Get ready to embark on a paranormal journey along America’s Mother Road, as we explore the haunted side of Route 66 from Chicago to California.
Established in 1926, this iconic highway embodies the spirit of freedom and the open road, taking generations of road-weary travelers through the heart of the nation.
As we delve into the haunted history of this legendary road, you’ll discover that Route 66 not only represents the grandeur and adventure of America’s western frontier but also embraces some of the country’s most notoriously haunted towns.
Prepare for an unforgettable and eerie exploration of the entire stretch of Route 66, where every turn could lead you to an encounter with the unexplained.
Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago
Buckle up, ghost hunters! Our first haunted stop along Route 66 is the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago, a stunning architectural gem with over a century of history under its belt. But don’t let the luxurious amenities fool you – this place has more than its fair share of eerie occurrences.
With a reputation as one of Chicago’s most haunted hotels, the Congress Plaza Hotel has been home to classic poltergeist activity, unexplained noises from the ballroom, and appliances turning on and off by themselves.
And guess who’s rumored to be a permanent resident? None other than notorious gangster Al Capone! Talk about a brush with fame from the underworld.
Related: Chicago’s Most Haunted Locations
Keep an eye out for the chilling “Hand of Mystery” – a ghostly gloved hand said to belong to a worker who was accidentally trapped behind drywall during the hotel’s construction. And let’s not forget Peg Leg Johnny, a hobo whose untimely death in the hotel has led to frequent sightings of his ghost.
While in Chicago, you might want to check out a few other famous haunted locations nearby, such as the Hull House or the site of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Now, let’s hit the road and head to our next haunted destination: the Inn at 835 in Springfield, Illinois!
Inn At 835 Boutique Hotel, Springfield
Welcome to the Inn at 835, a luxurious and historic dwelling in Springfield, Illinois. Built in the early 1900s by businesswoman Bell Miller, this former apartment building turned elegant inn is more than just a beautiful place to rest your head.
It’s also home to a friendly ghost who loves her dream house just as much as its guests!
See also: Most Haunted Hotels in Illinois
Bell Miller’s spirit is said to be quite the caretaker, with reports of her warm, friendly voice and a ghostly figure drifting through doorways. She’s even been known to fix peeling wallpaper overnight!
And if you have a sweet tooth, you might hear the sound of a crystal candy dish lid being removed and replaced when nobody’s around. But watch out when you’re using the elevator – guests often find themselves on a different floor than intended, despite the elevator being in perfect working order.
While you’re in Springfield, be sure to visit nearby haunted locations like the Lincoln Tomb or the Dana-Thomas House for a double dose of history and spookiness.
Next up on our Route 66 haunted road trip: the Walnut Street Inn in Springfield, Missouri.
Walnut Street Inn, Springfield
Prepare for a cozy and mysterious stay at the Walnut Street Inn in Springfield, Missouri. Known for its charming Victorian architecture, this historic inn offers more than just flickering fireplaces and antique books – it’s also home to a ghostly female presence, particularly in the Rosen Room.
One guest reported seeing the spectral figure sitting at a table, only for her to claim the room as her own before vanishing.
See also: Haunted Hotels in Missouri
Using a Ouija board, employees discovered that she was a guest of the inn who passed away in her 70s, but her name remains a mystery. She is believed to watch over guests as they sleep, providing an extra layer of “protection.”
Originally built in the 1890s by Charles McMann, the Walnut Street Inn has a storied history and has changed hands multiple times before landing in the care of Gary and Nancy Brown, who transformed it into the bed and breakfast we know today.
Named “One of the Top 12 Inns in the Country,” this haunted haven is a must-visit for paranormal enthusiasts traveling along Route 66.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to explore other nearby haunted locations, like the Pythian Castle or the University Plaza Hotel for an extra dose of ghostly encounters.
Now, let’s venture on to our next eerie destination: the Lehman House B&B in St. Louis!
Lehmann House Bed & Breakfast, St. Louis
Step into the beautifully restored Lehmann House in St. Louis, a 10,000 sq. ft. mansion turned bed & breakfast with a history spanning back to 1893. But don’t be fooled by its grandeur, as this popular B&B is also known as one of the most haunted hotels in St. Louis.
