When you stop to think about it, elevators are the perfect setup for frightening scenarios: tiny, claustrophobic little rooms suspended in a huge, open shaft by cables. With their doors potentially opening at any floor, there’s the possibility of it opening into any kind of ungodly situation. Since that renowned scene of cascading blood in Stephen King’s The Shining, the horrifying potential of elevators has become a normal component of modern pop culture.
Before that movie, however, there existed stories of real life terrors centered on elevators. We’ve put together a list of some of the most mystifying, and possibly haunted, elevators to be found in the U.S.:
Located in Marietta, Georgia, the Kennesaw House was built in 1845. Its original purpose was intended to be a warehouse for cotton. During the Civil War it found use as an ad hoc hospital and morgue. During Sherman’s destructive march across the South, Kennesaw House was protected because of its alleged connection to Yankee spies.
Kennesaw House is now a museum. Visitors have told of horrifying experiences where the elevator doors opened to reveal the grisly scene of the Civil War-era hospital, complete with screaming Civil War soldiers screaming, writhing in agony from their wounds and dying. Still other visitors have reported an old Civil War surgeon sharing an elevator ride with them.
This magnificent hotel was built in Dallas, Texas, in 1912 by Adolphus Busch of the Anheuser-Busch family. The 22-story building was recognized as the tallest in the state for many years. It is the 19th floor that is the location of the building’s reported hauntings. The 19th floor used to house the ballroom, and legend says a bride who was left at the altar hung herself there in the 1930s. Visitors report seeing her face in the hotel, and there is video posted online showing the elevator doors opening and closing sporadically, and of their own accord, on the 19th floor.
When Buffalo, New York, was a bustling industrial city, massive grain elevators were constructed. After World War II, industry waned in the area and the buildings were abandoned. These gigantic buildings were the sites of multiple worker injuries and deaths in the pre-OSHA industrial revolution days. Curiosity seekers report an unnerving feeling of not being alone when walking around the concrete and iron ruins of the elevators.
The Algonquin Hotel
The elevators of this hotel are reportedly home to the spirits of the Round Table room, a group of artists, playwrights, writers and actors of the 1920s. This group was also known as the “Vicious Circle.” Found in midtown Manhattan, the hotel’s guests report hearing a disembodied voice singing “I’m in the Mood for Love” in the elevator. At times, it is reported that members of the Vicious Circle are seen riding the elevators.
Located at the University of Maryland, Denton Hall is home to one of the most grisly stories of elevator hauntings. The story goes that a young student, her vision clouded by tears, got her head caught in the doors of the elevator and was subsequently decapitated. It is said that her spirit, so enraged at her death, flowed into the elevator circuitry. The manifestation of her rage and loneliness can supposedly still be found in the elevators today.