Friday, May 05, 2006

The Beautiful Stranger

I am very interested in hauntings, ghosts and paranormal activity. So many people have claimed to have had a brush with people from "the other side" (myself included) for it to just be a fluke. The thing that really intrigues me is the mystery in it. What are these people doing here? What are they looking for? What are they trying to tell us? Are they just confused about where to go and they get stuck here or do they have an actual purpose? I've heard credible stories that support both of those theories. I'm a big fan of respected paranormal experts like Hanz Holtzer and Sylvia Brown. I love to read ghost stories and I really love history. San Diego Has a rich history and some of the most famous haunted spots in the country. During October, you can take a double decker bus around town and take a "Haunted Tour" of San Diego. They take you to all the good spots; The Whaley House, The El Campo Santo Cemetary and the Hotel Del Coronado. These spots all have a detailed, fascinating history. You can read a short description and see pictures of San Diego's most popular haunts at One of the most famous ghosts in sand Diego is that of Kate Morgan from the Hotel del Coronado. The hotel is a huge, sprawling place right on the sea that has been carefully maintained so it looks the same today as it did when it was built in the late 1800s. You can read more about that at

Here's the story of Kate Morgan that I copied from

What is known about Kate Morgan is this: she traveled with her husband, Thomas, using the alias of Lottie. A. Bernard. Thomas used the assumed named of Dr. M.C. Anderson. Together, they made a a somewhat decent living as scam artists. "Lottie", being a "natural beauty" (a term that the coroner would later use to describe her), would flirt with young men. Once the men were interested in her and wished to court her, she told them that they would first need to obtain the approval of her brother (the role played by Thomas). To do this--they soon discovered--meant that they would need to play poker with him. When the would-be suitor had been hoodwinked and swindled for all his worth, Lottie dropped him and quickly moved on to the next.

After some time, however, Kate began to yearn for more out of life, and she told Thomas that she wanted to have a house and to raise a family. Thomas had no desire to have a family, but he did placate Kate's desires to own a home by purchasing a house in Los Angeles. He continued to try to earn a living by traveling in search of high stakes poker games, while under yet another alias, Kate began working as a housekeeper in order to earn enough money to live on.

Thomas began to travel the circuit more and more, and during one of his tours from Iowa down to San Diego, he picked up Kate in Los Angeles en route. It was on this train ride from Los Angeles to San Diego that Kate told Thomas she was pregnant. Thomas was not happy about this news and he and Kate argued on the train. Thomas then left the train in Orange, CA. Kate went on to San Diego, checked in at the Hotel del Coronado, and waited for her husband to join her, but he never arrived.

Kate spent the next few days doing the following:

1) She checked other hotels in the area to see if Tom had check-ed in at any of them, but found no trace of him.

2) She performed an apparent abortion on herself by taking a huge amount of quinine (a known abortifacient of that time). Hotel employees reported that she had appeared pale, ill, and very unhappy during her stay. The large bottle of quinine was found in her room following her death.

3) And finally, it is know that Kate ventured into San Diego, and purchased a gun and shells.Five days after Kate Morgan checked into the Hotel del Coronado, she was found dead on a set of stairs just off the veranda that lead down to the beach, a single bullet wound to her right temple. The gun lay near Kate's body, two steps below. Blood was on the gun as well as on her hand.

Kate's death was immediately ruled as suicide, and for years this was the accepted cause of death. It wasn't until 1990, when Alan May published a book called, "The Legend of Kate Morgan: The Search for the Ghost of the Hotel del Coronado", that another theory was suggested.

May, an attorney who specialized in murder cases, concluded that Kate did not take her own life, but rather, that she was murdered by her husband, Thomas. He supports his theory by citing some compelling evidence, such as the fact that the bullet in Kate's head was of a different caliber than the bullets for the gun she purchased in San Diego. Also, the positioning of her body on the steps was not consistent with a suicide, suggesting that she was shot first, then dumped on the stairs--a gun with her blood on it was planted nearby to give the appearance of a suicide. May also suggests that a maid who worked at the hotel at the time, and may have befriended Kate, also disappeared the day after Kate's funeral. One story further proposes that the body of the maid was found by hotel staff and was removed in a covert attempt to keep publicity and anxiety at a minimum.

To this day, the legend of Kate Morgan still elicites curiosity and sparks interest. Since Kate's death in 1892, numerous claims of paranormal activity have been reported in the room where Kate stayed (room 302, now number 3312), and other areas of the hotel. Claims range from murmuring sounds to electrical problems, flickering lights, and unusual scents; from curtains that seem to blow in the wind despite the fact that the window is closed, to unexplained voices; or objects that move and televisions that turn on and off by themselves. Moreover, many people have claimed that they actually have seen the ghost of Kate Morgan, themselves.Over the years, numerous paranormal researchers have used their latest technology, such as radiation sensors, microwave imaging, high frequency sound detection, infrared cameras, and night vision goggles to substantiate and record unexplained paranormal activitity at The Del. Some of the noted activity at the hotel includes magnetic fields, drastic temper-ature fluctuations, and electronic dis-charges.

Perhaps someday these complex and high-tech tests may prove the unexplainable accounts, but there are still other claims which have been made that might never be explained. Such is the case of the peculiar incident reported by one of President Gerald Ford's Secret Service-men during their stay at the hotel. The agent apparently called the hotel management to report the noisy guests who were staying in the room above him.This turns out to be a particularily odd complaint because....He was staying in Kate Morgan's room---And it's located on the top floor.

1 comment:

  1. We were in San Diego in Jan. of this year and spent the afternoon at the beach in front of the Coronado. What a great looking building! I snapped about 30 pictures of just the Hotel. Would love to stay there sometime but figure it is probably real spendy. Love San Diego by the way. Hate LA, but SD is pretty cool. Love the hills and the Beach. Spent a week in LaJolla one year for my job and loved it up there also.