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Banff Springs Hotel

Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada

This beautiful, luxurious hotel was built in 1888, high in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. The Pacific Railway was built near the the original wooden structure which was determined, by a man named William Van Horne, to be well placed as visitors could enjoy the mountainous scenery, as well as the hot springs that flowed naturally in the area. In 1926, the hotel caught fire & completely destroyed the once wooden structure. It was decided that the building should be reconstructed in a more sound manner. It was built in the same manner as a castle, complete with thick walls composed of pure stone, & large towers. By the 1930’s the hotel was up & running, & over the years, it became a popular hotspot with the rich & famous from around the world, Marilyn Monroe was reputedly one of them. The hotel quickly became known as the “Castle of the Rockies.”

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The original wooden structure of the Banff Springs Hotel.

The hotel also plays host to many hauntings. When the building was originally constructed, it would appear the contractors made a mistake in the architecture, & created a room that is said to have no windows, or even an area for a door. It was kept as an empty room to cover up the mistake. When the original building burned down, the room was discovered. People have reported hearing strange noises coming from the room & even reported seeing apparitions. The reason behind this is unclear to this day.

One room in the hotel is believed to be particularly haunted for many years. An entire family, a mother, father, & at least one little girl, was murdered in room 873. Once the police had concluded their investigation & had the bodies removed, the maids attempted to clean the room, but every time they tried to clean the mirror, the little girls fingerprints would keep reappearing. Guests would report seeing apparitions in the room, so based on the reports of the maids & guests, the hotel management decided to block the room off. However it did not end there, many guests reported seeing the murdered family roaming around the corridor outside the walled up room.

Another haunting is of a bride who also died in the hotel. According to the history of Banff Springs, a beautiful young bride was married in the grand ballroom of the hotel. She & her new husband came out of their room & began walking down the hotels marble staircase. As the couple began the descent, the bride tripped on her dress & fell to the bottom, breaking her neck & killing her instantly. Another version of the story tells of the brides long flowing dress brushing against the candles near the staircase. As she tried to put the flames out, she tripped & fell down the stairs. Shortly after the incident, guests began reporting sightings of her in two specific places of the hotel, waltzing in the ballroom, & descending down the marble staircase. Witnesses have described feeling an icy cold breeze as they walk down these stairs.

Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada 1

A well known friendly spirit that haunts the hotel is that of a former employee. Sam McCauley was a bellman at the hotel for many years & retired in the 1970’s. He apparently told his peers he “would return”, & after he died in 1976, he did exactly that, especially visiting the upper floors. Witnesses who have encountered him have described him as both helpful & polite, but his uniform appeared to be old fashioned. He often helps guests with their luggage & has been known to unlock doors should the guests lock themselves out. When the guests have turned to tip him & thank him for his hospitality, he would vanish out of sight.

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This is a picture of the Banff Springs staff in 1965. Sam McCauley is seated in the middle

One legend of the Banff Spring Hotel is that of a mysterious, ghostly bartender. When it would appear the guests have had too much to drink, he would advise them by whispering in their ear to “call it a night.” Another  more fanciful legend is about a wandering bagpiper who is in search of something he lost…..his head.ad. For it is said he

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