Thirteen Ghosts At the Blennerhassett Hotel
Disembodied voices… spirituous mists… a smoking gentleman… poltergeists in the library… Voted sixth “most haunted hotel in North America, the Blennerhassett Hotel appears to have it all it all when it comes to strange and mysterious happenings.
Built and opened for business in 1889, the Blennerhassett Hotel, the jewel in the crown of downtown Parkersburg, has over the last twenty-five years gained a reputation for it’s numerous hauntings. It is no surprise since hotels are well-traveled and hold on to energies from past times they over time develop haunted activity. The Blennerhassett Hotel is also famous for being the starting point for the celebrated Haunted Parkersburg Ghost Tours.
Who are they ghosts, you ask? Here are the ones we know about.
1) A Stacking Ghost
There is a ghost, who, from time to time wanders about the hotel stacking papers on desks or tables that are left in disarray. One employee who worked at a desk on the first floor was interrupted while working on a project that had become a mess of papers. She was called away for a few short minutes. When she returned to her desk she saw that all of her papers had been neatly stacked. She asked others but no one saw anyone at her desk in the short time she was gone.
2) The Woman in White.
She is dressed in clothing from the 1920s and 30s. This apparition typically wears a white cap which is pulled almost over her eyes. She was a jacket, trimmed with white fur, and a mid-knee plain skirt also white. The woman in white is usually seen walking quickly toward the elevator and seems to step inside. In the past one employee asked her to hold the door which she seemed to do. When the man got into the elevator, no one was there. Her could smell the lingering scent of her lavender perfume. Often the elevators will stop on the 2nd floor for no reason. Her presence is often felt.
3) The Little Newspaper Boy
in the back of the hotel during the 1920s and 30s, was a thriving newspaper stand. During the last several years, there have been sightings of a little news paper boy dressed from those eras in the lower levels of the hotel, near the break room and often more rarely, in the kitchen. He is dressed in a cap and also has a newspaper bag with strap across his shoulders. At times, even now, employees working in the kitchen can feel someone tugging on their clothing and when they turn around, they see it’s the newspaper boy demanding attention.
4) The Smoking Gentleman
The “Smoking Gentleman” is witnessed at rare times throughout the hotel but most often visitors report smelling his cigar smoke. Whenever the ghost appears, witnesses describe him as a man in his 60s, wearing a three piece gray suit. Always with his ghostly manifestations there is also the aroma of an old-fashioned cigar. The ghost of the smoking gentleman is most often seen on the second and third floors and also in the front of the hotel. When witnesses to the apparition see the portrait of the builder and former owner of the hotel in the library they claim this is the ghost at the hotel. Mr. Chancellor passed away in 1909 but his presence is still felt 110 years later.
5) Sea Captain
A sea captain has been witnessed in the mirrors of the bar and restaurant area of the hotel. He has also been reported in the large mirrors in the lobby. It is interesting to note that the mirrors were fashioned from windows and doors from an old apartment building that was torn down in NYC. Other people claim the sea captain resembles Harman Blennerhassett, the Irish aristocrat the hotel is named for who settled the island in the early 1800s.
6) Man in a White Tuxedo
Another ghostly figment sighted in the mirrors is a man in a white tuxedo. The spirit usually sports a walking stick with a brass handle whenever he appears and is also reported to have flowing white hair. People in old fashioned clothing are also send gliding about the hotel without their feet touching the floors.
7) Screams in the Library
A woman’s blood curdling screams are heard throughout the hotel. This happens especially in the library but also in the ballrooms. No one has any explanation as to why the ghost of a woman would scream in such a frantic way. We later learned from a man who came on the tours, that the window at the corner of the hotel, which is also the corner of the library, used to be a doorway to the First National Bank of Parkersburg. Decades ago, a woman was walking into the bank to make a deposit. A tractor trailer truck on 4th Street accidentally veered off, and ended up slamming into the doorway, killing the woman instantly. Perhaps that explains the terrified screams.
8) The Ballrooms
Many have noticed the ambiance of the Blennerhassett Hotel is similar to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado where the movie “The Shining” was filmed in the 1970s. In fact, the Stanley Hotel and the Blennerhassett are on a top #10 list of most haunted hotels in North America. In the ballrooms on the first floor of the hotel the spirits like to fool the hotel employees with their ghostly hi-jinx. Often when readying the ballroom for a special events, the settings for dinner will be rearranged. Items can’t be found and then will reappear in obvious places. Once when the employees were readying the room, a microphone was set up. That’s when a cracking woman’s voice came across the microphone saying, “Howdy, fellas!” The ghost of the madam Mable Mackey has been known to haunt outside of the hotel.
9) Kissing Bandit
Women guests at the hotel report having woken up to the sensation of being kissed all over their faces. Startled, the minute the women sit up to apprise their surroundings the kissing bandit spirit has already fled. The women report it feels like the kisses of a child.
10) Spirits of Mischievous Children
Ghosts of children are experienced all over the hotel. They were first noticed in the hotel bedrooms, heard to be giggling and then spinning the toilet paper dispensers when the maids are cleaning. After making up the beds, the maid saw the imprints of childrens footprints not only walking across the comforter but also the ottomans at the foot of the bed. But the oddest manifestations of the child’s ghosts is during the holidays when they are sometimes heard singing over the piped in hotel music. The song the ghostly children appeared to join in the most with was “Jingle Bells.”
11) Four O Clock Knocker
There is a door beside the Starbucks area of the hotel. It used to lead to the main desk and also to a gift shop. Staff who worked into the early hours of the morning reported that, on certain days of the week, at precisely 4:00 a.m. there would be three sharp raps on the door as if someone wanted to be let in. When the door was opened, no one would be there.
12) Wake Up Bellboy
Hotel guests who have stayed in the guest bedrooms report waking up to a bell boy smiling down on them. He is wearing a blue cape with gold rope and a blue uniform. His ears protruded and he has very short hair. He looks to be from the era of the 1920s or 30s. After waking guests up, much to their shock the teenaged bell boy simply disappears.
13) Poltergeists in the Library
Poltergeists are a different category of ghosts. Some believe poltergeists are sporadic bursts of uncontrolled psychic energy fueled by humans who are unaware of it. Other believe poltergeists are non-human spirits that appear alongside other types of hauntings. Like other haunted places, the Blennerhassett Hotel has a number of poltergeist psychic expressions, turning up most often in the library. This includes antique books, chairs being upturned and then an ottoman that had the fabric pulled up until it resembled a tent. People also report being touched in the library. It is certainly one of the most haunted areas of the hotel.
Not only are there ghosts inside the hotel, there are spirits all along the tour route. When joining the tour you can expect to experience yourself slider activity and that is when the crowds walk under streetlights they will go out. This happens anywhere from 6 to a dozen times during the tours. This phenomenon is associated with telekinetic energies which builds in crowds. The tour guides will explain to tour goers the reason. There are also places of famous ghost sightings and photographs. So be prepared!
Haunted Parkersburg Tours (including True Crime) are from September 27 – November 2. Call (304) 428-7978 or email Susan Sheppard at