BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

In honor of American Horror Story: Hotel, we took a look at the classic motels and hotels that have made for some good to great cinema in the past. But what real life haunted hotels can American Horror Story season 5 use to creep the living daylights out of television viewers? Like John Cusack's character in the movie 1408, let's take a tour of the most notoriously haunted hotels in the US, shall we?

Crescent Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Why not start the list off with the hotel that actually owns the URL, America's Most Haunted Hotel? The Crescent Hotel is one of many supposedly haunted establishments that had a previous life as a dubious hospital before it was turned into the infamous hotel it is now. Unfortunately, while it was a "health resort", it was under the control of a Norman G. Baker who had no real medical knowledge whatsoever and instead peddled "cures" for cancer which turned out to be nothing more that giving patient's spring water.

Book "Theodora's Room" at the Crescent Hotel.
Book "Theodora's Room" at the Crescent Hotel.

Theodora is the most famous of the hotel's ghosts, a victim of cancer and one of Baker's clients, she appears as an apparition at the foot of the bed in "Theodora's Room" at the Crescent Hotel - the second most requested room at the hotel, apparently. There's also Norman Baker himself, who is also rumored to be haunting the premises along with many other mysterious guests - including the Irish stonemason Michael, who fell to his death while working on the construction of the hotel.

The hotel was even featured on a season 2 episode of Ghost Hunters, where they captured a full body apparition of a creepy guy in a top hat nodding his head. Book your room now, folks! Needless to say, a weird health resort run by a crazy doctor is exactly the kind of inspiration American Horror Story season 5 could use.

Hotel Parq Central - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Is a former health resort not spooky enough? How about a former mental hospital? I think we could put even money odds that American Horror Story season 5 could take place at a former institution turned hotel. And Hotel Parq Central could be the perfect inspiration for the haunted establishment.

Trip Advisor calls the Hotel Parq Central "An Oasis, Slightly Haunted". If you don't mind whispery voices floating around you, the occasional cold spot enveloping you out of nowhere, or your sheets being torn from your bed in the middle of the night, this could be your ideal destination on your next stay in the American Southwest.

Previously known as the Memorial Hospital, the psychiatric institution has seemed to bring many of its former patients with it into the building's new life as a hotel. The top floor of the right wing of the building seems to be the best place to spot the ghost of a woman hanging out and watching over the residents of the hotel. Even while it was a functioning hospital is is said that former patients and staff alike were routinely treated to floating objects, haunting voices and unexplained phenomena that gave them nightmares for years to come.

Retlaw Plaza Hotel - Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

Formerly a Ramada Inn that was formerly a nursing home which was a psychiatric hospital before that, the Retlaw Plaza Hotel has another haunted history that is right up American Horror Story's alley. With ratings on Trip Advisor that can be summed up with, "Loved the hotel, not the ghost," this is the more glamorous route American Horror Story: Hotel could go.

Aside from its ghost producing past life as a psychiatric hospital, the hotel also sits on top of tunnels that were used by Chicago gangsters for clandestine meetings and other nefarious things. At some point the hotel's owner Walter (that's Retlaw spelled backwards) Schroeder was murdered in the hotel and his spirit haunts the place to this day.

Room 717 of the haunted Retlaw Plaza Hotel.
Room 717 of the haunted Retlaw Plaza Hotel.

Room 717 is the hotel's hotbed for paranormal activity but residents and staff say the ghostly activity doesn't stop there. In fact staff kept a daily log of weird activity which includes hair pulling, televisions changing channels, lights and faucets going on and off, banging on the walls, disembodied male voices, phantom footsteps and unseen bodies bumping into people. There are even sightings of a redheaded woman in a white robe disappearing into the walls.

If all this ins't enough for you to think the Retlaw Hotel is prime American Horror Story season 5 fodder, it is believed that two of the hotel's ghosts are man who hung himself on the second floor, which is now the ballroom, and a ballerina who jumped out of her seventh floor room window. There's your Lady Gaga role!

The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, Colorado

Since we ended the last list with The Shining - it seems appropriate that we end this one with the inspiration for Stephen King's classic haunted hotel tale. The Stanley Hotel, and the infamous Room 217, is where Stephen King was staying when the idea for The Shining came upon him.

Both of the original hotel proprietors, F.O and Flora Stanley are said to haunt the hotel and can be heard playing piano at odd hours throughout the hotel. There are also numerous reports of lights and faucets going on and off and items suddenly being flung across hotel rooms.

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining.
The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining.

Perhaps the creepiest tales form the Stanley Hotel have to do with the ominous sounds of children playing that can be heard in the halls of the hotel and behind the closed doors of Room 408. But when guests go to investigate there are no children. Guests of Room 408 also report to have left the room for a short period only to return and find the entire room trashed and creepy hand prints of small children all over the mirrors. *shudder*

The Stephen King tale has probably made The Stanley Hotel the most investigated haunted hotel in America, if not the world. I would definitely suggest that [American Horror Story](series:206668): Hotel should try to fit in some creepy kids into season 5. Nothing sends shivers up the spine like ghostly kids who love to terrorize the guests at hotels in their spare time.

So there you go folks. What do you think? What's your favorite haunted hotel story? Do you have your own first hand experiences? Let your ghost story be heard in the comments section!


Latest from our Creators