It's also famous for the countless ghost stories it boasts. A place, many believe is haunted. Guests and employees alike have all kinds of true ghost stories to tell.
Over the years, employees and guests have reported strange occurrences. From tables moving on their own, to sightings of Sam Macauley. He was a bellman who died in 1978.
I must admit as I researched the Banff Springs Hotel with it's haunted places....I found the hair on the back of my neck go up and I got a few goose bumps.... read on....
Van Horne a CPR (Canadian Pacific Rail) man envisioned this resort nestled among the Canadian Rockies. He saw the potential!!!! ...just look at the scenery. With natural hot springs, it was a perfect spot to stop, for the railway. A hotel was born, a home for real ghosts....
On June 1, 1888 the Banff Springs Hotel opened its doors. They advertised it as, "The Finest Hotel on the North American Continent." The hotel was overwhelmed with the traffic through its doors, they had to quickly add on to the original structure. During one of these additions a quirky design flaw would come to light. One of the rooms had no doors or windows!! The room was walled up, the blueprints were quickly altered, and the design flaw quickly forgotten.
This haunted place would be rediscovered when a tragic fire broke out in 1926. It would ultimately burn down the original wooden hotel. The Banff Springs Hotel would be completely rebuilt in the Scottish Baronial style and reopened in 1928. Originally opened with 250 guest rooms, the hotel now offers 778 guest rooms. There are countless restaurants and gift shops. Now home to a world class spa, an award winning golf course, and more. It also has a few ghost stories that have become part of its reputation.
There are numerous ghost stories of haunted places at the hotel today. There were claims of ghost sightings and odd occurrences near the "secret room" for years before the fire of 1926. Yikes!!!! Some say the fire started in the room itself. These real ghosts have since moved on. The strange activity was never reported again after the reconstruction. However, there were plenty of other haunted places to take its place!!!
Sam the Bellhop
Probably the most popular real ghost story revolves around the hotel's former bellhop, Sam McCauley. McCauley was a Scottish immigrant that worked at the hotel over the years.
McCauley loved the hotel itself. He even told a few people that he intended to return to it even after he died. The story goes that the owners pushed McCauley into retirement in 1978. He went home and died before he had a chance to get his last paycheck. His story didn't end there though!!!!
Two years after Sam's death, two women became locked out of their room. They called down to the front desk for assistance. By the time someone arrived to provide aid, the women were already in their room. According to them, an elderly bellhop with white hair had come and opened the door for them. A real ghost?? There were no elderly employees of that description on the payroll.
The real ghost stories of Sam had only just begun. Reports still come pouring in of an elderly bellhop letting people into their rooms. He helps them with their luggage and some even report turning back to tip the gentleman, to find that he has completely vanished!!! One of many haunted places within the Banff Springs Hotel.
The Ghostly Bride
Another true ghost story is of a woman seen wearing her bridal gown either on the main staircase or in one of the grand ballrooms.
There are a couple if different ghost stories here .... the young ghost bride descending the main staircase on her wedding day. A gust of wind from an open window entangles her wedding train. She tragically trips down the stairs to her death on the marble stone below.Tragic...
Another ghost tale.... has the staircase lined with candles that accidentally catches her gown on fire. She panics; and falls down the stairs to her death.
Still another moves the story to the ballroom during the reception. A misplaced candle catches the gown on fire. She burns to death before anyone can extinguish the flames.
Whatever the case, the ghostly bride is said to be seen walking down the stairs. Sometimes with her gown on fire, the scene of her demise. She is also seen dancing alone in the ballroom, seeking the wedding night that was not meant to be!!!!!
Oddly enough, the hotel does not have a Room 873, but does have rooms 872 and 874. Some guests have said that they could make out the faint outline of a door where one might expect to find Room 873.
According to stories these days, the hotel had a very good reason to wall up that particular room. The legend goes that a family was murdered in Room 873 and strange things kept taking place after the room was cleaned up and re-opened.
The most popular version of this ghost story refers to the mirror that hung in the room. It displays the fingerprints of the little girl that died there. No matter how many times the staff would clean the mirror, the fingerprints would constantly reappear. The management decided to close off and wall up the room. Today, people still reportedly see the spirits of the family near or around where the room should be.
