My Favorite “Dead and Breakfasts” - Great places to sleep with a ghost
I’ve been a collector of ghost stories from inns and B&Bs for quite some time now. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that approximately 20-percent of inns and B&Bs are haunted, according to a survey of innkeepers from BedandBreakfast.com. Many historic homes have plenty of spirits lingering in hallways and guestrooms, making themselves at home in their former homes, or should we say former haunts?
Innkeepers have been sharing their ghost stories for years with me. Here are ten of my favorite tales from haunted inns, about ghosts that make themselves known, and not just in the dead of night! I’ve actually had a personal experience with a ghost at one of these “dead and breakfasts”!
Red Garter B&B, Williams, AZ: Owner-innkeeper John Holst came to terms with Eve, his B&B's resident ghost after being a hard core apparition-skeptic. This two-story 1897 Victorian B&B, once considered the rowdiest abode on Williams' Saloon Row, operated as a bar and bordello until the 1940s. A steep flight of steps known as the "Cowboy's Endurance Test" led to the girls upstairs. Holst is pretty sure that one of the women of the night never left. While most guests have a good night's sleep, a few have felt the bed shake, heard someone going up and down the stairs or felt something touching their arms, according to Holst. No worries, she’s a friendly lady of the night! For a long list of great ghost stories from the Red Garter including a photo of a smiling ghost who won’t appear in the mirror, click here: redgarter.com/ghost_stories.html.
The Groveland Hotel, Groveland, CA: An old gold-miner named Lyle was found dead with a box of dynamite under his bed many moons ago, but he’s still hanging around. Spirited storyteller and innkeeper Peggy Mosley has a collection of Lyle stories compiled from employees and guests that she loves to tell. Although a recluse in life, Lyle's spirit tends to the playful. He particularly dislikes women's cosmetics on 'his' dresser and has been known to move such items to a nearby sink. One Groveland Hotel guest watched as her new makeup 'hopped' over the back of the dresser and landed on the floor. Lyle is a great tease who likes to tinker with lights and water, and enjoys moving items around desktops too. For Lyle’s complete story, and to learn more about Lyle’s antics, click here: groveland.com/lyle.htm
Old Bridge Inn, Jeffersonville, IN: Recently, a long-forgotten candleholder reappeared in the middle of a guest room. Guests have reported seeing floating objects, canes being picked up and twirled around, tea cups floating across the room and several candles being raised up then down on their own. Two women reported seeing a welcoming bearded gentleman in the dining room. From photos, they determined that he may have been the son of the property's longtime owner, Dr. Hancock. A small dog named Buttons has also been seen. For more info on the haunted Old Bridge Inn, click here: oldbridgeinn.com/womans%20world.htm.
Avenue Inn B&B, New Orleans, LA: Beds move and shake in the night, singing can be heard coming from the old Nanny's quarters when no one is there, and strange power surges in computers have all been reported from this Queen Anne style mansion in the New Orleans Garden District. Once, during a wedding ceremony, loud knocking sounds came from the inn's dining room fireplace. Was it the wind or the original resident of the home signaling his approval? Either way, a trip to NOLA, one of America’s most haunted cities, is always going to be “spirited” in more ways than one. avenueinnbb.com
Garth Woodside Mansion, MO: A former vacation home for Samuel Clemmons, a.k.a. Mark Twain, it should come as no surprise that a few intrepid spirits are still hanging around here. According to innkeeper and co-owner, Julie Rolsen, there’s more truth than story to the ghost tales here. She explains that there’s one guest that says she does not THINK Garth has spirits, but, that it DOES have spirits. According to Julie, this guest sees the spirits each time they stay, usually after dinner. On several occasions the guest has reported hearing footsteps from the room above yet rarely is there someone booked above them as they always stay during the slower times of week. The photos the guest and her husband take seem to always have images in them besides what they are taking, and the ones of the outbuildings always have other figures in them as well. The guest says the spirits are never mean, just persistent. garthmansion.com
Click here to see a photo - enlarge it to look at the woman in the second story window: flickr.com/photos/seanrolsen/4055709449/in/set-72157600757880907/lightbox/
Inn at Jackson, Jackson, NH: Jason, once the trusted workman at the inn, committed suicide as a young adult yet returns to check on repairs at the inn. Guests have been awakened by a hammering noise, and the staff has caught glimpses of movement as they check on rooms, primarily on the second and third floor. Jason is a peaceful presence, bringing a smile to the innkeeper's face as he explains his comings and goings. Jason is not the only ghost; the water mysteriously turns on and off in Room Two, perhaps at the hand of a ghostly old man. Once when talking to the innkeeper in the bar area here, I heard hammering coming from inside the walls. “Jason?” I asked. A wry smile crossed the innkeeper’s face as I realized I’d been lucky enough to be in the midst of Jason myself. He must’ve known I was a believer! innatjackson.com
Inn at Jim Thorpe, Jim Thorpe, PA: Guests have caught unexplained shadows and orbs on digital cameras and one guest explained how the chair in his room turned upside down each time he tried to sleep. One guest even claimed that a ghost put his phone in the refrigerator. Click here to read more about the inn’s ghosts: innjt.com/history.html.
Green Mountain Inn, Stowe, VT: "Boots" Berry, the tap dancing ghost and former local hero, can still be heard dancing on the third floor of the inn during severe winter storms here. The son of the inn's former horseman and chambermaid, Boots was born in Room 302 in 1840, and he grew up in and around the inn. One summer morning when the stagecoach team bolted, Boots bravely stopped a runaway stage, saving the lives of the passengers. Unfortunately, his heroism turned to too many congratulatory drinks, and Boots neglected his duties at the inn. Eventually he was dismissed and ended up in jail where he learned to tap dance, earning his nickname. Eventually, after jail, Boots drifted back to Stowe, shabby and poverty-stricken. At about the same time, a dreadful storm hit the town, and a little girl became stranded on the roof of the inn. Remembering his childhood days, Boots took a secret route to the roof and lowered the girl safely to the ground. Just as she reached safety, Boots slipped and fell to his death from the icy roof. His life had come full circle, for the roof he was standing on when he fell was the roof of Room 302. Learn more about the legend of Boots Berry here: greenmountaininn.com/bootsberry.html.
Marti Mayne is a B&B aficionado, visiting hundreds of inns and B&Bs either by armchair or in person each year - and is the B&B Editor for Wandering Educators. As a coordinator for the Better Way To Stay campaign, Marti is committed to helping travelers discover today's inns and B&B experience. For more information, visit www.BetterwaytoStay.com.