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CALIFORNIA - Hotel Del Coronado

by: Kelli Patrick

On 33 oceanfront acres sits a Victorian castle called the Hotel Del Coronado, "The Del" was completed in 1888. When it was built, the hotel was the most prominent structure outside of New York City to be electrically lighted and Thomas Edison himself supervised the installation of the incandescent lamp invention. L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz, did much of his writing here, and is said to have based his designs for the Emerald City on the hotel.

Other famous people to have stayed at the Del include Presidents, Charles Lindbergh, Marilyn Monroe, and it is rumored that King Edward VIII first met Wallis Simpson, the woman he would abdicate the throne to marry, at the Del.

The Ghosts

There are two rooms at the Del that are reportedly haunted. The rooms are 3502 and 3312, originally 302. The resident ghost is Kate Morgan. She checked into room 302 in November of 1892 and never checked out. Her spirit is said to haunt this room to this day. Room 3502 is also reported to have similar occurrences of phantom noises, flickering lights, off scents, and curtains billowing when no one is there to disturb them and the windows are closed.

Inspections can't explain why there is differences of temperature or the constantly malfunctioning wiring.

No one knows for sure who is residing in room 3502, but some say the maid who tended to Kate stayed here...and hasn't left. Even thought Kate stayed in room 3312, the room 3502 seems to be the location for most of the ghostly happenings.

Guests of room 3312 have reported toilets flushing by themselves, lights turning on and the TV blasting on and not being able to be turned off. Several guests have seen a shadowy figure of a woman standing by the window. Ashtrays have flown across the room and shattered. A local radio station tried to broadcast live from the room and nothing worked. Equipment that was checked and rechecked suddenly failed.

Kate Morgan

Kate (Farmer) Morgan, registered under the alias Lottie Bernard, checked into room 302, on November 23. On November 29, 1892, she was found dead.

Kate checked in and was going to meet with her brother there that weekend, official transcripts report. Kate was married to Tom Morgan. He was off trying to win money a poker, that was his job. Kate became pregnant and wanted to settle down. Supposedly Tom did not want to settle down.

According to reports, Kate told staff that she had stomach cancer and her brother, a doctor, would be arriving soon to help. She refused to see a house doctor. Several witnesses said that Kate looked to be in a lot of pain the day she died. She seemed to be despondent and lonely during her time at the hotel.

Kate had a pharmacist bring camphor, a painkiller, and a sponge to her room. Malaria pills were found in her room. those drugs along w/ alcohol that was ordered from the bar, would surely induce an abortion.

While waiting for Tom, Kate bought a gun and waited by her window. The testimony of the local gunshopowner given at the coroner's inquest stated that he sold Lottie Bernard a .44 American bull-dog and two cartridges and showed her how to load the gun. the bullet found in the head of the deceased was thought to be a .38.

Who was Kate Morgan? Newspapers across the country carried stories and sketches of the dead woman. No one ever came to claim the body. Kate Morgan was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

There are theories that Tom, brother or husband, depending on the story you read, arrived at the hotel and suggested that Kate take a walk outside around midnight. Kate was angry at Tom for not settling down and forcing her to miscarry her child. Their argument became heated and Kate pulled her gun, shot at Tom and missed. But Tom didn't miss.

The bullet found in Kate's head did not match her gun. There would have been more damage done to her face if she had been shot with a .44. There was minimal damage and the bullet was still lodged in her head. the coroner said Kate was shot at an upward angle. Tom could have been standing a few steps below her on the sand. Tom would have been the only one to identify her, but he did not come to claim the body.

Murder or suicide?

Kate Morgan is still at the Del, waiting for her husband or the truth.

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