If you've ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, you may have thought you heard something go bump in the night. Or perhaps there was a light switch that seemed to operate with a mind of its own. Or maybe the floors were a little creakier than they ought to be. According to a recent survey conducted by Bed and Breakfast (www.bedandbreakfast.com), 63% of people either aren't bothered by staying at an inn that's haunted or would actively seek it out. Innkeepers, however, see it a bit differently: a little under 20% of them say their properties are haunted, and nearly three quarters of those people don't divulge such information to guests. We've featured some of the places that aren't afraid -- nor should you be, as most innkeepers say their spirits are friendly -- but click here for the full list. For those who want to visit a real haunted house, decked out for the occasion, Hauntworld (www.hauntworld.com) can guide you to 31 different freaky, frightful houses -- one for every day in October.
In San Francisco, the Queen Anne Hotel (tel. 800/227-3970; www.queenanne.com) has a special ghost named Miss Mary Lake, who used to be the headmistress of the building when it was a girls' finishing school after the Gold Rush. The friendly spirit sometime surfaces as a warm or cold spot in the room, or appears in a mirror. One guest reported being tucked in with a blanket rather snugly during a nap. The boutique property, with its 48 rooms and, as the name suggests, Victorian architecture, is a highlight on tours of the city and offers lots of different packages. It's close to many attractions -- Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, etc. Rooms start at $139 and range, for the most part, to $225; a two-bedroom suite fetches $400. There are still some rooms available.
Searsport, Maine's Carriage House (tel. 207/548-2167; www.carriagehouseinmaine.com) has at least two spirits, according to paranormal experts -- both of them experienced untimely deaths. Apparently, the inn's beagle does not go near certain rooms and avoids a haunted staircase. Sometimes guests sense that someone walked into their room. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; rooms range from $95-$125.
At Texas White House (tel. 800/279-6491; www.texaswhitehouse.com) in Fort Worth, certain types of female guests (single ones) report the presence of someone getting into bed next to them when they stay in the Lone Star Room -- it's the bedroom of William Newkirk, who lived in the house (and died there) with his family. Lights go on and off, phones beep, but overall, the spirit is friendly. The country style home has five rooms, and is within five minutes of downtown Fort Worth, the city's zoo, the cultural district, and other attractions. Rates range from $125-$235 and there are rooms available throughout the month, including Halloween weekend.
In Savannah, Georgia, the Olde Harbour Inn (tel. 800/553-4100; www.oldeharbourinn.com) isn't shy about its ghosts, going so far as to offer Haunted Packages. The Scary Savannah Trolley Tour starts at $490 for a minimum two-night stay and includes accommodations in a river view suite for two adults, with a queen bed, a copy of the book Savannah Ghosts, a ghost map (with 46 haunted properties), a haunted trolley tour of downtown, and deluxe continental breakfast, among other amenities. Another property in downtown Savannah that's part of the same collection, the Eliza Thompson House (tel. 800/348-9378; www.elizathompsonhouse.com), dates to 1847 and is close to the town's antique stores, museums, and other attractions. The Haunted City Tour and Champagne Special starts at $207 for Sunday through Thursday stays; it includes two adult admission tickets to the city's ghost tour, overnight accommodations, and a bottle of champagne.
The childhood home of Mark Twain, Hannibal, Missouri, is also home a frisky ghost at the Hannibal Garden House Bed and Breakfast (tel. 866/423-7800; www.gardenhousebedandbreakfast.com). It's a male presence, and he's reportedly been the mysterious source of music playing, sawing wood, and in the stone basement. Another guest saw something cross in front of the television and go into the closet. While you're in town, don't miss the Haunted Historic Hannibal (www.hauntedhannibal.com) trolley tour, which stops the Old Jail Museum and at the cemetery where Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn played. Rates start at $99 for standard rooms; $198 for garden suites. At press time there was availability for Halloween weekend.
When you consider the fact that a bloody Civil War battle was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, it makes sense that guests at several inns in the area have reported paranormal activity. The Inn at Herr Ridge (tel. 800/362-9849; www.innatherrridge.com) for example, used to be a tavern and public house during the 1800s. One time, someone ordered a beer at the bar but no one was there. Many shenanigans have been observed by guests and employees, as the building served as a makeshift hospital during the battle, so wounded spirits hang around, causing silverware and glasses to randomly fly around off tables, crashes in the kitchen, and extinguish lamps relight themselves. Rooms start at $169 and go up to $259.