Friday, December 31, 2010


Cliff Park Inn

Cliff Park Inn image from Bestweekends

The Cliff Park Inn, located in Milford, Pike County, dates from a land grant given in 1627 by Charles I when the Buchanan family came to America from Scotland. The one room cabin became the Buchanan Homestead in 1820.

In 1900, Annie Buchanan started the Cliff Park House, named for the 900' cliff vistas the estate offered above the Delaware Gap. During the early days of movies, studios used the Cliff Park as a location because of the stunning view (and the golf course, a popular attraction during non-shooting periods). Many stars such as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. graced the resort.

It also has some spooks, many known by name such as Fanny and Big George. People have reported the presence of Walt, the former maintenance man. The "Lady in Brown," supposedly a member of a 1920's film crew, has been spotted gliding down the main staircase, going out the door and across the golf course to the cliff where she was reputed to have leaped to her death.

The Inn's one-time Caribbean chef, Uncle Stew, still holds court in the kitchen. He's been known to throw cans of pineapple juice at cooks he thinks are sous'ing below his demanding standards. In fact, several of the Inn's spooks are associated with the hotel as employees, and seem to aim their otherworldly approbation to current goof-off workers.

The most famous spirit is Sally in Room #10. The stories tell of eerie noises, voices, orbs, seeing her outline lying on the bed and her apparition popping up throughout the Inn. It's said that when you leave the room that Sally will reopen the door if she wants you to stay and slam it shut if she doesn't. So a word to the wise if you're sharing Room 10 with Sally...

The place is locally renown for its paranormal performance, being visited by Penn Valley Paranormal, Paranormal Investigators of the Poconos, and North East PA Paranormal, as well as getting some love in "Pocono Ghost Legends - Book 2" by Charles Adams III and David Siebold.

Another log is tossed on the spooky fire every Halloween with the Inn's "Tales In the Parlor" event, when it hosts stories of local ghosts, legends and lore of the past.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Lowe Hotel

The Lowe Hotel

Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is a hotbed of paranormal lore. It's home to the infamous Mothman, and the victim of Cornstalk's Curse.

Shawnee chief Cornstalk's plague on the area has been blamed for many calamities over the years, while Mothman managed to get a book and movie made of his shenanigans, and even has an annual festival held in the town.

And if you go, look for Mothman's statue. Then look across the street, and you'll spot the only place to stay in Point Pleasant, the Lowe Hotel. It more than holds its own in the spooked-out category.

The hotel opened up in 1901 as the Spencer Hotel, and was known for its ballroom and as a gathering place for the upper crust. The Lowes bought it in 1929 and renamed it after themselves. Rush and Ruth Finley bought the hotel in 1990, and are still in the process of rehabbing the old grand dame.

The more common paranormal experiences at the hotel are the usual things reported from old buildings: loud noises, icy blasts of air, and feelings of presence in guests' rooms, halls and the staircase. While the human eye can't see anything to explain the sense of presence, photographs of orbs have been captured during the experiences.

Starting from the top, the fourth floor features the ballroom and an unfinished storage area. One of the items kept upstairs is Mrs. Lowe’s cane rocking chair. The Finley's daughter watched the chair began to rock by itself, while other staff members say the chair moves around the room by itself.

But the third floor is where the main ghost action is.

The third floor suite hosts the ghost of Jimbo, aka Captain Jim, who appears to guests and tells them that he's waiting on his riverboat, the River Explorer.

A tall, thin man with a beard, whose reflection has been seen by many in the mirror, haunts room 314. It's said that he's none other than Sid Hatfield of Hatfield/McCoy feud fame.

The bottom two floors are just generally "eerie," but spook-free.

A word of caution - the Lowe Hotel was where the film crew stayed when they taped a Sci-Fi Channel program about Mothman. It's reported that at least one crew member had an experience so spooky that he packed his gear and left the hotel, staying out-of-town across the river in a Days Inn.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hotel Conneaut

Hotel Conneaut

The Hotel Conneaut, called "The Crown Jewel of Lake Conneaut" in Crawford County, dates back to 1903. It features 150 rooms, old time, turn-of-the-century ambiance, and as to be expected by its vintage, some long-time guests who checked in but never checked out.

The most famous apparition is Bride Elizabeth. Her and her guy were honeymooning at the Hotel on April 27, 1943, when a terrible fire occurred. Lightning struck the hotel's wooden roof during a thunderstorm, and it burst into flame.

Legend has it that her hubby, thinking Elizabeth had already escaped, fled the building to find her. But Elizabeth was still inside the hotel desperately searching for her husband and quickly became trapped by the flames and perished. (or maybe she looking for the fire escape at the end of the hall. She hasn't told us yet.)