Would You Stay in a Castle said to be Haunted?
Do you remember that infamous sleep over in your best friend's yard. You were camping out for the first time. Remember being terrified in the dark. Only your flashlight shining into your friend's face. He's telling a story about the old house down the street where someone was murdered!!!! No one has set foot on the property for 50 years cause a horrifying ghost lives there.
You were so scared of that house. Remember you wouldn't even walk on the other side of the street unless you had three or four friends with you during the day!!!
Remember how scared you got from these stories, but you couldn't help from joining in? Now that we are all grown up and those were, after all, just stories, would you stay in a Castle said to be HAUNTED?
After all, they are just Ghost Stories. OR ARE THEY?? Remember, these stories were not told by children............ Do you have a story to tell about a brush with the supernatural - share it!
Other Haunted Places - Banff Springs Hotel
A real ghostly bartender is said to occupy the Rob Roy Dining Room (which also is tied to the story of the dancing bride on occasion). There are real ghost stories of a voice telling folks that they have had too much to drink and that it was time for bed. If you're hearing voices...then you've probably had enough!!! Fact or fiction....a haunted place????
Another ghost story has an employee of the hotel stopping by for a quick drink before he heads home for the night. As he went to take a sip of his cocktail, the glass was knocked out of his hand by an unseen force. Unnerved, the employee left the hotel and headed home, only to be pulled over by a Mountie; thus saved the embarrassment of a DUI. Strange.....one of many true ghost stories???
There are even tales of a headless bagpiper seen wandering the haunted halls!!!!
True Ghost Stories - Fact or Fiction?
Though the stories are typically rich in detail and witnessed by more than a few guests, there are questions as to the validity of the stories themselves. In fact, the Banff Springs Hotel's stance on the haunted happenings is that they are nothing more than the creative marketing of a former public relations director!!! An elderly bellhop named Sam McCauley did in fact work for the hotel, but whether he returned to the place following his death is openly questioned.
Author Dana Dunnan was inspired to look into the tales after hearing some strange noises above his room. A staff member explained it as the ghost of Sam. In particular, Dana focused his efforts on the ghost story of the bride who fell down the stairs to her death. He attempted to track down any news reports of the incident. It wasn't an easy task. As is the case with most real ghost stories, there are seldom dates and times associated with a given event. If there was, there was no documentation to back it up.
Robert Sandford, a local historian was also fascinated with the bride story. He looked over security papers and other documents from the hotel's history. There was never any mention of a guest or event that fit with the ghost story of the bride.
According to his investigations, Sanford did uncover stories of a former manager of the hotel. This guy liked to fuel the stories; going so far as to rig up some luggage with fishing line and dragging them through the lobby. So it would appear as if they were being guided by invisible hands!!!
Today, the management has reportedly issued a standing "gag order" on the staff. Do not talk about haunted places in the hotel, ghost stories, or paranormal accounts. The management apparently finding the stories demeaning to the grandeur and history of the hotel. Regardless, guests to the hotel still report strange activity during their stays to this day, leading some to wonder if there isn't at least some truth to the reported haunting of the Banff Springs Hotel.
The Hotel Today
In this haunted place, there's still a wall of silence over the ghost stories today. Even if some question the stories, the hotel and surrounding area have plenty to offer the dark traveler who loves a good ghost story!!!
Aside from the scenic beauty and luxurious offerings of the hotel itself, there are other haunted places with ghost stories to tell.... nearby Lake Minnewanka ("Lake of the Water Spirit"), is believed to hide a half-man, half-fish demon. This real ghost story is part of the Native American culture in the area.
At the Banff Springs today, there are still reported personal paranormal experiences of real ghosts by guests of the hotel. This is regardless of the official stance of the current management. For their part, the guests stand by their real ghost stories. Something odd is happening inside the walls of the grand hotel. The Banff Springs Hotel - A Haunted Place????
Come Visit the Banff Springs Hotel - See for Yourself - Many Haunted Places - You decide....Fact or Fiction!!!!