Sleeping With Ghosts in California

Ghost Hotel

Ghost Hotel

California! – Its long and rich history from Native Americans, to Spanish explorers, to the California Gold Rush, and the scandals of Hollywood, the Golden State can’t help but be haunted. You will find dozens of hotels, inns, B&Bs, and even some campgrounds where you can sleep with a ghost!

To see the spirit of California’s Gold Rush days, try the Fallon House Hotel in Columbia. If you’re looking for a celebrity ghost, spend a night at the Chateau Marmont or Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. On the other hand, if you’re looking for sheer numbers, try the Queen Mary in Long Beach, reportedly one of the most haunted hotels in the nation.


Union Hotel in Benicia, California.

Union Hotel in Benicia, California.

Union Hotel – In the heart of historic Benicia, the gracious 1882 Union Hotel is reminiscent of California’s colorful past. During the late 1800s, a young woman allegedly hanged herself in one of the rooms of this historic hotel. Today, this unfortunate soul is reportedly seen in a window facing the street, and others hear her talking or crying. Union Hotel, 401 First Street, P.O. Box 874, Benicia, California 94510, 707-746-0110.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Hotel – Presiding majestically above Sunset Boulevard, the Beverly Hills Hotel has been welcoming royalty, legends, world leaders, and luminaries to its luxurious accommodations since 1912. Its bungalows are said to be haunted by several ghosts, including Rachmaninoff and Harpo Marx. Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California 90210, 310-276-2251 or 800-283-8885.

Big Sur

Fernwood Campground – For many years, this area was considered sacred by the Esalen Indians and today stands as a commercial campground. According to employees and guests, the ghost of an Indian wearing a corn mask has been seen between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. near the cabins. Fernwood Campground, 831-667-2422.


Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, California

Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale, California

Brookdale Lodge – Sitting beneath the stately giant redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Brookdale Lodge has served customers since 1890. In the early 1920s, the beautiful dining room with the natural brook running through it was built, and a feature of Ripley’s Believe It or Not served to make the Brookdale Lodge world famous. In the 1940s, the lodge became home to several gangsters and other shady characters. At this time, several secret passageways and hidden rooms were installed throughout the lodge. During this time, buried bodies under the floor began to circulate, and a six-year-old girl drowned in the dining room creek. Today, this historic lodge is haunted by dozens of specters from the past as the little girl is seen running through the lobby, ethereal voices and music are heard throughout the lodge, the sounds of ghostly diners in an otherwise empty dining room, a ghostly woman seen walking over the brook as if supported by a bridge removed long ago, and more. Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Highway 9, P.O. Box 903, Brookdale, California 95007, 831-338-6433


La Playa Hotel – Often called the Grande Dame of Carmel, the original building served as a home for Christopher Jorgensen and his bride Angela Ghirardelli, heir to the San Francisco chocolate fortune. After the couple left the area, it became a hotel, and in the 1920s, a second building was constructed. Today a woman is said to haunt the hotel, who is thought to be Angela Ghirardelli or her cousin who drowned in Carmel Bay. La Playa Hotel, P.O. Box 900, Camino Real at Eighth, Carmel, California 93921, 831-624-6476 or 800-582-8900.

Catalina Island

Banning House Lodge – Located on the isthmus of Catalina Island at Two Harbors, the lodge is perched on a hilltop with sweeping views of both Isthmus Cove and Catalina Harbor. The Banning House Lodge was built in 1910 as the summer home for the Banning Brothers. It has since been renovated into a charming 11-room lodge. A ghostly figure dubbed the “White Lady” has often been spotted here. Others have reported the smells of tobacco and fish that reportedly come from the spirit of an old fisherman. Near here is the spot where Natalie Woods drowned, and she is also said to be seen close by. Banning House Lodge, 1 Banning House Rd. (Tremont St.), Avalon, California 90704, 310-510-2800 or 800-626-1496.


Fallon House Hotel and Theater – Remaining since the days of the California Gold Rush, the Fallon Hotel was built by an Irish stone cutter in 1859. The original owner, Owen Fallon, expanded the hotel in 1863 by purchasing an adjoining building and, later the Gunn Saloon. These three buildings became Fallon’s Hotel. Today, visions of the Gold Rush era are often seen in this historic building. Though smoking is not allowed, guests can often smell the odor, along with that of whiskey. A female apparition is often seen in Room 9, and in the theater, lights seemingly turn on and off of their own accord, and shadow images are often spotted. Fallon House, 11175 Washington St, Columbia, California 95310, 209-532-1479 or 800-532-1479.


Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California by Carol Highsmith.

Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California, by Carol Highsmith.

