Showing posts with label haunted hotel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haunted hotel. Show all posts

Friday, October 16, 2020


It’s October and that means time for the annual A Grave Interest haunting posts. Take a few moments and we'll stroll though some of the hotels that aren't normally talked about when it comes to hauntings ... and discover guests who refuse to check out.


In 1847, the Crutchfield family built a lodging house four stories tall across the
street from where the new railroad would be built. Thomas Crutchfield later became mayor of Chattanooga and his hotel prospered until the Civil War. During the war, brother William  Crutchfield, a Unionist, turned the hotel into a hospital for wounded soldiers - both Confederate and Union.  In early 1867, the inn’s lobby  was flooded when the Tennessee River rose 57-feet. In September of that year, the inn burned to the ground.


Fifty-four years later on New Year’s Day 1872, John Read opened The Read House on the site. It was destined to be a hotel of luxury with “terrazzo floors inlaid with marble, indoor paneling of quarter-sawed walnut, carved and gilded woodwork, mirrors recessed in massive arches and a lobby beautifully defined by its soaring columns.”

But the following year, the hotel was again flooded by rising river waters. And in

1875, the hotel served as a hospital for those suffering with yellow fever. A fourth story was added in 1886 and more renovations occurred in 1890.
By 1925 more rooms were needed so a new more modern brick structure was built on the site. Soaring up ten stories,  it remains one of the most popular hotels in the city - for the living, and the dead.

A number of famous people have stayed at The Read House during the past century including comedian Bob Hope, singer and actor Bing Crosby, Oprah Winfrey and gangster Al Capone. Capone spent time in Room 311 during his federal trial for tax evasion. Bars were placed on the windows and remained there until a 2004 renovation. He never reported an encounter with a ghost.

It was 1927 at the height of the Roaring Twenties, when Annalisa Netherly
checked into Room 311. There are several variations of the story of what happened to Annalisa. In one tale, she is a young married woman arriving with her husband. Annalisa Netherly was fashionable, pretty and flirtatious and as a lark, had accompanied her husband on a business trip. It is said that her husband returned to Room 311 unexpectedly and discovered his wife entertaining another man. Later, as she soaked in the bathtub, her husband came in and slit her throat leaving her to die. 

In another version, Annalisa was a local prostitute who had taken a client up to Room 311. In a jealous rage, he nearly severed her head from her body as she bathed in the clawfoot tub.

And of course there’s the homage paid to unrequited love. In this tale Annalisa’s advances were spurned by the man of her dreams so she checks into Room 311 and kills herself. (This one seems a bit of a stretch due to the amount of strength needed to come close to cutting her head off ... but it makes a good story.) 

For almost a century, guests have reported seeing shadows flit across the room,
covers moving on the bed, or being touched while sleeping. Some have said the room feels so oppressive, they couldn’t spend the night in it while others reportedly hear water running in the bathroom or lights that flicker on and off. It is said that Annalisa does not like men to be in the room, especially those who smoke.

Guests have also seen spirits in the lobby and dining room. Some say an older man looks like owner John Read. Others have felt misery and despair they attribute to those long-ago soldiers and hospital residents. Ghost soldiers have been seen roaming the fourth floor searching for something ...

Today, Room 311 has been  renovated back to the 1920s and the way it looked

at that time complete with a clawfoot tub, old light switches and an old phone. There are no modern conveniences like a television, radio, coffee maker or hair dryer. Room 311 is available for guests to spend one of five overnight stays each year, but only during the month of October. While this year is booked, mark your calendar for a spirited autumn stay in 2021. You might even check the dates for 2027 and celebrate a century of haunting with Annalisa.

The Haunted Room 311 package includes exclusive overnight accommodations in Room 311, complimentary valet parking, an in-room decanter of "Bathtub Gin," two Annalisa Cocktails at the Bar & Billiards Room, $100 dining credit at the hotel's Bridgeman's Chophouse restaurant and $40 in-room breakfast service - providing you make it through the night ...

If you’d prefer to see it in the light of day, you can take a complimentary tour of
the room based on availability. Call or email for more details.
The Read House
107 West MLK Blvd
Nashville, TN

Happy hauntings!
~ Joy

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Haunted Brown Hotel - Louisville, Kentucky

It’s October and that means time for the annual A Grave Interest haunting posts. Take a few moments and we'll stroll though some of the hotels that aren't normally talked about when it comes to hauntings ... and discover guests who refuse to check out.


