Ghostly Goings-On At The Hotel del Coronado!

The venerable Hotel del Coronado, San Diego’s landmark Pacific resort, has been experiencing paranormal activity for as long as anyone can remember – and with good reason. With more than 120 years of history behind her, it’s no surprise that this Victorian masterpiece has had its share of ghostly guests.

Though supernatural stories abound, most have to do with Kate Morgan, a beautiful young woman who checked in in 1892 – and never checked out. Kate (who may have been jilted by her lover) took her own life at the hotel, after spending five lonely and lovesick days waiting for a man who never arrived.

Today, Kate’s spirit seems to have remained at The Del, where she tends to occupy her former guestroom. But her beautiful apparition – and ghostly pranks – can be experienced throughout the rambling resort and grounds.

According to Christine Donovan, The Del’s historian and author of the book, Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado, Kate is a relatively harmless ghost. “She generally limits her activity to fleeting appearances and inexplicable antics. Guests in Kate’s room report everything from breezes that come from nowhere to a television set that turns on and off by itself.”

But, more dramatic tales have also been told. Like the time a young couple – away for a romantic Valentine weekend – experienced a string of supernatural occurrences, culminating in their covers being ripped off in the middle of the night by a ghostly figure.

Kate’s presence isn’t limited to her own guestroom; another room records a lot of paranormal activity, as do Victorian Building hallways. Kate has also been seen in The Del’s gardens and along the beach.

One of the most “active” areas of the Hotel del Coronado is the resort’s gift shop, Est.1888. This specialty store – which showcases the hotel’s vintage history – has hard time keeping glassware from “flying” off shelves or pictures from falling off walls. Because memorabilia related to Marilyn Monroe’s 1958 hotel filming of Some Like It Hot seems to be the most prone to tumbling, some long-time shop employees speculate that The Del’s resident ghost doesn’t like sharing the spotlight with Hollywood’s biggest star.

Donovan, who keeps files on guests’ paranormal experiences, receives many reports. Some are slight, like the California couple who heard a loud bang, followed by a woman’s humming in an empty hallway near Kate’s room. Others are more substantial, like the New York doctor who woke up to find a woman “standing at the foot of my bed laughing at me. She was wearing a long dark dress with a white collar.”

After one guest returned home, he sent the hotel an email with his account of “some strange unexplainable incidents” that included finding a carefully folded pile of clothes in a rumpled heap, and having a speaker phone that kept emitting a dial tone. The guest added, “I am not a superstitious person, but I’m a believer now.”

Sometimes a guest will wait years before contacting The Del, embarrassed to tell their tale. Says Donovan, “Whenever someone starts a conversation by saying, ‘I hope you don’t think I’m crazy,’ I know a ghost story is coming.”

Built for the then-staggering sum of $1 million, the Coronado opened its doors to business in 1888. It is a landmark to a bygone era of Victorian beach resorts constructed entirely of wood. To this day, it is still the largest beach resort on the North American Pacific coast.

Over the years presidents, movie stars, and royalty have stayed at the hotel. The Coronado appeared in the movies Some Like it Hot, The Stunt Man, and My Blue Heaven. It is thought that England’s Edward VII met his future wife Wallis Simpson while staying at the hotel. She was a resident of Coronado.

The hotel now may be most famous for its haunting. The most famous haunting is the story of Kate Morgan. In 1892, she checked into room 302 to meet, and reconcile, with her estranged husband. Her husband, Tom, never showed up. Kate’s body was found six days after checking in on the steps to the beach in front of the hotel. At the time, her death was immediately ruled a suicide when a bullet wound was found in her temple. Circumstances surround Mrs. Morgan’s death in mystery. The truth about her death may never be known. Perhaps that is why she haunts the Coronado.

This ghostly tale of reconciliation never realized has fascinated paranormal investigators for years. There is extensive documentation on the presence of Kate Morgan’s ghost in the hotel. What was once room 302 is now known as room 3312. Paranormal investigators trip over themselves trying to book this room. It may be the well-documented haunted room on the planet. Numerous times investigators have captured pictures of a smoky haze and recorded sounds that have no obvious source. Ghostly images abound on the Internet of Kate Morgan. If you are not able to check into room 3312 (it is a very popular request), don’t worry…Kate is rumored to wander around the hotel.


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About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).