Haunted Hideaways for Halloween Spook-Seekers

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ — Looking to snuggle up with a specter this Halloween? This October, guests at Delaware North Companies’ haunted getaways can test their paranormal senses as they encounter vanishing shadows in mirrors, heavy footsteps in the night and whispers in the hallways. With Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality, retail and foodservice management, guests have the opportunity to muster up their courage and learn firsthand the spooky tales of flying ghost stories (literally), a watchful hotel operator and ghosts of a famous family from years gone by.

* The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel: In 1996, a woman and her husband awoke
in the middle of the night at this grand resort in New England’s White
Mountains to find a man staring at them from the foot of their bed,
unclothed and dripping wet. Local history has recorded that in the
early 1930s, the band leader at The BALSAMS mysteriously drowned in the
lake located in front of the hotel. Coincidentally, the couple that
witnessed this unexplainable image was staying in the same room that
the band leader slept in the night before his unfortunate death.
Another guest, a young businessman, fell captive to the enchanting
laughter of a young woman while passing through the John Dix social
parlor. The soft, siren-like giggle was so intoxicating that he began
looking for her, but without success. On his way back to his room, he
passed a large mirror hanging by the staircase and saw the image of a
strikingly beautiful woman in a long gown. Knowing that it must be the
woman he was looking for, he turned around to call for her, but she was
gone. The BALSAMS staff has reported seeing her in the lobby, while a
bell-man claims to have seen her walking down the third floor halls of
the Dix House.

* Old Town San Diego State Park: A ghost named “Rudy” at historical Old
Town’s Rudolph Schiller Bookstore haunts present-day associates. Since
the bookstore’s opening this year, an entire row of books, uncannily
about ghost stories, flew right off the shelf onto the floor. Later,
while an associate was telling a customer about the occurrence, another
book tumbled off the shelf and landed directly in the customer’s hands.
This mysterious ghost was named Rudy after the store’s founder, Rudolph
Schiller, who built the original building in the 1800s, but which
burned down three years later. Also in the park is the famous Whaley
Family home, ranked as the number one haunted house in America by the
Travel Channel. Since being hanged in back of the house in 1852 for
grand larceny, “Yankee Jim” has been known to walk the halls with his
heavy feet and unlatch and slam open windows on a whim, chasing
visitors away with fright. The specter of Anna Whaley keeps watch over
the garden and urban legend has it that the ghost of a playmate of the
Whaley children, who accidentally broke her neck on a low-hanging
clothesline in the backyard, also haunts the house. Even talk show
host Regis Philbin encountered the milky-white image of Anna Whaley and
has gone on record saying, “You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it
because they can’t see it. But there was something going on in that
house.”

* The Delta Queen: Even death can’t keep Captain Mary Becker Greene from
boarding her beloved Delta Queen steamboat. Several guests report
encounters with the Delta Queen’s resident ghost as she closes doors,
turns off lights and keeps watch over the crew. One of the first
female captains to pilot a riverboat, this vibrant lady captivated
passengers with wild tales of river life and even danced with them two
days before her death in her Delta Queen cabin. Master Mike Williams,
a 21-year veteran of the Delta Queen, fondly recalls an encounter with
Mary. He describes being awakened by an urgent whisper in his ear as
he slept alone on the vessel during its annual refurbishment in 1982.
Thinking someone had boarded, he followed the sound of a slamming door
to the engine room, where he discovered water rushing in from a broken
pipe. Repairs were made, but he says, “Had I not been awakened, the
Delta Queen might have been in big trouble.”

* Yosemite National Park’s The Ahwahnee hotel: In the heart of Yosemite
National Park lies The Ahwahnee hotel. Rumors of two spooky sights
have circulated through the halls, including the tale of Mary Curry
Tressider, who once operated the hotel. Mary lived on the sixth floor,
now home to several guestrooms including the Queen Suite. Mary has
been seen frequently on the sixth floor, checking up on her guests.
However, the most unusual sighting at The Ahwahnee occurs in the parlor
of the fourth floor suite, where maids have witnessed a lone rocking
chair in motion-yet the room does not have a rocking chair. A favorite
explanation is that John F. Kennedy once stayed in the suite, and a
rocking chair had been provided for his comfort.

* Yosemite National Park’s Wawona Hotel: During the 1920s, a small plane
crashed outside the Wawona Hotel, and the badly injured pilot was taken
to Moore Cottage, one of the hotel’s guest units. Tragically, before
the doctor arrived, the pilot died from his injuries. Since then, both
employees and guests have seen a ghostly figure dressed as a pilot –
complete with leather jacket, head gear with goggles and a white silk
scarf — walking down Moore Cottage’s inside stairs. Employees at the
Wawona Hotel also recount the story of an evening in 1985, when a group
watching television got an unwelcome surprise as a 10-foot section of
the carpet raised three inches off the floor and moved across the room
toward them. More recently, Rooms Manager Michael Bruneer was alone in
the Wawona Hotel kitchen when the fire alarm suddenly sounded. Bruneer
went to the front office to check which of the “fire pull stations” had
been activated. Fire pull stations, a throwback to the past, are
designed so that a person must physically activate them at a specific
site. To Bruneer’s surprise, the fire control panel said it was a “pull
station” in the kitchen, located a mere eight feet from where he was
standing when the alarm sounded.

* Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds: Employees at this
California state park location continue to captivate guests with tales
of “The Lady by the Sea,” a beautiful specter seen walking along the
coast. Asilomar is also home to a haunted banquet room, where grand
galas have been known to continue even after the guests have left and
the room has gone dark.

Delaware North Companies also offers several special 2005 fall packages (spooky sightings may or may not be included) at many of its properties throughout the month of October. For more information, please visit http://www.delawarenorth.com/.

About Delaware North Companies

Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, CA One Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, TD Banknorth Garden (formerly FleetCenter), Delta Queen Steamboat Company and American Park ‘n Swap. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with $1.6 billion in annual revenue and 30,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit http://www.delawarenorth.com/.

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