Cary House Hotel
A rather cheeky, but dedicated male concierge spirit can still flirt!
A spectral staff member can’t stand mediocrity.
Former spectral guests are now full-time residents; inadvertently scaring living guests.
The Historic Cary House Hotel has been described on their website as being “‘The Jewel of Placerville’, nestled in the heart of the California Gold Country offering comfort and authenticity.”
Tom and I went to Placerville on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Placerville is an old Gold Rush town with a great blend of well restored buildings that are homes to many small businesses.
The Cary House Hotel, built in 1857, caught our eye right away. We loved its large, 4-floored brick structure, with a balcony that stretches across the second floor facing Main Street; a very sturdy, handsome hotel indeed.
We noticed that the inside lobby is truly a blast from the past, with the original check-in area, and beautiful woodwork everywhere. The grand banquet and social event room is in back on the first floor. The grand staircase leads up to the other floors. The original elevator still works but can only hold two people at a time.
Their motto: “Historic Ambiance Modern Amenities – Every guest is a legend.”
Every one of their rooms has its own theme. While the rooms were aimed at the well-to-do in 1857, The Cary House offers a variety of rooms for every taste, from simpler accomodations with bathrooms, to full suites, with rooms in between. All of them have “Historic Ambiance.”
Modern Amenities – All rooms have amenities that their guests will enjoy. Many have kitchenettes. All have free WiFi, fridge, Cable TV, and air conditioning, to name a few.
We found that the staff truly treats their guests with terrific service.
The Historic Cary House Hotel now stands in a prime location here. Before it came The Eldorado Hotel and Saloon, which was built of logs on this spot in 1849, at the height of the California Gold Rush era.
An added bonus for guests in those days was public hangings, done from the hanging tree just across the street on what was a vacant lot.
The Hotel was also a Wells Fargo office, where bags of silver and gold were stacked on the front porch of the hotel. In the mid-1850s, a devastating fire burned The Eldorado Hotel and Saloon down, with the exception of the floor boards in the basement area under the front porch. Like many gold rush towns, Placerville had been built almost entirely with wood.
The same mistake wasn’t made again when they rebuilt. The new 3-story hotel building, now called The Cary Hotel, was made of brick on the outside, with the beautiful woodwork and craftsmanship saved for the interior lobby, public areas, some of the rooms, staircases and ceilings.
It was a grander hotel aimed at prosperous travelers, miners who found some gold/silver, and merchants. Other people who stayed here had business in town and stayed as well with their families while they worked here.
Many well-known people enjoyed their stay throughout the eras, including: Black Bart, Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill, Levi Straus, John Studebaker, Horace Greeley, Ulysses Grant, Lola Montez, Bette Davis and Elvis Presley.
During the 1920s, the owner discovered piles of gold dust in the basement area under the front porch, that had fallen through the cracks of the porch from the bags of gold so long ago. This gold dust paid for most of the construction cost for the fourth floor.
Over the next 122 years, the hotel changed names as new owners took over. It became The Placerville Hotel, then the Raffles Hotel. It changed back to The Cary House Hotel during the 1970s. Through it all, this old treasure has been fortunate to have owners who were willing to invest money in its upkeep. It was never allowed to slide into disrepair. The owners added bathrooms in the guest rooms, and other needed amenities like WiFi for guests.
They used to offer a continental breakfast, which included cold cereal, but a spirit resident (possibly a former employee) was very upset that the cereal came in a plastic bag inside a box. Perhaps they preferred a more upscale breakfast. The Cary House Hotel now only offers really good coffee and tea! Coupons are offered for dinner at local eateries.
There is a lovely bar area and places in the hotel to hold a variety of events. The joint is jumping during the weekends with live music in the bar.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Guests who love a resort, a fancy hotel, or an inn while alive, sometimes come and visit or stay as afterlife residents, especially if they died there. Several former guests now enjoy this old hotel. A few never checked out, having expired here, probably from one of the many epidemics that blew through Placerville.
Businessman Mr. Arnold Weiderman and his wife and young daughter lived at the hotel. During the big flu epidemic, Arnold died, and his wife and daughter moved back to rejoin the rest of their family out of California. Another whole family is known to have died from the flu as well here. The spirits of children who die from illness or accident, sometimes like to stay in a place where they felt love, and were comfortable and familiar with.
Spirits sometimes appear as children to enjoy the good times they had in a structure. Spirits of people who were murdered sometimes decide to stay where they were killed. A gambler was murdered in the Cary House Hotel.
During the 1800s, women were brought into the hotel as sexual amenities, available on request, a very common practice in the west, midwest, and in other parts of America as well. Miners who scored big in their efforts would pay for women to help celebrate their good fortune. Lonely guests also asked. It was a hard occupation that often led to the death of the prostitute.
As with many western towns, underground tunnels were used to transport goods and ladies. A spectral prostitute still visits her favorite place to work with her favorite client; some think it is Stanley Devine.
There are possibly two reasons for Stanley Devine’s haunting of The Cary House Hotel and his old bar stomping grounds. People who loved their job while alive, try to continue in their duties despite their death, especially if it was a quick or unexpected.
