Shanley Hotel

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Spirits of Guests from both classes still love to stay, causing some paranormal activity.

Past Owners like to try to help.

Spirits who suffered emotional trauma here find themselves stuck.




The Shanley Hotel is a three story Dutch Colonial hotel that looms big on the Main Street of Napanoch. It has a marvelous front porch and has historic curb appeal. It is obvious that they promote their ghost hunting business plans because of the cute ghost figure seen on the porch and the fact that it hasn’t been painted recently making it look old and haunted for the benefit of the public.

The 35 room hotel has 10 rooms for their guests, that are mostly on the second and third floors. It has been beautifully restored, with antiques, painted floors, and lovely decor throughout the building that rings true with the James Shanley years.

Off the first floor is a creaky, funky set of stairs that lead to the Shanley Bordello, with spaces for 3 or 4 women of yesteryear to meet the sexual needs of the wealthy men who came to stay at the Shanley Hotel.

This amenity was appreciated at least until the Federal raid of 1932, which may have put a dent in not only their speakeasy business conducted in the secret room down in the basement, but the Shanley Bordello as well.



The original hotel establishment that appealed to a wide range of people, with special privileges to their wealthy gentlemen guests, was first built in 1845 by Thomas Ritch. Ritch promoted his hotel, The Thomas Ritch Hotel, as being “one of the area’s best with fine food and new furnishing.” Its location was near the railroad and provided rooms for travelers all year long, for vacationers, and area workers who were employed locally.

Only six years later, The Shanley Hotel was bought by a Mr. Hungerford and became Hungerford’s Hotel. Hungerford carried on the tradition of providing guest rooms in a high class place, that continued to offer the Gentlemen’s Club that had its own private bordello.

Several owners followed. Adolph Wagner, who bought the hotel in January of 1887, suffered a financial loss when the hotel caught fire from the sparks coming from a neighboring house, on March 18th, 1895. As the hotel had burned to its foundation, Wagner raised funds and rebuilt the hotel. It opened once again in September of 1895.

On October 1st, 1906, Wagner sold the hotel to Irishman James Shanley, a successful entrepreneur with an outgoing personality. James renamed the hotel: The Shanley Hotel. James added more wholesome activities for the guests to do. He added a barber shop, a bowling alley and a billiard room.

After marrying the love of his life, Beatrice Rowly, the Shanleys enjoyed running the hotel together. They loved their community; welcoming everyone and becoming the social event place for the town and outsiders as well. They in turn were well-loved by all. They sponsored all sorts of social occasions to entertain the town and guests alike, such as Card and domino tournaments, glorious parties, high teas and other fun events.

During Prohibition, The Shanley Hotel had a speakeasy for the benefit of their guests and the town’s citizens, like many hotels and inns. The Shanley Hotel Speakeasy was located in a secret room in the basement. It was raided only once by police in 1932, resulting in the confiscation of alcohol and some people being arrested, including James Shanley and his associate, John Powers. They were arraigned in Federal Court, but served no time. They probably paid a fine.

Seven years after James Shanley died of a heart attack, Beatrice Shanley sold their beloved Shanley Hotel to Allen Hazen in 1944. Running a hotel had lost its appeal to her, and she wanted to be with the rest of her family in New York City.

After Alan Hazen died, many owners took the reigns of this beloved hotel but didn’t invest in the hotel’s structure. When it became a rather expensive fixer upper opportunity, the hotel was abandoned and left vacant, except for the spirit residents, in 1991.

Fortunately for us all, Salvatore Nicosia and his wife, who were real estate flippers, bought the then crumbling hotel in 2005 as a flip opportunity, but they wound up falling in love with this structure, as they spent time, energy and funds to fully restore The Shanley Hotel to its former self.

Salvatore found out that there were many unseen, friendly residents cheering him on, who were very pleased at his efforts. On July 7th 2005 when escrow closed, the fact that they inherited spirit company became real after hearing footsteps coming up the staircase, while they sat around on the second floor discussing what the restoration plans for the hotel would be.

The next day, he and a friend went out and purchased some ghost hunting basic tools and the spirits enthusiastically responded. Due to the amount of spirit activity in The Shanley Hotel, a big part of the business plan is to cater to paranormal investigation groups and paranormal classes. The spirits are willing participants, wanting to help the owners and have fun at the same time.

This business plan began from the grand opening of The Shanley Hotel in 2008. The public was invited in a big way; “The Spirits are Inn!” Hard evidence and personal experiences with the spirits was posted on the website and offered “paranormal workshops, in-house psychics, and ghost tours.”

People in search of a haunted hotel to stay can do so as well; just not when a private group investigation is taking place, as they take over the whole hotel.



Restoration of a fixer upper opportunity structure can act like an environmental trigger, and draw spirits who loved the building.

Guests from the working class to the wealthy loved staying at the Shanley Hotel. Apparently, some still check in and even have chosen to spend their afterlife here. This has been true for many other haunted hotels as well.