The Brown Hotel
It was 1923, during the Roaring Twenties, when The Brown Hotel was built. It was the place to be seen if you were someone in politics or society. There were sixteen floors with more than 600 guest rooms along with ball rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants and bars on the premises. 


Owner  James  Graham Brown resided in the hotel on the 15th floor in the Penthouse. More than 4-million dollars was spent during the 10 month construction of the hotel, and the English Renaissance opulence was derigger with crystal chandeliers and a soaring two story lobby with a wrap around balcony, Palladian-style windows,  Bottocino limestone floors, hand-painted coffered ceilings and mahogany furniture. The  former Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George was the hotel’s first registered guest.

Dinner  dances were popular during the 20’s and The Brown was the place to  go with more than 1200 people attending in an evening. 

It was here in 1926 that the infamous “Hot Brown” was created by Chef Fred Schmidt. It is said that Schmidt wanted to serve something different to late night dancers so he did a riff on the traditional ham and and egg breakfast. Instead he took roast turkey and bacon served it on a piece of bread and smothered it with Mornay sauce before broiling it until the bread turned crisp and the sauce began to brown.

Then came the Great Depression and with it hard times for The Brown Hotel.

Employees worked during 1931 without wages just to keep the doors open. The Great Flood of 1937 flowed into the first floor of the hotel. But the hotel rebounded during the 1940s. With Fort Knox located south of the city, an influx of servicemen passing through stayed here on route to war assignments during WWII.

When  Brown died in 1969, the hotel began a death spiral.  It was closed in 1971 and sold to the Jefferson County Public School system as a home for its Board of Education.
 Several hotel chains have owned the structure since the 1980s but in 2006, 1859 Historic Hotels purchased the building and renovated it back to its 1920s splendor.

But as with most historic hotels, this one is haunted. Rumor has it that  James
Graham  Brown decided to stay on after his death. Although the  fifteenth floor is not open to guests, employees and staff have reported seeing footprints appear in the dust on the floor while they were there. Guests occupying rooms under the penthouse on the fourteenth floor report being awakened by the sounds of heavy furniture being moved about upstairs. The elevators are known to stop randomly on the 15th floor although no one gets on or off.


Others have reported the smell of cigar smoke lingering in the air throughout the hotel although it is designated “no smoking.” Employees have spotted Brown standing on the second floor Mezzanine watching guests. If he is approached, he steps behind a column and disappears. Cold spots are common on the Mezzanine. It's said he really “comes to life” during the weeks in April before the Kentucky Derby.

Today the hotel once again welcomes guests with the aura of a by-gone era and is known world-wide for its Southern hospitality.  For more information visit

The Brown Hotel is located at the corner of Fourth and Broadway in Louisville, Kentucky.

Happy October Hauntings!

~ Joy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Towns in the Midwest - Alton, Illinois

Haunted Alton, Illinois and the Mineral Springs Hotel

Once again, the month of October is upon us…. a time for hauntings, Halloween - and all things spooky.  This month, A Grave Interest is traveling around the Midwest, taking ghost tours and getting a look at some ‘lively’ places, and, maybe, the spirits who make them so…

I decided early on that it would be smart to get some guides for these haunted jaunts. And who better to seek out than the local experts on all things paranormal in their towns.

On a cool, rainy night about 30 people milled around in the foyer of what was once a grand hotel in Alton, Illinois. First, let me preface by saying that Alton has the reputation (well earned, I might add) of being one of the most haunted towns in America.

The building we were in was, at one time, the Mineral Springs Hotel; given the name because of the mineral springs that flow below the building. At the turn of the century sulfur springs were thought to have healing properties. Here the water was pumped up inside the building to be bottled and used as cures for a variety of aliments. The hotel opened in 1914 and thrived for several decades before finally closing in 1971.

Mineral Springs Hotel Building
The building was reopened in the late 1970s as an antique mall and has had a rocky time since then. Today it is home to a few shops, the Torture Museum, and Mineral Springs Haunted Tours, which is where we began this night with tour owner, Janet Kolar.

