The Spirit of Vacation, or the SPIRITS of Vacation?

By: Sammy Scoggin

In the spirit of Stephen King’s The Shining, haunted hotels have always been one of the scariest entities of horror for me. The Overlook Hotel, which is the hotel where The Shining takes place, is said to be based off of the Stanley Hotel. Stephen King was staying in room 217 of this Colorado hotel when he was inspired to write his horrifying masterpiece. According to Haunted America Tours, the Stanley is number three on the list of the Top Ten Haunted Hotels. Coming in at a close number seven is the Sagamore Hotel, where my family vacationed about six years ago.

All of the cousins on our haunted family vacation in 2006.

All of the cousins on our haunted family vacation in 2006.

I was 12 years old when my dad’s side of the family took a trip to Bolton Landing, New York. We had no idea that the hotel we were staying at was one of the most haunted in America. Each family had their own suite, one for my immediate family, one for my aunt’s family and one for my uncle’s family. It was my Uncle Jim who experienced most of the haunting, which is surprising because anyone who knows my Uncle Jim knows that he is a big skeptic and does not believe in ghosts – or at least he didn’t up until this trip.

We were all settling into our rooms, but my uncle and his family had a bit of a setback. When he went to unlock the door with the key card he found that the door wouldn’t unlock. He then peered into the glass windows on either side of the door and spotted an old lady dressed in all white sitting in a chair inside the room. He immediately assumed that the front desk had given him the wrong room, and went back to fix the problem. When he told the front desk that the room was already occupied and that there must be a mistake, they assured him that he had the correct room and they gave him a new key to try once more to open the door. When they got back to the room the door opened on the first try and there was no trace of the woman inside.

My Uncle Jim’s youngest son was about 17 at the time and was just enough of a horror movie guru to be scared out of his mind at the paranormal activity taking place in his suite. After the first night he told us that he felt as if there was someone watching him, like the unwelcome presence of someone else in the room with them. He also said that he woke up in the middle of the night with a start because he felt someone hit him, but when he turned on the lights there was nobody in sight. After that night, he spent the rest of the vacation sleeping on the pullout couch in my family’s room.

The Sagamore Hotel is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy who was killed many years ago while he was retrieving balls on the golf course.

The Sagamore Hotel is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy who was killed many years ago while he was retrieving balls on the golf course.

According to hauntedamericatours.com one of the three most recognized ghosts that haunts the Sagamore is “a mysterious lady in white who enters many rooms. Guests are said to feel wispy chills. They say she awakens sleepers by peering into their faces and blowing a cold chill on their eyelids. Many guests have reported sleepless nights and the feeling of being watched.” Creepy, huh?

Prior to this experience I was not a big believer in ghosts, but seeing my older cousin so terrified and my cynical uncle so adamant definitely roused a change in my opinion. Whether you believe these stories, or they seem like coincidences spun into something horrifying, one thing is for sure – I will never go back to the Sagamore Hotel. 

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13 thoughts on “The Spirit of Vacation, or the SPIRITS of Vacation?

  1. My family stayed in The Congress Hotel in Chicago last summer. The Congress Hotel, while not ranked in the top 10 most haunted hotels like the Sagamore, is rumored to be haunted most famously by gangster Al Capone. I have even heard that some of the rooms have been boarded off and guests are not allowed to stay in them because those rooms have received incessant complaints. I’m wondering if the old lady your uncle saw has any patterns to the rooms she chooses to haunt like the ghosts of The Congress Hotel. While I did not experience anything creepy while I was staying at The Congress Hotel (except the TV shutting off by itself which my dad swears was a self timer), I don’t think I would risk staying there again.

    • From all the research I did online about The Sagamore there was no pattern to the rooms the lady haunted, but the other ghosts that are commonly reported there did have a pattern. For example, there is a couple that haunts one of the restaurants in the hotel that always descend the stairs from the second floor, and then they get in a fight on the main floor where one of them gets pushed to the ground and then they dissolve into thin air. This exact scenario has been reported multiple times by different people, if you google the Sagamore you should be able to find it. Pretty scary!

      • I would normally agree with that, but in this cause none of us had any idea the hotel was haunted. It wasn’t until after the trip that we did the research and found out that it was on the list of the most haunted hotels in the U.S.

