Blennerhassett Hotel Haunted hotel in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The hotel is named after the area’s most famous residents, Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett, but was not owned by them.
The Blennerhassett Hotel was built in 1889 by William N. Chancellor, two-time mayor of Parkersburg who made his fortune in oil and by building ornate hotels and homes after the Civil War. The hotel was the First National Bank of Parkersburg. Reopened as a hotel in 1986 with 104 rooms. The grand hotel has been restored and is the centerpiece of downtown Parkersburg today. It is a Registered National Historic Landmark.
The most frequently encountered Ghost is that of Chancellor himself, who appears in various locations in the hotel dressed in a fine three-piece gray suit. He is identifi – able by his distinct cigar smoke SMELL, and also by the appearance of actual smoke. Chancellor’s portrait in the lobby has been seen mysteriously and suddenly wreathed in fragrant smoke, especially when ghost tour groups gather there to hear stories about the hotel. Cigar smoke is smelled wafting throughout the hotel.
Chancellor has been seen in the hotel’s corridors, elevators, and guest rooms, startling visitors. He is especially active on the second floor. Chancellor is believed to play with the buttons in the elevator, causing the doors to open and close repeatedly. In 2003, a guest turned out his light at night and immediately felt a weight at the end of the bed. Turning on the light, he was startled to see Chancellor’s form sitting at the end of his bed. The ghost said, “I was here first!” and disappeared. At the time, the hotel was undergoing extensive renovation, and Chancellor’s portrait had been temporarily removed from the library. When the portrait was restored—and the renovation completed— sightings of Chancellor decreased. Apparently, the ghost was stirred up by all the activity.
On the first floor in the bar and lounge now called Spats, Apparitions have been seen in the huge Mirrors. The mirrors were made from framed door casings of a New York City Victorian apartment. Among the ghosts appearing in the glass are a man dressed in a white tuxedo and carrying a black cane and a sea captain dressed in a dark coat and hat.
Guests have sometimes been startled by the shrieking of an invisible woman. Her voice comes over microphones set up in the ballroom and also emanates in guest rooms. Sometimes she shrieks and sometimes she sounds like she is laughing hysterically. One possible explanation concerns the death of a woman during the days when the hotel was a bank. She was crushed against an outside doorway of the building by a tractor-trailer rig that jumped the curb.
A ghostly maid continually mops the floor in the lobby. Phantom big band music drifts about, and at Christmastime the voices of children singing “Jingle Bells” can be heard above the hotel’s piped-in music.
Other phenomena include Poltergeist disturbances such as the unexplained breaking of glasses; electrical malfunctions and oddities; apparitions of unknown persons; and a mysterious “bad” feeling in the Red Room, used for business meetings and social functions.
- Sheppard, Susan. Cry of the Banshee: History & Hauntings of West Virginia and the Ohio Valley. Alton, Ill.: Whitechapel Press, 2004.
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