is a hotel and restaurant today ... but its corridors harbor a dark history involving murderous barons.

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  • Point Hicks Lighthouse

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    In 1947, the keeper of this historic lighthouse on the eastern coast of Australia mysteriously disappeared. Afterward, many visitors have claimed to hear his hobnail boots at night, and it's said his ghost continues to keep the tower's brass doorknobs polished to this day.

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  • Salem, Massachusetts

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    The location of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692, dramatized in Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible," is today a mix of important historical sites, New Age boutiques, and witch-kitsch attractions. The Salem Witch Museum claims to be the most visited one in town.

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  • Sleepy Hollow

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    This picturesque village 30 miles north of New York City was immortalized in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Washington Irving's classic tale of schoolteacher Ichabod Crane and the fearsome Headless Horseman. Irving implied that the apparition Ichabod saw was a fake, but a number of visitors also have claimed to see the Horseman, supposedly a Hessian trooper whose head was carried off by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War.

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  • Stanley Hotel

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    This neoclassical hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, was the real-life inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's "The Shining." It is named for Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, whose ghost has been reported visiting its billiard room and bar. Guests also complain about children playing in the hallways at night ... even when no children are checked in.

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  • Tower of London

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    The ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, just two of hundreds of victims executed on Tower Hill over the Tower of London's bloody 900-year history, are among many that have been seen in what is called England's most haunted building. Legend has it that in 1816, a guard died of fright after seeing an apparition of a bear approaching him.

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  • The White House

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    America's most famous residence is the setting for a number of ghost stories, some of which have even made it onto the official White House Web site. The spirit of Abigail Adams supposedly continues to do laundry in the East Room, while the ghost of Dolley Madison has been reported looking down upon the Rose Garden.

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  • Forks, Washington

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    Michael Gurling, right, of the Forks, Wash., Chamber of Commerce, talks about the bonfire location on a beach in LaPush, Wash., that is portrayed in Stephenie Meyer's wildly successful vampire-themed "Twilight" books and movies.

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  • Pfister Hotel

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    Built in 1893, the Pfister is the most regal address in Milwaukee, having hosted every U.S. president since William McKinley and scores of celebrities. But rumors abound that late at night, the spirit of hotel founder Charles Pfister, who died in 1927, arrives to check in. Some guests report hearing strange noises and having paranormal experiences.

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  • Gettysburg

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    Re-enactors leave the field at dusk on the fields in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of the bloody Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Union and Confederate armies suffered 46,000 to 51,000 casualties in total in the battle.

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  • The Waverly Hills Sanatorium

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    The Waverly Hills Sanatorium is a local landmark in Louisville, Kentucky. The vacant building has become an attraction for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts, who insist the building is haunted by former patients.

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  • Winchester Mystery House

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    This is an aerial view, taken in 1994, of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Calif. The house, a maze of 160 rooms built by a firearms heiress to fend off pursuing ghosts, has been given national landmark status.

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  • The Alamo

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    The Battle of the Alamo happened in 1836 as part of the Texas Revolution.The Alamo became one of the Lone Star State's most historic sites. A quick online search can return hundreds of results about how the area is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of fallen soldiers.

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Provincial Hotel

New Orleans, Louisiana

Like Savannah, New Orleans is home to many war stories and their accompanying spirits. Guests have reported seeing bloody Confederate soldiers and surgeons that disappear the moment the lights go on, especially in building 500, and some have complained that the rooms feel as if they're filled with people. Moans and groans can be heard throughout the historic property that's situated just two blocks from Bourbon Street.

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Stanley Hotel

Estes Park, Colorado

(C)Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
A scene from horror classic "The Shining," Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film

If Stephen King found inspiration for “The Shining” in this hotel, then you know it has to be eerily good. This spooky resort is notorious for its hauntings, particularly room 217. In 1911, chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson allegedly (there are various accounts of the incident) went into the room with a lit candle after a thunderstorm took out the power of the hotel and realize there was a gas leak, causing the place to explode. Though she survived the incident, there are still sightings of her in the room tending to her duties like putting guests' clothes away and sleeping between unmarried couples.

The Heathman Hotel

Portland, Oregon

Not only has this luxury hotel made a name for itself after being referenced in “50 Shades of Grey,” but it's also well known for its ghosts. Ever since a guest committed suicide by jumping out the window of room 1003, there have been tales of supernatural encounters in any room ending in “03.” People have said they've heard strange knocking sounds, felt random cold spots and some have even taken pictures that show blurry faces and random dark clouds.

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The Sagamore Hotel

Lake George, New York

With its beautiful surroundings and elegant accommodations, it's no surprise guests want to keep coming back -- especially the property's first. Guests have said they've seen a couple enter the dining room and return to their second floor room on numerous occasions, while golfers have seen a ball boy from the 1950s who was reportedly hit by a car. One hotel cook apparently quit after a tall blond woman spoke to him and then walked right through him.

Retlaw Plaza Hotel

Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

This 1920s property was a labor of love for creator Walter Schroeder — something he can't seem to give up in the afterlife. He reportedly roams the halls and haunts room 717, where there have been tales of screams behind a locked door only for the staff to find it empty. Sadly, two people committed suicide, one on the second and the other on the seventh floor, leading to more stories of TV channels changing on their own and people having their hair pulled.

Queen Mary Hotel

Long Beach, California

Though this famous ship-turned-hotel embraces its scary past by hosting a haunted house onboard in the fall, it's the real ghost stories that will make your skin crawl. As both a passenger ship starting in 1936 and a warship in World War II, plenty of people have passed through some 400 rooms in the vessel. But one of the most popular spooky spots is the First Class Swimming Pool, where two women drowned. Others have reported seeing a woman in white in the Queen's Salon, and children playing in the storage room.

This article was originally published Oct. 22, 2015.

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