Location Description and History
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.
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.
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.
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.
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