Alton Cemetery
After “checking in” we proceed to our vehicles and followed the Mineral Springs Haunted Tour hearse "Pearl" to the Alton Cemetery. There we were told about several prominent Alton residents from the past as we visited their graves.

Sarah Bell's Stone
Tour in Cemetery
At the plot of the Bell Family, our guide told of a young girl, Sarah Bell, who died when she was around 10 years old. A small limestone marker was placed in the family plot to mark her grave, but it soon disappeared. Her mother was inconsolable and continued to search for the stone until her death some years later. After she died, an apparition of a lady in black was seen walking in this area of the cemetery, apparently searching for something.

Alton to Edwardsville
The story could end there but circumstances added a final chapter. A few years ago, a man in Edwardsville, Illinois (18 miles from Alton) contacted the cemetery wanting to return a tombstone he had found buried in his backyard. He had unearthed it while digging a foundation. The stone was that of Sarah Bell, missing for over 100 years. Since it has been returned to the family plot, the lady in black has not been seen…

Lovejoy's Grave
The grave of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy is also located here, inside a small iron fence. Lovejoy began printing an abolitionist newspaper called The Alton Observer in 1837. But one year later a pro-slavery throng attacked his printing store in an attempt to destroy his press. During the melee, Lovejoy was fatally shot. Orbs and lights can sometimes be seen streaking past his grave, as if he is still trying to run his presses.

Cemetery Seance
Cemetery at Night
About midway through the tour, a séance was held down a dark cemetery road. Several took part, although participation was optional. Orbs and streaks of light were reportedly seen in the cemetery at that time.

Lobby Area Today
We then headed back to the warmth and light of the old Mineral Springs Hotel where refreshments were served in the Crystal Room. Then we began a tour of the old hotel, which has been called the most haunted building in Alton – and in this town, that is claiming a lot!

Using Rods
Things have gone “bump in the night” here for years. And tales of murder, suicide, and vengeance are abundant. Former employees, shop owners, and guests report phantom footsteps, cold spots, and an eerie feeling of being watched throughout the hotel.

Basement Pool Area
In the basement is a swimming pool; said to be haunted by several sprits including a young girl, a man, and a woman. Wet footprints have been seen near the pool, which has been without water for years. Splashing sounds have been heard in the basement but when investigated there are no sounds, and again, there is no water.

Mural of Alton
Another spirit that seems to linger here is that of Charlie, a painter who could not pay his lodging bill in the 1930’s. Instead of running out on his tab, Charlie offered to paint a mural of Alton on one wall of the bar. The owner agreed and Charlie worked off his debt, while also working behind the bar at night. Legend has it that something made Charlie despondent and he took his life one night.

Staff and customers have reported smelling alcohol in this section of the building and of having the feeling of being watched. The guide on this tour said that Charlie has been known to follow some women from the tour back home, but once he’s told to go away, he returns to Mineral Springs.

Probably the best-known ghost is that of the Jasmine Lady. The story goes that a woman and her husband came to the hotel to enjoy the healing waters around 1925, but while staying here she became involved with another guest.

Jasmine Lady's Room
Down the Hallway
One evening, when her husband was gone, she entertained the man in her room. Her husband returned unexpectedly and found the two. Panicked and terrified, the woman ran from her room and plunged down the stairs in an attempt to reach the safety of the lobby. What really happened is not known; did she trip while running down the stairs, or did her husband push her?  Either way, the result was a broken neck during the fall. She died immediately.

Haunted Stairs
Several employees, staff and guests have witnessed the replay of the Jasmine Lady’s fall down the stairs. Some catch a whiff of jasmine perfume that seems to linger around the staircase. Others have reported feeling something brush past them on the stairs, and some have seen business signs in the hallway swing back and forth as if moved by a sudden gust of air.

Mineral Springs Haunted Tours offers several walking tour adventures, after dark, in the downtown area, and in the cemetery, which also includes a tour of the hotel. Or, if you’re feeling very spirited, you might consider an exclusive overnight camp-out in the pool area.

Tour Group
For more information about tours and times, visit their web page at and the Facebook page at

Haunted Lobby
This is one hotel, that as the song says, “You can check out anytime you like” - but at Mineral Springs Hotel it appears that there really are some former guests “who can never leave…”

~ Joy