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The Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel

Freaky Friday

We’re heading into the end of March and pretty soon we’ll be moving into vacation time. Traveling down highways, stopping for the night in hotels and motels, or maybe even staying for an extended period of time in a hotel or motel to visit all the sights in a certain area.  There is a fairly well-known motel chain that uses the phrase, “We’ll leave the lights on for you,” but as we explore some fairly famous overnight spots, you’ll soon realize that’s not all that’s waiting for you.

I love this review from TripAdvisor about The Empress Hotel in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

It’s entitled “Is It Haunted?”

“We spent 5 nights at The Empress (Oct. 12 week) and prior to arriving, I had no idea of its history. We did receive an email informing us there were renovations going on, but the gym was available until Nov.1st. Upon checking in, we were informed if we wanted to us a gym, we would have to walk 2 blocks but could use the facility there for free! Not impressed! A little shocked, as one of us was attending the CSEP conference! They did not offer any compensation for this inconvenience.

The hotel has almost 500 rooms, our room was at the very end of the hall on our floor, so it took a while just to get to the stairs/elevator.

Our third night there, I woke up to a light knocking at our door at 4:11 am. I wondered if I was dreaming but I wasn’t the only one that heard it. On our last night in the city, we went on the ghost tour- pretty sure I know who was knocking on our door now!”

Ian Gibbs is the “Ghost Story Guy” in Vancouver.  This is a little bio from his website “Born in the UK and emigrating to Canada with his family when he was young, Ian carries with him the Celtic beliefs and gifts of his heritage. Always fascinated by storytelling, ghosts, and hauntings, Ian found himself more and more assisting friends with their ghost problems and learning much more than simply stories along the way.

When not writing, Ian holds down a regular day job as well doing guided Ghostly Walks in Victoria, BC where he lives with his family.

Ian has a great book called, “Victoria’s Most Haunted” and in it, he shares a little about The Empress Hotel and who might have been knocking on the door. “When the hotel first opened, it was quite common for the staff to live in the hotel. The sixth floor was assigned to the live-in staff. By all accounts, Lizzie (a woman in her middle years who had immigrated from Ireland when she saw a 1908 advertisement for help wanted in this new hotel in Canada) was quite happy in her job: she enjoyed being in the grand hotel and working in the tea room, she loved living in Victoria, and she loved being able to look out her window on the sixth floor toward the Inner Harbour. Lizzie felt at peace. She knew leaving Ireland had been the right decision.

In 1909, the first of many renovations began. One of the first things that happened was that all of the drainpipes and fire escapes were removed so construction could begin on the exterior masonry and painting. If this had occurred in modern times, there would have been warning signs on the fire escape. There would have been bars across the door and everyone would have known there was nothing waiting to catch them on the other side. Unfortunately, for our friend Lizzie, no such precautions were taken.

At the end of a long busy day, before she got ready for bed, Lizzie, a devout Roman Catholic, picked up her rosary and headed for the fire escape like she did every day. She pushed open the door, took one step forward, and fell six floors to her death.

Lizzie landed just to the right of where the main entrance to the hotel is now, in the back right-hand corner of the courtyard. She often appears where she fell, dressed in her black and white maid’s uniform and clutching her rosary. Lizzie rushes from that corner and into the wall of what is now the entrance area. People have said that they have seen her lying there, quite content, quiet, now at peace.  Lizzie is also sometimes seen going about her duties. Hotel guests will see a chambermaid walking along the hallway on the sixth floor, which has now been turned into guests’ rooms, and will call after her, perhaps to ask for more towels or have something done with their room. The front desk has gotten used to receiving phone calls from disgruntled tourists who say things like, “It’s all very well to have chambermaids dressed in period costumes, but if they’re not going to do their job, what is the point?””

And now, back to more haunted reviews!

This review was for the Jerome Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona

I heard Ghosts!

“This is an old hotel, that has been converted into a hotel. It’s a very old building, so you have to be understanding that things go wrong. We had issues with our heater & had to keep having it fixed, but everyone was very helpful & nice. That said, the views are spectacular. The character & charm of this building are brilliant. The rooms are clean & the beds are comfortable. It’s got a great location. we stayed in the “death” room. I heard someone crying. We all heard children running in the hall. It was a fun experience. I’ve stayed at three different haunted hotels & this was my first time hearing any activity. It was fun & the hotel delivered all the excitement of ghosts & charm of an old building. Loved the exposed copper pipes, old fashioned lift, dark rich wood.”

This review was for the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

First Anniversary Trip!

“We came last year for our honeymoon and had a wonderful time. We got a ghostly face in the mirror on film as well as orbs. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was great. We decided to return to celebrate our 1st anniversary. It was still a good time, however, I felt as though the staff this time was slightly less accommodating and friendly. Peaches, however, is still the best tour guide ever!!!”

And finally, the last review (for this blog – there are plenty more on TripAdvisor) from The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, right across from the Alamo.

Great historic hotel…with ghosts!

The Emily Morgan is a very nice, historic hotel directly across from one side of the Alamo. As a former hospital, it has some of the nicest and most architecturally interesting rooms around the nation. Many of the rooms are large with 14′ ceilings and good views of the city. The service, food, and location are all excellent. However, it is a haunted hotel (no, really).

“I have stayed there twice – once with my family and no incident and most recently, solo, with a definite interaction. The 12th floor of the hotel was the surgical floor and paranormal activity is well documented online. I was awakened in the middle of the night with what felt like hands running over my body above the covers, coupled with other motions on the bed (like two small dogs walking all over the lower part of the bed). As I came fully awake, the activity stopped, and I eventually went back to sleep.”

Creepy? Yes.

Fascinating? Yes.

Would I stay here again? Yes (it really is a cool hotel)

Is it Freaky? Totally!

Happy Friday!

Like what you read?  Find more stories by Terri Reid here.

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