Hotel Del Coronado – Rising from the water’s edge on the island of Coronado, this historic hotel has long been visited by the rich and famous. Considered one of America’s most beautiful resorts, the Del, as locals know the hotel, was built in 1888, by Elisha Babcok and H.L. Story, who dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world.” The 399-room grand resort cost over a million dollars to build, a staggering amount at the time. One of Del’s most often seen ghostly guests is a woman named Kate Morgan, who allegedly committed suicide on the beach in 1892. Ms. Morgan has often been spotted in the room she stayed in – 3327 and upon the grounds of the resort. In another room, #3519, a maid supposedly hanged herself here, and this room is also said to be haunted. Other strange phenomena include objects tossed about guest rooms as people sleep, the sounds of disembodied footsteps, and mysterious temperature changes. The Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California 92118, 619-435-6611 or 800-HOTELDEL.

Death Valley

Amargosa Hotel, Death Valley Junction, California by Kathy Alexander

Amargosa Hotel, Death Valley Junction, California, by Kathy Alexander

Amargosa Opera House and Hotel – In 1923, the Pacific Coast Borax Company built a “company town” consisting of a U-shaped complex of Spanish Colonial-style buildings. Today, there is little left of Death Valley Junction besides empty buildings and the historic Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. Today, it is said to be haunted by several spirits who called this home during its borax mining days. These unearthly spirits are said to include a crying child who drowned in a bathtub, an evil spirit who was hanged in one room, the presence of a ghostly cat, and others. Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, Highway 127, P.O. Box 8, Death Valley, California 92328, 760-852-4441.

Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort – Sitting upon the glittering salt flats of Death Valley National Park sits this oasis in the desert. The mission-style inn, with its thick adobe walls, opened in 1927 and continues to retain its vintage atmosphere and a vintage-era ghost. This friendly phantom is thought to be that of Chef James Marquez, who worked at the hotel from 1959 to 1973. Forced to quit due to illness, he died three years later. But, Chef Marquez liked his job so much he continues to roam “his” kitchen and dining room, mysteriously opening and closing doors, rearranging equipment and tools, and making all manner of odd noises in the middle of the night. Furnace Creek Inn Death Valley National Park, Hwy. 190, P.O. Box 1, Death Valley, California 92328, 760-786-2345, 800-236-7916


Dorrington Hotel – This historic hotel, built in 1852 by John and Rebecca Gardner, was once a stage stop on the Big Trees Carson Valley Road. Initially serving as a depot and summer resort for stockmen, the hotel has been fully restored today. Mrs. Gardner is said to continue to frequent the hotel, walking through the dining room and ringing the motion detector. One year, she allegedly knocked down every fake Christmas tree in the hotel every night during the holiday season. On another occasion, she allegedly warned the owner of a gas leak in the kitchen. Along with Mrs. Gardener, several ghostly children are said to lurk at the historic hotel. Dorrington Hotel, 3431 Highway 4, P. O. Box 4307, Dorrington, California 95223, 209-795-5800 or 866-995-5800


Durgan Flat Inn (formerly Downieville River Inn) – The inn is surrounded by Tahoe National Forest and nestled in Downieville’s historic gold rush town. This charming resort is also said to be home to a former boarding house resident. In Room 1, water fixtures have been known to turn on by themselves, and this ghostly spirit is even said to sometimes climb into bed with started guests. Durgan Flat Inn, 121 River Street Downieville, California 95936, 530-289-3308 or 800-696-3308.

Fort Bragg California

Fort Bragg

Glass Beach Inn – Built as a private home in the 1920s, the building was fully renovated in 1980 as a guest house that offers nine distinctively styled rooms today. However, inside the inn is a chair that is not so good for guests. According to the tale, many who have sat in it mysteriously die afterward. Glass Beach Inn, 726 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, California 95437, 707-964-6774.

The Grey Whale Inn – This 1915 building once served as the Redwood Hospital in Fort Bragg. However, since 1978 it has provided accommodations as a bread and breakfast inn. The inn is said to be haunted by a woman who roams the garden areas and a man who has often been seen peering from the windows. Gray Whale Inn, 615 North Main St. Fort Bragg, California 95437, 800-382-7244 or 707-964-0640.

The Lodge at Noyo River – Atop the bluff above Noyo Harbor, this historic home, converted to a bed and breakfast, has been providing a commanding overlook of the river, harbor, and Pacific Ocean beyond since the 1860s. Today, it is said to be haunted by an unfortunate honeymoon couple who lost their lives in a car accident near the hotel. Immediately after the accident, the groom was said to have been heard crying for help just outside the lodge, an image that continues to replay itself today. His bride, dressed all in red, is said to pace within the lodge. Other strange occurrences also occur, including the sounds of ghostly voices and laughing, as well as lights that mysteriously turn on and off by themselves. Lodge at Noyo River, 500 Casa Del Noyo Drive, Fort Bragg, California 95437, 800-628-1126.


Lord Bradley’s Bed & Breakfast Inn – This charming Victorian B&B is located in the heart of historic Mission San Jose, California. Heavy footsteps and strange noises have been heard here during the night, and the apparitions of other era figures have been seen wearing Victorian-style clothing. 43344 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, California 94539, 510-490-0520

Grass Valley

The Holbrooke Hotel – Established in 1851 to cater to the needs of the Gold Rush pioneers, this historic hotel has hosted such dignitaries as Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, James A. Garfield, and Grover Cleveland, as well as other famous guests, including Mark Twain and infamous outlaw Black Bart. Today the historic hotel is said to remain home to several former guests. In the reception hall, they supposedly have been known to drag chairs across the floor, and turn lights on and off. Guests and staff often hear voices in the hall when no one is there. Holbrooke Hotel, 212 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, California, 95945, 530-273-1353 or 800-933-7077.


Groveland Hotel

The Groveland Hotel – This 1949 adobe hotel was known as “The Best House on the Hill” during the height of the Gold Rush. Fully restored to retain its 19th-century character, the hotel caters to today’s travelers and a resident ghost. Lyle, as he is known, was a miner who died mysteriously in his sleep long ago and has evidently never left. A friendly spirit, Lyle has been seen all over the hotel and likes to play mischievous pranks on the hotel’s guests, including turning the water on and off, watching over guests as they fall asleep, turning on and off the lights, and politely popping open the oven when the bread is done. The Groveland Hotel, 18767 Main Street, Groveland, California 95321, 800-273-3314 209-962-4000


Madrona Manor – The manor was built in 1880 by wealthy businessman John Paxton. The 17-room home called Madrona Knoll Rancho at the time was the grandest showplace in the area. The property remained a private residence until 1981, when it was renovated as a romantic country inn and restaurant. The inn, now on the National Register of Historic Places, is haunted by the ghost of a young girl in Room 101 and a spirit named Elsie he has been known to lurk in the Dining Room. Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Road, Healdsburg, California 95448, 707-433-4231 or 800-258-4003.

Greetings From Hollywood, California

Greetings From Hollywood, California


“I have been asked if I ever get the D.T.s; I don’t know; it’s hard to tell where Hollywood ends and the D.T.s begin.” — W.C. Fields

Chateau Marmont – Built in 1929, this hotel has played host to numerous celebrities, including John Lennon, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Dustin Hoffman, Greta Garbo, and dozens of others who are looking for a little privacy. The majestic, castle-like hotel that rises above the sunset Strip is also a place of many tales, some good and some not so good. Hollywood stars have come to the hotel to have affairs by the dozens, this is where John Belushi died from an overdose, and dozens of show-biz deals have been made and broken. It is also said to be haunted by several ghostly spirits. One has even been known to climb into guests’ beds. However, you should know that the Marmont continues to protect its guests’ privacy, and if you don’t rent one of its very pricy rooms, you won’t be allowed to wander around here. Marmont Hotel, 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California. 90046, 323-656-1010.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – At the start of Hollywood’s golden days, as the silent pictures were being replaced with “talkies,” the Roosevelt Hotel was designed and built on sprawling strawberry fields as a benchmark of glamour and elegance. Named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, the hotel opened its doors on Hollywood Boulevard on May 15, 1927, having been built at the staggering cost of $2.5 million. The most prestigious movie stars of the day, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, helped bring the hotel to life. The grand opening hosted the biggest celebrities of the day, like Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo, Will Rogers, and Clara Bow, among others. It quickly became the epicenter of Hollywood, the Entertainment Capital of the World. In 1929, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place in the Blossom Room of the hotel. Today it is said to be haunted by the likes of Montgomery Clift, who continues to play his bugle in Room 928, and Marilyn Monroe, whose image has been seen gazing from a lobby mirror. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90028, 800-950-7667.

Knickerbocker Hotel – Built in 1925, the building opened as a luxury apartment before later becoming a hotel. This Hollywood hotel, like many others, catered to hundreds of celebrities and, if walls could talk, would tell a host of scandalous tales. Several ghosts have been seen in the old hotel, including Valentino and Marilyn Monroe. 1714 Ivar Avenue, Hollywood, CA. 323-962-8898.

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree Inn – Built in 1950, this Hacienda Style Inn in the Mojave Desert is just five miles from the Joshua Tree National Park. Though peacefully elegant today, it had a darker side one night in 1973 when Gram Parsons died in Room Number 8 from a drug and alcohol overdose at the inn. Gram, called by some “the patron saint of alternative country,” is credited as being the world’s first country-rock star and the first long-haired country singer ever to show himself at the Grand Old Opry. Today, his spirit is said to haunt the hotel, especially the room that he died. Here, strange shadows are seen, and objects shake and move by themselves. Joshua Tree Inn, 61259 Twenty-nine Palms Highway, P.O. Box 1966 Joshua Tree, California 92252, 760 366-1188.


Julian Hotel

Julian Hotel

Julian Hotel – This historic hotel began as a restaurant when freed slaves, Albert and Margaret Robinson, began a restaurant in the early 1880s. As their reputation grew, they began construction on the hotel in 1897. The Julian Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California. Its original owners are reluctant to leave, as Albert, with a pipe in his mouth, has been seen in mirrors. In the upstairs rooms, lace doilies and furniture is often found to be rearranged. Julian Hotel, 2032 Main St, Julian, California 92036, 760)-765-0201

Knights Landing

Snowball Mansion Inn – Located on the Sacramento River, the Snowball Mansion, built in 1872, encompasses 7 1/2 acres of gardens with a private lake for guests to enjoy. The mansion is said to be haunted by Lucy Snowball, who roams the hallways. Snowball Mansion Inn, 42485 Front Street, Knights Landing, California 95645, 530-735-1122

La Jolla

The Grande Colonial Hotel – Known as the “Jewel of the Pacific,” the hotel offers classic European styling in the intimate setting of a boutique hotel. Commanding views of the spectacular California coastline, the hotel is ideally located just one block away from breathtaking white beaches and steps away from the elegant shops and world-class museums and galleries renowned to the area. Near a meeting room called the Sun Room, heavy footsteps are often heard on a staircase. It sounds as though several men are running up and down the stairs, and it culminates in slamming doors. Some 60 years ago, this room was used as a temporary barracks for single servicemen during World War II. The Grande Colonial Hotel, 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, California 92037 888.530.5766.

Lake Arrowhead

Bugsy Siegel, American Mobster

Bugsy Siegel, American Mobster

Bracken Fern Manor – The brainchild of Chicago mobster Bugsy Siegel, this Alpine-style inn was opened as Club Arrowhead in 1929. The state-of-the-art club catered to the rich and famous of Hollywood, offering gambling, illegal liquor, and prostitution. It also offered legal amenities such as an Olympic size swimming pool, skiing, tennis courts, a bathhouse, and more. So successful was the resort that Bugsy was soon able to convince the bosses in Chicago to front the money for another little gambling spot in the middle of nowhere — Las Vegas. The brothel, known as “The Crib,” continued operations through World War II, and gambling operations were maintained in the speakeasy until 1955. Now a Certified Historic Landmark in the State of California, Bracken Fern is also said to be haunted by a former prostitute named Violet. The prostitute killed herself after the mob killed her lover and her violet-scented perfume can still be smelled wafting through the halls. Another ghost of a small boy has also been seen at this historic inn. Thought to be the son of a former prostitute, he was trampled by a team of horses. Today his tiny footsteps are often seen in the snow. Bracken Fern Manor, 815 Arrowhead Villas Road, P.O. Box 1006, Lake Arrowhead, California 92352, 909-337-8557 or 888-244-5612

The decks on the Queen Mary still sport their original wood flooring, Kathy Weiser.

The decks on the Queen Mary still sport their original wood flooring by Kathy Alexander.

Long Beach

Queen Mary – Considered the most luxurious ocean liner ever to sail the Atlantic, the Queen Mary first set sail in 1936, carrying 3,000 passengers and crew. After making more than 1,000 voyages across the ocean, the Queen Mary was permanently docked in Long Beach in 1967. Today, it serves as both a luxurious hotel and a museum and is the constant source of stories of paranormal activities. Said to be one of the most haunted hotels in the nation, this historic ship has several spirits lurking upon its decks. The swimming pool is reportedly haunted by two women who drowned there, the ghost of a young woman in a white dress has been seen in the Queen’s Salon, children have been heard playing in the Forward Storage Room, and a 1930’s gentleman has been known to roam among the First Class Suites. These tales and more are to be found at this floating haunted hotel. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, P.O. Box 1100, Long Beach, California 90802, 800-437-2934 or 562-435-3511.

