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Ghostly nurses outside your door. Tubs fill themselves with blue water. Gargoyles in agony. Welcome, your room is ready.

The Emily Morgan Hotel's exterior.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
The Emily Morgan Hotel is a building with many secrets.

Just in time for Halloween, San Antonio's Emily Morgan Hotel has been named among this year's Top 25 Most Haunted American Hotels.

The ranking this month comes from the organization Historic Hotels of America.

What is now the Emily Morgan Hotel was built in 1924 in a Gothic style, and the building's exterior features gargoyles suffering from medical ailments. Some are holding their teeth as if they have a toothache. Others are holding their stomach as if they have a stomachache.

Those gargoyles pay homage to the hotel's previous life as a Medical Arts building, which included a hospital, dentist offices, psychiatric ward, and a morgue.

It was briefly the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

The hospital became an office building in 1976, then later a hotel in 1984, and today it remains a hotel, with 177 rooms and 23 suites. It stands next door to the Alamo and bills itself as the "Alamo's Official Hotel."

Kole Siefken, the hotel's general manager, gave TPR a tour. He said many guests claimed to witness paranormal activity seemingly tied to the building's previous days as a hospital.

"On the 12th floor, guests will report that all their faucets in their bathroom are turned on and all they can hear is running water, so they call down because they get frightened. When they get right to the threshold of the bathroom, all of the water stops, and it's all dry," he said.

He added that the guests don't just report sights and sounds but smells too.

Emily Morgan Hotel General Manager Kole Siefken jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
Emily Morgan Hotel General Manager Kole Siefken shared some of the hotel's most interesting ghost stories with Texas Public Radio on a recent tour

"On the 14th floor, that's where they used to do the surgeries, and so it smells sort of like a antiseptic type bandage smell up there. Throughout all the renovations it's gone through over the years, it still smells that way," Siefken added.

Maybe the spookiest of all the tales the guests have shared with him are when they open their room doors and see a nurse pushing a rickety gurney down the hallway.

Deborah McNabb, the hotel sales manager, believes there is something paranormal going on. She visited a dentist in the building when it had dentist offices. Later, she stayed in the hotel. She said she left her room to get dinner and found something strange when she returned.

"The bath water had been run, and it was halfway full," she said. "It was completely blue. The water was blue. It was so blue that you would actually have to dye this water to be this color. So that was kind of silly. I was with a friend, so she thought I had run the bath water."

McNabb added: "So we have a key card system, so we know who has entered this room, so we actually had it checked because I thought engineering was playing a joke on me. And they checked it, and my key was the only one that had entered that room."

Siefken said frightened guests are not screaming or running out of the hotel. Does he think the hotel's spooky reputation is actually a draw for some guests?

"Ya, we do. We get quite a few guests that come, and they want to have the experience, and we jokingly say 'we will schedule your haunting at 3 a.m.,' " he said.

Through Nov. 7, the hotel is offering a one night package that includes a Room with a Boo, including special cocktails and "Boo Berry" pancakes.

Siefken has written a brief account of the guest's ghost stories titled The Haunted Emily Morgan Hotel.

It's not the first time the building has been honored for its spookiness. In 2015, USA Today named it the third most haunted hotel in the world.

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