Kate Morgan - a young woman who checked into Hotel del Coronado in 1892 - never checked out. Instead, it's thought her lovely likeness and gentle spirit remain as the resort's resident ghost.
About Kate Morgan
Kate Morgan, age 24, arrived on Thanksgiving Day, alone and unhappy. According to hotel employees, she said she was waiting for a gentleman to join her. After five lonely days, Kate took her own life.
At the time of her death, police could find nothing to positively identify her, so a description of Kate was telegraphed to police agencies around the country. As a result, newspapers began to refer to Kate as the "beautiful stranger." After Kate Morgan's identity was confirmed - she was married but estranged from her husband - it was surmised that she had arrived at The Del hoping to rendezvous with a lover.
Kate had been employed as a domestic in a wealthy Los Angeles household. From there, she traveled by train to the hotel, where fellow passengers reported that a woman matching Kate's description had argued with a male companion, who then deserted her en route. During her stay, Kate was described as sickly and sorrowful, venturing into San Diego to buy a handgun, and the San Diego coroner later confirmed that Kate had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Ghost of Kate Morgan
According to the hotel's book, Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado, since that time, guests and employees have attested to ghostly goings-on. Most have to do with Kate's original third-floor guestroom, where visitors have experienced flickering lights, a television that turns itself on and off, breezes coming from nowhere, inexplicable scents and sounds, items moving of their own accord, doors that randomly open and close, abrupt changes in room temperature, and unexplained footsteps and voices. The story of Kate Morgan continues to intrigue hotel visitors, and the room in which she stayed is the most requested guestroom at the hotel.
Independent paranormal researchers, in turn, have documented supernatural activity in Kate's room using high-tech gadgetry, including infrared cameras, night vision goggles, radiation sensors, toxic-chemical indicators, microwave imaging systems, and high-frequency sound detectors.
There have also been Kate sightings in hotel hallways and along the seashore. Another very "active" area is the resort's gift shop, Est. 1888, where visitors and employees routinely witness giftware mysteriously flying off shelves, oftentimes falling upright and always unbroken.
More About Kate Morgan
The book, Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado is the official account of Kate Morgan's 1892 visit and contains a chronology of Kate's hotel activities; a transcription of the coroner's inquest; dozens of newspaper reports about Kate's stay; vintage photos of the hotel; as well as detailed descriptions of paranormal sightings. Beautiful Stranger can be purchased through the hotel's website at www.hoteldel.com.
Room 502 (now 3502) was rumored to be the love nest of hotel builder and owner E. S. Babcock.
The ill-fated mistress staying in this room took her own life soon after learning she was with child. The body later disappeared, perhaps removed by someone wishing to avoid an ugly scandal.
Today, lights sometimes flicker in the room, and outside the door, an icy chill may be felt.
Down these hotel hallways phantoms have been seen, and there have been numerous reports of feeling uneasy, as if being watched.
It is not unusual for the cleaning staff of the hotel to arrange to work in pairs, to avoid being anywhere alone.
Near the stairs to the beach you can feel the anguish of lost hope from a beautiful woman who had given up on life, but in death still watches new visitors to the hotel.
The ghosts of a little boy and girl have been seen running up and down hallways and stairs.
Drapes in room 3312 are often seen moving behind closed windows.
Screens fall off these windows for no apparent reason, and a strange glow may be seen some nights coming from the unoccupied room.
The age of this wooden hotel and its closeness to the restless sea may contribute the many reports of moans and murmurs in certain rooms, hallways and stairwells.
It may be the chill in the air from an ocean fog, but many believe the strange occurrences are caused instead by spirits, ghosts and poltergeists.
One of the more compelling stories is the May 1983 incident involving a Secret Service agent there to protect then Vice-President Bush on an official visit to San Diego.
The agent did not last the entire night in room 3502, complaining of feeling a breeze and seeing billowing drapes despite the windows being closed, gurgling sounds, and finally a ghostly glow that clung to the entire room.
If you are ever invited to the hotel's annual Christmas party, know that each year the staff also leaves in invitation for the spirit of Kate Morgan.