Internet legend has it that in room 873 there was a murder suicide in which a man killed his wife and daughter, and then himself. Guests will be awoken by screaming and blood stains on the walls after the cleaning staff removes them. Sometimes a child wanders the halls, lost and alone. Because of the nature of the paranormal activity, the hotel has permanently barricaded the room. It is believed that the paranormal activity is due to the spirit of the husband, who is still searching for his lost family. It is said that he will not rest until he is reunited with them.
The story goes that a family of three checked into Room 873 years ago; a father, mother and little girl. One night the man went crazy and murdered his two loved ones. We presume he took his own life after, though that seems to get glossed over. His heinous act of violence shook the foundation of this hotel, leaving a dark stain that still remains to this day.
After the investigation, management at the Banff Springs Hotel refurbished the room and put it back in service. But it seems the mother and young one never really moved on; guests in Room 873 were greeted with violent screams in the middle of the night. The startled guests would turn the lights on to find bloody handprints on the walls that would reappear after housekeeping wiped them off. Reports from guests and staff suggest that the spirits of the woman and her infant haunt the room, and that this haunt has been going on for over a century. This suggests that the mother and young one never found peace and have been trapped in the room ever since.
And supposedly – though this is hearsay – the chilling tale inspired Stephen King to write his horror masterpiece, The Shining, although we know he wrote that at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, and I suspect King buffs will debunk that rumor. The story is said to have been inspired by the legend of the mad ghost of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who is said to haunt a plantation in Georgia. It is believed that this ghostly figure inspired the character of Jack Torrance in The Shining.
(Lower image by Frederick Cooper)
The Banff Springs Hotel tends to stay quiet about Room 873, and the other apparitions that keep popping up as guests continue to frequent the Grand Dame of the Canadian Rockies. Room 873 has been the site of numerous reports of paranormal activity, such as the ghostly figure of a woman in a bridal dress and the sound of a baby crying. This, combined with the hotel's long history, has made it a popular destination for ghost hunters, which the hotel wishes to avoid.
There’s the bride on the staircase, who fell to her death on her wedding night and has been reported dancing alone ever since. And Sam McAuley, the friendly old Scottish bellman who refused to retire and said he’d work there forever. He is still seen walking around the hotel, ringing a bell and even offering to help guests with anything they need.