Spooky stays for Halloween thrill seekers at renowned destinations
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Aug. 23, 2007) – At some of the nation’s most sought after resorts, guests may be graced with a bit more than just fine dining, diverse amenities and luxurious lodging this October. In fact, they may encounter something much more “out of this world.” Guests at a number of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts’ beloved getaways can test their paranormal senses as they encounter vanishing shadows in mirrors, heavy footsteps in the night and whispers in the hallways. With Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality, retail and foodservice management, guests have the opportunity to muster up their courage and learn firsthand the spooky tales of flying ghost stories (literally), a watchful hotel operator and ghosts of a famous family from years gone by.
§ Yosemite National Park’s The Ahwahnee hotel: In the heart of Yosemite National Park lies The Ahwahnee hotel. Rumors of two spooky sights have circulated through the halls, including the tale of Mary Curry Tresidder, who once operated the hotel. Mary lived on the sixth floor, now home to several guestrooms including the Queen Suite. Mary has been seen frequently on the sixth floor, checking up on her guests. However, the most unusual sighting at The Ahwahnee occurs in the parlor of the fourth floor suite, where maids have witnessed a lone rocking chair in motion—yet the room does not have a rocking chair. A favorite explanation is that John F. Kennedy once stayed in the suite, and a rocking chair had been provided for his comfort.
§ Yosemite National Park’s Wawona Hotel: During the 1920s, a small plane crashed outside the Wawona Hotel, and the badly injured pilot was taken to Moore Cottage, one of the hotel’s guest units. Tragically, before the doctor arrived, the pilot died from his injuries. Since then, both employees and guests have seen a ghostly figure dressed as a pilot – complete with leather jacket, head gear with goggles and a white silk scarf – walking down Moore Cottage’s inside stairs. Employees at the Wawona Hotel also recount the story of an evening in 1985, when a group watching television got an unwelcome surprise as a 10-foot section of the carpet raised three inches off the floor and moved across the room toward them. More recently, Rooms Manager Michael Bruneer was alone in the Wawona Hotel kitchen when the fire alarm suddenly sounded. Bruneer went to the front office to check which of the “fire pull stations” had been activated. Fire pull stations, a throwback to the past, are designed so that a person must physically activate them at a specific site. To Bruneer’s surprise, the fire control panel said it was a “pull station” in the kitchen, located a mere eight feet from where he was standing when the alarm sounded.
§ The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel: In 1996, a woman and her husband awoke in the middle of the night at this grand resort in New England’s White Mountains to find a man staring at them from the foot of their bed, unclothed and dripping wet. Local history has recorded that in the early 1930s, the band leader at The BALSAMS mysteriously drowned in the lake located in front of the hotel. Coincidentally, the couple that witnessed this unexplainable image was staying in the same room that the band leader slept in the night before his unfortunate death. Another guest, a young businessman, fell captive to the enchanting laughter of a young woman while passing through the John Dix social parlor. The soft, siren-like giggle was so intoxicating that he began looking for her, but without success. On his way back to his room, he passed a large mirror hanging by the staircase and saw the image of a strikingly beautiful woman in a long gown. Knowing that it must be the woman he was looking for, he turned around to call for her, but she was gone. The BALSAMS staff has reported seeing her in the lobby, while a bell-man claims to have seen her walking down the third floor halls of the Dix House.
§ Old Town San Diego State Park: A ghost named “Rudy” at historical Old Town’s Rudolph Schiller Bookstore haunts present-day associates. Since the bookstore’s opening this year, an entire row of books, uncannily about ghost stories, flew right off the shelf onto the floor. Later, while an associate was telling a customer about the occurrence, another book tumbled off the shelf and landed directly in the customer’s hands. This mysterious ghost was named Rudy after the store’s founder, Rudolph Schiller, who built the original building in the 1800s, but which burned down three years later. Also in the park is the famous Whaley Family home, ranked as the number one haunted house in America by the Travel Channel. Since being hanged in back of the house in 1852 for grand larceny, “Yankee Jim” has been known to walk the halls with his heavy feet and unlatch and slam open windows on a whim, chasing visitors away with fright. The specter of Anna Whaley keeps watch over the garden and urban legend has it that the ghost of a playmate of the Whaley children, who accidentally broke her neck on a low-hanging clothesline in the backyard, also haunts the house. Even talk show host Regis Philbin encountered the milky-white image of Anna Whaley and has gone on record saying, “You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it because they can’t see it. But there was something going on in that house.”
§ Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds: Employees at this California state park location continue to captivate guests with tales of “The Lady by the Sea,” a beautiful specter seen walking along the coast. Asilomar is also home to a haunted banquet room, where grand galas have been known to continue even after the guests have left and the room has gone dark.