Charming Book Haunts Some of SoCal's Ghostliest Hotels

Author Craig Owens examines the ethereal tales of the Mission Inn and other overnight landmarks in "Haunted by History: Volume I."

A SPIRITED STAY: Hotels and hauntings? The places and eerie events have such a storied relationship that there's a sizable and always thrumming movie genre devoted to exploring those visitors who never check out. Fiction, too, has roamed the halls of some of our greatest real inns, as well as the made-up destinations, giving just about everyone who spends the night in a hotel pause when they hear a creak or feel a suspiciously cool draft. And few places can claim to host as many notable ghostings as Southern California, thanks to its combination of handsome and historic structures, its fabled industries, from citrus to the silver screen, and the widely held belief that Golden Staters are more in touch with all things ethereal. Author Craig Owens gamely ventured to the Other Side for his recent book, via an octet of regional hotels, and if you been to one or all of them, you know that they are said to boast a ghost or two of some note. His book, "Haunted by History: Volume I," debuted near the end of 2017, giving spirit seekers and local lore fans some in-depth back story and specter-rich material to dig into before they next check into the...

HOTEL DEL CORONADO, and the Mission Inn & Spa, and the Julian Gold Rush Hotel, among others. The Coronado, Riverside, and Julian destinations all have roots in the 19th century, while other hotels mentioned can trace their opening days back to the early 20th century. giving all of the inns' eternal guests a vintage sheen, as is revealed in the books' pages and many photographs. The story-enhancing snapshots include portraits of important players, as well as early pictures depicting construction, but look also for stylish modern-day re-creations that pay homage to the locations' glamorous but goosepimply yarns. ("Modern-day" in that the photographs were taken fairly recently, though the people in them could easily hail from a century or more ago in dress, hair, make-up, and portrayal.) 

AS FOR THE OTHER FIVE SPOTS... known for their phantom-famous guest registers? The Banning House Lodge, of Two Harbors on Catalina Island, made the book's incorporeal cut, as did The Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, The Victorian Rose Bed and Breakfast in Ventura, The Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn, also of Ventura, and The Alexandria in downtown Los Angeles. So if you think you've seen the fisherman ghost of The Banning House Lodge or Kate Morgan at the Del, or you've heard whispers of such spirit-thrilling stories over the years, find your copy of "Haunted by History: Vol. 1" at The Bearded Lady's Mystic Museum in Burbank or online at various sellers, like BizarreLA. There will be, as you might expect, a second volume, given that the veil between this world and the next seems to be especially thin, and breezy, around some of Southern California's most famous stay-the-night locations. And if you guessed a certain ocean-liner in Long Beach is up next, and a desert hotel known for its mural-magnificent opera house, in addition to several other gems, you're up on your apparitions. Stay tuned.

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