Investigation Report

Location: La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, NM
Date: 03 July 2005
Weather Conditions: Clear
Humidity: 7%
Geomagnetic Storm Activity: Inactive, Quiet
Temperature: 90
Number of Photos taken: 427
Number with possible targets: 3
Average EM Readings: 5 nt
Average M fields Readings: 2 nt
Average E Field Readings: 1 vpm
Cold Spots detected: None
Hot Spots Detected: None
Olfactory Phenomena: None
Visual Phenomena: None
Type of Investigation: Ghost Hunt

All information and photos Copyright 2005 by Cody Polston, Bob Carter and SGHA. All Rights Reserved.

Location Description and History

An old tradition claims that in Spanish times Santa Fe had a single hotel, La Fonda ("The Inn"), at the same location as the present-day La Fonda. However, no documents have been found to confirm that. Local historian Marian Meyer has reported that an American couple, William and Mary Donoho, operated the place from 1833 to 1837. The hotel has also been called "the Exchange Hotel", "The Fonda", "The U.S. Hotel" and the "La Fonda Americana".

After the American conquest in 1846, the La Fonda was still the only real hotel in town. One guest complained that "it was so badly kept and supplied that few people paid it a second visit." Entrance to the lobby was on the corner, and an inside door gave access to the hotel's saloon. There was a long placita, or interior courtyard, and a high-walled corral attached to the north for patrons' horses.

In 1848, the inn was purchased by new owners who changed its name to the U.S. Hotel. The gambling Hall continued to be a major feature, providing entertainment for military officers, visitors and the occasional professional gambler.

On June 14 1862 a soldier named James Bennet visited the La Fonda and wrote in his journal about what he witnessed. Bennet was seated in the La Fonda’s lobby when a cowboy came in and started shooting up the hotel. The cowboy said he was from Texas and was getting even for a friend of his who was killed. The cowboy shot a lawyer in the stomach and another man in the arm before he was captured and thrown into jail. Later that night the cowboy from Texas was lynched and hung in the backyard of the La Fonda.

Also in 1867 the hotel was sold again and became The Exchange Hotel. the hotel would remain under this name for the next sixty years. Sometime during this period several tunnels were constructed underneath the hotel that lead to the Palace of Governors and the courthouse.

The Honorable John P. Slough, Chief Justice of the Territorial Supreme Court, was shot to death in the hotel lobby in 1867. Slough was in a dispute with Captain Rynerson, a member of the Territorial Legislature representing Dona Ana County, when he called Rynerson a liar and a thief. The offended Rynerson then shot Slough, who died of his wounds. Rynerson was tried in a court of law and was later acquitted.

According to local legend, a businessman spent a day and evening at the La Fonda drinking and gambling. By the end of the evening the nameless man had lost all of his money and was heavily in debt.

Desperate over his actions, the unlucky gambler in a crazed state ran into the inner courtyard and committed suicide by jumping into the well.

The current building was built in 1922 on the site of the previous inns. In 1925 it was acquired by the Atchison, Topeka Santa Fe Railroad which leased it to Fred Harvey. For more than 40 years, from 1926 to 1968, La Fonda was one of the famous Harvey Houses, a renowned chain of fine hotels.

Reported Phenomena

Many people believe that Judge Slough continues to walk its hallways. In the 1970s, a guest reportedly called the front desk to complain that someone was walking up and down the hallway in front of his room. When an employee was sent to investigate, he saw a tall man in a long, black coat disappear into a stairwell. However, when he followed him to the stairs, there was no sign of the mysterious man. Perhaps this was yet another sighting of the judge.

Another ghost that is seen in the hotel is that of a man wearing 1800’s clothing running across the Plazuela Restaurant. Both guests and staff alike have reported the sight of a ghostly figure that walks to the center of the room and then seemingly jumps into the floor and disappears.The ghost disappears as he jumps into the ground where the old well used to be. The La Plazuela, is situated directly over the old well. Furthermore, maintenance men have seen this specter in the bowels of the hotel. This is followed by storage areas being found topsy turvey.

Other reported phenomena includes an apparition that haunts the Santa Fe Room, as well as a spirit that walks the hallways near the La Terraza, a restaurant located on the east side of the hotel's third floor floor. One evening, a security guard was making his rounds of the hotel when he entered one of the hotel's banquet rooms called the New Mexico Room. The room appeared to be empty. When he was halfway across the floor he 'felt' someone and sensed that someone was behind him.