Los Angeles

Figueroa Hotel – This 1925 former YWCA residence has been transformed into one of downtown Los Angeles’ best-budget hotels. Though there doesn’t appear to be a specifically identified spirit, several strange things allegedly occur here. Eerie sounds emanate throughout the hallways and the rooms, and televisions turn on by themselves at night and will not shut off. The elevator seemingly moves of its own accord, stopping on certain floors, then opening to display no one there. The hotel started renovating in November 2015, with an expected reopening in 2016. Hotel officials say it will be transformed back to its Spanish Colonial splendor from the 1920s. Figueroa Hotel, 39 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, California.

Alexandria Hotel – Opened in 1906, it quickly became a natural meeting place for the burgeoning film industry. During its heyday, it hosted people like Winston Churchill, King Edward VIII, Presidents Taft, Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as dozens of celebrities. Today it is haunted by an unknown “lady in black” who has been spotted several times. Some believe she was a former resident stricken with grief and died of a broken heart. Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, California 90013


Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites – Wonderfully restored from when Mendocino was a thriving lumber port, the hotel is located in the heart of the historic village of Mendocino. Overlooking the Mendocino Headlands and the Pacific Ocean, this historic hotel opened in 1878 as the Temperance House. For a time, it was a sanctuary for those wanting to escape the excesses of the many saloons of a lively logging town. However, this building, too, succumbed to Mendocino’s ribald past when it became a brothel for a time. Today, the hotel is said to be haunted by a Victorian woman who haunts the restaurant, appears in mirrors, has been known to visit guestrooms, and likes to play tricks on the hotel staff. Mendocino Hotel, 45080 Main Street, Mendocino, California, 95460, 707-937-0511 or 800-548-0513.

Mokelumne Hill

Hotel Leger – Sitting at the corner of Main and Lafayette streets, there has been some type of “hotel” here since 1851. George Leger (pronounced “luh zhay,”), the hotel’s founder, originally began a wood-framed tent hotel that catered to the many prospectors of the Moke Hill gold rush. Later, Leger built a “real” building. The present hotel is three separate historic buildings. In 1879, Legler was shot to death in a gambling dispute and today is said to continue to haunt his old hotel. And he’s not the only one! Others include a Lady in White who has been seen in Room 2 and a young boy in Room 3. Hotel Leger, 8304 Main Street, Mokelumne Hill, California 95245, 209-286-1401.


Murphy Hotel

Murphy’s Hotel

Murphys Historic Hotel & Lodge – Opened in 1856, the hotel first catered as a stopover for Matteson’s Stage route from Milton to the Calaveras Big Trees. Almost 150 years after it opened, the Murphys Hotel still hosts travelers touring the central Mother Lode region. There is also an “older” visitor who also resides at this historic hotel. Guests immediately feel a presence when they walk in and feel like they’re being watched. Allegedly, a bookkeeper was shot at the hotel long ago, and his body was thrown over the balcony. He is said to roam the second floor today. Murphys Hotel, 457 Main Street, Murphys, California 95247, 209-728-3444 or 800-532-7684457


Napa River Inn – Built in 1886, this building first served as a warehouse and feed store. But today, the building is an upscale boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Napa Valley. The son of the building’s original owner, Captain Albert Hatt, hanged himself in 1912 in the hotel and is said to continue to haunt the area now occupied by Sweetie Pies Bakery. A woman in a white dress, who some think was Captain Hatt’s wife, is also frequently seen in the hotel. Ghostly footsteps of the pair have been heard in the hallways, and doors have opened and slammed shut of their own accord. The Napa River Inn, 500 Main Street, Napa, California 94559, 707-251-8500

Nevada City

Red Castle Inn – Built in 1860, this grand four-story brick mansion sitting atop Prospect Hill overlooks historic Nevada City. One of the few remaining historic lodging landmarks of California’s Gold Rush era, the Red Castle Inn offers travelers a glimpse of what life was like more than one hundred years ago. The gothic mansion is also home to a ghostly lady in gray. Thought to have been the governess for the original builder’s family, the ghost is so real that guests think she is alive until she walks straight through a door. The Red Castle Inn Historic Lodgings, 109 Prospect Street, Nevada City, CA 95959, 530-265-5135 or 800-761-4766.

National Hotel, Nevada City, California.

National Hotel, Nevada City, California.

The National Hotel – A registered historical landmark, the National Hotel is the oldest continuously-operating hotel west of the Rockies. In 1856, when the hotel catered to miners, it was also used as a stagecoach stop and telegraph, mail, and express center. Looking much as it did back then, several other era ghosts are said to continue to occupy its space as strange things continually occur. Staff and visitors tell stories of lights flickering, strange cold spots in otherwise warm rooms, and experiencing eerie feelings. The National Hotel, 211 Broad St., Nevada City, California 95959, 530-265-4551.


