Hauntings with Hood: American Hotel in downtown Staunton
STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — The American Hotel in downtown Staunton was built in 1855 and now serves as an office for business. Its banquet hall is used for receptions, but this year, it is also a new stop on the Ghosts of Staunton ghost tour.
The hotel, built in the Wharf area, was chosen in the mid-1800′s because of how close it was to the site of the Virginia Central Railroad, connecting Staunton to the state’s capital of Richmond.
At the time it was built, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in Virginia, but in 1862 during the Civil War, it was quickly used by the military, and hotel rooms began to fill up with wounded soldiers of the Confederacy.
In 1863, the building switched owners and was purchased by a member of the Stonewall Brigade.
When Union troops took over the town in 1864, they also took over the hotel and threw wounded and sick confederates out.
It’s because of this history that Marty Seibel said he’s always wanted to make this building a new stop on the Ghosts of Staunton tour.
“I mean, you had sick soldiers, you had dying soldiers, you had a lot of soldiers who were young men far from home," Seibel said. "There were amputations that were performed here as well, and that’s not a pleasant experience.”
Seibel said he and Black Raven Paranormal have been investigating and conducting tests in the building for the past couple of weeks. He said what they’ve found are spirits who may have been lost during the Civil War.
Michelle Annese, the building general manager, said after the few months she’s worked at the hotel, she’s heard some strange things.
“If you hear creaky noises, you just think its people walking in the building," Annese said. " But when you realize you’re here sometimes by yourself and you still hear creaky noises. It can get a little, ‘okay what’s going on?’”
Annese said she’s also had issues with her laptop working inside the building. She said at times the speaker on the computer will let out a static noise, but this only happens at work nowhere else.
She said several staff members have told her about hearing people in the building after closing and seeing shadowy figures upstairs.
Seibel said the most activity that he has found is down in the basement, where he said at one point served as a morgue for when the hotel was a hospital.
“When we were down here with a spirit box last week, somebody had asked the question ‘are you lost?’" Seibel said. "And you hear like a voice with a southern draw asking ‘what?’ which came across pretty clear.”
Seibel said through his investigations, he’s also picked up voices of children who he believes passed away while the building was still a hotel.
You can check out the hotel and be a part of the investigation as the group hosts tours every Sunday in October.
For more information on how to take part in the haunts, click here.
Check out last week’s Hauntings with Hood story at the Miller Kite House Museum in Elkton.
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