They were in room 321, and she's said to mainly wander in the hallway of third floor, still in her wedding gown, trailing a phantom scent of jasmine while softly sobbing. The room itself is the site of orbs, whispered conversation, messed up linens, water that runs for no reason and windows that open by themselves.

Elizabeth doesn't limit herself to the third floor, though - she's been reported all over the hotel and even in the adjoining amusement park. Those whispered voices have been heard all over the building, allegedly the otherworldly playback of the last conversations between Elizabeth and her husband.

She's become so famous that the hotel restaurant/bar is called Elizabeth's Dining Room & Spirit Lounge in her honor (heck, she's even mentioned in Wikipedia!), and her "ghost book" is prominent in the hotel lobby.

But she shares the space with a bevy of spooks. There's lore regarding an old chef who dismembered a butcher in the kitchen. A spectral couple can be seen dancing in the first floor Grand Ballroom. A soldier has been spotted in a tree on the Hotel lot. The spirit of a former hotel employee, John, may join you in the lobby.

And there are tales of little Angelina, a child who legend claims died long ago when her tricycle either tumbled down a flight of stairs or off the hotel balcony. She now rides her trike on the porch of the Hotel, crashing into people. Angelina has also been spotted in the halls, looking for a playmate.

The Hotel's haunted history is chronicled in The Ghosts Of Hotel Conneaut And Conneaut Lake Park by Carrie Andra Pavlik.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Colonel Taylor's Inn

Colonel Taylor Inn

The Cambridge “House on the Hill” was built in the 1878 by Colonel Joseph D. Taylor, a Congressman, Civil War veteran, teacher, lawyer, bank and newspaper owner, and prosecutor. Taylor was connected enough that his home was visited by Presidents Garfield, Hayes and McKinley.

Now his Victorian mansion, all 9,000 square feet, 21 rooms, 6 baths, 11 fireplaces and three stories of it, is an inn/B&B that's listed on the National Register. The owners rent the four rooms on the second floor; it seems like all the other rooms are already filled - with spooks.

Oh, there's the usual ghostly mischief: people see indistinct shapes, footsteps are caused by unseen entities, voices of little girls and conservations are heard where there are no people, objects are randomly moved around, and beds rock for no reason. But that should be expected; there's a whole family of spirits roaming the manse.

One spirit is that of an impish eight year old boy in a sailor suit who gives the paying guests raspberries and treats the inn's household items like his personal toy box.

The servants quarters on the top floor have their spectral guests, too. The image of a servant girl tripping down the narrow stairs and spilling her tray is often reported. A heavy-set woman has been seen in the old servants sitting room, wearing an apron and tut-tutting; apparently she doesn't approve of the room's transformation into an exercise area.

Women dressed in gowns have been seen on the landing of the main stairway and on the first floor, going room to room through the walls. The three woman are perhaps Colonel Taylor's two wives and daughter; other apparitions seen throughout the inn are thought to be of the Colonel's children. It's a long-running family affair.

Of course, the Colonel has free passage; after all, it is his home. The aroma of his pipe tobacco can be easily detected wafting through the air of the non-smoking B&B. His footsteps can be heard plodding up and down the steps. He's been seen in the bedrooms, checking on people. The Colonel seems to like his house being active and is considered a sort of guardian angel for the inn.

And hey, the B&B's shadows aren't even all human. Samantha the ghostly tabby, a dearly departed pet of the current owners, pads along its old haunts on the third floor, flitting through the walls on its way to her earthly hangout, the foot of the bed.

If you want to know more, you have two choices: motor out to Ohio's Guernsey County and get a room, or read all about it in Chris Woodward's "Haunted Ohio V."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Valley Hotel

Valley Hotel

The Valley Hotel in Jefferson Hills, Allegheny County, was built in 1863 and known as the Hotel Granger, named after its owners. It served passengers of the Pittsburgh, Virginia & Charleston Railroad, miners, and riverboat crews.

It's also sited near the Mon Valley US Steel works at Clairton, and the Granger/Valley Hotel has been the watering hole of choice for workmen looking to wash away the dust after a long eight hours.

The New England & Coal Valley Roads building now houses a bar, and is noted for its live music sets. It's also built a rep for its spooks.

The place is alleged to be filled with spirits and their phenomena, including poltergeist activity, faces in the mirror of people that aren't there and glowing lights. Things disappear from behind the bar and in drawers, then reappear weeks later.

Guests have heard voices and footsteps coming from empty spots in the bar. A worker quit after hearing the voices of a non-existent man and women arguing in the basement.

The Pittsburgh Paranormal Society investigated the place, and came away with pictures of orbs moving around the bar and a spirit beside one of the team members. A mirror shattered when they were in the basement. They came away believers.

So if you'd like to share a beer with a hard-rockin' indie band and a ghost, the Valley Hotel is your kinda joint.