With Halloween this weekend and Día de los Meurtos next week, folks who are into the paranormal or just fans of ghost stories might be checking in to Tucson’s Hotel Congress.
They say it’s haunted.
Ditto for Flagstaff’s Hotel Weatherford. Hotel lore has it that a woman committed suicide the night before her wedding and continues lurking about the halls.
Arizona has its share of haunted inns, perfect for this time of year.
311 East Congress St., Tucson, Ariz. 85701
Room rates: change seasonally, but generally range between $89 and $149 per night.
Although it’s mostly known as the place where the notorious gangster John Dillinger was captured, the 95-year-old Hotel Congress also has its share of ghosts including Vince Szuda. He lived at the hotel 35 years before passing away in 2001.
David Slutes, the longtime Hotel Congress entertainment director, said Szuda would get into disagreements with the housekeeping staff for not busing his dishes back down to the restaurant.
“They would tell him, ‘Vince you aren’t a hotel guest, you are a resident and you need to get your bagel plate back down to the restaurant. We need to clean up after the nightly guests,’” Slutes recalled.
Six months after this 84-year-old died in the hotel, the housekeeping staff would complain of finding bagel plates and butter knives in Szuda’s old room.
“A locked room. His old room,” Slutes said.
Claire Gaylord has worked at the hotel for almost two years and recalls her only suspicious encounter very vividly. She was working the front desk at around midnight and one of the rooms on the switchboard lit up.
“I knew that we did not have a customer in that room, so I sent a security guard up and no one was there. It was actually a little creepy,” Gaylord said.
It might be tough to get a room at Hotel Congress; as of Wednesday it was about 90 percent reserved.
Congress is holding a 21-and-older party on Friday featuring a DJ, two dance stages and a costume party with a $1,000 prize.
23 North Leroux Street, Flagstaff, Ariz. 86001
Room rates:ranges from $49 to $139 a night.
Since it’s opening on New Years Day 1900, multiple ghosts have been reported. Legend has it a bride and groom were murdered there in the 1930s and continue to roam the halls and haunt the rooms.
An employee staying at the hotel reported that after being awakened in the middle of the night, the bride and groom were sitting at the foot of the bed.
“From what we know, this did happen. The bride killed herself the night before the wedding in one of our rooms. It was turned into a maid’s closet after that,” said Emmanuel Martinez said, who has worked at the Weatherford for almost two years.
There is also the mysterious lady in red, whose picture adorns walls in the hotel, who has been seen roaming the halls. Some hotel employees report seeing her from time to time. General managers have reported finding suspicious tequila bottles that were out of place. And the hotel’s owner once saw a stranger peering through the glass at closing time.
Hotel Weatherford is hosting the Four Floors of Madness for Halloween featuring bands playing on every floor and a haunted tour.
Leah Cresswell is a reporter at Arizona Sonora News, a service from the University of Arizona. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org