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Shanley Hotel – Napanoch, New York
Investigation 7.30.2011 - 7.31.2011


History of Shanley Hotel 

The Shanley Hotel was originally built in 1845 and quickly became a popular summer destination due to its location on a rail corridor. The location also served the townsfolk as a favorite hangout. The hotel at one point was considered one of the most luxurious in the country at that time. In March, 1895, a house fire quickly spread to the hotel completely destroying the structure. The hotel was quickly rebuilt on the surviving foundation and was back in business that same year. 
The hotel had many owners during its existence. The owners who left their mark on the hotel were James and Beatrice Shanley. During their ownership, a bowling alley and billiards room was added onto the building. Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas Edison were regulars at the hotel, and the Shanleys became great friends with President Roosevelt and the first lady Eleanor.  During Prohibition, the hotel was raided for serving alcohol and even had a gentleman’s club and bordello. 

Tragedies at the Shanley Hotel

There are several tragedies and mysteries which have left imprints on the hotel. There were untimely deaths, murders, suicides, and even murders that were covered up as suicides. Rumors of mafia and human remains buried in the basement persist. Below are the known and reported tragedies.

  • James and Beatrice Shanley lost their only three children, all under one year old.  Kathleen (5 months, 24 days), James Jr. (4 months, 11 days), and William (9 months, 10 days). 
  • Esther Faughman was Beatrice’s sister, she died during childbirth of her third child.  Mr. and Mrs. Shanley took care of Esther’s surviving two daughters after her death. 
  • James Shanley died of a massive heart attack in the hotel. 
  • Rosanna Grager was the daughter of the hotel’s barber. When she was four-years old she fell into and drowned in the well that served the hotel. 
  • A six-year old boy was struck and killed by a car in an alley between the hotel and a neighboring house. 
  • A woman named Claire is reported to have hung herself in the hotel in the 1800’s, however, there is some theory that she was murdered and a suicide was used to cover-up her death. 
  • A woman named Sarah was murdered in her room in the hotel. Reportedly someone broke down the door and fought with her. 
  • A woman named Anna not only had her baby taken away from her, but she was later strangled to death. 
  • An investor, who lost everything in the great stock market collapse, hung himself in the honeymoon suite.  A woman was also said to be murdered in this room. 

With a history such as this, it was apparent we may have our hands full during this investigation. 

Paranormal Claims at the Shanley

With all the tragedy at this location, the claims are just as numerous. They advertise that they contain forty spirits within the location.  We set out to see how many we can find.  Reports include: 

  • Full-bodied apparitions
  • Doors opening and closing
  • Furniture moving on its own
  • Sounds of whistling, footsteps, knocking on doors, crying, moaning, chatting, children laughing, and ragtime music
  • Cold/Hot Spots
  • Smells of Perfume, Smoke, and Food
  • Feelings of being watched and/or followed
  • Touched by unseen forces 
The Investigation

MPI’s investigation of the hotel started on July 30 and finished on July 31, 2011. Christiana, Vanessa, and Dave not only investigated the hotel, but slept in haunted rooms with the hopes of capturing amazing evidence at this location. 

Evidence listed by room/location
Gentleman’s Club 

Located on the first floor, the doors only opened for distinguished members or “ladies”.  Claims include the fact that women can smell cologne and have been touched.  Beds shake and people are often asked to leave.  When investigating this room, we tried a variety of tactics and trigger items to set off experiences. The presence of Christiana and Vanessa in an area frequented by gentlemen only should have triggered some experiences.  Dave also held an impromptu poker game in order to draw activity.  Dave’s pair of kings beat their hands – but no one paid their debts. 

  • Personal Experiences 
When we first entered the room during the tour before the investigation, Dave felt someone touch his shoulder and neck.  Vanessa also had goosebumps when entering this location. 
During Sunday morning, Dave saw a shadow figure move from the doorway of this room across the hallway.  
  • Tangible Evidence
EVP – When Dave asked “Is Mr. Shanley here?” there was a whisper that said “Talk to me.”  This was not on the ghost box, but an EVP, meaning it was not heard at the time.

Possible response on Ghost box to Dave’s question “Is anybody here?”  Reply could be “yeah”. 


Located on the second floor above the gentleman’s club, the bordello is claimed to be the most active location at the hotel.  Common reports in this area include many people feeling lightheaded, shortness of breath and overwhelming feelings of euphoria or grief.  A young lady has been photographed from in the room looking out the window.  Some groups claim to hear a music box regularly. (The music box music could come from music boxes in Rosie’s room, if they have some tension left, they could play, claim can be easily explained.) 

During the evening, another group from Ohio actually captured a figure kneeling and appearing to pray.  Since we did not take the photograph, it is not posted here.  It was an amazing photograph, and our attempts to debunk it failed.

  • Personal Experiences 

While in Anna’s room, Vanessa was watching a shadow figure walking in the bordello waiting area.  At the same time, Dave saw a shadow moving on the wall in Anna’s room, presumably from the shadow figure walking in the waiting area blocking out the light into Anna’s room.  When Dave got up to check the shadow moving, Vanessa states she sees someone walking in the waiting area.  There was only one way out, and no one could have entered or left without us seeing them. 

