Not to be confused with the Stanley (inspiration behind Stephen King’s “Shining”), the haunted Shanley hotel in Napanoch, NY has plenty to offer intrepid ghost hunters who enter with an open mind and a playful spirit themselves.
Is it actually haunted? That’s for you to decide. In my opinion (as an open minded skeptic) — without a doubt. What may surprise you is the benevolence and playful nature of the spirits. If you enter with positive energy, the entities are receptive and available to respond in kind.
This historic Victorian Inn, located in a mountainous region of Ulster county, is comfortable, homey and relaxing. Gather a group of friends and the haunted Shanley hotel can be yours to explore for a night or a weekend. The incumbent owners, husband/wife team Sal and Cynthia Nicosia have high standards of integrity for providing a memorable experience to every guest, a gift often unparalleled in the hospitality industry. The surrounding town is peaceful; a great getaway from any major city.
Sal runs this Bed and Breakfast from a genuine place of joy and enthusiasm; this is a central ground to connect with eclectic travelers, restore history, and foster a unique experience. It’s not for profit. Rather than envisioning the Ritz, think of this more as a nostalgic road trip to stay with that gregarious extended family your mother keeps talking up.
Perhaps most striking to me and where the core of the spiritual energy may lie is the fact that the namesake owner of the hotel – James Shanley – possessed a similar passion for bringing together people from all walks of life, back at the turn of the 20th century. A prominent leader in the community, he used games, special events and entertainment to attract guests and make people feel welcome. Shanley eventually attracted personas elite as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas Edison. Could it be this welcoming atmosphere that has led some of the former inhabitants to stick around even in the afterlife? How often are we presented with an opportunity to honor history in real time?
It is believed that over 30 or 40 spirits roam these walls, which include a hidden basement chamber and a bordello – reputedly the most haunted location.
Some highlights from my experience:
One of the former bordello women, a ghost named Anna, was a spirit our group believed we made contact with. We used an EVP recorder in tandem with a flashlight and received coordinated responses to our yes or no questions, as well as spoken recordings, including an audible ‘I love you.’
On the third floor, a child spirit – Jonathan – interacts in a playroom filled with toys. It was inside this room that a balloon filled with air was rolled across the floor and one member of the group felt as if her hands were lightly touched.
Yet another spirit, Claire, also inhabiting the third floor, was believed to have been murdered and trapped in a loop, reliving her murder nightly. Our group participated in a freeing ritual, after which the energy of the room felt more centered and peaceful.
We also captured various photography of orbs. Other groups have reported hearing whistling, footsteps, seeing chairs rocking on their own, feeling lightheaded, or the sensation of being bound/handcuffed in the secret basement room.
Awesome personal joy: there is a ghost CAT named Sweet Thing which haunts the third floor. Side bar – I grew up owning a black cat named Sweetie who passed when she was 17, so this was a very cool connection. I love this short clip with evidence:
Tip: Regarding the investigation, I feel having spiritual mediums present with us facilitated a lot of activity. If you go, inquire about Lady Nyna and Shawn Peterson if you are interested in a deeper experience. They were phenomenal. Our group was hard core and didn’t stop the investigation until well after sunrise. They stayed up with us, working the entire time.
Tools used (most of which can be provided on site):
EMP (temperature detector)
FLASHLIGHT – absolute must. The most important thing as most of the investigation will be completed in the dark.
*Ouija boards are the one tool forbidden on the property, as they are a portal and tend to attract too much negative energy. Efforts to combat any undesirable effects can result in weakening benevolent energies as well.
Caveat: Do not go in expecting theatrics reminiscent of the movie “Poltergeist.” Chairs are not going to fly around the room, doors (probably) are not going to slam, glass will not shatter. Spirits, should they exist, work in subtle ways.
The reward of seeing tangible, small, responses is great, and helps in confirming the big questions – is there an afterlife? Do humans possess souls/energy separate from their biological makeup? I left the experience feeling a sense of peace, as if I’d definitely gotten some answers, along with an almost certain “yes.”
Want to book a stay or have additional questions? Head on over to the haunted Shanley hotel or contact Sal Nicosia at (845) 210-4267
Kimmy is a walking hyperbole who still loves to believe in magic and create it in as many ways as she can. Her love of horror began with an ill timed accidental run in on the transformation scene of David Cronenburg's "The Fly" in 1986; after which her parents decided that making friends with monsters would be cheaper than therapy. Her interests include scare acting, building/set design, FX makeup, immersive theatre and exploring the psychology of fear. She is also an OG Blackout survivor.