Scary Hotel Stories That Will Convince You to Stay at Home


Normally, when we think about hotels, associations of fun, entertainment, vacation and good food come to mind. No one really ponders about the hotel history or search for scary hotel stories before they book a room (unless you’re a HUGE fan of The Shining).

In this article, we want to share with you some scary hotel stories that will probably convince you to stay at home, or at least plan your next vacation at a safer…and saner place.

So, without further ado, here are scary hotel stories and events that will make The Shining look like a kid’s play.


#1. What Happened to Elisa Lam?

Elisa Lam 21 years old when she travelled from her home in Vancouver to check into the infamous Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles in early 2013.

She was suffering from bipolar disorder and the last time that she was seen was on hotel CCTV footage, behaving very strange and out of the ordinary inside the hotel’s elevator. She was pressing several buttons and running in and out of the elevator.

Elisa Lam was found inside a 1.2 by 2.4 meter (2 x 8 ft) cylindrical metal water tanks on the roof of the hotel, with mysteries surrounding her death. Her body, which was decomposing by now, was discovered only weeks later when guests of the hotel started complaining of low water pressure. Creepy as it sounds, it seems that the guests had been drinking, cleaning their teeth and showering with the same tank-water where the body of Elisa Lam was this entire time.

Investigation determined the she died by drowning inside the water tank, but did not offer any explanation as to how Elisa got into the tank in the first place.

The Doors and stairs that lead to the hotel’s roof are locked, and only the staff has the passcodes and keys. Also, any attempt to force these doors would supposedly have triggered an alarm. However, she could have reached hotel’s roof using the fire escape, if she (or someone who might have accompanied her there) had known.

If that’s not enough, the same time that Elisa Lam found her death, an outbreak of tuberculosis started spreading through downtown Los Angeles. Health authorities urged citizens to get tested, and this tuberculosis test was later named the Lam Elisa Test.

Various theories arose about Lam’s strange behavior in the elevator. Some claimed that she was attempting to hide from a pursuer, perhaps someone ultimately responsible for her death, while others claimed that Lam was frustrated with the elevator’s apparent malfunction.

Other theories talk about her being under the influence of illicit drugs or that she might have taken rare cocktails of such drugs that a normal screen would not detect.

Even the coroner’s pathologists appeared to be ambivalent about their conclusion that Lam’s death was accidental. At one point, the “accident” box was checked in the report, while only three days later, the “undetermined” box was checked instead. And so, the mystery as to what happened to Elisa Lam remains…


#2. A Planned Death

In 1931, George R. Sanders, 40 years old, decided to check into the Dixie Hotel in Manhattan. Sanders decided to end his life, and he thought the hotel was a good enough place for this reason.

And so, Sanders got a room high enough on the 7th floor but a bit later changed his mind and asked for a room on the 14th floor. Better safe than sorry, right?

Sanders was thoughtful as well, as he left a note for police, stating that the cause of death is suicide, and the reason for it was mental depression. Sanders also directed police to letters for safe boxes and other papers in the top bureau drawer on the right side at his home, and asked that his instructions were carried out.

Sanders had everything planned, except one small, yet crucial thing that did not go as planned. He did not consider where he would land after jumping from the window of his room.

George Sanders leaped from the window and into his death, but instead, he crashed through the roof of an adjacent restaurant and landed right at the feet of a horrified dining couple and the restaurant’s night-manager.

You can call it irony that such a considerate and organized man would end his life in such a scary, horrible and messy way, what a way to go. Check please!


#3. Master, Slave and a Murder

This is the story about a murder in a top London hotel in 2010, when Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud (Saudi Arabian prince ) violently murdered his male submissive slave.

This gruesome murder involved a sexual element, but the prince denied this over and over again. Bandar Abdulaziz, the guy who was murdered had bite marks on his cheeks and also evidence of bites on his ears. Some of these marks occurred prior to the murder and dental patterns of the bites matched the teeth of the price. The bites were believed to have happened during sadistic sexual situations between the two, as this weird relationship of master and slave had been happening for quite some time.

The prince was jailed for life despite being very wealthy, connected and of royal blood after his diplomatic immunity was denied. There was always the possibility of being decapitated if he would have admitted for his homosexuality, because even today, homosexuality remains a capital offense in Saudi Arabia.


#4. The Burning Hotel

The Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta was famous for its absolute fire-proof ability, but in 1946, this so-called fire-proof hotel became a burning tower of horror and death when 119 people lost their lives.

Believe it or not, but the hotel included no fire escapes, had no alarms or even sprinklers, and only one great stairwell in the middle. This stairwell was the only wat to escape, but instead of providing a safe exit route, it quickly became a trap full of noxious smoke.

When firefighters arrived to the scene, they could only reach halfway up the 16-story hotel. So, people had no other choice but to jump from the upper floors. These jumps and falls took the lives of 32 people, so some people decided to tie sheets in order to make ropes out of them, and this way maybe escape the fire, flames, heat and smoke that surrounded them.

