Route 66 - Haunted Hotel Monte Vista

We stopped by the Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff pretty early one morning so we didn't see any ghosts ourselves - everyone knows they only come out at night. Right? OK, so I've never actually seen a ghost, but it was still pretty cool walking around what is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in America.

The Hotel Monte Vista
Built in 1926 and opened for business on January 1, 1927 as the Community Hotel, it was the tallest building in Flagstaff for a number of years. Shortly after it opened, a contest was held to rename it since nobody liked the plain "Community Hotel" moniker. The contest was won by a 12-year-old girl with her suggestion of Monte Vista.

During the 1940's & '50's, over 100 major movies were filmed in and around Flagstaff. Since the Monte Vista was the best hotel around, many movie stars made it their home while working on location. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Esther Williams, Barbara Stanwyk, Gary Cooper, Alan Ladd, Debbie Reynolds, Carol Lombard, Jayne Russel, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Walter Brennan, Humphrey Bogart, Anthony Hopkins and many more stars have all stayed in the hotel's rooms. You can request to stay in the same room as one of these when you make your reservation. If your inclination is more musically inclined, you can request the same room stayed in by members of Air Supply, Jon Bon Jovi, or Freddy Mercury and Queen. I'm not so sure I would want to stay in the Robert Englund room though. He's the actor who played Freddy Kruger in Nightmare on Elm Street. He must have a sense of humor - on the door to his room (310) is a photo of him in full Freddy Kruger mode and he autographed it with his signature and the words, "Where the hell is room service?!!" I don't believe I would be delivering a cheeseburger to Freddy Kruger either!

For years now, the Monte Vista has become a legend for being haunted. Paranormal investigators and several TV shows like "Unexplained Mysteries" have all confirmed what many, many guests have reported - there's a lot of weird, unexplained stuff going on in this hotel!

For the best chance of a ghostly encounter, if you do not have a dog traveling with you, stay in room 305 (the Jon Bon Jovi Room). The hotel will not rent this room to anyone with a dog as they go crazy, barking and tearing the room up in their fear while trying to run away from something. In the late 1940's and early 1950's, an elderly woman lived in this room on a long-term basis. She would sit in a rocking chair for hours at a time, day after day, looking out of the window. Perhaps she was looking and waiting for a husband gone to war and never returned, nobody knows for sure. One day the cleaning lady found she had passed away, her cold body still sitting upright in the rocking chair, her eyes open staring out of the window. Since then, many guests have reported being startled by walking into their locked room and finding an old lady sitting in the room's rocking chair, slowly rocking back and forth. But when they speak to the lady, right before their eyes, she simply "goes away." Other guests have reported hearing a noise in the middle of the night which woke them. Looking around, they find the rocking chair moving back and forth all by itself. Hotel cleaning staff have stated that if they move the rocker to another part of the room, when they return the next day, the rocker will be right back by the window even if the room has been vacant. They also have said that while going about cleaning room 305, they have seen the rocker begin moving so often that they don't pay it any mind. When finished with their chore, they simply leave, locking the door behind them with the rocker still moving slowly back and forth as the old lady's vigil evidently continues.

Another persistent reporting is of a young boy wandering around the halls. Most of the time, guests report hearing the whispering voice of a little boy behind them. When they turn back to look, sometimes there is nothing there and sometimes they briefly see the transparent figure of a little boy which seems to evaporate.  Occasionally, the figure will reach out to take the guest's hand. A cold little hand on their fingers is briefly felt and then nothing. Everyone has said it was like the little boy is talking to his mother and reaching out to hold their hand as they walk the hallway. There is no record of a young boy dying in the hotel so nobody is sure where this ghost came from or what he is doing eternally roaming the halls with his unseen mother.

If you have the courage, you might want to stay in room 220. An odd little man lived in this room as a long-term border. He had the strange habit of hanging raw meat from the chandelier. In the early 1980's, he was found in his room dead. The coroner's report said he had passed away 3 days earlier. Guests have reported the TV to come on by itself with the volume on high and sheets on the bed to be rumpled even though nobody had been in the room since the bed was made in the morning. Perhaps more disturbing are the reports of guests waking up in the night hearing someone pacing back and forth in the room at the foot of their bed, a man coughing, and then smelling raw meat.

Even John Wayne encountered a ghostly apparition during one of his stays. He and a number of other guests have reported hearing a knock at their door and a soft voice announcing, "Room Service." Upon opening the door, nobody is there. Guests in room 210 however, have reported this more than any other room and when they open the door, there is often a ghostly bellboy who slowly vanishes in front of them. Mr. Wayne reported he thought the ghost was friendly, he didn't feel threatened and it wasn't a particularly scary event.

The poor "Working Girls" were thrown from the
3rd floor window.
In the 1940's, Flagstaff's Red Light district was just 2 blocks from the Monte Vista. Sometimes, male guests of the hotel would bring back a "date" they had met in the district to their room for a visit. One night, 2 of these working girls were brought back to room 306 (the Gary Cooper room). It is unclear exactly how or why, but during their visit, they were both killed and thrown out of the window to the street below and the renter of the room disappeared. Since then, many male guests have reported a feeling of having a hand over their mouth and throat and waking up because they can't breathe. After awakening, they cannot get back to sleep due to a strong anxious feeling and sensing they are being closely watched.

For about as long as anyone working at the hotel can remember, there have been problems in some rooms with what they are convinced are ghosts unscrewing light bulbs. Most of the time the bulbs are merely loosened, but sometimes, a guest will check into their room and find one of the light bulbs completely unscrewed and lying on the floor. The housekeeping staff ensures all light bulbs are fully screwed in before a new guest arrives, but if you find a light not working in your room, just screw it back in.

In addition to ghostly couples dancing in the lounge and music coming from the lobby when no band is playing in the hotel, front desk staff reports the lobby phone will often ring, but when answered, the only sound is static and an eerie, other-worldly voice saying, "Hello? Hello?"

There are many more ghostly stories surrounding this place, but I think you get the idea. Sleeping with ghosts is not on my bucket list, but if it is on yours...


Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
Or go to the first entry of each state:

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