  2. I’m always afraid to go into scary places for fear of seeing a ghost. The fact that your skeptic uncle was even scared makes this pretty scary. Good thing it wasn’t a violent ghost. I watch a lot of ghost hunting shows and sometimes people are hit or scratched so bad that actual scars are left (but this could be all a set up to get more views too). I believe my house is haunted (my bedroom in particular), but I haven’t seen a full bodied apparition, which I’m glad I haven’t because I’d never be able to sleep in my room again. If I ever travel, I think I’m going to check that haunted hotels list before I choose a place.

  3. My family has gone to Kentucky a couple of times and we have stayed at the same creepy girls’ boarding school turned inn, and I am convinced that it’s haunted. I’m also a little bit convinced that it doesn’t really exist because I can’t remember the name or the town it’s in, and I remember everything. But this place has all kinds of little displays of dolls and things from when it was a school and even if it isn’t haunted it is absolutely terrifying. You were very brave to stay in a haunted hotel.

  4. every spring and winter break we traveled somewhere out of the country, and the first night I ever stayed in a new hotel, I could not sleep. The hotel sounds were always deafening to me. I would hear every door open, every step, and every noise. When I was around 9 years old, I was sure that there someone outside my door looking in trying to talk to me. I grabbed my golf club, walked to the door ready to swim, and when I opened my door, it was my sister, saying she lost her key.

  5. Haunted hotels terrify me. I think it’s probably because of all the horror movies that have been made about them – like 1408, No Vacancy, etc. I always wonder why it’s specifically a hotel that the directors choose to be the setting. Maybe it’s because so many people cycle through a hotel each year that you’re bound to have some deaths/mysterious incidences. Whatever it was that made the concept of a haunted hotel so popular, it clearly worked effectively. And I’m not complaining – I always loved the Tower of Terror ride at Disney.

  6. Wow! Haunted hotels really fascinate me. I worked this summer with a woman who used to work at a hotel in Hollywood that is supposed to be haunted (I’m forgetting the name now) but she would tell crazy stories about a bride in a wedding dress who would appear all over the hotel (and was nice) and different ghosts appearing in rooms. She told one story about someone being in an elevator with another person and then realizing that they were alone and the person had vanished. She says she had seen the bride before one night when she was there working late. I can’t imagine what I would do! I don’t think that I would ever be brave enough to stay at a haunted hotel…

  7. Haunted hotels are something that I would never willingly stay in. I am scared enough of haunted houses where everything is fake and I know what to expect. I can’t even imagine going into a hotel with my family on a vacation and seeing ghosts and other things that I wouldn’t typically expect to see in my day to day life. I would however be interested in going to these hotels and just investigating because I think the idea of them being haunted and the story behind it all is intriguing. I would never sleep there though because if I woke up to the feeling of someone hitting me, I think I would forever be affected. What a cool experience though, Sammy!

  8. Hearing that you’ve actually stayed at a haunted hotel and experienced things is really unsettling. I’d like to believe that these ghost stories are just that, stories, and that these things couldn’t possibly happen, but after hearing so many stories and seeing so many movies circling around a haunted place, I’ve come to believe it. I wish to never have to stay in a haunted place and experience ghosts or anything supernatural. A few years ago, my family and I were staying in a condo that we had rented out while we were in Florida, and one of the nights we were there, I saw my aunt crying in her room and clearly shook-up. After asking one of the other adults what had happened, I learned that apparently, while she was in the bathroom, she saw a ghost of a woman in the bathroom with her, so she ran out of there very terrified. The adults in my family seem to see ghosts pretty often, whether it’s in dreams or in real life, and I really hope I never have to experience that.

  9. I’m surprised your cousin didn’t book it right out of there! Although I believe I’ve seen a ghost before, I have never actually been someplace that is publicly known as haunted, nor would I ever vacation there! Did anything else happen to your uncle during your stay there? Seeing the photos at the top, I thought I’d see the lady in white standing behind you guys, but instead, I now feel her standing behind me as I type this comment. What are your thoughts on all of this? Would you ever go back now that you are older to see if you experience anything? And how was it being there as a kid? Do you experience anything first hand? I really want to know more! Also, do you know if the guys from Ghost Adventures have done an episode on the hotel? It sounds like something they would do.

  10. This is really creepy. I always hear people talking about vacationing and staying at haunted hotels or about someone I know, knowing someone who’s experienced supernatural events at a haunted hotel. I’ve never before experienced this or know of anyone personally who has, and I can’t say I’m upset about it. Other than this story, have you experienced (or anyone you know) any other haunting while vacationing?

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