Owners who really loved their hotels and inns often like to visit or stay there in their afterlife, sometimes helping the living when they can.

Several owners from The Shanley Hotel’s past still visit or stay, trying to be helpful to the living or remembering their memories.

People who really enjoyed their employment while alive, often like to continue to do so.

Some former employees of the Shanley Hotel building are still around enjoying the memories of their service, and wanting to be part of it even in spirit form; including A former cook, bartender and barber.

People who suffer a devastating loss while alive, sometimes can’t let go of their grief when they pass into spirit form for a variety of reasons.

Mrs. Beatrice Shanley lost three children in their infancy and suffered her sister’s premature death because of childbirth. While she was able to raise her sister’s children, she dearly missed her sister and couldn’t stop mourning for her own dead children.

Children who die near or in a favorite structure sometimes choose to stay in this structure.

Three year old, Rosie Grager, the daughter of the Shanley Hotel barber, fell down the well and drowned. She probably played in The Shanley Hotel at times when her father was cutting hair. A six year old boy, Johnathon was hit by a car being backed out of the driveway of the house next door to the hotel.

When spirit children stay in a favorite structure, sometimes their parents or parent stays with them. The father of Rosie, Peter Grager, who worked as a barber at The Shanley was devastated at the accidental death of his daughter, Rosie. As Rosie has chosen to stay at the hotel, her dad stays as well to look after her.

Experiencing a death by murder or suicide can leave restless spirits.

Suicide has proven not to be a quick path to inner-peace for some who find out after killing themselves. They still have the pain and distress they were suffering while alive, and find themselves tied to the place of their death; sometimes regretting their hasty choice.

A distraught man committed suicide in the Blue Room Bathroom after he lost everything in the 1929 market crash. His name may be Vincent.

The Shanley Bordello is quite haunted by former prostitutes who provided sensual entertainment. Prostitution has long been a risky business for women’s mental and physical well-being; sometimes ending in their death. When prostitutes felt hopeless about finding a man who would marry them and take them out of this destructive life-style, they chose to kill themselves. Prostitutes sometimes were killed by their customers as well.

Murders of people that happened near a structure can result in the spirits of these violent deaths moving into this structure. Sometime their killers also are stuck in the same building.

The nine year old daughter of a Napanoch minister was kidnapped and brutally stabbed to death by Alfred E. Volckmann. Both the girl and her killer are in the hotel.

Having a life taken at the hands of another is upsetting enough; (Lumber Baron Mansion), but it adds insult to injury when people in this world believe the killer’s ploy or the establishment’s cover-up story to protect the killer and/or more likely protect the reputation of the business where it took place to make the murder look like a suicide.

Though the official story explaining the death of Claire, is that she supposedly hung herself from the third floor, it is now thought that maybe she was killed at the hands of another. This could’ve been a cover-up story for her murderer; a husband, or boyfriend,or a mobster whom she crossed or, to guard the reputation of The Shanley Hotel. She has spoken from beyond the grave in EVP’s and hauntings.

The mobsters had the bad habit of killing people who said the wrong thing, knew too much or had the potential to be trouble. A lot of the speakeasies in America had a mob-connection in order to buy alcohol; a business relationship with strings that were attached; meaning their involvement.

It is probable though not proven that the Mafia had some fingers in the Shanley Hotel Speakeasy and perhaps The Shanley Bordello.

This opens up the possibility of death and pain as this was the answer to issues with people who were a liability to them. Hard Evidence gathered by paranormal investigators and also personal experiences suggest that people could’ve been murdered. The remains of people that the mob may have killed could have been buried in the then dirt basement. Hiding bodies was in the playbook of the mob culture.

In the secret room where the speakeasy was up and running, people feel the sensation of being hand-cuffed or tied up, which may reflect the Federal raid of the Shanley Speakeasy in 1932, and/or the restraining of people out of favor with the Mob enforcer.

What is known as silent screaming apparitions, with mouths wide open (See related post: Liberty Hall Mansion – murdered opera singer) have been photographed.



It is reported in some sources that as many as thirty to forty spirits either visit or stick around due to the reasons stated above.

Listed below are just a few of the spirits known to have a connection to this hotel.

(For complete stories of their spirits, visit the Shanley Hotel and go on one of their ghost tours or participate in one of their ghost investigations. You can also check into one of their haunted rooms, bring your EVP recorder and catch your own evidence.)

General Activity

Doors have a will of their own; opening and closing without help from wind or breezes or living people in this world.

People have reported hearing unexplained footsteps going up and down the staircases and the hallways as well.

People hear the sound of children laughing in play, disembodied voices, and hear piano music and people talking in the bar area.

People have felt cold spots, felt tugs on their jewelry, pinches on the bottom, have the feeling of being watched/feeling dizzy and off balance in very haunted places at the Shanley Hotel.

