Elevators have the potential for enormous chills: a tiny, claustrophobic room suspended by cables in a large, open shaft with the potential of opening upon any kind of situation. Ever since that famous blood-cascading scene in the “The Shining“, pop culture has been obsessed with the horrifying qualities of elevators. However, many real life elevator terrors precede that iconic movie, and some have been horrifying people for over a century. The following list represents five of the most eerie and possibly haunted elevators you can find.
Kennesaw House Elevator
(Image: HowardSF, public domain)
The Kennesaw House in Marietta, GA, built in 1845 and originally intended as a cotton warehouse, found new use during the Civil War as an ad hoc hospital and morgue in the bloodiest war of all time. Connected to Yankee spies, the building was saved from ruin during Sherman’s destructive march; the fourth floor was damaged by fire from a nearby building and was scrapped during the repairs. Now a museum, visitors tell of horrifying encounters where the elevator doors open to the grisly carnage of the hospital during the Civil War teaming with screaming soldiers dying or suffering their wounds. Other tales tell of an old Civil War surgeon riding the elevators.
Adolphus Hotel in Dallas
Built by Adolphus Busch of the Anheuser-Busch family in 1912, the 22-story building was the tallest in the state for many years. The 19th storey is the focal point of the building’s haunting. The ballroom used to occupy the 19th floor and the story goes that a left-at-the-altar bride hanged herself there in the 1930s. Many patrons claim to see her visage in the hotel and video can be found online of the elevator doors on the 19th floor opening and closing erratically and seemingly on their own.
The Grain Elevators of South Buffalo
These abandoned relics are remnants of the industrial revolution and a time when Buffalo was a bustling city. Closed since World War Two, these abandoned buildings are eerie behemoths and the sites of many worker deaths in a pre-OSHA society. Walking around these concrete and iron ruins will harden the greatest skeptics into feeling like they aren’t alone.
University of Maryland (Denton Hall)
The story of this ghostly elevator revolves around an urban legend in which a distraught young girl whose tears clouded her vision, resulting in her head being caught in doors of the elevator in Denton Hall and the subsequent decapitation. It’s said that her blood and brain matter, coupled with her rage and loneliness, flowed into the elevator’s circuitry and continued to cause unexplained phenomena in the elevators today.
The Algonquin Hotel in NYC
(Image: Christinahle, public domain)
The elevators of the Algonquin Hotel, nestled in Midtown Manhattan, are supposedly home to the ghosts of the Round Table room, a collective of artists, playrights, writers and actors in the 1920s known as the “Vicious Circle.” Visitors have reported hearing the song “I’m in the Mood for Love” being sung by a disembodied voice in the elevator as well as seeing members of the literary circle riding the elevators.
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not these buildings contain actual haunts, but more than likely, the thrills of investigation and the historical background you’ll learn while exploring these locales will be worth their entertainment regardless of ghosts.
About the Author: Richard Tucker is an avid geocacher and urban explorer. He has been writing about elevator engineering and elevator parts for several years.
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