5 Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook, England
This charming 12th-century inn located in Colnbrook is the third-oldest in Britain, and was the scene of more than 60 brutal murders in the 17th century. The owners devised a scheme eerily reminiscent of “Sweeney Todd,” where they supposedly plied wealthy travelers with drink and then showed them to their “best room,” where a tilting bed and trapdoor were rigged so that the owners could pull some bolts from the kitchen, the bed would tilt, and the sleeping guest would slide through the trap and into some sort of boiling substance. The owners would then steal the guests’ money and sell their horses and clothes to gypsies. Not surprisingly, poltergeist activity has been reported in the hotel; but even if one doesn’t encounter poltergeist activity, the Ostrich Inn is a decidedly spooky place to stay.
4 Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles, California
A hotel of the classic Hollywood era, in its heyday the Hollywood Roosevelt hosted hundreds of stars and the first Academy Awards, and was where Shirley Temple took her first tap-dancing lesson from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The Roosevelt’s real draw today, however, is that guests may encounter the ghosts of one of their favorite stars. Montgomery Clift is said to haunt room 928, where people have heard him recite lines, pace the floor and practice on the trumpet. Marilyn Monroe’s apparition has been seen in a mirror that once hung in her favorite suite and is now near the elevators. It’s the perfect hotel for ghost hunters who are also suckers for Hollywood glamour.
3 Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
Situated at the edge of Rocky Mountain Park, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta is one of the most luxurious resort hotels in the world. Built in the 1880s, it’s also been dubbed one of Canada’s most haunted places. Room 873 was walled off because of strange sounds and children’s handprints that kept reappearing on the walls; neighboring rooms still report noises. One of the hotel’s most famous—and helpful—spirits is Sam the Bellhop, a former employee who enjoyed his job so much, he never left. He’s been known to open doors for people, make wake-up calls, and help guests find their rooms. There have also been reports of a ghost bartender, headless bagpipe player, and a bride who haunts the staircase of this grand hotel.
2 The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville has been called one of the most haunted homes in America and is now a bed and breakfast. Built in 1796, the house has an unfortunate history of tragedy that undoubtedly contributed to the paranormal activity now reported there, including hand prints on mirrors, mysterious smells and vanishing objects. There are also several apparitions that haunt the Myrtles, such as children who play on a veranda, a woman in a green turban and a girl with curly hair who peers into the game room. Be careful, though—these ghosts aren’t as friendly as the Stanley’s.
1 The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is famous for inspiring Stephen King’s “The Shining.” It reportedly hosts many ghosts, including a Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, who is said to take special care of guests in room 217, where she was involved in an explosion in 1911. Other common reports are of sounds of children laughing and running down empty hallways, a piano being played by ghostly hands, glimpses of the former hotel owner, F.O., walking the hallways, and guests being tucked into their beds a night. Contrary to “The Shining,” all the ghosts that populate the real-life Stanley Hotel are friendly.