The paranormal side of America’s Mother Road, Route 66, will be explored in this article as we travel from Chicago to California.
Established in 1926, this legendary route has carried generations of weary travellers into the heart of the United States in the name of freedom and the open road.
As we explore the eerie past of this famous highway, we’ll see that Route 66 encompasses not just some of America’s most infamously haunted cities, but also the majesty and adventure of the wild west.
Get ready for a chilling and fascinating trip along the whole length of Route 66, where the unexpected lurks around every corner.
CHICAGO’S ILLINOIS CONGRESS PLAZA HOTEL
Ghostbusters, hold on tight! The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago is our first haunting destination along Route 66, and it is a gorgeous architectural marvel with more than a century of history. Don’t be fooled by all the fancy facilities; there are more than a few ghostly goings-on here.
520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
The Congress Plaza Hotel is known as one of the most haunted places in Chicago due to poltergeist activity, mysterious sounds coming from the hotel’s ballroom, and appliances turning on and off by themselves.
And can you identify who is said to have settled there for good? Al Capone, the infamous mobster! What a run-in with the criminal elite!
The Top 10 Most Haunted Places in Chicago
The “Hand of Mystery” is a phantom gloved hand that is supposed to belong to a worker who died after being stuck under plasterboard during the hotel’s construction. Peg Leg Johnny, a hobo who tragically passed away at the motel, has been seen by guests on several occasions after his death.
While in Chicago, you may also visit the Hull House and the site of the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, both of which are said to be haunted.
Let’s pack up and drive to Springfield, Illinois’s Inn at 835, our next haunted stop!
SPRINGFIELD’S INN AT 835, A BOUTIQUE HOTEL
835 S 2nd St, Springfield, IL 62704
The Inn at 835 is a historic mansion with modern amenities located in the heart of Springfield, Illinois. The Bell Miller Inn, a converted apartment block from the early 20th century, is more than simply a beautiful place to stay. It was built by a successful entrepreneur, Bell Miller.
A pleasant ghost who loves her dream house as much as her visitors lives there, too!
Illinois’s Most Haunted Hotels may be found here.
There have been accounts of Bell Miller’s ghost being quite the carer, appearing as a nice apparition or speaking to people through walls. She has been known to patch up wallpaper in one night if it starts to peel.
And if you listen carefully, you may be able to make out the lid being taken off and put back on a crystal candy dish. But be careful while riding the lift; even when functioning normally, visitors sometimes find themselves on the wrong level.
Visit the Lincoln Tomb and the Dana-Thomas House, both of which are within easy driving distance of Springfield, for a taste of history and chills.
The Walnut Street Inn in Springfield, Missouri is the next stop on our Route 66 Haunted Road Trip.
Springfield, Missouri’s Walnut Street Inn
900 E Walnut St, Springfield, MO 65806
The Walnut Street Inn in Springfield, Missouri, is a quaint and intriguing place to spend the night. This Victorian-style inn is more than simply a collection of antiques and a cosy fireplace; the Rosen Room, in particular, is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman.
The ghostly apparition was seen by one visitor, who said she claimed the place for herself before leaving.
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The innkeepers were able to learn that she was a visitor at the inn who had died in her seventies thanks to the use of a Ouija board, but nobody knows what her name was. It is said that she stands guard over visitors as they sleep, adding an additional measure of “protection.”
The Walnut Street Inn, which was constructed in the 1890s by Charles McMann, saw many ownership changes before coming into the care of Gary and Nancy Brown, who turned it into a bed and breakfast.
This Route 66 haunt has been recognised as “One of the Top 12 Inns in the Country,” making it a must-stop for ghost hunters.
In case you need more spooky experiences during your stay, don’t forget to check out the neighbouring haunted spots like the Pythian Castle and the University Plaza Hotel.
Let’s continue our spooky trip to St. Louis and stay at the Lehman House B&B.
ST. LOUIS’ LEHMANN HOUSE B&B3
10 Benton Pl, St. Louis, MO 63104
The St. Louis Lehmann House, a 10,000-square-foot estate turned bed and breakfast with a history dating back to 1893, has been lovingly renovated. Don’t be deceived by its elegance, however; this B&B is notorious as one of the city’s most haunted establishments.
