Located in Napanoch, New York, Thomas Ritch first built the Shanley Hotel in 1845. Six years later, it became the Hungerford’s Hotel. Then, it burned down on March 18, 1895 after a nearby house caught on fire and spread to the hotel, burning it to the foundation. The construction of the new hotel began by September on the same foundation and it reopened in November. Over the years, the hotel switched hands more than 20 times. The one who really put the establishment on the map was James Louis Shanley. He was born on Halloween in 1874 in Ireland and later, moved his family to New York City. Shanley moved upstate for health reasons and purchased the hotel on October 1, 1906.
Shanley was well loved by the community. Upon returning from his honeymoon with his new bride Beatrice Rowley in 1910, the couple was greeted with a grand parade welcoming them back. The Shanleys welcomed everyone and used games, entertainment, parties and special events to attract new guests. In 1908, he added on a bowling alley, billiard room and Barbershop. Attracted such elite guests such as President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas Edison.
While The Shanley Hotel was known for its picturesque location and beauty, it wasn’t without it’s share of blemishes. At some point, it housed a bordello, inviting certain male guests. There was a raid by the police where alcohol was seized. Beatrice gave birth to three children, all of which died within nine months of being born. Her sister, Esther Faughman and husband John lived in an adjoining apartment. She was known to be a beautiful woman with a big heart but lived a quite lonely life. After her death of influenza, she left her daughters to her sister and brother-in-law to raise.
The barber’s 4-year-old daughter Rosanna “Rosie” Grager fell in to the well and drowned in 1911. A 6-year-old boy was hit by a doctor’s car as he backed out of the alley between the hotel and the doctor’s house. He sustained severe head injuries and died in 1915. Over the years, there were several accidental deaths, missing persons and alleged murders that may or may not have been covered up. James Shanley died of a heart attack on August 26th, 1937. Beatrice sold the hotel to Mr. Al Hazen, who coincidentally was born and had died on the same days (different years) as James Shanley, in 1944.
Today, Salvatore and Cynthia Nicosia own the Shanley Hotel, which consists of thirty-five rooms, hand painted floors, antique furniture and one hidden basement area. Many believe the numerous deaths have led to its now haunted status. It is believed to be the home of 30 to 40 spirits, most associated with the Shanleys. A man, fitting James description, wanders around the location in the form of a misty apparition. The cries of a female has been linked to Beatrice, mourning her three children and sister. Witnesses have seen a woman dressed in a beautiful Victorian style gown. Various aromas have been experienced throughout the building including perfume, burning pipe tobacco and food. Many have experienced the sensation of being bound or handcuffed in the “secret room”.
A boy named “Jonathon” is believed to haunt the 3rd floor. Some think he may be the 6-year-old boy who was hit by a doctor’s car. However, witnesses have described the boy spirit as being 11 not 6. Either way, he’s been known to play with toys left in his room. A young woman named Claire has been seen on the 3rd floor as well. She supposedly hung herself but rumors dictate she may have been murdered. Other reports include footsteps, voices, doors opening and shutting, children laughing, cold spots, the sounds of music being played on an unattended piano, ladies’ jewelry being tugged, and the feeling of being watched not to mention various spirits from different time periods have been seen throughout the hotel.
13 Southern Rooms with a Boo - Following on the heels of my article, “Dining With Spirits,” I’ve decided to revamp my Halloween article from 2010 on haunted inns and hotels. That article...
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