Turning around, he saw a man in the middle of the floor moving towards the center of the room. When he confronted the man, the figure disappeared through the floor. Freaked out by the man's sudden disappearance, he ran to the front desk. Just as he arrived the manager came running down the hall in a state of near panic. The manager said that he was downstairs in housekeeping and he 'felt' an icy cold presence move through him. The area the manager was in is directly underneath the New Mexico Room, where the figure disappeared through the floor.

The hotel is also the home to an apparition of a young bride who was murdered on her wedding night by an ex-lover. She mainly haunts the wedding suite (Room 510). A night auditor of 20 years has witnessed the apparition of a bride walking into the hotel lobby, only to vanish as she approached the front desk. The same apparition has also been seen on the elevator, the hallway outside room 510, and the basement.

The hotel's bar is haunted by two different ghosts. The first ghost is that of a "cowboy". He is often seen sitting at the bar around 2:00 to 3:00am. When approached the figure disappears. The second ghost is African-American gentleman that may be one of the former bartenders. this same ghost was seen by a tiler working on the tile in the bell tower. He claims that there is no way the man could have entered the area without being seen as there was only one door and he was blocking it.

Other miscellaneous events include;

Room 274 – (at the front of hotel) Housekeeping was going to clean up room when she witnessed someone lying in the bed with the sheets pulled up over his head. Thinking that he had not checked out yet, she returned to the front desk, double checked and found out the room was supposed to be vacant. She got the houseman to go with her to wake up the man and get him out of the room. The houseman went to the form on the bed, pulled back covers, and there was no one there.

Elevator to bell tower – security guards making rounds would always be met by the elevator, even on empty floors. Even heading down the stairs, he would still be met by the elevator. A guest using elevator to get to his room saw a shadow that did not match his own shadow. This typically happens only with the left elevator.

The fireplace in the Santa Fe room apparently lights itself in the winter if wood is placed in it.

Security guard doing paperwork near fireplace sat down, left area for a moment, came back and area furniture was rearranged.

Auditory phenomena reported near food/liquor storage area, supposedly happens more often to new employees.

The Investigation

We met with the hotel's concierge in the lobby to go over the reported sightings and activities occurring in the building. After this interview, we went to the New Mexico Room, a large banquet hall located on the first floor. Within minutes, we located an usual D/C electromagnetic field towards the west end of the room. Several photographs taken during this event have unusual oddities in them.

The second strange EM field was found near the south wall. It appeared to be originating from a set of stacked chairs. when the chairs were moved, the field vanished from the area and the chairs. When the chairs were moved back the field reappeared. The chairs in the had spikes of 4 &5 nt consistently.

Measuring the strange D/C EM field in the Santa fe Room.

The team then moved into the adjoining Santa Fe Room. The same type of D/C electromagnetic field of 6 nt was found on a set of stacked chairs at the far end of the room. Additionally, a similar D/C field was found near the fireplace. When the metal gates of the fireplace were opened, the EM field disappeared.

Initially the team rationalized that the field was caused by Water lines underneath the building generating a electromagnetic field. The metal of the fireplace gates and the stacked chairs were acting as amplifiers, enabling the fields to be picked up in the two banquet rooms.

Water pipe ground currents, which are A/C, are found in many locations which have all-metallic water service and mains, like the La Fonda. To prevent electric shocks, local building codes require that all metallic surfaces of appliances and conducting pipes should be grounded. This produces an alternative metallic path through the building which can carry, in some cases, neutral or return currents. Currents on metallic plumbing are not canceled; unlike household wiring in which hot and ground conductors are in close proximity and, as a result, magnetic fields produced by each wire tend to cancel out.

Even when all the power in the building is off, there may be ground currents, and thus magnetic fields, in the building from electric use in neighboring buildings. It should be noted that the term "ground currents" is also used to describe currents which flow through the earth itself. While ground currents through the earth may constitute a shock hazard, they are generally on the order of a few milliamps which is too small to produce a significant magnetic field. The term "ground current," as used in this report, refers to current flowing along buried metallic water pipes (with or without water in them) rather than current flowing in the ground itself.