It was believed that the horrible fire originated from a cigarette that was thrown onto a mattress in the third floor hallway, perhaps even deliberately trying to set the hotel on fire.


#5. Brutal Castration in a Hotel Room

65-year old Carlos Castro was a famous Portuguese television presenter and journalist, and was planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York’s Time Square.

The holiday, along with his 23-year-old male-model and boyfriend, Renato Seabra seemed to be going extremely well, but this relationship turned bad real fast, along with Seabra’s mental state.

It seems that Renato Seabra became very angry when Castro decided to stop financing him, which led to argument between the two began that ended with Seabra smashing Castro’s head in with a laptop.

It did not end there, because while Castro lay on the hotel’s floor all bleeding, Seabara decided continue his punishment and castrate Castro, using a broken wine glass and a corkscrew.

Seabra first pleaded insanity during his trial and claimed that at the time, he believed he was ridding the world of homosexuality when he removed Castro’s testicles and then wore them on his wrists. The prosecution, on the other hand, claimed that Seabra was clearly sane and was only faking his insanity and madness.

During the entire relationship with Castro, Seabra acted in a cold and manipulative way with violent outbursts from time to time. The judge described Seabra as sadistic, brutal, violent, was shocked from his actions and behavior and eventually sent him to 25 years in prison.


#6. A Scary Premonition

Frederick Berry Jr. was a young man from Wayne, Nebraska who had arrived to New York not long ago in order to seek his fame and fortune. During his time in New York, Frederick decided to rent a room on the 12th floor of the Dixie Hotel in Manhattan.

One day, he got a letter from his dad, warning him. According to this letter, Frederick’s mother had a terrifying premonition that something horrible and disastrous was about to happen to him.

About a day or so later, staff of the hotel noticed smoke that was coming out from under Frederick’s room door. They entered the room only to find him unconscious, badly burned, and in a sitting position in a smoldering chair.

Frederick’s upper body clothing had been completely burned away and he was immediately rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Unfortunately, Frederick did not survive his injuries and died 3 hours later.

The warning letter sent to him by his father was found in his hotel room, and in that same letter, his father, who happened to have been a lawyer, asked Frederick to be careful and write home every single day I order to calm his mother down and have her less anxious.


#7. The Story of a Jewelry Store, Hotel and Death

On March 1, 1909, a man who called himself Dr. George D. Pullman checked into the Savoy Hotel, London.

His appearance at the hotel was with fine clothes, he spoke in an American accent and ordered a whole suite of rooms that he never intended to pay for. So far, strange enough.

The staff of the hotel was very impressed by the man’s claim that his wife and maid were following in a motorcar and nobody questioned his words and authenticity. Pullman then asked reception if there was a place anywhere nearby where he will be able to purchase automobile tires, which also indicated about his financial status and wealth at the time.

What actually happened, was Pullman walking into a jeweler’s shop in the Burlington arcade and asked to view a range of diamond rings as well as an expensive diamond collar necklet. Pullman asked the jeweler to send the rings to the Savoy Hotel, in order for his wife to inspect them.  As Pullman was about to leave the jeweler’s store, he suddenly changed his mind. At that moment, he turned back and told the jeweler to send the necklet as well, but also asked to reduce the price by removing three diamond drops that were attached to it.

When Pullman left the store, the assistant manager followed him to the hotel, bringing all the jewelry with him. Just like the hotel staff, the assistant manager was also deceived by Pullman’s grand impression. He delivered the jewels and decided to wait for in the sitting room of the hotel suite while Pullman went through to another room where his wife was supposedly dressing.

Pullman took five rings with him and left the door slightly open. The assistant manager of the store heard Pullman speaking and the voice of a woman responding to his words. When Pullman returned to meet the assistant manager, he said that his wife liked the rings and would now like to see the necklet. Again, Pullman went through to the other room with the necklet, only this time he decided to close the door.

At this point, the assistant manager became suspicious when he stopped hearing voices, as now, there was no man or woman talking from behind the closed door. So, he went into the corridor and waited for Pullman.

Only a few seconds later, someone wearing a soft cap and heavy overcoat emerged from the adjacent room. This man was actually Pullman in disguise with no wife to be seen. His con to steal the jewels failed and he as caught at the spot red-handed. Pullman then tried to fake distress and told the assistant manager to call a maid because his wife had suddenly fallen ill, but at this point, the jeweler was not deceived.

They got into a fight at which at the end of it Pullman surrendered and returned four of the five rings. Pullman, was lying on the floor and begging that the assistant manager would release him, but he kept standing in the doorway and waited for help to arrive. This version was true according to our hero, the assistant manager, as no one else witnessed the events except Pullman and the assistant manager.

