The creepiest thing about hotels is that we often have no clue who’s checked in and out of them before us. With so much history and guests passing through, there’s bound to be spirits who never checked out. That’s why I was spooked, but curious, when u/theoriginaltommygirl asked haunted hotel employees about the strangest things they’ve witnessed.
“My brother worked in housecleaning at a historic inn. He saw shapes dart out of the corner of his eye when he looked in mirrors. The beds would untuck themselves after he’d made crisp corners. Some days, he heard footsteps up behind him on the narrow stairs, and his hair stood on end. His vacuum would constantly be unplugged while using it, even when the cord was completely slack. And toilets frequently flushed themselves. When he brought all this up with the manager, she said, ‘Oh, don’t mind that. It’s happened since I can remember.'”
“I used to live and work at the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. I was a ghost and history tour guide for the summer, and have many stories of strange experiences. Once, my coworker and I were sitting in her room drinking when someone came angrily stomping up the stairs and down the hallway — we thought we were busted. Then, the person got to her door, turned the knob, and opened it. But there was no one there. Another time, I was giving a tour and talking about the ghost of a creepy old brothel owner who haunted the place. Suddenly, someone tugged my hair. No one was behind me. People on the tour thought I was faking it, but I absolutely wasn’t.
“I worked as a housekeeper at a ‘haunted hotel’ for about a year. There are many stories I could tell, but there was this one room that I still have nightmares about to this day. There was a rumor that when the manor house was being converted, the builders found a skeleton in the fireplace of the largest room. I never felt right in that room. I even started having nightmares about it, where I was being chased down the long corridor in the room. I never saw what was chasing me, but I remember feeling filled with terror. I had that dream every night for months. Since quitting that job, my mental health improved, and the dream became much less frequent…but I still get it from time to time when things are bad. It continues to haunt me.”
“In the early ’90s, I worked as a sous chef at the Hotel Colorado. The employees there told me all of the juicy ghost stories — forbidden rooms, labyrinths, basements, hauntings, and so on. I never really paid it any mind until an encounter that creeped me out so much that I quit. It was slated to be a busy weekend as we had multiple functions that weekend, including our famous Sunday brunch in the Colorado Room. The head chef asked me to come in super early to get a head start on prep. I arrived around 4:30 in the morning. I immediately went into crunch mode since I had a mountain of things to get done. I was deep in work mode with my back to the dining room when weird sounds started to penetrate my veil of concentration. Kids were playing in the dining room. Not my problem, so I kept my stride. After a few moments, a bad feeling washed over me: What the hell were kids doing playing in the Colorado Room at 4:30 in the morning?
“I stayed a night on the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, California with my family. I’m convinced that the ship is haunted. We were all walking in one of the long hallways where all the rooms are, which is super creepy in the first place, and my brother was walking in the back with my mom. He looked down one of the side hallways and turned back to my mom looking super creeped out. My mom said he told her he saw a guy in the back of the side hallway, but he could see right through him. None of us wanted to sleep there, though we had to.”
“I was setting up the audiovisual tech at the Drake Hotel in the Gold Coast ballroom. There’s a famous ghost story of a woman who jumped out the window of the ballroom and died after catching her husband cheating. I was alone that night setting up speakers and monitors, and they kept getting unplugged from the wall. I thought nothing of it at first but taped them onto the walls so they wouldn’t come undone anymore. Right as I was about to finish setting up my last monitor, all six of them came undone from the walls. I’ve never been so frightened in my life. I immediately bolted out of the room, eventually came back and did the show, made sure I struck everything as quick as I could before banquets finished so I wouldn’t be alone, and immediately went home.
“I had a few rooms on my floor that I was uncomfortable with being in alone while working. We weren’t allowed to turn on the TVs as we cleaned, but I didn’t care. In those rooms, the TV absolutely had to be on (and on Comedy Central) to keep me entertained. I figured out early on while working my floor which rooms were different. Flickering lights, cold spots, that feeling you get when someone is standing right behind you, but actually, the creepiest one is the feeling of somebody’s face being right in front of yours.”
“I worked at a local motel that, before it was demolished, was known by locals to be haunted. Most people didn’t even blink an eye at some of the happenings around. One time, I was in the middle of folding towels in the laundry room when I saw a woman pass through toward the small office in the laundry room. It wasn’t unusual for people to come by to ask for extra towels and stuff, so I assumed it was a guest who needed something. I went into the office, and nobody was there. It was a small room with only one door in and out of the office. I even checked under the desk, but it was completely empty.
“I used to work at a casino that was built in the late 1800s, so it was just accepted that it was haunted. One afternoon, a guy I worked with had to be sedated by a paramedic after getting so spooked by something. He was cleaning one of the restaurants in preparation for service that night, and was alone. He said he saw a black shape with no real defined edge drift across the kitchen and through the wall into the adjoining room. It made no sound, but he’d been looking right at it. He wouldn’t work in that kitchen alone after that.”
“My hotel is supposed to be haunted, and weird things have absolutely happened. Once, there was a call to the front desk from the locked up pitch-black telephone booth in the hotel bar. It only happened once, so I don’t think it was a short.”
