Hysterical or historical, ghostly spirits make themselves as comfortable in America’s bed-and-breakfasts as living guests do, and not just in the dead of night. No one’s sure if it’s the great breakfasts, the warm hospitality, or the atmosphere of these historic homes, but friendly spirits simply can’t get enough of America’s B&Bs.
BedandBeakfast.com, the largest online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide, provided us with this handful of B&Bs and inns where ghost seekers will enjoy spirited gatherings and potentially close encounters with the other world. On their Web site there are scores of additional spooky places to rest you head. If you dare.
Here are some certifiably haunted houses from New England to the mid-Atlantic and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi and the Pacific coast where guests may encounter spirits of days gone by or find themselves sharing a room with ghosts who refuse to leave the premises.
Captain Grant’s, Poquetanuck, CT: Visitors to this historic 1754 inn are told when they arrive that if they hear the loud knock at the door, they can answer if they like, but nobody will be there. Those who stay at the Adelaide Room are sure to have some contact with the mysterious woman and her two children who once lived there, whether it is through the TV turning on and off or the shower curtain continuously falling down. One guest even had her ChapStick levitate out of her purse on a recent visit. While visiting, take a tour of the local cemeteries, also known to house their own ghostly dwellers.
Black Horse Inn, Warrenton, VA: Four ghosts have been accounted for in this former Civil War hospital. The first is a woman believed to have been a nurse in the hospital, who is inclined to laugh only in gentlemen’s ears. She is believed to be comforting them with her soft, kind laughter just as she did the soldiers she tended. The second ghost is known to the whole community as “The Dancer” because the tap, tap of his shoes is heard throughout the night as he dances at the top of the stairs. Another male ghost inhabiting the Burgundy Room makes an impression on the comforter each time he sits on the bed. And the Ghost of Christmas has tipped over the Christmas tree — breaking all the ornaments — each year for the past three years. The tree is now wired to the corner of the room.
Inn at 835, Springfield, IL: One guest reported hearing a warm and friendly voice saying “Well, hello there.” No one was around. Another event included a single book being placed in the middle of the room multiple times. Each time it was removed from a tightly packed shelf and placed in the middle of the room. Another time, wallpaper peeled off the wall, only to be perfectly repaired by the next morning. And every now and then, there are reports of the sound of a lid being removed from a crystal candy dish and then replaced, even though no one is around. The elevator delivers guests to random floors regardless of which button is pushed. Repeated inspections and servicing proves it to be in perfect working order. Does it have a mind of its own, or is there an unseen guest? Reportedly Bell Miller, the former owner, was so proud of her 1909 dream home that she apparently never left.
Hannibal Bed and Breakfast at Rockcliffe Mansion, Hannibal, MO: Built in 1898 and described as the “finest home in Missouri,” this mansion was boarded up for 43 years after its owner, John J. Cruikshank Jr., died in 1924. During the years of the vacancy, local children would run through the home, under the dare of making it all the way up to the third floor classroom, tear off a piece of the schoolroom map, and return outside to prove they had made it through Hannibal’s most “haunted house.” Caretakers who watched over the vacant house would often be forced to leave their living quarters due to the strong smell of cigarette smoke that would sometimes appear at midnight. Now restored as a B&B, the housekeepers at Rockcliffe Mansion have to straighten the bed in the former owner’s room, even when no one has been sleeping there, as it mysteriously retains the form of a 5’4″ body. Mr. Cruikshank, who stood 5’4″ while alive, died in that very bed! From time to time, guests have witnessed Mrs. Cruikshank floating through her grand music room.
Queen Anne Hotel , San Francisco, CA: Built as a girls’ finishing school following the Gold Rush, the headmistress apparently hasn’t given up her role of tending to the needs of the building’s occupants. Dozens of accounts speak of “Miss Mary Lake” appearing briefly in a mirror or being noticed as a hot or cold spot in a room. There’s even an odd report of Mary tucking in a napping traveler with the blanket snugly tucked all the way around the bed. The occurrences all happen in what’s referred to as “Miss Mary Lake Suite” or “the haunted room” (No. 410). No wonder this is the hotel’s most popular room among those seeking a chance at the third dimension. Celebrity psychic Nancy Bradley and Paranormals “Gold Rush Ghosts” have verified that the building is haunted and confirm the ghosts are friendly. It’s the first stop on the Pacific Heights Ghost Trek.