Staying at a hotel is supposed to be a luxurious experience, since it acts as a getaway from real life and all. Of course, that’s not always the case if you’re strapped for cash or traveling for business. But no matter what your experience with hotels has been up until now, these stories of very scary, troubling things that have happened in haunted hotels are going to make you think twice before booking a room from now on.
With Halloween being full of all things spooky, it seems only right to take a look at some of the most unsettling stories about hotels. After all, one of the scariest movies of all time — The Shining — very notably took place at one, and we all know how that went.
While we’re well aware that we shouldn’t be staying at the fictional Overlook Hotel, here are some real-life creepy tales about haunted hotels in honor of Halloween. And no, you won’t find any ghost stories here since these were actually reported in the news, which just goes to show how the truth can be scarier than any threat of the paranormal.
1A dead body in the water tank.
The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles has many creepy stories, like the fact that the serial killer the Nightstalker, Richard Ramirez, stayed there in the ’80s, as CNN reported. But a more recent story is that the body of Elisa Lam was found decomposing in the water tank on the roof of the hotel in 2013. Her body was in the tank for at least 19 days and other guests reported that the shower water was black and that the tap water “tasted horrible.” As for how Lam died and ended up in the tank, it’s still a mystery. But the above video is security camera footage of the Canadian tourist on the last day she was ever seen, acting very strange in the elevator.
2A dead body in the freezer.
In September 2017, 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was found dead in the freezer of the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center. The Chicago Tribune reported that the police just closed the case in October 2017 and ruled her death as an accident. But videos and photos of her final moments circulating on social media have fascinated and outraged the public since people believe foul play must have been involved in her death.
3Double deaths in India.
In 1911, the British spiritualist Frances Garnett-Orme was found dead by poison at the Savoy Hotel in India. A few months later, the doctor who had performed her autopsy was also found dead by poison, the Indian website Scroll reported. Befitting a spiritualist, Garnett-Orme is said to still haunt the hotel 100 years later and her story inspired Agatha Christie’s book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, according to The Pioneer.
4A thief slits his own throat.
Another early 1900s creepy event happened in a different Savoy Hotel, this time in London. In 1909, a man conned an assistant manager of a jewelry shop. The thief pretended to be traveling with his wife by impersonating a woman’s voice in order to keep up the farce and steal the jewelry. New Zealand’s The Marlborough Express reported that when the thief tried to flee and his attempt was botched, he slit his own throat and died.
5A head on the fifth floor.
Unfortunately, terrorist bombings are no longer shocking news. But there’s a detail of the 2003 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in South Jakarta, Indonesia, that makes it particularly unsettling. The suicide bomber Asmar Latin Sani detonated a car bomb outside the lobby of the hotel, but as The Guardian reported, his severed head was found on the fifth floor of the hotel.
6Castrated Portuguese journalist.
Portuguese television personality and journalist Carlos Castro was found dead in the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel in 2011. As The Guardian reported, the 65-year-old celebrity was discovered naked, covered in blood and castrated. Model Renato Seabra was found guilty of killing his lover Castro, who was 40 years his senior. The New York Times reported that during the trial, Seabra’s lawyers said he thought he was on a “mission from God to rid the world of homosexuality when he castrated Mr. Castro with a corkscrew and placed the testicles on his own wrists.”
In 2013, The Telegraph reported that 40 pythons were found in storage bins in a Canadian hotel room. Some of the pythons were over 4-feet-long. This isn’t the only story of snakes in hotel rooms, since in April 2017, a 5-foot-long python was found in the drawer of the Marriott Residence Inn in Worcester, MA, according to The Boston Globe. The python had been abandoned by its owner, who checked out and gave the hotel a fake name.
Canadians Audrey and Noémi Bélanger were found dead in their Thailand hotel room in 2012. According to Public Radio International, when the maid found the two young women, there was vomit in the room, they had skin lesions, their gums appeared to have bled, and their fingernails and toenails were blue. Thai officials blamed the women’s deaths on a drink containing DEET, but in 2015, CBC News reported that a Quebec coroner stated that their deaths were probably caused by phosphine gas poisoning, which is a deadly pesticide used to kill bed bugs in some hotels in Asia.
9Bodies under the bed.
Finding a dead body under your hotel sounds like a nightmare, but it frighteningly happens more than you would think. In 2010, a woman’s dead body was found under a bed in a room at the Budget Lodge in Memphis, Tenneesse. Before the motel staff found the body, five guests had stayed in the room, according to WMC Action News 5. Snopes also investigated the urban legend of people staying in a hotel room with a dead body and cited more real-life instances of dead bodies being found under hotel beds.
While you can find plenty more stories about haunted hotels on sites like Reddit and TripAdvisor, we figured these nine, validated stories are enough nightmare fuel this Halloween. And next time you stay at a hotel, make sure to check under the bed.