Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spookiest hotel ghost stories



Everyone loves a good ghost story even if they know it’ll give them nightmares later – and I’m no exception. There’s something thrilling about listening to someone else’s tales of eerie moans and white apparitions in the company of friends, knowing these aren’t happening to you.

However, the fear factor takes on an entirely different, more spine-chilling dimension when you’re in a strange and ancient land, and the ghost is literally sharing your hotel room.

Scroll down to read about some of the scariest hotel rooms in the world...





GHOSTS IN THE CORRIDORS
IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE 

Ghost encounters are especially plentiful in Europe where every other building is at least 300 years old and countless people have lived, died – and even been murdered - within their walls.



My cousin, who claims to have a third eye that enables her to see spirits, recently recalled checking into a chateau-hotel in Bordeaux, France, and seeing images of people from the past all along the hotel corridor. “They all looked pale and were lined up against the wall expressionless,” she told me.

Most Europeans I’ve spoken to don’t seem to care much about having to live with spirits long gone, even putting up patiently with their idiosyncrasies.

Perhaps banging doors and footsteps on the second floor are as much a part of their lives as cable television and the internet. Some Asian visitors however, still prefer to stay away from anything other-worldly. I certainly do.

Scroll down to read about ghosts in Austria and England...



RADIO BLARING AT MIDNIGHT
IN INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA


Many years ago, I checked into a small hotel in Innsbruck, Austria which had all its walls painted black. The somber atmosphere should have foretold of eerie occurrences but I naively chalked this up to a taste for the avant-garde and a penchant for dark colors. In the middle of the night, however, the radio began blaring at full blast.

Startled out of my sleep, I immediately shut it off. Later, amidst the fog of a waking dream, it came on again. The skeptical might attribute this to faulty wiring but who really knows? And why did the radio only turn on at midnight?

Scroll down to read about ghosts in Venice...




SUFFOCATING AT MIDNIGHT  
IN VENICE

Another summer, I was staying alone at one of Venice’s top hotels and very much enjoying a room filled with antiques and facing the Grand Canal.

However, again, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a jolt, feeling incredibly hot and suffocated. I automatically assumed it was the air conditioning and called the front desk to complain.

The night clerk arrived within minutes, white as a sheet. Without explanation, he moved me to another room where I promptly resumed a comfortable rest.

I thought it odd that he hadn’t even bothered to check the room’s cooling system, but soon forgot about this. I stayed on for a few more days, walking around Venice and making the rounds of my favorite shops.

Later, I found out from one of the young men at the concierge desk - who I bumped into at a pizzeria one evening - that my first hotel room was known to be haunted, and that guests often complained feeling suffocated while sleeping there. That's why the night clerk looked like he'd literally seen a ghost...

Scroll down to read about the ghosts on England...


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BRITAIN IS FULL OF GHOSTS

Interestingly, the United Kingdom (UK) seems to have more ghostly encounters compared to the rest of Europe.

Major tourist destinations like London, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews all feature very popular ghost tours – and while many of these tours are purely for fun, some are not for the faint-hearted.

I once joined an Edinburgh ghost tour that took in many locations with gory and violent pasts. It terminated in a local cemetery well-known for apparitions, and I had to leave midway because of a terribly uneasy feeling. Apparently, not a few participants experience this, and some even start shaking all over.

Scroll down to read about the most haunted hotel in England...




THE MOST HAUNTED HOTEL IN ENGLAND

While many hotels worldwide might consider a ghostly resident as a public relations nightmare, quite a number of UK hotels seem to revel in the notoriety and even employ their ghosts as an effective marketing tool.



The 12th century luxury Ettington Park Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon, for example, is often called England’s most haunted hotel – and not just because it’s neo-gothic architecture fits the popular imagery of a haunted house. Both guests and hotel staff frequently report seeing a lady in white roaming the corridors and hearing banging doors and footsteps from empty rooms.

BANGING DOORS IN THE COTSWOLDS 


I had a similar experience at a 16th century hotel in the Cotswolds, an area of ancient origins that almost certainly has a ghost story haunting every neighborhood. My suite – which was fashioned out of several rooms in the attic -- was large, bright and decorated in pastel colored chintz.

I was very pleased with it until midnight came (what is it with ghosts and the midnight hour anyway?) when I was again woken up by the incessant banging of my bathroom door in spite of closed windows and no wind at all.

I closed the door, but it simply started again after half an hour – as if someone was teasing me and preventing me from sleeping. I feigned sleep for the rest of the night, not wanting to come face to face with the unexpected by turning on the lights.

Of course, at daybreak I checked out.

I’m from Asia after all, and if I were to encounter the supernatural, I’d much prefer them to be from where I hail.


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