Sierra Sky Ranch Resort – Nestled among towering oaks and pine trees, the Sierra Ranch began as the first working cattle ranch in the area in 1875. Started by a man named Caster, he continued to build up his herd and land holdings to the point that by 1898 it was the largest cattle ranch in California. However, by about the 1930s, the ranch had been sold, and it became a tuberculosis sanitarium in World War II. The Army purchased the property and established it for wounded and ailing soldiers. Today, it serves as a guest ranch to the many visitors of Yosemite National Park and the northern California region. It’s also allegedly haunted by four different spirits, including an old cowboy who committed suicide at the ranch, two children who died at the tuberculosis sanitarium, and a female nurse. Numerous odd occurrences have been reported here, such as the smell of vintage perfume, a piano that plays by itself, misty clouds that float through the air, and more. Sky Ranch, 50552 Road 632, Oakhurst, California 93644, 559 683-8040


Ojai Valley Inn and Spa – Built in 1923 this Spanish Colonial retreat has been enjoyed by hundreds of travelers, including several celebrities such as Clark Gable, Walt Disney, and Judy Garland. A landmark on the California Central Coast, the inn is a Historic Hotels of America, member. Part of its history remains in Room 5, where a bad smell has been known to linger, and mysterious banging noises come from the closet. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Rd., Ojai, California 93023, 805-646-5511 or 800-422-6524

Palm Springs

Korakia Pensione – Nestled in the heart of the southern California desert at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, this Moroccan-style inn was built in 1924. The breakfast inn today actually consists of two historically renowned villas. Allegedly it is haunted by the wife of a former owner, who has been seen walking along the road on the anniversary of her death. Other strange occurrences include cold chills on extremely hot days and clothes that have been rearranged while guests leave their rooms. Korakia Pencione, 257 S. Patencio Road, Palm Springs, California 92262, 760-864-6411.

Placerville, California today

Placerville, California, today.


Cary House Hotel – Known as the “The Jewel of Placerville,” the Cary House Hotel has been catering to guests since 1857, when it was known as the finest hotel in the gold country. Today, it continues the tradition of old-time hospitality and service. It is also said to be one of the city’s most haunted sites. One of the ghosts is said to be a man named Stan, a former Cary House desk clerk who’d been stabbed to death when he reportedly made a pass at the wrong person. Today, these impish ghosts allegedly like to pinch people’s behinds. Room 212 is said to host the spirit of an old horse and wagon operator who died in the room. While you’re there, beware of the old elevator, as it has been known to make unmanned trips up and down the four-story building. Cary House Hotel, 300 Main Street, Placerville, California 95667, 530-622-4271.


Mission Inn – Occupying an entire city block in the heart of downtown Riverside, the Historic Mission Inn began as a modest two-story, 12-room adobe boarding house built in 1876 by Christopher Miller. In 1880, Miller’s son Frank purchased the building and surrounding property and began to add to it. Over the next several decades, the hotel was expanded with courtyards, a chapel, and additional wings. Today, the historic inn is said to be haunted by the original Miller family. Guests have described beautiful singing from empty rooms, reports of large blue lights floating in the air, being touched and pushed by ghostly hands, numerous accounts of equipment misbehaving, and more. Apparitions have been seen in the hallways, floating near the dining room ceiling and the storage building behind the hotel. Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, California 92501, 951-784-0300 or 800-843-7755.


Paso Robles Inn, Robles, California

Paso Robles Inn, Robles, California

Paso Robles Inn – During the 19th century, the Paso Robles region, known for its mineral hot springs, became a popular stop for travelers along the Camino Real trail. In 1889 the Paso Robles Inn was built to accommodate the many people passing through. Fully restored to its former glory, the inn continues to carry on the century-old tradition of serving travelers, with 30 of its 100 guest rooms outfitted with hot spring spas. Mysteriously, the phone at the front desk continuously received mysterious calls from an empty Room 1007 regularly. On one occasion, the phone even called 911. Staff believes these phone calls come from a former 1940’s night clerk who found a fire in the hotel. He quickly took action, ringing the alarm and helping evacuate the hotel. However, in the process, Emsley died of a heart attack. Paso Robles Inn, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles, California 93446, 805-238-2660 or 800-676-1713

San Diego

Horton Grand Hotel – In the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, The Horton Grand Hotel is a restoration of two separate hotels opened in 1886 – the Grand Horton Hotel and the Brooklyn Kahle Saddlery Hotel. Both hotels once sat in San Diego’s infamous red-light district. The hotel is now said to be haunted by a 19th-century gambler named Roger A. Whittaker. When caught cheating at cards, he ran from the game hiding in an armoire in Room 309. However, he was quickly found and shot by the other gamblers. Today his restless spirit is still said to lurk in Room 309 and along the stairway to the room. Guests have encountered unknown hands shaking the bed, lights that turn on and off by themselves, doors mysteriously opening and closing, and the sounds of cards being shuffled and dealt. Horton Grand Hotel, 311 Island Ave., San Diego, California 92101, 619-544-1886 or 800-542-1886.