Some have been hit on the side of the face or feel a sharp pain in the temple.

Sensitives have felt the unseen presences of spirits keeping them company.

In the Bordello area, people have felt sensations that could be part of experiences that occur in a bordello: feelings of amour, sexual highs and lows, sense of heaviness, shortness of breath, and sometimes a feeling of joy or depression.

People have noticed the aromas of perfume, cigar smoke, pipe tobacco and delicious food cooking.

Some of the Identified Spirits:

The entity of James Shanley has appeared in a recognizable misty form, as he happily walks around the hotel going about his business on his TO DO List. He likes to whistle.

The mourning cries of Beatrice Shanley have been heard for her losses.

Beatrice’s sister, Esther Faughnah, who died in childbirth, today is described as “A lovely, lovely woman who welcomes visitors.” When she visits, her presence is seen or felt in the second floor apartment or the telephone booth.

The entity of John Faughnan, the husband of Ester, has been seen as well. He likes to follow female guests around, perhaps wanting to help them. John took over the management of The Shanely Hotel when James Shanely died of a heart attack in 1937.

Entity of 6 year old Jonathan likes to stay on the third floor, playing with his toys; though he also plays all over the hotel. One investigation group invited him to move a ball, which he did. He sometimes likes to appear as an 11 year old boy. He loves to roll balls down the stairs.

Entity of a female Prostitute; Anna, who moved from Ireland to have a better life but wound up working in Shanley Hotel’s Bordello.

Entity of another female Prostitute; Maddie, who is an unseen presence that is heard in the Bordello. She is described as being humorous and witty.

Entity of the 19 year old killer of the nine year old. Shanley’s volunteer caretaker Mike Lazdauskas, tried one evening to call out to him. When Mike was in bed watching TV, the bed began to shake. Two or three hours later, he looked up and saw an apparition of the killer, just starring at him. Mike knew it was the killer, because he had seen a picture of this killer in the Shanley Hotel scrap book. Though this spirit had a bad attitude, he still appeared before Mike.

Entity of a Piano Player/Bartender – Oscar, who lived at the Shanley in the ’50s still plays the piano and has been seen walking up the steps to his own room.

Entity of a Cook – Emma. Though she can’t physically cook anymore, she provides delicious aromas of food. She is a strong spirit who tries to be helpful.

Former Guests who stayed at the Shanley Hotel

Witnesses report seeing spirits wearing a variety of clothing from various eras, all over the hotel.

Entity of male – identified as Grover, who was a guest who lived in the hotel during the 1950s. He is described as “a well-dressed man with a lovely personality.”

Caroline – described as a beautiful, proud guest of the Victorian era with long blonde hair. She is clearly seen, wearing a beautiful Victorian formal gown. She has also been seen floating serenely down the halls and past the bar as well. She was photographed looking out a third floor window.

Rose Ann – was a wealthy guest who loves the Rose Room, and witnesses see her writing her post cards.

Claire –  a young woman, still enjoys the third floor where she probably stayed as a guest. Loud screams are heard coming from the 3rd floor that may be Claire’s reenacting her murder.

In the Blue Room – A couple on their Honeymoon, have been remembering their special night here and have been seen and heard talking and making love. They visit and don’t stay there as residents.

Frank – a male entity who considers himself the guardian of the hotel. His picture has been caught on film and is on the hotel’s website.


A huge “Yes Indeed” is in order. There have been numerous personal experiences and because the spirits are a cooperative group, a lot of convincing pictures have been caught in photos and film, along with numerous EVP’s. It is definitely an enormous paranormal hot spot waiting to be experienced.

Many EVP’s have been recorded, including: “I said answer me kid!” * “Murdered” * “No!!!!” “I said Nothing!” * “Take Care” * “Betty”? These and more are linked on the official website.

Personal experiences never seem to stop.

Late Owner, Sal Nicosia reported seeing “a full-bodied apparition of a woman going from one room to another on the third floor eight months after he bought the house.”

“Sometimes, when I’m alone in the building, I hear my name being called out and people talking, and there’s nobody there,” he said. The children spirits liked to call his name and followed him around.

Thanks to many paranormal investigations; both scientific and psychic in nature, a lot of information about The Shanley Hotel’s spirits has been gathered. Personal experiences have been firmly backed up with hard evidence. The spirits find it entertaining and cooperate. They love having the living come and play with them; getting their chuckles and perhaps some peace in telling what happened to them, and /or why they choose to visit or stay.



Shanley Hotel
56 Main Street,
Napanoch, NY 12458

The Shanley Hotel is located in the Hudson Valley, off the 55 Hwy in the small town of Napanoch. It sits on the corner of Main Street and Clinton Street.



  • The Big Book of New York Ghost Stories,
    by Cheri Revai,
    Stockpole Books,
    pg. 211-214,
  •, Posted by Andrea Allison, on Friday, October 07, 2011

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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