The Luxurious Hotel Del Coronado And Its Unsettling Past
The Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego has a rich and layered history. With visitors like Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Burt Lancaster, and President Ronald Reagan on its roster, there’s no shortage of historical appeal and Hollywood glamor to its name. But the Coronado has some sordid secrets lurking beneath its luxury floorboards, as well.
Quite a few who’ve stayed in its opulent rooms have claimed that there’s been a permanent guest among the rest, a ghost that’s haunted The Del since her suicide there decades ago.
In 1892, a young woman named Kate Morgan who was sick with stomach cancer checked into The Del — and never checked out. After registering under the name “Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard” from Detroit on Thanksgiving, Morgan spent a few days idling at the hotel. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Morgan was reportedly beautiful and ladylike but also reserved and melancholy.
After a few days of waiting at the hotel for her brother, who was a doctor, to assist her with her illness, Morgan gave up hope. No letters arrived, her brother didn’t show, and Morgan decided to take things into her own hands. After purchasing a handgun in the city, she ventured on to the veranda that leads to the beach on Nov. 28, 1892, and shot herself.
The room she stayed in has since become the most requested out of all others in the hotel. But Kate Morgan’s isn’t the only death at the hotel. In 1904, Vaudeville actress Isadore Rush drowned on the beach outside The Del.
According to the hotel, visitors have seen the lights in her former room flicker on and off, while the television turns on and off seemingly on its own volition. Most distressing are reports of breezes appearing out of nowhere — with no apparent source.
Most of the alleged sightings of Morgan’s ghost have occurred on the third floor. Guests have claimed to see apparitions, and items in the gift shop are said to have randomly flown off shelves.
The building was named a historic landmark in 1977 and has since been renovated to return the lobby and its front desk to their original 1888 design. It is still standing and open to visitors — if they dare.