Lake Morena Campground – Located 63 miles east of San Diego on the remote eastern slope of the Laguna Mountains, Lake Morena is surrounded by thousands of acres of chaparral-covered hills, huge old oak trees, and large rock formations. Within the remote confines of this park, at least one campground is allegedly haunted. Across from the campground near boulders that lie beneath a grove of wooded trees, the apparition of a ghostly young woman in a long white dress has been seen several times. Sometimes she has been seen pacing before she vanishes; other times, she is reported to just stare at you before disappearing. She has also been heard to be laughing and singing in the distance. Other campers have also heard heavy footsteps around their tents, which do not fade as if someone were walking away but simply seem to “lift” and disappear. Lake Moreno County Park directions: From San Diego, take I-8 east to Buckman Springs Road, turn right for four miles to Oak Drive, then three miles west to Lake Morena Dr. and the park entrance.

U.S Grant Hotel – In 1910 this luxurious hotel opened after costing nearly two million dollars to build. Fully renovated today, it allegedly hosts a ghost who walks the hallways. At other times, this spirit has been known to enter the guest room, making strange noises. U.S Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, San Diego, California 92101, 619-232-3121

San Francisco

Queen Anne Hotel

Queen Anne Hotel – Opened in 1890 as Miss Mary Lake’s School For Young Ladies, the school catered to the wealthy young women of San Francisco. However, the school didn’t last long and closed around 1896. Over the decades, the building changed hands numerous times until 1980, when it was renovated and reopened as the Queen Anne Hotel. Apparently, Mary Lake is reluctant to leave the hotel and lurks about the fourth floor. Most commonly, she is seen as a misty figure but has also been known to unpack visitors’ luggage, replace dropped pillows back on the bed, and occasionally even tuck guests into bed. Queen Anne Hotel, 1590 Sutter Street at Octavia, San Francisco, California 94109, 415-441-2828 or 800-227-3970.

San Remo Hotel – Just after the San Francisco fire destroyed most of the city, the San Remo was built in 1906. Originally called the New California Hotel, its small rooms and affordable pricing attracted numerous immigrants, sailors, and penniless artists. In 1922, the hotel was renamed the San Remo, where full-course dinners began to be served, and liquor was served in coffee cups during Prohibition. Today, the hotel has been renovated with modern amenities but continues to maintain an atmosphere of an earlier era. It is also said to be home to a couple of resident ghosts. Allegedly, the hotel was once owned by a Madame and was run as a brothel. This mysterious “painted lady” is said to haunt Room 33, knocking on the door but disappearing when someone answers. A little girl has also been spied roaming the hallways and trying to get into Room 42. San Remo Hotel, 2237 Mason Street, San Francisco, California 94133, 415-776-8688 or 800-352-REMO

Santa Maria

The Santa Maria Inn – A Central Coast landmark since 1917, The Historic Santa Maria Inn blends the style of an old English country inn, the elegance of a bygone era, and the gracious hospitality of the Santa Maria Valley. Catering to hundreds of visitors over the decades, some of them seemingly choose to stay at this historic inn. Ghost stories abound here of mysterious footprints, a piano that plays by itself, and music from disconnected speakers. One legend tells of a sea captain and his mistress who stayed in the hotel long ago. Murdered by his mistress, the captain continues to appear at the hotel. The inn is also allegedly visited by Rudolph Valentino, who likes to knock on the door of Room 210. In this room, an invisible presence has also been known to recline on the bed. The Santa Maria Inn, 801 South Broadway, Santa Maria, California 93454, 805-928-7777 or 800-462-4276.

The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, California

The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica

Georgian Hotel – Built in 1933 and originally named The Lady Windemere, this historic hotel was designed to be an intimate hideaway catering to Los Angeles’ high society. Staff and guests have reported several strange phenomena over the years in the hotel’s Speakeasy Restaurant. When the restaurant is empty, employees often hear loud sighs and gasps and are startled by a disembodied voice that greets them with, “Good Morning.” At other times the sounds of running footsteps are heard throughout the restaurant when no one is there, and several transparent apparitions have been seen. Georgian Hotel, 1415 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401, 310-395-9945 or 800-538-8147.