Guests have reported numerous paranormal encounters, including sightings of the home’s original owner, Edward S. Rowse, in his former bedroom. Eerie voices have been captured on EVP recordings, with a woman’s voice expressing shock or whispering in the background.
See also: The Most Haunted Places in St. Louis
Even without a recorder, visitors have heard unexplained conversations and experienced unsettling sensations throughout the property.
Shadowy figures and unexplained banging sounds are also common occurrences at the Lehmann House, sometimes rousing guests from their slumber in the middle of the night. It seems that the spirits of the past continue to make their presence known in this historic dwelling.[Related: Most Haunted Places in Missouri]
While in St. Louis, be sure to visit other haunted hotspots like the Lemp Mansion or the Missouri State Penitentiary for more spine-tingling experiences.
As we continue our haunted journey along Route 66, our next stop will be the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City.
Skirvin Hotel, Oklahoma City
Get ready for some paranormal encounters with a sports twist at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City! Even NBA teams like the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls have reported experiencing strange events at this historic hotel, with the Knicks famously blaming a loss on the haunting.
The hotel’s first owner, W.B. Skirvin, is said to have had an affair with a maid named Effie, who was locked away on the 10th floor after becoming pregnant. Driven to despair, Effie reportedly jumped to her death from the window.
Related: Haunted Hotels in Oklahoma
This tragic tale has led to numerous reports of a female voice propositioning male guests, sightings of a naked woman in the shower, and even claims of sexual assault by an unseen entity.
Built in 1911 by wealthy oilman William Balser Skirvin and designed by renowned architect Solomon A. Leyton, the Skirvin Hotel has a rich history filled with famous visitors like Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.
After changing hands multiple times and undergoing extensive modernization, the hotel reopened in 2007 and continues to draw guests seeking both luxury and a brush with the supernatural.
Next up on our paranormal road trip along Route 66: Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa! Hold on tight, as more ghostly tales await!
Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa
Get ready to dance with the ghosts at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, a historic music venue that has hosted legendary acts like Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and Van Halen.
Opened in 1924, this former garage for W. Tate Brady’s automobiles is now a hot spot for paranormal activity and spine-tingling stories.
See also: Haunted Places in Tulsa
Teri French, a paranormal investigator and haunted tour guide in Tulsa, shares tales of unexplained occurrences at Cain’s Ballroom, including cold and hot spots, disembodied voices, mysterious singing and giggling, and the sensation of being watched by unseen presences.
One of the most famous spirits is country-western star Bob Wills, who loved performing at the venue so much that he reportedly chose to make it his afterlife home.
But Bob isn’t the only ghostly guest here. Two female spirits, Jane and Chloe, also haunt the venue, with Jane dating back to the 1950s. While Bob and Chloe seem to be friendly and curious, Jane is described as indifferent.
Related: Most Haunted Places in Oklahoma
These spirited encounters make Cain’s Ballroom a must-visit destination for ghost hunters and music lovers alike.
While in Tulsa, be sure to check out other haunted locations such as the Gilcrease House or the Tulsa Spirit Tours for a full paranormal experience.
As we continue our haunted journey along Route 66, get ready for our next spooky stop: the Natatorium in Amarillo!
Get ready for a hauntingly nostalgic experience at the Natatorium, or “The Nat,” in Amarillo, Texas. Located along historic Route 66, this antique district gem has evolved from an indoor swimming pool to a dance palace, hosting big names like Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, and Buddy Holly.
Nowadays, The Nat serves as an antique mall, but the spirits of its past refuse to be silent.
Visitors and owners alike have reported cold spots in the upstairs rooms, once a gambling hall, and strange noises when no one is around.
See also: Haunted Places in Texas
Furniture rearrangement during the night and a ghostly lady in a white dress with a red wine stain are just a few of the spine-tingling stories surrounding The Nat. This lady is said to have enjoyed her time at the gambling hall so much that she decided to stay forever.
The ballroom floor is another hotspot for paranormal activity, with a spectral couple often seen dancing when bands play. In a 1996 ghost investigation, a drum solo and a woman singing were captured on audio recordings, further evidence of The Nat’s mysterious inhabitants.