“I worked housekeeping in a chain hotel. There was one room at the end of the hall where the faucet would turn on full blast by itself while anyone was working in there. I’d be cleaning the room and suddenly hear water gurgling down the drain. Another time, I was working on the tub and heard it turn on behind me. Whoever or whatever it was would also turn on the TV. I was warned on my first day that things would happen in that room, and then, while making a bed, I’d suddenly hear muffled voices and see that the TV was on. Whatever part of the room my back was to, it felt like someone was there. I got the feeling they didn’t want to be in the way, but they didn’t want to be alone.
“I was a server at a restaurant that used to be a hotel. My second day of training, I saw a little girl pop her head out of a cupboard below the bar and look around. I was about to tell her to get out, but when I checked, there was no one there. Another time, I walked into the kitchen, and two of my friends were standing in front of a pile of shattered glass, jaws dropped and faces pale. Dropping a glass in a restaurant happens daily; no one reacts like that. I asked what was wrong, and they sort of babbled together that the glass threw itself off of the counter — they watched it happen.”
“I was working late, just past midnight, when I went to use the bathroom in the lobby. It was a pretty standard large men’s bathroom with urinals and sit-down stalls. I was the only one in there, and I went to one of the urinals. As I was peeing, I heard a rapid knocking sound coming from behind me. I looked and saw the door for the handicap stall vibrating, which was what was making the knocking sound. It was like someone locked the door and was shaking it. I figured it was a coworker playing a prank, so I laughed and said, ‘Very funny.’ It immediately stopped. I walked over, knocked, and the door swung open. No one was inside. I ran the hell out.
“I got into an elevator lift from the top floor to head down. The lift stopped at the fourth floor, the door opened, and I saw people outside standing still who made no attempt to come in despite me being alone inside, and there was room for them. As the lift doors started to automatically close, I heard someone outside say, ‘Why is the lift so full of people?'”
“My friend’s grandfather owned a hotel at some point. The building was hundreds of years old and dated back to the English Civil War. He told us that one time, he was cleaning up in the dining room. Suddenly, three men in armor charged at him with weapons, but they just ran through him. He was physically ill afterward having come into contact with the ‘ghosts.’ He later called a medium to come check the place out, and she was freaked out by the supposed presence in the hotel. Later, they learned that there had been a murder committed by three soldiers in the building during the war.”
“It was the 1990s, and it was a dark and stormy night. I was working alone and entered the pool area to replace the dirty pool towels with clean ones two hours after the pool closed. It was a huge indoor pool accessed by a heavy metal fire door near the front desk. The pool closed at 10 p.m., and my shift started at 11 p.m. I headed for the closet where towels were stored. As I was stacking the towels, I suddenly heard a very loud splash, like someone just cannonballed into the pool. I immediately turned because the pool was already closed. No one was there. No kids. No adults. Not even a mouse. I thought I’d imagined it, but noticed the water in the pool was still moving, and the pool deck at the deep end was wet. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. I ran, not walked, the hell out of the pool area and waited for the newspaper delivery guy to show up to finish cleaning.
“Creepy stuff happens at my hotel a lot. I saw the key-locked back door open on its own one time just before it closed. I heard knocking on that same door when no one was there, and I could tell because it’s a glass door. Almost every day, it sounds like someone is trying to open the filing cabinet that has our important documents, but can’t because it’s locked. No one is ever there when I check, but it always looks like someone tried to pull it open. A few times, the radios have gone off with no one around, and the latest time it happened, it sounded like someone quietly groaned into it — all the radios were there, so no one had any to do that. Stuff has only been getting worse and more spooky lately.”
“I worked at a church that has since been repurposed into a hotel and bar. It’s in one of the oldest towns in Australia, so the church had been around since colonization. Most staff experienced the feeling of being watched, and loads of unexplained things happened. Plates flew off the bench in the middle of church service, doors would inexplicably slam, the TV would change channels by itself, the radio would turn on to complete static, and we’d constantly hear voices. We named the ghost Cecil.”
“I worked for a hotel for almost a year. In one of the laundry rooms, you could hear a typewriter clicking and dinging. I called that ghost Sheryl. Then, while cleaning the pool at night, it was common to see a shadow walk by and constantly feel like someone was watching you. I hated cleaning the pool.
“Several years ago, my college roommate worked as the night manager for a newly built hotel. We were close, and I would often bring coffee after 1 a.m. and chat for awhile. One night, she was at the front desk looking completely perplexed when I showed up. She said she had just checked in a doppelgänger of our other roommate, down to the same height, hairstyle, eye color, and Southern accent. She tried to show the new guest a picture of our friend but was rebuffed several times. We both chalked it up to coincidence because our friend was out of town with her parents. I decided to head home shortly after 2 a.m. I got home at around 2:30, pulled into our garage, and checked my phone: There was a series of texts from my friend to our other roommate and me at 2:17 a.m.: ‘Stop.’ ‘Not funny,’ ‘You guys suck,’ ‘What the hell.’ I called my friend immediately.
If you’ve worked at a haunted hotel or other establishment, what are your own stories of running into paranormal activity? Let me know in the comments.
Photo Credit: Pixabay