Santa Paula

The Glenn Tavern Inn – Built in 1911 in the days of grand hotels, this three-story Tudor-style hotel is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Almost from the beginning, rumors of ghosts were circulated among the hotel’s staff and guests. Room 307 hosts a ghost called “Calvin,” who appears with long hair and a beard. Calvin has even been captured on film. In Room 104, guests heard a woman’s voice giving a speech, followed by the sounds of a champagne toast. Others report that a child has been seen playing on the second floor and in the lobby. An apparition has been known to look out the window of Room 23. Other strange events have occurred, including a spoon flying across the dining area of its own accord, chairs moving by themselves in the restaurant, and tales of a shadow apparition hovering over the guests. The Glenn Tavern Inn, 134 N. Mill Street, Santa Paula, California 93060 805-933-5550


Scotia Inn – This historic inn, nestled in the heart of the Redwoods, not only provides fine accommodations but is haunted by several ghosts. Its most famous apparition is one that the staff refers to as “Frank,” who allegedly “lives” on the top story. Numerous tales tell of sounds, footsteps and voices heard here. Families of ghosts are also seen here, including a woman with her children, another child playing with a ball, and a baby crying. Scotia Inn, P.O. Box 248, Main and Mill Streets, Scotia, California 95565, 707-764-5683

Sutter Creek

The Sutter Creek Inn – Located between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe in the heart of the Gold Country, this bed and breakfast is considered by many to be the “Jewel of California’s Mother Lode.” The inn is thought to be haunted by a former California senator and his wife. He is often heard pacing upstairs in the main house, and his wife is sometimes seen in the hallway. Sutter Creek Inn, 75 Main Street, P. O. Box 385, Sutter Creek, California 95685, 209 267-5606.


Bella Maggiore Inn, Ventura, California

Bella Maggiore Inn, Ventura, California

Bella Maggiore – Located in downtown Ventura, the Bella Maggiore is a lovely 1825 Italianate building. It is also haunted by several ghosts that are known to roam the hallways. In Room 17, the ghost of Sylvia, a prostitute who committed suicide in the room around the time of World War II, has been known to knock on the door. However, she only knocks only appears at the door if a male occupies the room. Bella Maggiore, 67 South California Street, Ventura, California 93001, 805-652-0277 or 800-523-8479.

Pierpont Inn & Racquet Club – This craftsman-style inn with storybook cottages was built in 1910 to draw a growing breed of automobile drivers venturing up and down the coast. Since 1928, this 11-acre resort has been owned and operated by members of the Vickers family, who have lovingly maintained its historical integrity. In 1999, the inn began a full schedule of renovations that have brought about several ghostly spirits. One such visitor that appears throughout the hotel is thought to be a former owner. This phantom lady always dressed very formally, and has been seen in massage rooms, dancing in the parking lot, or leaving wet footprints on the lobby floor for the cleaning crew. Another entity has been seen in the bar, appearing as a ghostly mist. The Pierpont Inn & Racquet Club, 550 San Jon Road, Ventura, California 93001, 805-643-6144.

Victorian Rose Bed & Breakfast – Said to be one of the country’s most unusual bed and breakfasts, the inn is in an old Victorian Gothic Church. Complete with its original 96-foot steeple, elaborately designed stained glass, 26-foot-high carved beam ceilings, and eclectic architecture and furnishings; the Inn presents a lodging destination like no other. The Emporer’s Bedroom, once a choir loft, houses the spirit of a woman killed when she fell from the loft. Guests report that they still hear her singing. A phantom preacher has been known to sometimes tuck guests into bed. Ventura Rose, 896 E. Main Street – Ventura, California, 805-641-1888.

Ahwahnee Hotel


Ahwahnee Hotel – Open since 1927, The Ahwahnee is one of America’s most distinctive Registered National Landmarks. In the beginning, as well as now, the hotel offered every comfort amid the rugged Sierra Mountains. Yosemite Miwok woven cooking baskets, linguistic symbols, and decorative patterns can be seen throughout the Ahwahnee’s rooms and halls. Allegedly, two World War II-era ghosts haunt the mezzanine level and the 3rd floor! Ahwahnee Hotel, East of Yosemite Village, Yosemite National Park, California 95389, 559-253-5635.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2023.

Also See:

Celebrity Ghosts of America

Ghost Stories

Haunted Hotels and Inns across America

Myths, Legends, Ghosts, & Mysteries