As you explore Amarillo, be sure to visit other haunted locations like the Herring Hotel or the Amarillo Little Theatre for more supernatural encounters.
Related: Most Haunted Hotels in Texas
Our next stop on this haunted Route 66 adventure is La Posada in Santa Fe.
Las Posada, Santa Fe
Welcome to the enchanting La Posada Hotel in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. This historic hotel, centered around the Victorian-era Staab House, boasts beautifully landscaped grounds and a rich history dating back to 1882.
However, the story of this charming hotel takes a chilling turn, as it’s said to be haunted by the ghost of Julia Staab.
See also: Most Haunted Hotels in New Mexico
Julia, wife of the wealthy merchant Abraham Staab, fell into a deep depression after the death of her seventh child and reportedly went insane before her death at the age of 52. The heartbroken spirit of Julia is said to have never left the La Posada, with numerous reports of her ghostly presence throughout the hotel.
From a translucent woman seen near a fireplace to unexplained phenomena like flying glasses and fireplaces turning on and off, Julia’s spirit continues to make her presence known. Her haunting has even been featured on television shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Weird Travels.
As you explore Santa Fe, be sure to visit other creepy locations like the Loretto Chapel or the Palace of the Governors for more mysterious encounters.
Next on our haunted journey along Route 66, we’ll visit the High Noon Restaurant & Saloon in Albuquerque.
High Noon Restaurant & Saloon, Albuquerque
Steeped in history and mystery, the High Noon Restaurant & Saloon in Albuquerque’s Old Town district is a must-visit for paranormal enthusiasts traveling along Route 66.
Once a brothel and casino, the building dates back to 1785, and it’s now famous for both its steaks and its resident spirits. The Lady in the White Dress, often seen in the Santos Room, is just one of the many ghostly figures that are said to roam the halls of this storied establishment.
Bartenders at the saloon have witnessed glasses sliding across the bar and floating in mid-air, adding to the eerie atmosphere of this haunted locale.
Carla Villa, High Noon’s managing partner, attests to the many supernatural encounters experienced by both staff and patrons, including unexplained smells, disembodied voices, and unseen entities tapping on diners’ feet.
While in Albuquerque, ghost hunters should also check out the lantern-lit Ghost Tour of Old Town, which covers other haunted sites in the area.
The historic KiMo Theater, located just a short distance away, is another famously haunted spot. Built in 1927, it is said to be inhabited by the spirit of a young boy named Bobby who tragically died in a boiler explosion.
Monte Vista Hotel, Flagstaff
The historic Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona, offers travelers along Route 66 a unique and chilling experience, with its rich history and numerous ghostly encounters.
This iconic hotel, dating back to 1927, has a dark past that includes connections to murdered sex workers, secret tunnels, and a hidden speakeasy during Prohibition.
Guests have reported various paranormal activities, such as the diligent Phantom Bellboy, the coughing former guest, and a disembodied voice announcing room service in room 210.
In room 305, visitors have seen a rocking chair moving on its own, believed to be the spirit of an elderly woman.
See also: Most Haunted Hotels in Arizona
Room 306 is said to be haunted by the spirits of two murdered sex workers, while room 220 is home to the infamous Meat Man. The basement is known for the cries of an infant, and the Cocktail Lounge has seen the apparition of a dancing couple.
While in Flagstaff, visitors can also explore the haunted Weatherford Hotel, another historic lodging with ghostly inhabitants. Built in 1897, the hotel is said to be haunted by a woman in a white dress, among other spirits. Guests have reported hearing laughter, footsteps, and doors slamming shut on their own.
Oatman Hotel, Oatman
Nestled in the historic town of Oatman, Arizona, the haunted Oatman Hotel is a must-visit destination for paranormal enthusiasts traveling along Route 66.
Established as a tent city in the early 1900s, Oatman grew rapidly after a $10 million gold find in 1915. The Drulin Hotel, built in 1902, served the booming population of miners and later catered to Route 66 travelers.
Renamed the Oatman Hotel in the 1960s, the establishment has witnessed numerous changes and hardships over the years.
Famous for hosting Clark Gable and Carole Lombard after their wedding in 1939, the hotel is believed to be haunted by the celebrity couple. Guests and staff have reported hearing laughter and whispers from their empty room, and some even claim to have captured ghostly images on film.
