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Halloween Countdown, Day 6

Have you stayed in a "haunted hotel"?

Earlier this year I stayed at a resort named by NBC News in 2012 as one of the "12 Haunted Hotels That Are Home to Ghosts and Gastronomy." I found La Posada de Santa Fe to be a beautiful place with very fine food and very fine atmosphere. My fellow conference attendees and I were indeed told of the reported ghost, but alas, no sightings!

The Haunted Hotel book cover by Coralie Bickford-Smith


I've been reading lots of Wilkie Collins lately, and that's always a good thing. One of his shorter works, custom-made for this season, is The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice (1878), which The Times gleefully called "a pleasingly nasty affair." It's part ghost story, part horror story, part mystery tale, and part detective fiction. One of the dustjackets sums up its charms: "Is there no explanation of the mystery of The Haunted Hotel? Is The Haunted Hotel the tale of a haunting -- or the tale of a crime? The ghost of Lord Montberry haunts the Palace Hotel in Venice --- or does it? Montberry's beautiful-yet-terrifying wife, the Countess Narona, and her erstwhile brother are the center of the terror that fills the Palace Hotel. Are their malefactions at the root of the haunting -- or is there something darker, something much more unknowable at work?"

books_haunted_ybcw84


Here is an excerpt to tempt you:

They were still talking quietly, when they were startled by a loud knock at the house door. Hurried footsteps ascended the stairs. The door of the sitting-room was thrown open violently; the courier's wife rushed in like a mad woman. "He's dead! They've murdered him!" Those wild words were all she could say. She dropped on her knees at the foot of the sofa—held out her hand with something clasped in it—and fell back in a swoon.

The nurse, signing to Agnes to open the window, took the necessary measures to restore the fainting woman. "What's this?" she exclaimed. "Here's a letter in her hand. See what it is, Miss."

The open envelope was addressed (evidently in a feigned hand-writing) to 'Mrs. Ferrari.' The post-mark was "Venice." The contents of the envelope were a sheet of foreign note-paper, and a folded enclosure.

On the note-paper, one line only was written. It was again in a feigned handwriting, and it contained these words:

"To console you for the loss of your husband."

Agnes opened the enclosure next.

It was a Bank of England note for a thousand pounds.


* Read the complete text of The Haunted Hotel here.
* Listen to an unabridged audiobook version here.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
wellinghall
Oct. 6th, 2013 11:12 am (UTC)
I have read, and enjoyed, The Haunted Hotel; but had almost forgotten it. Thank you for reminding me about it!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! :)
Caffeinated Joe
Oct. 6th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
Looks like a cool read. Never stayed in one myself. I was born and grew up in Fall River, where Lizzie Borden and her murdered parents lived. The house eventually became a B&B, but the rumors of hauntings only started when it became the B&B. Me thinks there is some motivation there for marketing. ;)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
I was born and grew up in Fall River, where Lizzie Borden and her murdered parents lived.

I bet that breeds some interesting local legends and stories... and "interesting" tourists, too. ;)

Me thinks there is some motivation there for marketing.

Ha! That is pretty convenient. I'd be fascinated to visit the house for the history of it. I'm not so sure that "crime scene" translates into "optimum B&B experience" for me, buy hey, I appreciate the fact they've found a means of preserving the place in some form or fashion.
splix
Oct. 6th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
La Posada is so nice. Never seen a ghost there myself, more's the pity. :D
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:09 pm (UTC)
It's absolutely beautiful! I hope to go there again one of these days.

gilda_elise
Oct. 7th, 2013 10:47 am (UTC)
I've stayed at the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona a couple of times. It's supposed to be haunted by Faith Summers. She and her new husband were staying there on their honeymoon in 1927. Her husband went out to buy cigarettes and never came back. After three days of waiting, Faith hung herself in Room 426 where they had been staying. She apparently gives women foot massages and men nightmares.

Here's a link to the full story.

http://hauntedarizona.freeiz.com/hotels/hassayampa.html
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
Yikes! *shivers* What a story! I hadn't heard of this one. Thanks so much for the link.

Your icon is fantastic.
sittingduck1313
Oct. 7th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
I once took the ghost tour of the Martha Washington Inn. Didn't actually stay there, as it's way out of my price range. It served as a hospital during the Civil War, so no surprise that it's haunted.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
Oh wow - I've been by there in the past, but I didn't stop. (Shame on me!) I bet a ghost tour there would be a fantastic experience (all the stories...)! Just the Civil War hospital background of the place is shiver-inducing. Thanks for the link! I didn't put two and two together until I saw the website.

Edited at 2013-10-09 12:14 pm (UTC)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )