The Adolphus Hotel: Ghost Stories From Its Haunted History

Updated May 19, 2021
Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, United States

The Adolphus Hotel is haunted by resident ghosts riding the elevators and frightening overnight guests. The 19th floor hauntings attract many guests who book a room at the famous Dallas hotel for the chance of having a ghostly encounter.

Stories of Adolphus Hotel Ghosts

From the day the hotel opened its doors in 1912 to present day, "The Adolphus" played host to Big Band greats, political candidates, and a wide range of dignitaries and celebrities. It's no wonder with its history that the hotel is known not just for its rank as one of the top ten hotels in the U.S., but also for its renowned and often visible paranormal activity.

With each expansion, more ghost stories emerged about The Adolphus. Built by Adolphus Busch, founder of the Anheuser-Busch company, the hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. When it was first built, The Adolphus was a 22-story luxury hotel, but after several expansions, it boasted 1,200 rooms in the 1950s. However, a 1980s renovation decreased The Adolphus room capacity to 428 with today's capacity of 407. One constant throughout these changes has been the elevators that are known for poltergeist activities.

Adolphus Hotel Escalator

Poltergeist Activity Startles Guests

There have been many elevator deaths over the decades, so haunted elevators aren't a surprise to anyone familiar with The Adolphus. The first elevator death occurred a couple of weeks after the grand opening when a waiter wasn't paying attention while chatting with a fellow employee and stepped into an empty elevator shaft. Other elevator deaths include an elevator operator, hotel porter, and hotel cook.

Guests have reported the elevator doors on the 19th floor open and close on their own. Are ghosts riding up and down on the elevators or pushing the call buttons in an effort to let their presence be known?

Windows have opened with considerable force on days when there wasn't a breeze outside. Witnesses have also seen doors slam shut, seemingly on their own. The sound of slamming doors has also been reported throughout the hotel, but the greatest number of ghostly activities have come from the 19th floor.

Ghost Bands Play in Old Ballroom

Guests on the 19th floor have reported various types of paranormal activity. One of the ghosts' favorite haunts is the old ballroom that was located on this floor. During the 1930s and 1940s, Big Bands were featured at the hotel and played in the Old Ballroom.

Guests have reported hearing a band playing music in the middle of the night. Other guests call the hotel operator to complain about people running up and down the hallway outside their room. The hotel sends security personnel to investigate the complaints, and they invariably don't find anything, much less a human prankster.

These reports of phantom footfalls and ghost bands playing at all hours of the night are just a few of paranormal experiences that guests have reported. Paranormal investigators conjecture that both the footfalls and the band music may be lingering residual energies. In a residual haunting event, events from the past are replayed over and over. It's the paranormal equivalent of watching something on a video recording. This type of event may be purely visual in nature, or may only include sounds.

Residual hauntings are associated with a specific location and are usually not connected to the presence of a spirit. Instead, they are associated with events that created strong emotions, either positive or negative. A residual haunting can occur where a tragic event took place or, in the case of The Adolphus Hotel, at the scene of a place where emotions ran high because people were gathered together in celebration or in shock over a tragic death.

White Lady, Ghost of a Jilted Bride

The hauntings on the 19th floor include the apparition known as the White Lady. This ghost is seen roaming the 19th floor, moving from the ballroom and down the hall. It's believed this is the ghost of a 1930s era young bride. The story tells how the poor woman was jilted by the groom on her wedding day.

The distraught bride paced the hallway of the 19th floor, moving to and from the ballroom, while waiting for her betrothed to arrive. When it became apparent that the groom wasn't coming, she retreated in tears to her hotel room. Later that evening, she returned to the ballroom and hanged herself. While the story doesn't appear in newspaper archives, it is possible this ghastly tale was intentionally kept out of the papers to protect the hotel from such devastating, negative press.

It could be that the White Lady is from a later era and is the ghost of a 25-year-old prostitute murdered in the hotel in 1959. The woman was staying on a few floors below the 19th floor. The young woman was shoved from her window and plummeted to her death, bouncing against the building walls like a rag doll. The man, a serial killer, was later arrested for a different crime and confessed to the young woman's murder. Many of the encounters with the White Lady report she appears distraught and crying.

Ghostly woman suspended above fireplace

Hotel Employees Encounter Ghosts

It isn't just hotel guests having these encounters with ghostly residents. The Adolphus employees report having what appear to be intelligent hauntings. In one incident, a maid was tapped on the shoulder while cleaning rooms. When she turned around, there was no one there. Other hotel employees report sudden drops in room temperature and glasses being moved by unseen forces.

The Adolphus Hotel

Over the years, there have been numerous natural deaths and suicides at The Adolphus Hotel. It is very feasible that some of these poor souls are trapped at the hotel or have chosen to remain there as permanent guests.

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The Adolphus Hotel: Ghost Stories From Its Haunted History