Would you stay in a hotel that is so haunted that you must sign a waiver just to book a room? If you said “sure,” then you’re much braver than I am, and you should probably look into staying at The Shanley Hotel in Ulster County, New York.
Tucked away in the Shawangunk Mountains, The Shanley is widely considered one of the most haunted hotels in the country. The Shanley was built in 1895, and its history is rife with tragedies and reported paranormal activity.
The Shanley has been home to some truly tragic deaths since the late 19th century. Three of the original owner’s daughters died in the farmhouse, and that was just the beginning of the home’s very long, twisted history.
Also in the farmhouse’s early years, the on-site barber’s daughter fell into a well on the property and died. I don't know about you, but ever since I saw The Ring I can't think about a girl in a well without getting seriously spooked out.
Yes, The Shanley is now super spooky, but it hasn't always been considered a creepy, avoid-at-all-costs house. Quite the opposite was true during Prohibition, actually, when The Shanley became a brothel and a speakeasy. See? There were some fun times had at this uber-creepy farmhouse. All they had to do was add ladies and liquor.
However, the part of the house that was used as the speakeasy is now considered one of the most haunted parts of the property. While visiting the “Bordello” portion of the hotel, guests have reported “feeling lightheaded, shortness of breath, heaviness and feelings of joy/sadness.” Sounds about right for a speakeasy, doesn't it?
So what other creepy paranormal things can you expect during your stay at The Shanley? Well, guests have reported seeing chairs rocking with nobody in them, feeling hot and cold spots throughout the hotel, hearing phantom footsteps and whistling and feeling as if they are being watched.
Guests have also frequently reported smelling scents like perfume and pipe tobacco. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “If I have to sign a waiver to stay at this creepy place, I better see an actual ghost,” don’t you worry. Apparently there’s a ghost woman in a Victorian-style dress that regularly roams the halls, so hopefully you’ll be able to catch her during your stay.
The Shanley Hotel has 35 rooms and a hidden basement chamber. That’s right — a hidden basement chamber. From all of the movies and TV I’ve watched throughout my life, I know that nothing good ever happens in a hidden basement chamber. But if you still want to go ghost hunting despite the creepy secret basement room, I wish you the best of luck. You have to be over 16, though, as that is the minimum age requirement to spend the night at this haunted hotel.