As stated earlier, the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires a connection between the neutral at the electric service entrance (the fuse or circuit breaker box) and the water service where it enters the home. This connection allows for an alternative return path to the street which often results in currents that flow through conducting pipes to neighboring buildings and to their neutrals before returning to the transformer.

When the water service currents exceed approximately one half to one Amp, the resulting magnetic fields can be substantial, and can be found over large sections of the building. Since they do not flow on the building's neutral, these currents will cause a net current on the three wires of the service drop, which results in high magnetic fields in the house in the vicinity of the electric service drop. The magnetic field from these net currents decays slowly (at a rate of one over the distance).

The following Monday after this ghost hunt, Cody contacted one of the maintenance employees and discovered that the hotel's has a 15 foot non-conducting section of pipe between the water main and the hotel. This meets the National Electrical Code requirement (a minimum of 10 feet of water pipe under the earth for grounding to the electrical service neutral) This rules out magnetic fields caused by metallic water lines as a cause. The only other rationale alternative is that the field's origin must be caused by deviations from earth's natural magnetic fields.

From here we went upstairs to the Lumpins Ballroom. Once again we found an unusual D/C electromagnetic field. this one was the north door to the ballroom. The EM field here was directly associated with the center of the doors. No explain can be found at this time for these fields. Nothing else of interest was located in this room.

Room 510, the Honeymoon Suite

After the ballroom had been searched, we proceeded to the elevator and up to the fifth floor. During the elevator ride, the elevator stopped on the third floor. Oddly enough, we took the left elevator. The door opened and no one was present in the immediate area or the hallway. We ignored this and continued up.

Once on the fifth floor, we proceeded to Room 510, the honeymoon suite, to search it for unusual EM fields. Nothing substantial was found in the way of electromagnetic fields, but we did get one photograph with a possible obscured orb. Afterwards, we briefly searched the hallway, once again locating nothing of interest.

We were then lead to the basement. On the way down, the elevator once again stopped on the third floor. The doors opened and no one was around. We began experimenting with going up and down, seeing if the elevator would stop on the third floor again. It was odd because only after arriving back on the fifth floor did the light on the third floor button turn on.

During this process, we discovered that the button for the third floor was stuck. With abit of wiggling we unjammed it and the elevator worked properly. It is quite possible that this is the explanation of why the security guards often see the elevator stopping by them while they are on their round. If a person on another floor activates either of the call buttons, the elevator will stop on the third floor, regardless if it is going up or down.

Finally we arrived at the basement. we were interested to see if we obtained any D/C electromagnetic fields here. after searching the majority of the passages below the hotel we found nothing substantial in the way of D/C fields. However there were plenty of A/C fields, especially near the ceiling where the wiring was visible.

We were not able to gain access to the laundry room or the maintenance areas. Unfortunately, if there are still tunnels leading out of the hotel, they would be locked up behind one of the maintenance tunnels which our security guard did not posses a key to.

We moved back up to the lobby and briefly discussed the ghost hunt before leaving.

Basement, these three doors were once apartments for the Harvey girls.


Click on the thumbnails to view the larger image


Initial Conclusions

Photo 1

Photographic Analysis

Three interesting photographs were taken during this ghost hunt.

In photo 1 there is an unusual "mist" in the image. No one was smoking during that time and thirteen other photographs taken of this area by different people reveled nothing. The photo was taken in the New Mexico Room during the first EM event.

Photo 2 was also taken in the New Mexico Room. It shows an "orb-like" object that has no diffraction and has qualities that are not consistent with airborne pollutants.

Photo 3 was taken in Room 510 and contains a "possibly" obscured orb.

Electromagnetic Field Analysis

Three unusual D/C electromagnetic fields were found in the hotel. The readings of these fields ranged from 4 to 6 nanotesla. The power levels of these field are well within range to induce hallucinogenic effects to people who are electrosensitive.

Electrosensitivity, or electrical hypersensitivity, describes a condition where individuals experience discomfort or adverse health effects near equipment or devices which produce electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). There are several approaches to altering the environment and mitigating the fields.

Most people who describe themselves as electrically sensitive have a sensitivity to at least electric fields, and often to other fields as well (Magnetic fields, Radio Frequencies).

Because the fields are D/C and not A/C, the exact source of these fields is unknown at this time.

Photo 2

Photo 3

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