Season2: Episode 19 - Banff Springs Hotel & Starvation Heights

Hi all, I hope you enjoyed the episode this week. Please remember if you click on the images in any of the blog posts it will take you to the source. Also all of the opinions expressed are MY personal opinions unless otherwise noted. I do my very best to find as much out about the locations and their histories and my intention is to always present information as truthful as possible.

Let's dive right into the first location, the Banff Springs Hotel. As I said with this episode I have been a bit hesitant with this story as I live in Alberta, I've grown up with the stories from the Banff Springs Hotel. So to me it was in a way sort of old news but as I've begun to realize, stories that I think are well known ...isn't the case for everyone. So I'm trying to be less judgemental of the stories that I present! The other thing that held me back is the fact that I am pretty positive two of the stories are completely not true, but it still makes for an interesting story and discussion on how stories come to be. As I said in the episode, is that even though the story may not be true, many people have had experiences in the hotel and I 100% believe it!

So here she is...seriously, what a fairy tale. You can see that centre tower where the renovation of the old hotel began, the wing furthest from us in the photo was the next part of the renovation. The other wing was the one that burned down in 1926.

You can see in this article from the Empress Express on May 27th 1926, the fire destroyed the remaining wooden wing built in 1887. It's interesting to note as well that the new wing was going to cost 1.7 million dollars! There really weren't many articles about this and I think it's because, though fire's are of course big news, there were no casualties noted and the wing was set to be demolished in a short few months. Note that the top large image in the article was an artist rendering of what the finished hotel would look like.

So let's talk the ghost bride. This is the stamp that came out in the same series as the Caribou Hotel's Mrs. Gideon. It's a beautiful stamp and there was also a commemorative coin with the same image. The representative from the hotel did tell me that there is a story of the Ghost Bride hanging in the stairwell. I found a travel blog here, they have a photo of the story that hangs in that hallway. I highly encourage you look at the blog, there are some amazing images of the interior of the hotel, the architectural details are incredible! Like I said there is no record that I've been able to find about a woman dying in any of the ways speculated. Though, I do believe that people have seen a woman in white or creme and that is completely possible. Some stories are made up to explain something and probably originally as a 'maybe this happened'...but eventually become fact. The facts that we know...weddings took place here...and there was a fire in the hotel in the late 20's.

Tell me what you think! Have you ever had an experience at the Banff Springs Hotel?

I found a picture of the story of the bride hanging in the hallway at the Banff Springs Hotel. So as you can see, the version of the story that they have posted is that her dress caught fire on the stairs.

The next story was around the Bellman who is still working at the Banff Springs to this day. I love this story, I love stories where experiences are had by people who would never expect it, who have what most would consider a rather mundane interaction. Only to find out later that the experience was not what it seemed. This seems to be the case with Sam the Bellman. You'll see the image for a grave site of a man named Sam McAuley, he is buried in Banff, AB and died in 1975. It seems that this could absolutely be the Sam that once worked at the hotel.

The last story that was at this hotel is the story of Room 873. There are still stories circulated today that this is the hotel that Stephen King's book (and one of my favourites) The Shining. This is not accurate however. The hotel in the movie, The Overlook Hotel could for sure evoke the image of the Banff Springs Hotel but it could evoke the image of really any luxury hotel built in the same time period. The real hotel that this book and this place were based on is the Stanley Hotel in Colorado

This is from www.Stephenking.com about his inspiration for the book that came from a stay at the Stanley Hotel.

"In late September of 1974, Tabby and I spent a night at a grand old hotel in Estes Park, the Stanley.  We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter. Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect—maybe the archetypical—setting for a ghost story.  That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind."

As an aside, I highly recommend...well anything by Stephen King really, but I recommend reading his memoir - Stephen King On Writing which can be found here . It's fantastic and so interesting to read about how he was inspired for each of his novels.

Moving on with Room 873 at the Banff Springs, just like with the Ghost Bride, there is NOTHING to be found about a murder suicide, or a family murdered at the hotel and for that matter in the town around that time. You can absolutely find some images people have taken in the hallway and there absolutely should have been a door there. I believe that there was but I also believe the plausible story that during renovation, the room was made into two rooms and the door was walled off.

Still...they make some really fun and interesting stories. Send me your experiences from the hotel and please let me know if you end up staying at the hotel. It's beautiful, spirits or not...I highly recommend it.

The next story that I talked about was the story of "Dr." Linda Hazzard.

Linda Hazzard through the years.

Her home in Olalla Washington, as I mentioned, the house has since been demolished.

The 'School of Health that she had built but eventually burned down, not to be rebuilt.

I found a great article with images of the Williamson sisters and another patient before things went too far, perhaps even right at the beginning.

As you can see, the Williamson sisters still looked relatively healthy but look at the haunting image of Dora at the time of her rescue. She was surely days from Death.

If Claire Williamson had not been able to get the word out to her former Nanny, who knows how many more victims 'Dr.' Hazzard would have claimed.

Check out the book 'Starvation Heights' By: Gregg Olsen found HERE

Until Next time!


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