Lowe Hotel

Lowe Hotel Haunted hotel in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, a focal point of MOTHMAN sightings and activity in the late 1960s. The Lowe—the biggest landmark in downtown Point Pleasant—has a number of invisible residents who like to get the attention of the living. Guests share their spooky experiences with owners Ruth and Rush Finley and send them photos showing mysterious phenomena.


The Lowe opened in 1901 at the corner of 4th and Main, near the site of what some believe to be the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Point Pleasant, fought on October 10, 1774. The land had been given to Andrew Lewis as part of his payment for military service during the French and Indian War (1754–1763).

The hotel was first called the Spencer Hotel, named after a local judge, the Honorable J. S. Spencer. It was owned and operated by two brothers, Homer and Griff Smith. A grand structure, it cost $65,000 to build and boasted “all the modern conveniences.” There were 54 rooms on four floors. The sumptuous lobby featured a 30- foot-high ceiling and a stupendous fireplace. The ground floor housed a bank, barber shop, saloon, and wholesale liquor house.

The Lowe was the center of high society and lavish entertainment and in the 1920s was renowned as an elegant dance hall. The stock market crash of 1929 abruptly ended this glittery era, and the Smith brothers were forced to sell. The Homer Lowe, Sr., family bought the hotel in the same year and changed the name.

The Finleys acquired the Lowe in 1990 and began a restoration project that continues. The ground-level shops and services are long gone, but the lobby with its grand fireplace and impressive griffins is still a gathering place for guests. Today, 32 of the original 54 rooms are in use. Ten baths have been added, and some of the rooms have been joined into two-room suites.

Haunting Activity

One of the most commonly reported experiences is an eerie feeling of an unseen presence in halls and rooms. Guests say they feel a presence when they turn a corner in the hallway or come up the grand staircase to the second floor. Room 202 has become known as the “Keel Room,” where author John Keel stayed during the first and second Mothman Festivals. Little activity has been reported in the room; in 2003, a photographic anomaly was captured in the room by Tim Frick, who, with his brother John, created the flying Mothman special effects for the annual festival hayrides. Immediately outside in the hallway by room 202, near the landing parlor, people report feeling the presence of a woman.

The third floor is the most active. In room 314, a tall, thin man in a 1930s suit, with a long beard, has appeared in a mirror. The solemn-looking fellow has not been identified, but he bears a strong resemblance to Sid Hatfield of the famous McCoy-Hatfield feuding families fame.

In the third floor three-room suite that overlooks the Ohio River, guests have reported the ghost of Captain Jim, or Jimbo, as he is also known. Jimbo tells guests that he is waiting for “the boat” to arrive. In September 2005, Jimbo drove guests from the room with his boisterous presence. Interestingly, he appeared on the same night that a real passenger barge, the River Explorer, was due to dock at Point Pleasant around midnight, as part of the Mothman Festival. According to Ruth Finley, river boat captains likely stayed at the Lowe; they were known for their drinking.

The fourth floor features the large ballroom where once guests danced nights away. But the haunting action is in an unfinished section of the floor that is used for storage. One of the items stashed away is an old rattan rocking chair that once belonged to Mrs. Lowe, who was blind. Staff have found the chair mysteriously moved around to new spots. On one afternoon, Marcia Finley, the daughter of Ruth and Rush, sneaked up to the attic to smoke a cigarette. While she enjoyed her smoke, she suddenly noticed the rattan chair rocking by itself. Startled and unnerved, Marcia sped downstairs. The experience turned her from a nonbeliever in ghosts to a believer.

Numerous photographic anomalies of unusual light patterns and ORBS have been taken by guests at the Lowe. Some appear to have natural explanations, but those that do not raise interesting questions about what really walks the halls of the grand hotel.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007