After making its premiere on Video on Demand, Ti West's The Innkeepers will haunt theaters on February 3. This time the director takes the slow burn to a hotel, where two employees find themselves conducting a paranormal investigation at the inn during its final weekend in business. To help possess you with the spirit of West's supernatural chiller, we traveled the world to find some of the creepiest haunted hotels in business — places you can actually spend the night, though some guests have been known to check out early (and many never left). Hotels are transient channels rich with the history of thousands who have made their mark while passing through — some have left a darker fingerprint than others, though. Find out where you can rest your head — as long as you don't mind sharing your pillow with a strange and ghostly bedfellow — below.
The Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Built in the late 1800s and still servicing guests today, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has been investigated by all the well-known paranormal network TV shows. While the ghost of a stonemason who fell to his death and several otherworldly visitors have been spotted on site, the hotel's darkest history rests with a former vaudevillian turned medical charlatan named Norman Baker. He purchased the Victorian hotel in the early 1900s where the untrained doctor ran a scam that promised to cure cancer patients. His phony concoction was made from watermelon seed, brown corn silk, alcohol, and carbolic acid. Many died thanks to Baker's scam — restless souls that still linger at the Crescent Hotel, which can apparently be spotted during ghost tours and overnight visits.
Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada
Though the above photograph was taken in 1929, not much has changed at the Banff Springs Hotel. There are more trees surrounding the majestic property set in the Rocky Mountains — and just as many ghosts, according to workers and guests who have experienced strange phenomena there. Though there are a few friendly spirits that have checked in permanently — like a former bellman named Sam — it's the surlier specters that have captured everyone's attention. A ghostly bride has been spotted dancing alone in the hotel's dining room. She died on her wedding day after stumbling down the stairs, her gown catching fire on a nearby candle. There's also a gory tale about a murdered family in room 873, where little children are said to linger. The room was apparently sealed off with bricks to hide its dark past, but many haven't been able to forget it.
Castle Leslie, Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland
Many famous faces have been spotted at Castle Leslie. Guests at the rural 1,000-acre estate have witnessed some ghostly faces too — namely that of the Leslie clan. Norman's room boasts the titular spirit who was set to inherit the castle, but died during battle. The four-poster bed — which dates back to 1607, and is from one of the most haunted houses in England, Brede Place — has been known to levitate during the night. The castle's Red Room has also seen a flurry of activity — perhaps due to the bizarre practical jokes that were often played on visitors there. The castle's website shares one particular story: "The children also created a full-sized dummy witch mounted on roller skates. A string attached her to the bathroom door, so that when it was opened, the witch would shoot out waving her broomstick." Clearly, the Leslies had a morbid (read: awesome) sense of humor.
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
During the snowiest months, The Stanley Hotel looks like a ghostly giant emerging from the breathtaking, mountainous landscape. As most horror nerds know, genre legend Stephen King spent time at the 138-room hotel, which inspired him to write The Shining. Stanley Kubrick's cinematic version of the tale — in which the hotel was called the Overlook — wasn't filmed on location, but the two have remained intrinsically linked regardless. The Stanley Hotel's ballroom seems to be a hotspot of paranormal activity — the sounds of a ghostly soirée echoing throughout the long corridors. Many skeptics have posited that there is no real evidence to support the ghostly claims and have gone to great lengths to prove it. We wonder if a stay in room 217/237 would change their mind.
Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook, England
If you sleep at England's Ostrich Inn, it'd be a good idea to check under your bed before getting tucked in for the night. During the 17th century, the Inn's landlord installed a secret trapdoor — à la Sweeney Todd — in the hotel's "best bedroom." Guests thought they were being treated to a luxurious evening, but they were really being prepped for a boiling cauldron that awaited them in the kitchen below. While sleeping, the trapdoor would open, and guests would slide down into a scalding pot of water, never to be heard from again. More than 60 visitors died this way, and all of them supposedly haunt the Inn to this very day.
Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, California
In 1892, a young woman named Kate Morgan checked into the Hotel del Coronado, reportedly to meet her estranged husband. Several days later, Kate was found dead on the steps leading to the beach just beyond the Victorian luxury resort. The ghastly occurrence was ruled a suicide, despite claims of foul play. Now her spirit is rumored to wander the hallways, the garden, and the beach. Marilyn Monroe's 1958 film Some Like it Hot was shot in part on location, and several have speculated that since memorabilia related to the movie is housed at Hotel del Coronado Monroe's spirit lingers there too.
Hotel Provincial, New Orleans, Louisiana
A former Confederate hospital during the Civil War, the Provincial Hotel in New Orleans' French Quarter still finds its guests contending with the eerie moans and groans of soldiers in pain. A visit to the Provincial means being able to cross many haunted experiences off your bucket list: cold and hot spots, footsteps, bloody bed sheets, doors opening and closing, voices, apparitions, paranormal photo ops, and spirits that will attempt to pull you into the walls.
Castle Stuart, Inverness, Scotland
If the ghosts at Castle Stuart don't trouble you, the 17th century Tower House with spiral stairs just might. The structure's east tower did find several carpenters falling from ladders, which explains the screaming that is often heard across the grounds. The site of the fortress also saw many Highland battles, but the bloodshed really began in the 16th century with the murdered family who had been set to inherit the castle from half-sister Mary, Queen of Scots. Castle Stuart stood as a derelict ruin for 300 years before it was turned into a luxury hotel, but the ghosts have always remained.
The Savoy, Mussoorie, India
Mussoorie, India is home to The Savoy, which has seen its share of famous writers and dignitaries walking through the doors. A spiritualist who supposedly haunts the hotel also spent time there. She was poisoned to death in 1911. The macabre story inspired Agatha Christie's novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which recalled The Savoy's opulent heyday — before restless ghosts put a damper on everything.
Langham Hilton, London, England
Apart from its famous five star guests (Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain to name a few), the Langham's haunted history is another compelling part of the grand hotel's past. Built in 1865 and formerly owned by the BBC, Langham sightings include ghosts dressed in Victorian garb and the spirit of a German solider. An apparition of Napoleon III has been seen in the cellar, and room 333 is the reportedly the most haunted space amongst its 380 rooms.