Later in the evening during our second visit to the bordello (how often can one say that?), the room was getting odd.  Dave was sitting in the exact spot where the girl was photographed to be praying when he felt a strange tingling feeling by his legs.  Shortly afterward, both Christiana and Vanessa were getting chills.  The room was 78 degrees with no draft, no obvious explanation for the chills.

  • Tangible Evidence
We captured on clear EVP in Anna’s room during the investigation. While setting up equipment for an EVP session and Ghost box session, there is a voice that says something. There is some internal discussion as to whether it is saying “What’s that?” or something else.
Before Dave felt the tingling near his legs, there was an odd EVP recorded. Dave was talking to Rosie trying to get her to communicate. After he said "come on in" there sounds like a "Die" response. It sounds like a male.

Vanessa caught something odd in a photograph taken in the bordello. She snapped two photos, one right after another. If you look close in the mirror, you will see something odd occur. There is a shadow behind the curtain that appears in the second photo. 
Shot 1                                       Shot 2 -Look in the mirror.
Close-up Shot 1                     Close-up Shot 2
Rose’s Room

Rose was a world traveler in the early 1900’s. Reports include an indentation in the bed as if someone was sleeping on it (mattress has natural indents from guests), and a young woman staring out the window. Objects are known to move in this room as Rose likes everything just so.  In order to motivate Rose, we moved a few items to see if she would move them back -   she didn’t. 

  • Personal experiences

This room was Christiana and Dave’s for the night and base camp for MPI’s cache of equipment.  At one point, we had to return to the room to pick up batteries as our digital recorder was running low on power.  As Dave was reloading the recorder and other items with fresh batteries, there was a clear knocking on the door.  Dave was within five feet of the door and opened it expecting to find Vanessa on the other side.  There was no one, and no one was down the hallway or up or down the stair cases.  The floors made so much noise, it is impossible for someone to walk on them without them creaking.  It is important to note that during our tour, one of the claims the owner’s daughter has was a constant knocking on doors.  If you ignore it, they’ll stop.  But since Dave answered, would it continue?  We were not in our rooms enough to say if it happened again.  Too bad our recorders batteries were being changed, would have been great evidence.

Also, when we first entered the room to place down our equipment, Dave felt the static charge that is often felt when a spirit is present. 

  • Tangible Evidence
EVP – during a lighter moment of our investigation, Vanessa heard a male whisper or say “Hey”.  During the review of the evidence this voice was recorded. 

Oscar & Grover’s Room

Reports in this room include the presence of a male spirit that wants his room to be quiet. Of course, we tested this theory out and had a surprising result…a threat!  

Oscar & Grover were roommates at some point in the hotel’s history. They were friends, but they also fought a lot.  They both were competitive about female “conquests”.  Grover actually had a fling for a woman named “Marguerite”, also a guest in the hotel.  It is claimed that he still enters her room calls her name and touches women who are in bed.  There are still bullet holes in Oscar and Grover’s room. 

Seeing that Oscar and Grover had a reputation as womanizers, Christiana and Vanessa were perfect bait.  During the investigation, Dave kept having trouble remember Oscar and Grover and instead kept thinking Bert and Ernie (being a parent does that).  So a light moment about Sesame Street characters set off one of the paranormal residents in one of our favorite EVP clips ever.

  • Tangible Evidence
EVP – Since Oscar or Grover likes the room quiet, what better location is there to use the Ghost box, a radio transmitter altered to constantly roam the frequencies. It uses the “white noise” theory.  At first we were skeptical, but using it in the field has provided some amazing results.  This first response is a “Go on” or “Go away”.
This next Ghost box reply was a bit more interesting.  Since the room seemed quiet and the issue with “Grover and Oscar” and “Bert and Ernie”, Dave asked about Elmo and Big Bird.  What we captured was a bit interesting.  The response was “I’ll kill you, you freak.”
Shortly afterwards, this next response was recorded, it is longer in length, we are having trouble deciphering what is said. It appears the last word is “ever.” 
We also recorded two requests for us to leave. 
Claire’s Room

Reports of Claire state that she is unhappy that her death was ruled a suicide. It is claimed that Claire tells psychics that she won’t rest until her story is told.  We spent considerable amount of time trying to earn her trust and promising her that if she provided a name of who killed her that we would make sure her story is told and that she can rest.  Although Claire did not provide any valuable info, she did speak to us using the ghost box.  We also captured another possible spirit, a four-legged one, at that. 

  • Tangible Evidence
Response on Ghost box – When asked if Claire wanted us to leave there was a clear response.  It says “Maybe”. 
One of the reports was that the owners had a cat who became trapped under the floor boards in the room next to Claire and became sick and died.  The owners claim to hear a cat meowing.  Other claims include an EVP of someone saying “My cat” before a door shut on its own.  We checked out the door and it does not shut on its own or very easily.  As we were trying to talk to Claire, Christiana and Dave heard the sound of a cat in distress coming from the adjacent room.  We were happy to have recorded it.  Please note, it is easy to say that the cat was outside, but we were standing by an open window and the cat meowing did not come from outside, but from within the next room.You will hear a dog barking, that was outside.  The cat, we clearly heard was in the next room over. It is faint, but recorded.

