The Infamous Ghost Picture in Mount Washington Hotel

The now famous ghost picture at Mount Washington Hotel was taken in 2015 during a photo-taking session organized by staffs of the hotel. The hotel was supposedly cleared out during the period to ensure that all the staff were able to turn up for the session.

However, as the photo was being developed by the photographer, something odd stands out: in a room directly below the haunted room 314, a lady in a Victorian print dress can be spotted by the window. Till this day, it is not known if the lady was a visitor of the hotel who stumbled upon the room, or the supposed spirit of former owner Carolyn Stickney.

mount washington hotel photo ghost
Group photo of Mount Washington Hotel staff | Image credits: Mount Washington Hotel

Haunted History of the Mount Washington Hotel

Built in 1902 by Joseph Stickney, Mount Washington Hotel was built to be a summer resort in the countryside of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Stickney, an industrialist who made his money off coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad, envisioned the hotel to be the a luxurious retreat for wealthy urban dwellers looking to escape the summer heat.

Mount Washington Hotel 1903 e1633697794822
Mount Washington Hotel in 1903 | Image credits: Fredrik D. Bodin

The hotel—which included 2,000 doors, 12,000 windows and 11 miles of plumbing—costed 1.7 million dollars, today’s equivalent of 54 million dollars, to construct. Upon its completion, it became the largest wooden structure in New England. The 200-room hotel boasted an array of amenities including its private post office, an electric power plant, a telephone system, and its own train station.

Many politicians and luminaries have spent their summer days in this iconic hotel, including Babe Ruth, Thomas Edison, Joan Crawford, John D. Rockefeller and the Vanderbilt family.

party at Mount washington hotel in 1921
Gala at Mount Washington Hotel in 1921 | Image credits: Omni Mount Washington Resort

The hotel famously hosted the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference which ran from July 1 to July 22. Also known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, delegates from 44 nations convened and signed the Bretton Woods Agreement, creating the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

However, Stickney became critically ill soon after the completion of the hotel. In December 1903, Stickney passed away in New York City due to a heart attack. His widow Carolyn Foster Stickey took over the hotel and dedicated herself to establish it as the top destination for the wealthy elite in the region. Carolyn eventually remarried to French aristocrat Prince Aymon de Faucigny-Lucinge and was nicknamed Princess Carolyn.

Omni Mount Washington hotel exteriors
Mount Washington Hotel | Image credits: Omni Mount Washington Resort

Mount Washington Hotel was eventually inherited by Mrs Stickney’s nephew, Foster Reynolds in 1936. The hotel would go on to change hands several times in the late 20th century. In 1999, a group of New Hampshire businessman joined forces to purchase the property and the surrounding land to consolidate the region and ensure the historic hotel existence for the decades to come. In 2015, the hotel was purchased by Omni Hotels & Resorts and renamed to Omni Mount Washington Resort

Haunted Room 314

Room 314 is widely known among staffs of the hotel to be the “Haunted Room”. The supposed hauntings came from the name of the room, the Carolyn Stickney Suite, or the Princess Carolyn room. The room, which offered a view of the hotel’s front entrance, is where Carolyn and her husband lived during their time there. Carolyn chose the room as the couple’s apartment as it enabled her to see her guests arriving for the social events in the hotel. It is said that even after Carolyn remarriage, she continued to spend her summer days at Mount Washington Hotel up until her death in the 1936.

Princess Carolyn Stickney
Caroline Stickney | Image credits:

The four-poster oak bed with a white curtained caonopy is said to be the original bed where Carolyn had slept. Legend says at whenever she was travelling for an extended period, she would have her beloved bed transported along with her. After her death at her Rhode Island residence, room 314 was renovated and put up for booking.

Over the years, several guests have reported experiencing ghostly activities in the room. These include knocks on the door, lights turning on and off mysteriously, and the unexplainable scent of floral perfume in the middle of the night. Some have also claimed to have seen the apparition of a lady—believed to be the ghost of Carolyn Stickney—sitting on the edge of the bed and combing her hair.

mount washington hotel room 314
Room 314 | Image credits: Dino Vournas

Staffs of the hotel have also reported seeing the figure of a woman dressed ‘floating’ along the hallways on the third floor.

On season 4, episode 7 of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, paranormal investigators Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves investigated the hauntings at room 314. During the investigation, the team encountered several paranormal activities including footsteps, and unexplainable noises. In room 314, the EVP – electronic voice phenomena – equipment recorded the voice of a female that responded to questions asked by the team.

In 2018, Omni Mount Washington Resort joined several other historic haunted hotels—such as the Crescent Hotel, the Roosevelt Hotel and the Omni Shoreham Hotel—to become one of the Historic Hotels of America’s Top 25 Most Haunted Historic Hotels in the country.

Mount Washington Hotel & The Shining

Mount Washington Hotel have long been rumored to be the inspiration behind Stephen King’s classic horror novel The Shining. This is inaccurate, as it was Stephen King’s haunted experience at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, that inspired him to write the book. The rumor is largely fuelled by the similarities between Mount Washington Hotel and Stanley Hotel; both hotels are strikingly similar in architecture and were built as a retreat in the countryside for the upper-class Americans.

The shining overlook hotel aerial view
Overlook Hotel | Image credits:

Filming of the 1980 film The Shining did not take place at Mount Washington Hotel or the Stanley Hotel. Instead, the interior of Overlook Hotel was built at EMI Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England; the designs were mostly based on the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. For exterior shots of the fictional hotel, the film crew filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon. It was only in the subsequent 1997 television adaptation (also titled The Shining) that filming took place at Stanley Hotel.

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