19 scary stories from the hotel files
Ghosts haunting hotels is a recurring theme when guests have lost their lives in a fire, displeased with the actions of the new owners or have been murdered. Perhaps the hotel is the favourite place of a guest who died and has decided never to leave or a bossy owner thinks he is still in charge. New Zealand hotels have plenty of ghostly stories to tell.
The top 19 spookiest hotels, mental hospitals in New Zealand you didn`t know about.
- Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans
Once upon a time there were 19 hotels in St Bathans, now there is one with a population of less than 10 souls. Ghostly Rose is not counted among the living. Rose haunts the Vulcan Hotel. A girl who entertained guests in the hotel bedroom, or perhaps the cleaning lady she was murdered in bedroom, number one. Today guests talk about a chill in the room, framed pictures being turned upside down (Victorian funeral practice) and groaning in the hallway. Kettles have boiled without human intervention and a transparent ghostly form surrounded by white mist is sometimes seen reclining on a chair.
- CARDRONA HOTEL
Jimmy Patterson, owner of the historic Cardrona Hotel (1920’s – 1961) was a control freak. Jimmy decided how much a patron could drink. Any mention of a journey over the high altitude Crown Range and it was only one drink. And Jimmy would not sell alcohol to women who were reduced to asking a male friend to purchase on their behalf. Jimmy owned the hotel until his death at 91. Now Jimmy just doesn’t know how to let go. He is still trying to tell people what to do and is the resident ghost. Considered to be one of most photographed hotels in the country and boasting its own resident ghost, the Cardrona was established in 1862.
- WAITOMO CAVES HOTEL
What a collection of ghosts on the site of a former British military fortification. The ghosts include a crying lost child, a Maori princesses who was shot by guards while renednouving with a lover who was a soldier at the fort. There are even tales of bathtubs filled with bloody water. And the days when shoes were left outside rooms to be polished saw guest’s shoes being arranged in neat rows near the staircases.
- Riccarton Racecourse Hotel, Riccarton
Publican Donald Fraser was murdered in the hotel in 1933. Mrs Fraser claimed to have been asleep in the bed while Donny was shot twice with a double-barrelled shotgun. Donald was abusive, violent, often drunk and had been caught having an affair with Eileen Hardcastle of Wellington. He was known to physically throw people out of his hotel if he did not like them. Police conducted an extensive investigation into his murder, but the case was never solved. While Mrs Fraser was questioned by the police she continued to deny any knowledge of the crime and was acquitted of the murder, which to this day is unsolved. Donald’s disembodied spectre is determined to find the murderer and haunts the hallways. Guests heard the heavy tread and then got frightened when a ghost rounded the corner. Elizabeth Fraser was the sole beneficiary of Donald’s will and inherited around £670 pounds, the equivalent of more than $80,000 NZD today. She went on to run the Racecourse Hotel as sole owner until 1935.
- The Central hotel Dargaville
The hotel burnt to the ground and was rebuilt in 1901. Yet the ghostly occupant, James Carmody, victim of the devastating fire, haunts the present hotel. Carmody can be summed by open fires and lit matches. Perhaps he is trying to right a wrong as the Central Hotel licensee had a series of unfortunate accidents with two other hotels burning down in similar odd circumstances.
- Foveaux Hotel, Bluff
The art deco beauty has a permanent guest, a ghost called Mary. Mary Cameron was the owner of the Temperance Boarding House which was demolished. The hotel was built in its place displeasing a temperance advocate. She makes her opinions heard with banging pots and loud noises especially over the bar.
- Lyttelton Hotel, Christchurch
The hotel burnt down with a guest sleeping. The new replacement hotel came with a resident ghost. The ghost walks in and out of the dining room and into the lounge, even during the day. It would go into the bar lounge and the owners of the hotel at the time had a small poodle and it would run around and bark at what we thought was nothing. The bar lady at the time said it was in the bar all the time and she would talk to it. Previous owners heard the ghost playing pool and when they entered the room there was no one there. This always happened prior to them opening business for the day.
- Tophouse Hotel, ST Arnaud
Scene of a murder / suicide in 1894 the mud-brick cob hotel has its fair share of ghosts. In 1894 Bill Batman, brother in law of the owner became infatuated with the local school teacher Miss Wylie. In a jealous rage he shot John Lane, Miss Wylie’s boyfriend. Then he went on to kill the local telegraph linesman William Wallis. Bateman then flirted with Miss Wylie chatting about a walk. Fortunately she felt something was not right. She went to the telegraph station and hid with Mrs Wallis and the children. The Nelson police arrived the following day and found Bateman had committed suicide. His ghost haunts the premises calling out for his unrequited love, Miss Wylie. He has company with Sidney Smith, an itinerant peddler in the 1890’s. Sidney used to come to Tophouse for many years selling pots/pans etc. During a routine visit his horse got spooked and kicked Sidney in the head. He ran into the hallway and died there. There are a number of guests who report a ‘presence’ in the hotel. As a vital route between Nelson and Marlborough the Tophouse has witnessed many fights. Look for the bullet holes in the verandah roof.
