The Quick 10: 10 Places to Stay if You're Looking for a Scare

Looking for a last-minute Halloween getaway? Then this is the Q10 for you. I’m all talk when it comes to sharing a room overnight with visitors who have long since left the here-and-now – I have a feeling that I would stop just short of booking a room at any of these 10 places. How about you?

1. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. If Stephen King found inspiration here, you know it must be creepy. Ghostly activity has been reported in the ballroom especially – many people, staff included, have heard a huge bash going on in the great room. When they go to investigate, they find nothing there. People have also heard the ballroom’s piano playing but find no one sitting at it. Not quite so scary: The Stanley was used for scenes in the made-for-T.V. The Shining, yes, but it was also used in Dumb and Dumber.

2. Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’ve actually been to this one, but I sure wouldn’t stay there to sleep – the place oozed creepiness. But if you’re so inclined, you can stay in one of eight rooms here – including the room where Lizzie’s stepmother’s corpse was found.

3. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada. A ghostly bride seeking revenge? What more do you need to know? Legend has it that a bride-to-be guest didn’t make her groom wait too long for that whole “til death do us part” thing. There are two stories: as the beautiful bride descended the ballroom stairs, she tripped on her lengthy gown train, tumbled down the stairs and broke her neck. The other is that a candle caught her dress on fire and she went up in flames. She’s not the only one who reportedly haunts the hotel, though: the occupants of room 873, which doesn’t exist, also keeps guests on their toes. 873 once existed - after an entire family was murdered there, the hotel had the room sealed up and walled off. But that can’t contain our tragic family – guests report seeing them still traipsing the halls near where the room once was.

4. Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan. It has been home to so many creative sorts that it’s sometimes referred to as “the cauldron of creativity,” but with all of those famous eccentrics comes their drama, too. Dylan Thomas was found dead at the Chelsea and so was Nancy Spungen, although their deaths were quite different: Nancy, the girlfriend of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, was stabbed to death possibly by Sid himself. Dylan Thomas may have drank himself to death after downing a supposed 19 whiskies, though the amount and the cause of death are much debated to this day. Despite their demises, you may still get a visit Dylan and Nancy if you stay at the Chelsea – their ghosts, plus the ghosts of Sid Vicious, Eugene O'Neill and Thomas Wolfe have all been spotted at the hotel.

5. Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The Crescent has freaked out many a guest since it opened in 1905, allegedly due to a man named Michael who fell off the hotel's roof when it was being constructed. He lurks around room 218, because that's where his body landed. Michael is in good company, though - there's also a nurse, a woman who introduces herself as a cancer patient and then disappears, a waiter, and a man who stands at the foot of the staircase.

6. Farnsworth House Inn in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Most people know Gettysburg is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. because of the massive number of soldiers who died there during the Battle of Gettysburg, and Farnsworth House shows the scars of that battle with 100+ bullet holes riddling the exterior. Not helping the creepy factor? The replica Victorian morgue set up in the basement.

7. Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California, is thought to be haunted by Kate Morgan, a woman who killed herself there in 1892 on the steps leading down to the ocean. Kate's been around ever since - and apparently she's the jealous type. After years of being one of the hotel's main attractions, the movie Some Like it Hot was filmed on the hotel's beach. To capitalize on the movie, the hotel started selling Marilyn Monroe merchandise in the gift shop. The blonde bombshell's stuff literally started flying off the shelves, and not because customers were snapping it up so quickly. But that's not all - no less than a Secret Service agent has spotted the ghost of Ms. Morgan. The agent was supposed to be protecting then-V.P. George Bush when he started feeling cold breezes in his room and heard bizarre gurgling noises in his room. He requested a transfer, saying that the people above him were being too loud… but he was already on the top floor.

8. The Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. People have been reporting strange haunting at this place for years, but it got a little credibility earlier this year when the New York Knicks stayed there the night before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Knick Eddy Curry said he was so creeped out by the vibe of the hotel, especially the 10th floor where he was staying, that he spent most of the night in teammate Nate Robinson’s room. Supposedly, sometime in the 1930s, a woman jumped to death from the 10th floor while holding her baby.

9. The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Eddy Curry isn’t the only athlete to have ghost issues while on the road. In 2008, Carlos Gomez thought he was hearing weird voices and noises in his room when his iPod suddenly turned itself on, playing static, then noise, then static again. Gomez who was getting ready to take a shower, ran half-naked to the hotel lobby, where he put on the pants and shoes that he had the presence of mind to grab on his way out the door. And he’s not the only one. Brewers visiting clubhouse manager Phil Rozewicz head all kinds of stories from the visiting teams who have stayed at the Pfister over the years – one player woke up in the middle of the night to find all of the blinds in his room open and the windows ajar. He closed them both, but when he woke up in the morning, they had mysteriously opened again. He slept on a couch in the lobby the following night.

10. The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas. The Baker is abandoned these days, but it was a hotspot back in the '30s. Several ghosts are said to haunt the place, but the creepiest one, in my opinion, is bellboy Douglas Moore. He died when he was shorn clean in half during an elevator accident in 1948, but for years after he still showed up to assist guests who found themselves in the basement - at least, his top half did.

Have you ever stayed at a haunted hotel and had something spooky happen? Or stayed at a supposedly haunted hotel and have nothing happen?

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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