The Vengeful Ghost

By: Sydney Wade

While reading Beloved for class this past weekend, I was particularly struck by the connection between “stalking terror” and ghosts.  Particularly, I began to think about how a majority of ghost stories I have heard always include a vengeful ghost that haunt people after suffering an unnatural death, similar to Beloved’s character.  To expand on this concept, I wanted to share an experience from my own life that fits this stereotype about ghosts.

The Biltmore Hotel Miami, FL

The Biltmore Hotel
Miami, FL

Two years ago I secured an internship in my hometown of Miami, Florida with a small company.  I was especially excited because the office I would be working at was located in The Biltmore Hotel, one of the most iconic landmarks in Miami built in 1926 and frequented by both the rich and famous in its heyday.

The day before starting my internship my mom decided to tell me about an article she previously read that discussed the possibility of the Biltmore being haunted by several ghosts that died while they were guests of the hotel.  The most famous Biltmore ghost is allegedly Thomas “Fatty” Walsh, a well-known mobster in the 1920s that was killed on the 13th floor of the Biltmore after an argument over gambling.  Walsh’s ghost is said to haunt the Biltmore to this day and on one particular occasion scared an unsuspecting couple.  While the couple intended to go the 4th floor of the hotel, the elevator took them to the 13th floor instead.  After repeated attempts to make the elevator doors close, the wife stepped out to see what was wrong, however, the elevator doors swiftly closed leaving her husband in the elevator.  The husband went to find help from the hotel staff and when they returned to the 13th floor, the wife said she smelled the heavy scent of cigar smoke, loud noises, and felt extremely cold.  Presumably, Walsh’s ghost caused the incident.

For the entire summer, I was mildly traumatized from the story my mom told me and I was afraid I would experience my own ghost story first hand.  It did not help that I had to walk down a long, creepy hallway every day to get my office (I usually ended up running down it).  Now that I have been removed from spending time at the Biltmore on a regular basis, I am less afraid of what might be haunting the hotel.  However, recalling the story of Thomas Walsh enhanced my idea that ghosts are vengeful and tend to haunt the space where they were wronged during their lifetime.


10 thoughts on “The Vengeful Ghost

  1. I feel as though this hotel wanted to be haunted. The reason I say that is because of it 13th floor. Usually places, especially, in America omit the 13th floor in hospital, airports and hotels because of the superstition. I think the hotel really is haunted. I find ghost to be more sad and depressing rather than vengeful. Thomas doesn’t seem like the type to attack someone directly. He reminds me of Agnes, moving things to get attention rather than moving things to be spiteful. It was a great story nontheless, I’ll be sure to never go to the Biltmore Hotel in my life time.

  2. I work in the Michigan League and there is a hotel on the 4th floor. They, like JD mentioned, do not have a room 413. But according to one of the janitors, that has worked there for like 70 years, talks to the ghost children that roam the building. They avoid one room because Charlotte Blagdon scares them and they tend to congregate in the corner of the hotel by the staircase (his words, not mine). I think this dude is a bit crazy and I do not think the League is haunted. Similarly, I do not think the Biltmore Hotel is haunted but it definitely says something about a place that goes against a solid norm (avoiding the number 13).

    • I find stories about haunted hotels really interested. When you think about, it is kind of creepy how many people stay in hotels and how you have no idea who has been in your room (or what has happened in there) before you. This summer I stayed a night in a supposedly haunted hotel in Chicago called The Congress Hotel. The Congress Hotel is rumored to be haunted most famously by gangster Al Capone, since he held his headquarters there for a period of time. I am wondering if there is a common theme with hotels being haunted by gangsters and what the cause of this could be.

  3. This is very intriguing, I was born in Key West, Fl….so I can relate to the place. like I said in other posts I am not really scared of ghosts, I’d be more like the guy who was like…”show yourself”. Maybe If the mobster blew cigar smoke in my face I’d be pretty irritated. I wish I had their experience so I might know how I’d really react.

  4. I have never stayed in a hotel that is supposedly haunted, mainly because I am afraid that the place is actually full of ghosts. After seeing movies like “1408”, hearing stories, and reading this particular story, my fear outweighs my interest of staying in haunted places. As much as I enjoy horror stories and movies, I couldn’t imagine living my own. Kudos to you for keeping your job. I probably would have gotten too freaked out and quit. Just like you, I would’ve run down the hallway everyday. I’m interested to know if anyone else had the same experience as the couple or if any employees working at the Biltmore Hotel have run into the ghost.

  5. There’s something about haunted hotels that is just a terrifying concept. I think that it has to do with the unknown and all the possibilities of bad things that could happen there. A hotel is a place where all types of people can stay, and there’s no way of knowing who was there before you. Any hotel freaks me out a little bit, but the idea of knowingly staying in a haunted hotel sends shivers down my spine. Thank you very much, Stephen King.

  6. My favorite place in the world, nay the universe, is Savannah, Georgia. Which is purportedly the most haunted place to ever exist, and having had several experiences while there, I can say definitively that it’s true. Of all of the stories I’ve collected about Savannah ghosts over the years, the best ones are about hotels. There’s a hotel that was a hospital during the Civil War and there are severed limbs buried all over the foundation, the Kehoe House which was a home and a funeral home before a hotel is haunted by the children of the original owners who climbed up the chimney and got stuck, and the hotel where a woman jumped out of a window upon the realization that her sailor lover was not coming back for her. Hotel ghosts are seen by many, unrelated people which corroborates (but sometimes changes) sightings and stories.

  7. I always hear stories about haunted hotels, but I’ve never actually stayed in one. Considering that there is a 13th floor, and like JD said most places in American omit the 13th floor, maybe it really was haunted. Something about the story didn’t sit right with me. I think it really was haunted. You’re a good one though, I probably wouldn’t have continued to work at the hotel, especially if I had a feeling it was haunted.

  8. This story is hilarious to me because my mother would do the exact same thing. She’d show me an article that would scare me, and not think anything of it. After reading the article, my experience of doing something would be ruined, and I’d be furious with my mother. I really like this story, as mobster’s are really interesting to me. I’m definitely about to go read about this story.

  9. As Jazmine said, I have heard stories about haunted hotels, but I have never stayed in one. I don’t think I ever will either! I find it odd that the hotel would even have the elevator be able to stop on the 13th floor. As a lot of buildings have 13th floors, there is usually limited access to people who work their, or their isn’t even a button on the elevator. I think the hotel is faulty haunted.

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