From the mountainside lodge that inspired "The Shining" to Colombia's suicide palace, the world's most haunted hotels aren't for the timid.
Accounts of the paranormal have always been a part of global culture but there is something special about creepy, haunted hotels that has particular resonance with people. While there’s no definitive proof of ghostly entities with the ability to affect our physical plane inhabiting these sites, strange things keep happening to those brave enough to stay at some of them which keeps the ghost stories, well, alive.
The stories from these seven haunted hotels run the gamut from the seemingly unfortunate to the highly alarming. While some locations appear to merely attract bad actors, others really do seem to be cursed.
So whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a scaredy-cat, if you’re making travel plans, you might want to peruse this list before confirming your itinerary. From Hollywood legends haunting Los Angeles to spooky myths plaguing Colombia’s mountains, these are some of the most haunted hotels in the world.
The Cecil Hotel: The Haunted Hotel Of The City Of Angels
Downtown Los Angeles isn’t the first place that comes to mind when one ponders the history of hauntings and ghostly environments. On the other hand, Hollywood is where movie stars are made — and where many of them go to die.
The Cecil Hotel is one of several lodging houses for those passing through L.A. that has been known for its litany of unnerving incidents. It was only a few years ago that a decomposing corpse was found in the water tank — a fairly significant bio-hazard, if there was one.
But this establishment has been haunted, as it were, since the 1930s. In addition to the 16 murders, suicides, and countless events that teeter on the edge of logic and inexplicability — it’s served as the home of some of the most famous serial killers in American history.
A decade after the Cecil opened its doors, Army Sergeant Louis D. Borden slit his own throat with a razor. The 1934 incident was followed by Roy Thompson of the Marine Corps jumping off the roof less than four years later. His body was found on the skylight of a neighboring building.
In September 1944, 19-year-old Dorothy Purcell woke up in the dead of night with abdominal pain. When she went to the bathroom, she gave birth to a baby boy — entirely unaware she had been pregnant. She threw it out of the window and onto the roof of the adjacent building.
Purcell was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and was institutionalized.
In 1962, one minute George Giannini was taking a stroll past the Cecil — the next minute he was dead. The 65-year-old had been struck to death by the falling body of a 27-year-old woman who killed herself after an argument with her husband.
Admittedly, these can reasonably be waived away by suicidal tendencies and bad luck. But according to the nonprofit Public Media Group of Southern California — they were enough for Angelinos to call this building “The Suicide.” And it only got weirder from there.
Before the infamous “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez used the Cecil as a temporary home, the hotel saw its arguably most tragic death. Retired phone operator “Pigeon” Goldie Osgood was known for feeding her titular friends in nearby Pershing Square.
In 1964, however, she was found raped, stabbed, and strangled to death in her hotel room. Her murder was never solved.
The area only got worse throughout the 1970s and 1980s, at which point Ramirez became part of the Cecil’s history when the serial killer rented a room on the top floor. Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger stayed at the Cecil, as well.
The attraction of so many rapists, murderers, and suicidal personalities to the Cecil can admittedly be explained by chance. The discovery of 21-year-old Elisa Lam in the rooftop’s water tank — and the unbelievably bizarre security camera footage depicting her in the elevator — is undoubtedly more challenging.
Guests were met with such low water pressures in early 2013 that the complaints were too many for the hotel to ignore. An inspection of the tanks yielded the discovery of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, whose body had been decomposing within for more than three weeks.
Not only could the coroner not discern a clear cause of death — video of the young woman’s ride in the hotel elevators only furthered the eeriness of her passing. The now-infamous footage shows a clearly uncomfortable, somewhat disoriented, and vaguely afraid woman behaving very abnormally.
In the end, her case has never been solved — like so many others whose lives ended at the Cecil Hotel.