Haunted Hotel Del Coronado

by Walter Bissell

The Hotel Del Coronado is located at 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California. This massive all wooden structure sits on the southern tip of North Island just across the bay from San Diego. Hotel Del Coronado is home to the rich and famous guests of the largest Victorian beach resort on the North American Pacific Coast. It is one of the oldest and largest hotels on the beach, facing the Pacific Ocean. The hotel is the brainchild of retired railroad executive Elisha S. Babcock from Evansville, Indiana.

Famously Haunted Hotel Del CoronadoOn December 19, 1885, Elisha Babcock, Hampton Story, of the Story and Clark Piano Company of Chicago; and Jacob Gruendike, president of the First National Bank of San Diego bought North Island for $110,000. The Hotel Del Coronado was built in 1888 at the cost of one million dollars. Labor for the hotel was provided largely by Chinese immigrants from the area.

Kate Morgan's Ghost
Although quite famous for frequent visits from Presidents and movie stars, it may be the visits of Kate Morgan’s ghost that give this luxurious resort the most notoriety. Kate and her husband Thomas were noted con artists. To keep their true identities from being known, they had made reservations at the Hotel Del Coronado under the assumed names of Lottie A. Bernard and Dr. M.C. Anderson. Their plan was that Kate, aka Lottie, a very beautiful 24-year-old, would play the part of Thomas’ sister. She would entice young men to court her but they must first have the approval of her overprotective brother Thomas, aka Dr. M.C. Anderson. To gain his favor, she would suggest that her suitor should play poker with him, since that was his favorite game. After cheating the young man out of his money, Lottie would end the courtship and look for another sucker.

Kate MorganLegend has it that in route to Coronado, Kate informed Thomas that she was pregnant. Thomas was upset, fearing this would end their scam. They had a huge argument and he left the train in Orange, California. Kate went on to the Hotel Del Coronado.

Haunted Room 3327
On Thanksgiving 1892, she checked into room 3327, to wait for her husband to arrive. She waited for several days but Tom never showed up. One morning Kate took the ferry to San Diego checking the registry of hotels to see if Thomas had checked in. While in the city, she was reported to have bought a .44 caliber pistol and some shells. She returned to the hotel and was found dead the next morning on the steps or landing of the white staircase across from her room. The hotel reported her death a suicide stating that she had all the symptoms of quinine poisoning. A large bottle of quinine was found in her room, and they suspected she had tried to abort the baby. Some feel that the hotel called her death a suicide by poison to protect its good name because forensic evidence revealed that she was shot in her right temple. There was no exit wound or blood on her hand or the gun that was found “two steps above her hand.” Murder or suicide, Kate’s death still remains a mystery. Soon after Kate Morgan's death, hotel staff reported that room 3327 was haunted. Drapes were seen moving behind closed windows, screens fell off the windows and a strange glow was seen coming from the room when there was no one around. Kate's ghost has been seen standing at the windows and walking down the hotel’s hallways.

Today, people still request the room and report haunting, or at least, strange experiences such as feeling a presence, witnessing flickering lights and hearing inexplicable noises. It is believed that Kate Morgan's ghost still visits her former guestroom. Of note, the store, Kate's, on the lower level of the hotel is named in her honor.

Haunted Room 3502

Room 3327 is not the only room at Hotel Del Coronado that is thought to be haunted. Kate had become friends with one of the maids who lived in room 3502. The day after Kate’s funeral, the maid mysteriously disappeared. Could Tom Morgan have killed the maid as well as his wife? The lights in room 3502 flicker and sometimes turn on and off by themselves. Objects moving around, cold breezes blowing even when the windows are closed, the sound of murmuring and oppressive feelings have been experienced in this room. It is rumored that years earlier, the mistress of Elisha Babcock lived in room 3502. She, like Kate, took her own life soon after she learned that she was pregnant. Her body is said to have just disappeared, “perhaps removed by someone wishing to avoid an ugly scandal.”

Other “paranormal” guests at the hotel are said to be the ghosts of a little boy and girl running down the hall and playing on the stairs. Also seen is a woman in a Victorian style dress gliding across the dance floor.

"Welcome, to the Hotel del Coronado. Come check in as our guests. Many before you have checked in - some of them may not have checked out!

Ghost Pictures Taken at Hotel Del Coronado
Hotel Del Coronado Ghost Pictures - (no submissions available at this time - please send us yours!)

Related Stories
More Haunting at Hotel Del
Kate Morgan's Haunted Room Ghost Story
Haunted Hotel Del Gift Shop
Hotel Del Coronado Story Video

For More Information on the Hotel, Visit:
Hotel Del Coronado Official Site