Monday, August 31, 2015

The Historic Elms Hotel & Spa

The Elms
A Haunted Missouri Hotel

     A resent stay at the historic Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri included an unexpected experience with the paranormal of the third kind.

History of the Historic Hotel
     In the late 1800s, Excelsior Springs was a popular tourist destination for people seeking to take advantage of the healing mineral waters of the springs. The luxurious Elms Hotel was built in 1888 to provide lodging for those who came to the town. Over time, hundreds of those who came to the “healing waters” were never cured and unfortunately died. Two devastating fires destroyed The Elms in 1898 and 1910, but each time it was rebuilt into an even grander hotel. In 2011, the century-old Elms closed and then reopened in 2012 after a massive $20 million renovation to the hotel, spa, restaurant, and grounds.

Famous Guests
     Many famous and infamous guests including politicians and notorious crime figures have soaked in the mineral water baths or soaked up the sun in the lush gardens of the Elms Hotel. In 1948, Harry S. Truman spent election night at the hotel. The boxer Jack Dempsey used the facilities as a training camp. The Elms Hotel was also a favorite playground for gangsters such as Al Capone and “Pretty Boy” Floyd.

Guests Who Never Left
     The Elms Hotel is also famous for the guests who checked in but never left. It is reported that a gambler killed by the mob prowls the lap pool area along with a woman who is looking for her child. A young woman dressed as a maid from the 1920s era is said to walk the halls of the third floor. It is believed by many, the sounds of banging on the pipes in the walls are the ghosts of the staff members who were trapped in the basement of the hotel when it burned in 1910.

Encounter with the Paranormal
     Many visitors and staff at the Elms Hotel have reported paranormal activity from unexplained noises to a fleeting glimpse of one of the spirits. My sister, aunt, niece, and I experienced several unsettling late-night occurrences while staying at the hotel in July of 2015. The four of us agreed we felt an unearthly presence in the hallway on the fifth floor near our rooms 500 and 501. At mid-night on the first night in the hotel, we were startled by a knocking at our door and the door handle slowly moving up-and-down.  When we investigated, no one was at the door or in the dimly lit hallway. Spooked, I quickly called the front desk and reported the incident. I was informed the door handle couldn’t be operated from the outside because of the new card key system. I inquired if anything like this had been reported for room 500 before. The desk clerk hesitated and then answered, “Yes.” She suggested, “Someone wasn’t trying to get into your room, but something was trying to get out!”
     The last night of our stay proved to be the most intriguing. A little after midnight, my niece was awakened by someone sitting down at the foot of her bed. Before she could open her eyes, she felt long slender fingers wrap around her left leg near the ankle.  Immediately, a paralyzing, electrical current pulsed through her body. It didn’t hurt, but set her entire body tingling as if she had been shocked. She could not pull away from the grip on her leg, scream, or call out for help. Eventually she managed to pry open one eye wide enough to see through the lashes. Sitting on the edge of the bed was a glowing women dressed in white. She looked at my niece, removed her hand, and vanished. Staff member from the past . . .  former guest?  The encounter with the “Lady in White” was fascinating. Why she chose my niece, what message she was trying to convey, and her identity remain a mystery.

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