- MASONIC HOTEL (1861)
The hotel has a chequered history, destroyed by fire in 19896, by earthquake in 1931. The newly redesigned hotel in 1932 became the art deco glory it is today. There have been several deaths over the last 150 years from a chef who drowned in a bath to a guest returning to the same room, at the same time every year. He perished in the newly installed elevator. The ghosts of the deceased have been sighted and employees have reported mysterious music, strange lights, apparitions and cold spots. Yet the Art Deco Masonic Hotel is beautiful, regardless of ghosts and unexplained lights the hotel is a polished gem.
- Prince’s Gate Hotel
The 19th century hotel is a relocated hotel. Originally built in the gold rush town of Waihi the hotel was carefully dismantled board by numbered board and repurposed in Rotorua. Prohibition had killed the profitable bar trade and Rotorua looked promising. The former New Central Hotel was reborn as Prince’s Gate Hotel. The name reflects the new location, directly opposite the Commemorative Archway Gates entrance to the stunning Government Gardens and Bath House Museum. The archway gates celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales. And ghosts, the Prince’s Gate is a hot bed for ghostly stories. There is an attractive female ghost only seen by single men and haunting room number 29. Or is it room 39 with the story of a young woman who likes to seduce young single men in the hopes of finding a husband. Then there is the phantom who appreciates opera. He faithfully, at 6.30 pm sails down the majestic kauri staircase to find Christine his lost love. His powerful singing voice calls to Christine to accompany him up the staircase.
- Chateau Tongariro, Whakapapa
Unwelcome guests have their bags packed and door self-lock behind them. Baths fill with water by themselves and an employee, Charlotte who is said to perished in room 308 haunts the hallways looking for the exit. During the 1940’s Chateau Tongariro was an overflow establishment for Porirua Hospital, especially the mental health ward. Charlotte, a nurse during this period, according to the narrative was deeply upset when she found a patient who had hung themself from a cupboard door. The water filled solid metal heaters rattle and gurgle, perhaps it is the ghosts giving visitors a heads up of upcoming nightly activities.
- James Theatre, Wellington
People who have performed here, some just wants to come back to surprise others. The boys’ choir can be heard, a wailing women puts the show on. But the top attraction is Yuri, the Russian performer. He fell down the stage to his death, and today likes to turn on the lights of the theatre once it’s shut down.
- Lake Alice Hospital, Rangitikei,
Lake Alice Hospital has been a mental asylum for quite some time now. With a violent history in these corridors, the staff here today also claims to have been haunted by former patients. Incidents where people have been pushed or touched have been reported here.
- Camp Adair, Hunua
The story says that a group of children was killed by the teacher here, and that the teacher can still be spotted roaming around these grounds.
- Kingseat Hospital, Kingseat Road, Kingseat
Used to be one of the largest psychiatric hospital in the country, Kingseat Hospital saw a lot of deaths in its time. Allegedly the death of staff member exceeded the number of patients, probably due to increased mental and emotional trauma. A lot of suicides were committed on these grounds. Sightings of a nurse, popularly called as the “Grey Lady” are seen in the corridors here.
- The Carlile House, Auckland
The Carlile House was an orphanage for boys, in 1912 a raging fire accident took the lives of more than 40 boys. Ever since the fire, paranormal incidents have been observed. Children’s laughter, groaning and screaming are the common ones.
- Otira Tunnel, Arthur’s Pass National Park
One of the people who died during its construction, a Scottish construction worker, is said to be wandering around trying to find his way home. TranzAlpine train shares the tunnel with his wandering soul.
- Quail Island Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch
Just a short ferry ride from Lyttelton in Christchurch. The island used to be quarantine sites to keep patients with leprosy, shipwrecks and gravesites from the island’s residents.
- Napier Prison, Bluff Hill, Napier
Used to be a prison, orphanage and a psychiatric unit. Napier Prison was built in 1862. There are often reports of supernatural activity in the prison, which you can now explore through self-guided day tours, spooky night tours, walk the death row, the hanging yard, the psychiatric units.