Several visitors have claimed to have seen ghostly apparitions, including the original owner, Edward S. Rowse, in the chamber where he formerly slept. On some EVP recordings, a female voice may be heard gasping in astonishment or muttering something in the distance.
Also, check out this list of St. Louis’s most haunted locations!
Even without a recording device, guests have reported hearing inexplicable conversations and feeling uneasy presences around the property.
Guests of the Lehmann House have reported being awakened in the middle of the night by shadowy figures and mysterious hammering noises. It would seem that the ghosts of the house’s past are still making themselves known.
[Related: Missouri’s Most Haunted Locations]
If you’re looking for more chills in St. Louis, check out the Lemp Mansion and the Missouri State Penitentiary.
The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City is up next on our ghostly Route 66 itinerary.
Oklahoma City’s OKLAHOMA SKIRVIN HOTEL
One Park Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City is the site of various ghostly events, some of which include sports. The New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls, both of whom play in the National Basketball Association, have also claimed weird occurrences at this historic hotel.
W.B. Skirvin, the hotel’s original owner, is said to have had an affair with a maid called Effie, who was subsequently imprisoned on the hotel’s 10th level after falling pregnant. Effie was apparently so discouraged that she leaped out the window to her death.
Related: Oklahoma’s Most Haunted Hotels
As a result of this sad story, many others have claimed to have experienced sexual assault, seen a nude lady in the shower, or heard the voice of a woman proposing to male visitors.
The Skirvin Hotel, which was built in 1911 by oil tycoon William Balser Skirvin and designed by the illustrious Solomon A. Leyton, has had its fair share of prominent guests throughout the years, including Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.
The hotel has changed ownership many times and undergone substantial renovations, but its allure to those seeking both luxury and a taste of the supernatural remains undiminished since its 2007 reopening.
There are plenty of spooky places to check out in Oklahoma City, such as the Stone Lion Inn and the Gilcrease Museum.
Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa is the next stop on our Route 66 ghost hunt. Prepare yourself for many more ghost stories.
TULSA; CAIN’S BALLROOM
423 N Main St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Whether you’re like Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, or Van Halen, Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa is a historic music venue that has hosted great performers like these.
This building, which first opened in 1924 as a garage for W. Tate Brady’s autos, has since become a hotspot for ghost sightings and chilling tales.
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Paranormal researcher and Tulsa haunted tour guide Teri French recounts chilly and hot areas, disembodied sounds, inexplicable singing and laughter, and the feeling of being observed by invisible presences inside the Cain’s Ballroom.
Country music legend Bob Wills apparently picked the old theatre as his afterlife residence since he enjoyed playing there so much in life.
There are other spectral visitors besides Bob. The 1950s-era Jane is only one of two women named Chloe and Jane that are said to haunt the location. Jane is portrayed as apathetic, in contrast to the warm and interested Bob and Chloe.
Oklahoma’s Most Haunted Locations
These ethereal run-ins make Cain’s Ballroom an essential stop for any paranormal investigator or music fan.
Visit the Gilcrease House and the Tulsa Spirit Tours for a more comprehensive paranormal experience while in Tulsa.
Get ready for the next terrifying destination on our Route 66 Haunted Road Trip, the Amarillo Natatorium.
Texas State Mental Hospital, Amarillo
3491 Dumas Dr, Amarillo, TX 79107
The Natatorium, often known as “The Nat,” in Amarillo, Texas, will transport you to a time of eerie nostalgia. This jewel of the antique area on historic Route 66 used to be an indoor pool, but it has since been transformed into a dance hall that has hosted the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, and Buddy Holly.
The Nat is used as an antique mall now, but its history lives on in the form of restless ghosts.
There are chilly spots and unexplained sounds in the rooms above, which were originally used as a gambling hall, according to both visitors and the current proprietors.
For more on Texas’ spooky spots, go here.
Some of the spooky tales about The Nat include the mysterious rearranging of furniture in the middle of the night and a ghostly woman in a white dress with a crimson wine stain. Some say that after spending some time at the casino, this woman chose to remain there indefinitely.
A ghostly pair may often be seen dancing on the ballroom floor whenever live music is being played. Additional evidence of The Nat’s enigmatic residents, including a drum solo and a lady singing, was recorded on a ghost hunt in 1996.
The Herring Hotel and the Amarillo Little Theatre are two additional haunted spots worth checking out while you’re in town.
LAS POSADA, SANTA FE
330 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Guests are cordially invited to the La Posada Hotel in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Victorian-era Staab House serves as the focal point of this historic hotel, which dates back to 1882 and has beautifully manicured gardens and a rich history.
But there’s a frightening twist to the tale of this lovely inn: it’s haunted by the spirit of a woman named Julia Staab.
New Mexico’s Ten Most Haunted Hotels may be found here.
Wife of rich businessman Abraham Staab, Julia, supposedly went mad at the loss of her seventh child and died at age 52. Many guests have reported seeing Julia’s ghost roaming the halls of La Posada long after she passed away there.
Uncanny occurrences, such as flying glassware and fireplaces going on and off, are all signs that Julia’s ghost is still there. Unsolved Mysteries and Weird Travels have both discussed her haunting on their own programmes.
If you’re looking for more eerie experiences in Santa Fe, don’t miss the Loretto Chapel or the Palace of the Governors.
The High Noon Restaurant & Saloon in Albuquerque is up next on our spooky Route 66 adventure.
HIGH NOON RESTAURANT & SALOON, ALBUQUERQUE
The High Noon Restaurant & Saloon in Albuquerque’s historic Old Town section is a must-stop for ghost hunters and history buffs on their way along Route 66.
This landmark, which dates back to 1785 and housed a brothel and casino, is today known for the quality of its steaks and the spirits that live inside it. One of the numerous ghostly characters reported to haunt the hallways of this historic building is the Lady in the White Dress, who is often seen in the Santos Room.
The creepiness of this tavern is further amplified by the fact that bartenders have seen cups slide across the bar and float in midair.
Carla Villa, a managing partner at High Noon, claims that many staff members and customers have witnessed paranormal phenomena there, such as strange odours, disembodied sounds, and taps on their feet.
Ghost hunters visiting Albuquerque should not miss the lantern-lit Ghost Tour of Old Town, which visits other haunted locations.
A short distance away is the ancient KiMo Theatre, which is reputed to have its own share of ghosts. The soul of a little child called Bobby who perished in a boiler explosion is supposed to haunt this building, which opened in 1927.
MONTE VISTA HOTEL, FLAGSTAFF
100 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Route 66 tourists may have a really memorable and spooky experience at the historic Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Dating back to 1927, this landmark hotel has been linked to murders of sex workers and was said to have concealed a speakeasy for its clientele during Prohibition.
The Phantom Bellboy, a coughing ghost visitor, and a disembodied voice announcing room service in room 210 are just a few of the strange occurrences that guests have claimed.
Guests have reported seeing an old woman’s ghost in room 305, manifesting as a rocking chair that moves on its own.
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The famed Meat Man resides in room 220, while the souls of two slain sex workers are supposed to haunt room 306. The sounds of a baby crying can be heard in the basement, while a dancing pair has been observed in the Cocktail Lounge.
The Weatherford Hotel, another landmark in Flagstaff, is said to be haunted by its former guests. The hotel, which opened in 1897, is claimed to be haunted by a white-clad lady and other ghosts. Unusual sounds such as laughing, footsteps, and doors slamming shut have been reported by guests.
OATMAN HOTEL, OATMAN
181 Main St, Oatman, AZ 86433
The Oatman Hotel, near the old mining town of Oatman, Arizona, is a popular stop for ghost hunters on Route 66.
The $10 million gold discovery in 1915 catapulted Oatman, a tent city founded in the early 1900s. The Drulin Hotel was constructed in 1902 to accommodate the increasing number of miners in the area.
In the 1960s, the hotel was renamed the Oatman Hotel after going through a number of transformations and challenges.
The hotel is claimed to be haunted by the famous pair Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who stayed there after their 1939 wedding. Both guests and employees have reported hearing voices and even seeing ghostly figures in unoccupied rooms.
Arizona’s Spookyest Locations
The Oatman Hotel is not exclusively inhabited by ghosts, however. The saloon is also supposed to be home to the souls of a previous chambermaid, an Irish miner called “Oatie,” and a number of other mischievous ghosts.
The Oatman Hotel may no longer be a place to stay, but it continues to honour the past and present of the town by acting as a museum, restaurant, and gift store.
CALICO GHOST TOWN
36600 Ghost Town Rd, Yermo, CA
Calico Ghost Town is a historic mining settlement in the Mojave Desert of California that is often believed to be one of the most haunted sites in the state due to its long and colourful past and current status as a tourist destination.
Calico, California, reached its peak population of around 3,500 during the silver mining boom of the 1880s, shortly after it was founded that year. A drop in silver prices brought on by the Silver Purchase Act of 1890 led to the city’s abandonment by 1900.
Calico was originally owned by Knott’s Berry Farm owner Walter Marvin Knott in 1950. Knott subsequently donated the land to San Bernardino County. Now a part of the Regional Parks system, visitors may take a vintage railway trip, go on a mine tour, see a shootout or pan for gold at Calico Ghost Town.
California’s Most Haunted Locations
There are three primary creatures mentioned most often in accounts of paranormal events in Calico:
previous shop owner Lucy Lane may often be seen making the trek from her previous home to Calico’s General shop, where she and her husband had worked. Museum-goers have claimed to have seen her in the rocking rocker in the living room or at the register at the General Store, both of which are located in what was formerly her house.
Calico’s old schoolhouse is said to be haunted by the spirits of previous teachers and pupils alike. There have also been sightings of a mysterious red orb floating over the structure and the sound of children laughing and playing heard from inside.
Ghostly Hotels in California
When adults turn their gaze in her direction, the ghost of a young girl who appears to youngsters and teenagers disappears.
A huge man with a long white beard, Tumbleweed Harris is the last Marshal of Calico and is often seen strolling the sidewalks of Main Street. Even in death, he is said to maintain peace in Calico.
Dorsey, the mail-carrying dog, a furious cowboy who haunts Hank’s Hotel, a female ghost called Esmeralda, and a lady in a long white garment who wanders the outskirts of town are among the other claimed creatures in Calico.
GEORGIAN HOTEL, SANTA MONICA
1415 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard were just a few of the legendary criminals and Hollywood elite that frequented the newly constructed Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, California, in 1933.
During Prohibition, the hotel played host to one of the earliest speakeasies in Los Angeles. Those in search of seclusion would do well to consider its location and vibe.
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The hotel has been updated and enlarged over the years, but its historic character remains and it remains a popular destination for both famous people and ordinary tourists.
Despite being bordered by shiny new office buildings, the Georgian Hotel continues to attract A-listers like Oliver Stone, Robert De Niro, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Georgian Hotel has a storied history, but it is also said to be haunted. The hotel’s Speakeasy Restaurant has a reputation for being haunted, with staff and visitors reporting eerie sounds whenever it is deserted.
Unknown footsteps have been heard dashing through the restaurant, and some people have reported seeing translucent apparitions.
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Guests have reported strange occurrences as well, such as one who returned to his room after showering to find his bag empty, the bed sheets pulled down, and the television turned on.
Another story tells of a front desk worker who answered a call from a room, heard laughter, and then found out that the guest had left.
The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica is a fascinating last stop on Route 66, whether you’re interested in a taste of Hollywood’s past or a touch with the paranormal.
CONCLUDING WORDS: CONSIDERATIONS ON THE GHOSTLY HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICA’S GRAND FAMILY HIGHWAY
As we wrap off our spooky road trip on America’s Mother Road, we hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the ghost stories and seeing the eerie places along Route 66.
The tales remind us that the spirit of adventure and mystery is alive and well along this legendary roadway, from ghostly encounters in deserted mining villages to rumours of the supernatural in old hotels.
Keep your eyes peeled and your senses sharp the next time you go out along Route 66; you never know what kind of out-of-this-world encounter may be waiting around the next curve.