Checking In with Uninvited Guests
by Jaime Davis Whitmer
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Pub Date 08 Sep 2016
America’s Most Haunted Hotels: Checking in with Uninvited Guest by Jamie Davis Whitmer was a fun read. The author and her husband visit ten hotels that are infamous for hauntings. The locations are The Myrtels Plantation, The Queen Mary, The Copper Queen, The Kehoe House, 1886 Crescent Hotel, Jerome Grand Hotel, Fransworth House Inn, Lemp Mansion, The Stanley Hotel and The Palmer House Hotel.
Each location is a separate chapter. A history of the site including any possible reasons for paranormal activity, such as murders or tragedy, is given. The author is careful to note what is legend and what can be substantiated through documentation. I appreciate this thoroughness. It helps separate the urban legend from the facts. Areas of the sites that are connected with the most activity also include photographs. The author then relates her and her husband's experience at the site. This included any official tours for the public, personal tours with the owner provided just for the author, and their overnight stays. Some locations provoke an immediate sensation with the author while others do not. They do have some activity but not all can be documented either due to the type of activity, the lack of clarity in the voice recordings or equipment that malfunctions for no discernable reason. The end of each chapter included information about the location if the reader wants to visit. It has the address and contact information (including email addresses) for each hotel, if there are tours available and the closest airports.
A couple of things really stand out for me in this book. First, as already mentioned, the author’s thoroughness in detailing what is documented and what is part of the site’s legend. Second, the photographs are very nice. They are clear and give a good sense of the atmosphere. The photograph of the hallway in the Queen Mary is extraordinary. I visited the Queen Mary, but did not stay overnight, in 1989 and took the public tour. The photograph in the book brought back how there was an overwhelming sense of unreality about the ship. Look at the picture, of a normal straight very long hallway, and it does not feel normal at all. Finally, the author and her husband weigh in separately on their experiences. Sometimes they experience similar things but other times they are completely different. That seemed somehow more authentic to me than both of them always experiencing the same thing, like a ride at an amusement park. Visiting a haunted location is not a guarantee that you will experience any type of paranormal activity. The author does an excellent job of explaining this in the conclusion.
I live about an hour and half from one of the locations. While I knew it was an area with a reputation for haunting, I did not know about this location in particular. It could be a good choice for our anniversary getaway this year. I enjoyed it so much I will be tracking down her first book, Haunted Asylums, Prisons and Sanatoriums. I was provided with an advanced review copy by Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.