Stanley took pride in his job as desk clerk/concierge at The Carey Hotel. The entity of a kitchen employee/cook still reports for work, perhaps reliving great memories. People who were flirtatious, practiced randy behavior and seduction, loved alcohol and/or were sexual teases while alive, often don’t change when they are in spirit form, especially if such behavior led to their downfall or caused their death.
Stanley Devine had a huge sexual appetite and practiced annoying behaviors that eventually led to his death. He had an irresistible attraction to young, blonde women, unmarried or married, flirted too hard, and drank too much. He died when he was shot at the hotel on the central staircase.
Who killed Stanley? Some say it was an angry husband with a blonde wife. Some say he was shot by the fiancee of a young woman whom he had gotten into bed with. Others claim that Stanley was a player for both women and men, and was shot by a man he had propositioned.
Little Girl Entity
She is dressed in 19th/20th century attire. She could’ve been part of the family that died of the flu, or the daughter of the Weidermans.
She has been seen by staff and guests, playing happily on the central staircase and 2nd floor hallways.
Entity of Mr. Arnold Weiderman
Seen in room 212
Appeared beside the bed of a guest, described as a man with a long beard, who wasn’t scary.
Entity of Wagon Driver
Described by a medium as being a “teamster from the 19th Century.”
Partially appears with his boots, jeans and flannel shirt always from the waist down, who perhaps does not want to scare people.
Entity of Mrs. Weiderman
Lived a full life somewhere else, but came back to the Cary Hotel to be with her husband.
Appears as a woman wearing a flowing blue gown, has appeared in rooms 209 and 211.
She likes room 212 as well, and lets her unseen presence be known by emitting the aroma of lavender.
In a meeting room at the hotel, the California Haunts Investigation Team made contact with a male spirit, thought to be Stanley. Through dousing rods, the investigator was told that this male was more interested in the female spirit near him in the meeting room. She made herself known and admitted, also through the dousing rods, that she was a prostitute.
Entity of kitchen employee/cook?
A medium reports that there is an entity still living in the old servants’ quarters located near the kitchen on the first floor.
Someone vehemently disapproved of the cold cereal being offered as part of the continental breakfast offering, and had pulled the plastic pouches of cereal from the boxes and thrown them all over the breakfast room.
A staff member heard someone washing dishes in the kitchen. When they came down to say hello, no one was in the kitchen.
Entity of Stan Levine
He is described by medium Nancy Bradley as “a short, stocky balding man with reddish brown hair.”
Apparently, he is still keeping an eye on the staff to be sure they are performing correctly, seeing himself as an unpaid senior staff member. He goes about his rounds, trying doors, etc. and is cordial to paranormal investigators.
On the 4th floor, a conscientious spectral staff member, probably Stan, shakes each door knob in sequence as he floats down the hall. When the guest quickly opened the door, no one living was seen there. On the second floor, guests have heard an entity walking the hallways, making sure all is well.
Two guests who were checking into the hotel, saw the door to the check-in desk open by itself, after the two living clerks had left the area. Staff have seen this door open and close by itself as well.
He still goes up and down on the elevator. Stanley patrols the lobby area and the first floor.
Stanley has continued to annoy living women, sometimes in the hotel, but mostly on the street outside and in the buildings with bars that he once frequented. He likes to pinch women’s bottoms and breasts on occasion, and gently gooses women as well.
Entity of Gambler
The spirit of the man yearning to play cards on the balcony area.
A staff member was out on the balcony off the second floor. He saw a man dressed in Gold Rush era attire sitting at a table, with a deck of cards. Imagine his surprise when this spectre faded away before his eyes.
The personal experiences of staff, owners and guests for many years point to intelligent spirits still enjoying the Historic Cary House Hotel. Stanley Devine is happy to help the living, by being the unseen concierge.
The staff and owners know that Stan is still working for the hotel. While they can’t pay him, they have a male mannequin wearing a uniform that Stan would’ve worn in his day, and on top of the mannequin is an interesting skull.
The other spirits are good sports about sharing the rooms with the living.
Many experiences have been reported by guests and staff alike, that include the whole paranormal sports package.
Paranormal Investigators have experienced some of the reported occurrences, and caught some hard evidence as well. Stanley Devine is more than willing to communicate with investigators, as well as pinch the bottoms of blonde women on the investigation teams on occasion.
The Historic Cary House Hotel
300 Main Street
Placerville, CA 95667
The Historic Cary House Hotel is located right in the heart of Placerville’s historic downtown, near the intersection of Main Street and Sacramento Street.
- Gold Rush Ghosts of Placerville, Coloma & Georgetown
By Linda Bottjer
Publisher Haunted America
- Eldorado Count Adventures
Winter 2016 publication
HAUNTINGS OF EL DORADO County
By Pat Lakey
- Cary House Hotel Haunting in Room 205 Findings – www.youtube.com
- “California Haunts checks out Cary House”
by Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa
Published October 30, 2012 in The Mountain Democrat
(Retrieved Monday, July 30, 2018)
- Photos © Tom Carr
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr