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Are These Two Spooky Stays the Most Terrifying Haunted Hotels Ever?


The theme in my social media feeds the past week has been “haunted places that require waivers before you’re allowed in.”

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. So far I’ve had friends share just two such places with me, both Spooky Stays.

But two haunted hotels in one week that require visitors to sign waivers compared to none in previous weeks/months/years made me stand up and take notice.

So which ones are they and where are they located?

Excellent questions. Let’s have a look…

The SK Pierce Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts
Sk Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion – Source: Facebook

Facebook exploded with shares about Only in Your State’s “There’s A Haunted House In Massachusetts That’s So Terrifying You Have To Sign A Waiver To Enter.”

This late 1880s Victorian once belonged to Sylvester Pierce, owner of S.K. Pierce and Sons Furniture Company. Misfortune befell the family during the Great Depression, forcing the younger son to turn the house into a boarding house.

In addition to Pierce and his first wife, some of the ghosts thought to haunt the property are from the boarding house era, including:

  1. A prostitute who was strangled in a red bedroom on the second floor,
  2. An immigrant who burned to death (perhaps by spontaneous combustion)
  3. A young boy who drowned in the basement

Activity runs the gamut from footsteps, voices and changes in temperature to shadow people and full-bodied apparitions. But perhaps the most curious is “…an ominous lions roar which can shake the house.” Wild!

The current owners, Dark Carnival, a circus-themed haunted attraction company based in New Jersey, are currently renovating the old place. Getting it ready for Halloween and for overnight visitors.

Yes, you will be able to stay the night:

For the bravest of the brave, the SK Haunted Victorian Mansion is available for overnight, weekly and monthly rentals.  Do not miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience.

The paranormal activity within these walls has proven to be increased significantly during the midnight hours.  For your own safety, please do not antagonize the spirits of this home in any way.  Detailed injury and safety waivers must be signed prior to entering the home.

For more details or to make a reservation, please contact our real estate agent (to be determined once renovations are complete).

For more information about the Sk Haunted Victorian Mansion and booking your stay, visit their website:

Side note: Kind of appropriate that the new owners are circus related. P.T. Barnum was among the mansion’s notable guests, along with President Calvin Coolidge, Minnesota Fats, Bette Davis, and Norman Rockwell.

The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, New York
Source: Facebook

The second waiver-requiring Spooky Stay came from a friend who messaged me the Dose’s “This Hotel Is So Haunted You Have To Sign A Waiver To Stay There.”

At first I thought it was just another link about the SK Pierce Haunted Mansion. Nope. It was for the Shanley.

Not to be confused with the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The Hotel Shanley is smaller, far less grand, but perhaps more terrifying than anything Stephen King presented in the Shining.

I first became aware of the Shanley courtesy of a ghost show called Scared! (If you’re familiar with Brian J. Cano, it’s where he got his start.)

The Hotel Shanley, or the Naponoch Hotel as it was once known, was built in the late 1890s by James Louis Shanely. (Who, interestingly enough, was born on October 31.)

It was intended as a summer vacation spot but also provided respite for weary railroad travelers. Famous guests included Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Lots of deaths have occurred at the hotel. All three of Shanley and his wife’s children died there. So did the daughter of the hotel’s barber.

According to its website, “Paranormal activity can be experienced here at any hour of
the day or night.
” Which may include unoccupied rocking chairs moving on their own, hot and cold spots, footsteps, voices, music, apparitions, and children’s laughter (children aren’t even allowed, guests must be 16 years or older to stay).

Accommodations cost $95/night per guest and includes: ghost investigation throughout the hotel, refreshments, continental breakfast, wireless Internet, air conditioning.

You can also book the entire hotel for your paranormal group or event for $1,400. (15 person maximum though.)

You can even do an investigation-only, no overnight stay. It costs $75 per person and allows you to “hunt” from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on any non-event night. (They have several. Popular place.)

However, I’m not sure where the author of the Dose article saw that a waiver is needed to stay at the Shanley. If it is, they sure don’t mention it on their site. (Unless it’s staring me right in the face.)

For more information about the Hotel Shanley and booking your stay, visit their website:


Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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