Jonathan’s Room

Jonathan is a six year old boy who reports indicate, likes to play with toys to impress people.  There are confirmed historical records of a six year old boy that was struck and killed by a car in an alleyway adjacent the hotel.  People constantly report that balls roll on their own.  However, we found that the floors are in a bit of disrepair so any movement will cause a ball to roll - seemingly making it look like it rolls on its own.  MPI tried many times to get Jonathan to play, sitting on the floor, making all kinds of noise, trying to play tag or hide and seek. 

  • Tangible Evidence
The one bit of evidence we did get, is when Dave was showing Jonathan that it was all right to play ball indoors.  After Dave bounced a ball on the floor showing him he would not get in trouble there was an odd vocalization after Dave said “See?”  To us, it sounds like it could be a child answering in the affirmative. 

Joe’s Room

Joe was reportedly a hit-man who lived on the third floor. His spirit is described as sinister, but usually does not do harm. He likes to be left alone and is not afraid to let people know.  We spent a lot of time in this room, but he was quiet. Until Dave started asking questions about the deaths of a couple women in the hotel and what involvement he had.  When Dave started pressing about Sara’s death he felt a slight static that can be best described as cobwebs (The ceilings are high and no cobwebs were present). When Dave further pressed into asking how he did it, the feeling was stronger and on his ear.  Other than a non-recordable personal experience, there was no tangible evidence. 

Secret Room

This room is located on the basement level.  It is separated from the rest of the basement and the entrance can be a bit challenging.  The room itself was small with no other exit.  Rumors persist that there are remains buried within the basement floor or within the walls.  Mobsters reportedly were regulars of the hotel in a previous era.  T.J. is another known spirit that frequents the basement.  T.J., when alive, kept to the basement area as he was a Vietnam Veteran who was disfigured from exposure to Agent Orange.  MPI felt like they made brief contact with T.J.

  • Tangible Evidence
While setting up the equipment to begin an EVP session, Dave and Vanessa used aliases, since mobsters were thought to be responsible for the energy in the area.  Dave called himself “Frank”.  When Dave asked for a spirit to say his name and asked “Can you say Frank.” There was a clear response on the Ghost box , “Dave”. 

Of course, Dave was speechless for a bit, and Christiana and Vanessa were discussing how they heard “Dave”, another “Dave”, although more faint was recorded. 
Dave then addressed T.J. and asked him if he can use the Ghost box to talk to us.  A clear “Yes” response was then captured. 
We then asked if anybody else was in the room with us, this time a female voice came through, loud and clear – “yes”. 

Room 24

We nicknamed this room “the Moth Ball room” as the odor of moth balls was overwhelming.  We found no reports of this room during our pre-investigation research, but during our walkthrough, Buffy (the owner’s daughter) stated this room has become very active.  We set out for an EVP session and Ghost box session and this room provided a lot of evidence. 

  • Tangible Evidence
At first no one was communicating with us during our Ghost box session.  We then received a name on the ghost box.  “Adam”. Also during this audio clip is a somewhat disturbing "Get out!" 
Reports in this room include EVPs where the spirits use a bit of vulgarity to describe the investigators.  This next clip is hard to make out, but sounds like a cranky spirit.  When Dave says “Come on buddy, I know you are following us” the reply could be “F- - -   it” as in he didn’t care.  The responses that follow make us believe he was just toying with us.
Immediately after the possible f-bomb, Dave said that whoever was following us can enter the room.  The response was a bit odd, sort of the same indifferent or mocking tone “good luck.”
Dave then asked the question, “Is something preventing you from talking to us?” The response “Not really”.  Again, indifferent or mocking. 
Christiana then said “Hello” to elicit a reply.  What was then captured is one of our favorite EVPs of all time.  A woman’s voice states “Someone’s right there”.  Although intent is hard to place on a reply, we look at it like we see spirits.  We have a theory that some spirits see us like we see them, just snippets and faint visual clues.  This response sounds as if this woman’s spirit was a bit surprised someone called out “Hello”. 
Later on, Dave made contact with the mocking spirit again.  During a lull in the activity Dave asked them what they thought of the team.  Seeing this room had spirits that were not afraid to speak their minds, he was a bit interested in what they would say about MPI.  He told them that they can be honest and say whatever is on their mind.  He said that they could say whatever they wanted and we wouldn’t be offended. The reply was the same tone as other responses “Oh…that’s great.” 
Shanley Hotel boasts that "The Spirits are Inn".  We found that claim to be somewhat accurate.  The evening was quiet in the standpoint that the usual assortment of footsteps, objects moving, and shadow figures were few and far between, we had great success using the Ghost box technology.  We were skeptical at first, but have found it very effective.  While Oscar or Grover voiced an intent to kill one of us, these spirits are harmless. We'll be back sometime in the future to hopefully bring back some more amazing evidence of this historic structure.  

Is it haunted?  Yes.  


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