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Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 42

The “Castle of the Rockies”, as the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is known, was built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway in Banff, Alberta. Since opening, the hotel (now World Heritage Site) as had a reputation for being one of the most haunted sites in Canada.

There are many spirits reported to be haunting the Hotel. A deceased bartender has continued his duty after death, encouraging patrons who have had a few too many to go back to their rooms. A headless man continues to wander the grounds, but has not let being headless stop him from playing the bagpipes.

hen there is the ghost of long-time hotel bellman Sam McCauley (also reported as “McAuley”) who promised to return to the hotel after his death – and according to witness reports, was good to his word. Witnesses have reported that Sam, still wearing his out-dated bellhop uniform, has taken guests bags to their rooms, opened locked doors and turned on the room lights only to disappear when guests have spoken to him.

The hotel is also host to a phantom bride. The bride was walking up the staircase to join her new husband in the bridal suite when the back of her Coco Chanel dress was set alight by one of the burning candles decorating the staircase. In her panic she fell headfirst, breaking her neck on the stairs. Witnesses have reported seeing her apparition both on the staircase and dancing alone in the Cascade Ballroom, with the back of her dress in flames.

Then there is the story of missing room 873. While there is a room numbered 73 on both the 7th and 9th floors, the doorway to room 873 has been covered with gypsum board and wallpapered over. Today visitors to the hotel can see the lines where gypsum board was fitted over the doorway, the light over the former doorway, and see the cuts in the baseboards where the doorway existed, but officially no room 873 exists at the hotel.

Local legend tells the sad tale. A small family (father, mother, one small daughter) were staying at the hotel and by all appearances were enjoying their holiday. However, the father brought the stay to abrupt halt by murdering his young daughter and his wife before killing himself in the room.

After the bodies were removed and the investigation completed, the room was closed and completely redecorated before being opened to the public. However, the first guests in the room reported being awoken by screams and crying. When they turned on the lights, there were bloody handprints on the room’s mirrors. Maids sent to the room cleaned the handprints from the mirrors only to have them reappear moments later. The room was pulled from the let register, then closed entirely in an attempt to quash rumours about hauntings at the hotel. However, people continue to report seeing the apparition of a young girl, crying in the hallway outside of room 873, as well as hear the cries of the girl and her mother coming from the closed room.

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants