If a house can be haunted, a hotel can be about 100 times worse. It’s the place you sleep when you’re a stranger to town, when you’re on the run, when you’re having a tryst… is it any wonder that these lodging places seem especially prone to spooky happenings? Here are the ghostly or ghoulish Northwestern hotel stories we’ve covered so far on Ouija Broads…
The Empress Hotel (Episode 67, Five Ghosts of the Empress Hotel): When your hotel’s architect gets gruesomely murdered by his wife’s teenage lover, you know you’re in for A Time. A touchstone of luxury in Victoria, BC, the Empress has attracted at least five ghosts, including a helpful bellhop, a peaceful maid, and a lost former guest. And of course, the architect himself hangs out, modestly awaiting compliments on his great triumph of design. But if you say anything, he discreetly vanishes through a wall. Good party trick.
The Hotel de Haro (Episode 38, Afterglow Vista): Why do housekeeping ghosts tend to appear in hotels? Is it just that hard to let go of the place you’ve tended for so long? Ada Bean was the trusted and beloved servant of the McMillin family for decades, and James McMillin set aside a special place for her in their distinctive open-air mausoleum. However, something went awry and Ada’s ashes ended up in a mason jar in the office of the manager of the Hotel de Haro – a building which had actually incorporated her former cottage. When her ashes were placed in the mausoleum, her spirit became very active – and a bit destructive – at the hotel. According to hotel employees, she likes to turn lights on and off, turn on blenders, open and close doors, and re-light candles. Once all the glass shelves in the gift shop shattered one after another as a horrified cashier looked on. Is Ada angry, or just a bit klutzy? Maybe a psychic should go find out…
The Spokane Street Hotel (Seance #2, available for patrons): We don’t have any attested ghost stories for this one, but it certainly is eligible thanks to its tragic past. Its owners, Frank and Tessie Pozar, disappeared unexpectedly in late fall of 1984. Because they normally left Spokane to winter in Hawaii, it took several months to realize that they had never made it to their Hawaiian retreat. Their son, Frank Jr., had been living in the hotel since the day they left, and claimed they were on a cruise and had authorized him to spend their money and use their credit cards to keep the hotel – which normally was closed over the winter – open for the season. Frank Jr. had a tense relationship with his parents, who had cut him off financially, so this seemed implausible to his family. Later, Frank and Tessie’s packed suitcases were found in the hotel’s basement. Frank Jr.’s whereabouts are unknown, but even he said that “probably half of Spokane thinks I killed them.”
The Davenport Hotel (Episode #14): The Davenport Hotel is a gem of Spokane’s downtown, with a signature elegance that has survived over 100 years. The Davenport also has its share of hauntings, including the original proprietor, Louis Davenport – staff say that they sometimes see him standing in his robe and slippers, scowling at them as they dust the intricate woodwork. An unseen bellman helps push luggage carts and open doors for visitors, and sounds of a Prohibition-era party waft from the spa that operates on the site of the hotel’s former speakeasy. And of course, there’s poor Ellen McNamara, who got turned around during the renovations of the atrium ceiling and plunged three stories to the lobby floor below. Although she passed away in 1920, some psychically sensitive guests have reported that they can still hear her repeating in death her last words from life… “Where did I turn? Where did I turn?”
The Chateau at the Oregon Caves (Episode 30, Oregon Caves and Chateau): This rustic hotel from the 1930s has shades of the Overlook thanks to its relatively remote location – and, of course, the ghosts. Supposedly, Room 310 is haunted by a woman named Elizabeth who died on her honeymoon. When she found her new husband in flagrante delicto with a chambermaid, she ran up to their room on the sixth floor and fell from the window to her death. Did she jump, or was she pushed? Hard to say, especially since this story isn’t attested to in newspapers of the time. But the staff believe that Elizabeth’s spirit stays in the hotel, and when Room 310 is occupied, she’ll go wandering – moaning and crying in the linen closet, producing strange footsteps and gusts of wind, unmaking beds and strewing towels about, and making souffles fall in the kitchen.
Manresa Castle (Episode 34, Manresa Castle): After previous lives as a home, a hotel for nuns, a teaching college for Jesuits, the former Manresa Hall became Manresa Castle, a hotel. A psychic visiting Manresa said that her stay was disrupted by lively ghosts who rang her phone, knocked on her door, and otherwise bugged her until she reached out to them. According to her, the ghosts say that Manresa is a place where spirits can visit and pass through – a hotel for ghosts! It also has a handful of permanent ghosts, including the spirit of a hanged priest – whose presence can still be felt in Room 302, including in the form of a creaking rope – and a young woman who threw herself to her death from Room 306. Pitchers, glasses, and other fragile things tend to shatter and smash in the breakfast nook and kitchen, while in the basement bar, a malevolent and violent ghost attacks people, including pinching and slapping them.