The story got a weird turn when according to the assistant manager, Pullman, who tried to con him and the store produced a razor from his pocket and simply slit open his own throat. At this point, again, according to the assistant manager, he ran to get help, but when he returned with a porter, Pullman was gone.

Pullman however did leave a trail of blood that could be followed, he climbed out onto the balcony and then down a spiral staircase, by because of his heavy loss of blood, by the time he had reached the bottom, he was very exhausted.

At the coroner’s inquest there were some questions arising as for Pullman’s razor. Did the razor really come from Pullman’s pocket? The coroner asked the assistant manager if he ever carried some sort of weapons or knives with him, to which he denied.

Still, this story remains weird, from the request of a perfect stranger to follow him to the hotel with extremely expensive jewelry, all the way to an assistant manager following him with the precious jewels, yet without any defense measurements or weapons in case of a possible robbery, which almost took place at that hotel.


#8. Tragedy at Hyatt

In 1981, a dance was taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Kansas City, and more than a thousand people came to participate and watch the dance.

The dance took place in the lobby of the hotel so, many spectators and viewers watched this dance from the second, third, and fourth-floor walkways suspended directly above.

Just before the event, the walkways had been slightly altered from their original design. A small change caused an increase of the stress on load-bearing rods, which could barely support the weight of the walkways themselves, not to mention the added weight of all the viewers. The tragedy occurred when the fourth-floor walkway collapsed, taking with it the second-floor walkway with it on its was down.

Rescue operation of this tragedy continued more than 14 hours, and those who had been injured so badly that there was no hope for them to survive of were told that they were going to die and were given morphine for their pains.

Many of the people who died had to be dismembered in order to provide access to other people who were still alive and needed help, yet got trapped in the wreckage.

A total of 114 people found their death in the disaster and tragedy that happened, which made it the deadliest structural collapse in the history of America (that is until the tragedy of the Twin Towers).

People who participated in the rescue operation remained traumatized long after the event itself.


#9. Severed Head on the Fifth Floor

It’s August 2003 in a busy commercial area of Jakarta, Indonesia and we’re at lunchtime.

Asmar Latin Sani was driving a Toyota, only it wasn’t a regular Toyota, it was loaded with tons of explosives. The last moments of his life were captured on CCTV camera footage just as he pulled up outside the Marriott Hotel and was approached by a security guard.

At this moment, the Toyota with all the explosives exploded, causing dozens of windows to break and shatter within the blast radius. There was chaos and burned bodies lying in the street. There were also reports of people running from office buildings holding their faces…which were in flames!

The first five floors of the Marriott hotel were a mess, with metal twisted from the blast and shattered glass and rising black smoke.

The explosion was extremely powerful, so there were doubts that the driver could ever be recognized and identified. However, the situation changed when the driver’s severed head was discovered on the fifth floor!

After some facial reconstruction of the remaining and severed head, it was shown to two terrorists who were in jail, but were able to recognize Sani and later even confessed that they had recruited him for this mission.

Sani’s identity was confirmed again later on, after DNA testing carried out on the severed head.


#10. Death Under Mysterious Circumstances

In 2012, two Canadian sisters that stayed at a hotel on the Thai resort of Phi Phi Island died under mysterious circumstances.

The bodies of the two sisters were found huddled in their beds with bleeding gums, blue lips and discolored fingernails and toenails. There were lesions all over their skin and the room was full of vomit.

The sisters had already been dead for some time, and the last time they were seen, was on June 13th when the two returned from a bar. They had stayed in their room until a maid entered the room two days later on the 15th, using a master key, when she discovered the horror in front of her.

It is believed that the two young sister had been poisoned and initial autopsy reports from Thailand indicated serious food poisoning. A little bit later, a Canadian coroner quashed the theory that the insecticide DEET had poisoned the women, and claimed that the amount of DEET in the bodies wasn’t high enough to cause the two any harm.

In 2009, two other young women (an American and a Norwegian) found their deaths under similar circumstances at the same island and at same resort. Their death was mysterious as well.

Several more deaths had been reported, with suspicion of poisoning as well, yet the true cause of these deaths never determined.

Another case of suspicious deaths had occurred some time later in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, where several people from different countries that stayed at the same hotel had possibly been killed by exposure to chlorpyrifos, which is a chemical spray that is being used to kill bed bugs.

There’s a theory suggesting that all this may actually be a cover-up on the part of Thai authorities who fear harm to Thailand’s tourism trade. Three months later, Thai police decided to close the case of the deaths of the two Canadian sisters.


These are only 10 creepy and hard to believe hotel stories that happened in real life, but if you are familiar with more scary, amazing and mind-blowing hotel stories and events, or have something of your own personal experience to share with us, leave us a comment below and let’s talk about it, share, and hope something like this will never happen again…or at least, get it on tape or video next time, for the whole world to see.




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