The Canadian Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta Canada are a sight to behold. Their majestic peaks rise above the bustling of humanity that lives each day in the towns and cities below. Located within this mountain range is a beautiful hotel with a history dating back more than 100 years.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel was originally built out of wood in 1888 and was a stop along the Canadian Pacific Railway. The construction of the hotel was ordered by CPR’s vice president, William Van Home. He saw the potential even in those days of the tourist activity that the beautiful mountainside would bring to the area.
The original hotel remained until 1926 when a fire destroyed it. During the reconstruction, it is said another room was discovered that had been hidden. The room itself was a construction mistake, so it was boarded up and undiscovered until the rubble was sifted through. When the hotel was rebuilt, it was no longer a modest wooden structure, but a majestic castle, modeled after one in Scotland. It even became known as the “Castle of the Rockies” and entertained royalty and celebrities….and possibly some spirits that may be forever bound within its walls.
Several guests that have stayed at the Fairmont have reported strange feelings and apparitions floating in the hallways. There are areas in particular that are said to be especially active, although for the record, the hotel officials deny any truth to the rumors of hauntings. The legends themselves are part of the hotel’s history and give another dimension to its character.
There are tales of a phantom bride who is said to have either a) fallen to her death tripping down the staircase in her wedding gown, or b) there were candles on the staircase and her gown caught fire. Her apparition is said to haunt the hotel, particularly the grand staircase and the ballroom.
One of the more friendly “ghosts” is said to be Sam the Bellman. There was a man named Sam MacCauley who worked as a bellman at the hotel for many years. When he retired in the early 1970’s, he was said to tell his fellow employees “I will be back”. He died a short time later in 1976, and there are those who say that he did indeed come back to the Fairmont..and remains there to this day. Guests have reported their bags being placed in there proper spot with no one having moved them as well as lights being turned on just when needed. If the legends are true, Sam is still doing the job he loved so much in life.
Another legend of the Fairmont is one that is much more sinister. There is said to be a room missing on the eighth floor…room 873. This room has allegedly been bricked over to match the rest of the wall interior, and the legend behind it is chilling. A man, his wife and daughter were staying in room 873 to enjoy the beauty of the hotel as a family. However, it is said that the man, for reasons unknown, killed his entire family as well as himself. Once the bodies were taken and the rooms were being cleaned, the maids saw something that horrified them. The little girl’s fingerprints were still on the mirror, and try as they might they could not get them wiped away. Allegedly it was then decided to close the room off and brick it over, shutting away the horror of what happened. There are guests who have reported apparitions in the hallway in front of where the room used to be, as well as the sound of a woman and child crying.
There are other stories as well, some of which may have some truth (such as there was a man named Sam MacCauley who was a bellman during the 1950’s and 60’s), and some that are merely legends. They have certainly given the “Castle of the Rockies” a place as one of Canada’s finest (and most haunted) hotels.
Gee. I stayed there with my grandparents when I was a kid but all I can recall of it is playing in the hotsprings. Great stories though! Wish I’d known them then.
I originally read about this hotel back about twenty or so years ago in Arthur Myers’ The Ghostly Gazetteer….a great book, by the way. I have wanted to stay there since then, but have never gotten to that area…not even close, unfortunately. But it’s still on my list!!! 🙂
I went there 5 years ago for my aunts wedding. It was quite scary. I was 9 at the time I’m 14 now and want to make my way back there soon.
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