A grand and striking hotel on the San Diego coastline has a dark secret about room 302. Sitting perched next to a beach, with a sprawling building straight out of Victorian luxury with towers and circular sun rooms, the Hotel Del Coronado is a hotspot for the wealthiest of guests. Founded in 1886, the stunning resort has had a ghostly guest that never checked out for nearly its entire existence.
Upon its founding, Elisha Babcock and H. L. Story secured the land for 100,000 and set to work building the infrastructure to support such a grand and ambitious project. They set up water pipes, a power plant, and more to make the hotel as self sufficient in its remote location near San Diego. A resort for the elite among the upper crust in the region and from far places as they visit.
The location only claims one ghost that wanders the grounds, a young woman who passed over 140 years prior, when the hotel was still a new and shiny construction. Miss Lottie A. Bernard checked into the hotel in room 302, claiming she was waiting for her brother, a doctor, to arrive and treat her ailments. When the young man didn’t show up after nearly a week of waiting, the young lady was said to have taken her own life on the beach outside the resort.
It was then they discovered she had checked in under an assumed name and was actually named Kate Morgan. Many speculators believe she was actually waiting for her lover, rather than her brother, and was suffering a miscarriage as she waiting in the hotel for him to arrive. Her body was found on the beach after her tragic end, with some believing she was actually murdered, rather than taking her own life.
Regardless of how she made it to the afterlife, Kate Morgan is a constant figure in the hotel since her death in 1892. The young woman, known as the Beautiful Stranger to all those in the paranormal community, was a tragic figure but was at least in the most beautiful place one could hope to haunt. Historical Director, Christine Donovan, literally wrote the book on the Beautiful Stranger and her appearances in the hotel. She said “If there’s any place to spend eternity, at least it’s at the Del,” commenting on the beautiful sprawling hotel and its splendor to all who check in, even if they never check out.
Dozens of ghostly encounters have been reported since the young woman’s demise, with her room on the third floor being the epicenter of most of the stories. Light flicker on and off, as do televisions and radios. Scents of vintage perfume are found all over the hotel, and footsteps and whispers can be heard late at night. Items placed in the room might find themselves being moved and hidden by the spirit.
The most active place in the hotel for paranormal activity is the resort’s gift shop, with items in the store being thrown from shelves and landing unbroken on the wooden floors. The story of Kate Morgan is a mystery and the basis for a tragic haunting at the Hotel Del Coronado. San Diego Paranormal enthusiasts have investigated the hotel and came back with a plethora of evidence of Kate’s continued appearances throughout the hotel.
Would you be brave enough to check into room 302, with the reports that it won’t just be you checking in for the night, but a ghostly visitor might be the one to welcome you to your temporary retreat. Some even report that the figure of a woman in victorian garb can be seen on the same beach she ended her life. Here’s hoping her afterlife is more pleasant than her real life, as the woman is remembered over 140 years after her death at the beautiful and haunting Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, Calif.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.