See also: Most Haunted Places in Arizona
But they aren’t the only spirits that call the Oatman Hotel home. The building is also said to be haunted by a former chambermaid, an Irish miner named “Oatie,” and several playful spirits that reside in the saloon.
Today, the Oatman Hotel no longer offers accommodations, but it still serves as a museum, restaurant, and gift shop, preserving the rich history and paranormal intrigue of this historic town.
Calico Ghost Town
Calico Ghost Town, located in the Mojave Desert in California, is an old West mining town with a rich history and a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the state.
Founded in 1881, Calico thrived during the silver mining boom in the 1880s, with a population peaking at around 3,500. However, the Silver Purchase Act of 1890 caused a decline in silver prices, and by 1900, the town was abandoned.
In 1950, Walter Marvin Knott, the owner of Knott’s Berry Farm, purchased Calico and later gifted it to San Bernardino County. Today, Calico Ghost Town is part of the Regional Parks system and offers various activities for tourists, including mine tours, gunfight performances, gold panning, and a heritage railroad ride.
Related: Haunted Places in CA
Among the tales of paranormal activity in Calico, three main entities stand out:
Lucy Lane: Lucy Lane, who ran Calico’s General Store with her husband, is often spotted walking between her former home and the store. Her former home now serves as a museum, and visitors have reported seeing her sitting in a rocking chair or behind the counter in the General Store.
Teachers & Pupils of Calico School House: The schoolhouse is another paranormal hotspot in Calico, with reports of former teachers standing in the windows, a red ball of light moving inside the building, and ghostly students roaming the premises.
See also: California’s Haunted Hotels
One particular spirit, an 11- or 12-year-old girl, is known to appear to children and teens before vanishing when adults look her way.
Tumbleweed Harris: The last Marshal of Calico, Tumbleweed Harris, is often seen on the boardwalks of Main Street, identifiable by his large frame and long white beard. He is believed to continue to keep the peace in Calico even in death.
Other entities reported in Calico include Dorsey, the mail-carrying dog, an angry cowboy haunting Hank’s Hotel, a female spirit named Esmeralda, and a woman in a long white dress wandering the outskirts of town.
Georgian Hotel, Santa Monica
The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, California, opened in 1933 and quickly became a popular spot for famous gangsters, Hollywood elite, and celebrities like Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard.
The hotel was one of the city’s tallest at the time and was home to one of Los Angeles’ first speakeasies during Prohibition. Its secluded location and exclusive atmosphere made it a prime choice for those seeking a private getaway.
See also: Haunted Hotels in Los Angeles
Over the years, the hotel has been renovated and expanded, but it has maintained its historic charm and continues to attract celebrities and visitors alike.
The Georgian Hotel is now surrounded by modern office buildings, but it still retains its allure for Hollywood celebrities like Oliver Stone, Robert DeNiro, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In addition to its glamorous past, the Georgian Hotel is also known for its haunted activity. Employees and guests have reported hearing disembodied voices, loud sighs, gasping, and even giggling in the hotel’s Speakeasy Restaurant when it is empty.
Some have experienced unexplained running footsteps throughout the restaurant, and several transparent apparitions have been seen.
Related: Most Haunted Places in LA
Guests have shared their own eerie experiences as well, such as one who found his suitcase emptied, the bed covers turned down, and the television on after taking a shower.
Another account involves a front desk clerk who received a phone call from a room, only to hear giggling and later discovering that the room was unoccupied.
Whether you are seeking a glimpse of Hollywood history or a brush with the supernatural, the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica offers an intriguing destination at the end of your Route 66 journey.
Final Thoughts: Reflecting on the Haunted Legacy of America’s Mother Road
As our ghostly journey along Route 66 comes to an end, we hope you’ve enjoyed uncovering the chilling tales and haunted locations hidden along America’s Mother Road.
From eerie encounters in abandoned mining towns to whispers of the paranormal at historic hotels, these stories remind us that the spirit of adventure and mystery continue to thrive along this iconic highway.
So, the next time you set out to explore the vast expanse of Route 66, keep your eyes open and your senses alert—you never know what otherworldly experience may be waiting just around the bend.