One of my hobbies as I visit new places is checking out the ghost scene. I try to book in hotels with paranormal activity. Ghost hunting in Santa Fe, New Mexico was not on my “To Do List” this time around. I went to Santa Fe to heal and rest, but the spirits had other ideas. It began as I entered my room…
La Posada de Santa Fe is a beautiful resort and spa located downtown. Once the Victorian mansion of Abraham and Julia Staab, it has been converted to match the adobe buildings of the resort. My room was off the main house on the first floor. The strange feeling began as I entered my room. Something wasn’t quite “right” about the space. I was growing uncomfortable. Then a kind of peace came over me. Impressions came into my mind of a welcoming family who were happy I came to visit. I began to feel as though I was staying at the family home of a dear friend.
The lobby of La Posada is a welcoming place which draws the locals of Santa Fe to visit for S’more Night each Tuesday. Walking up the stairs past lovely exhibits of local artists will take you to Staab House proper. The home has been restored to its original Victorian style. A beautifully restored wooden bar offers a comfortable gathering place for guests. Across the hall is the magnificent Library. I enjoyed spending many hours there reading by the fire.
And then there’s the Rose Room. Decorated in dark wood and rose colored furnishings, it houses many pieces of flower art by local artists. I DO NOT LIKE THAT ROOM. The moment I stepped across the threshold I felt a heaviness come over me. I’m not one to shy away from exploring creepy places, but the feeling of being watched was overpowering. This wasn’t my first paranormal rodeo. I knew that room had a history the minute I stepped inside. It took every ounce of restraint to resist asking the staff, “Okay. What happened in the Rose Room?” I was there to heal and rest after all, not to chase ghosts.
Curiosity eventually got the better of me. I had to know. Rather than ask the staff, I decided to look into the history of the hotel on the sly. There was a little book shop down by the Plaza. I attempted to purchase a book about local ghosts. Santa Fe being the laid back town it is, I was not surprised to find a note on the bookstore door.
“Sorry. No set hours yet. Be back sometime in the afternoon.”
I tried three days in a row, but was unsuccessful in catching the store open. My research would have to wait.
What I discovered when I got home: I ordered Santa Fe Ghosts by Susan Blumenthal. The author examines reports of paranormal activity around Santa Fe and has uncovered the background of each historic site.
In her book, the author details the life of Julia Staab or as the staff call her “the hostess with the mostess.” She was one of the most famed socialites of old Santa Fe, throwing wonderful parties and expertly entertaining guests. The stories say Julia went insane after the death of her seventh child and eventually died. Today the Rose Room in the Staab House is believed to be dedicated to Julia.
There are many tales of ghost sightings surrounding Staab House. They say the spirit of Julia Staab can be felt in her lovely gardens throughout the property. She is also the presence fussing about and making certain the modern day guests are taken care of. One employee experienced her maternal nature first hand. He was working the nightshift and decided to take a nap on one of the couches. When he woke, he’d been stripped and his clothes had been neatly folded.
There are accounts of the shadow of a woman when no one else is in the Rose Room. Was the presence I felt Julia? I remember making a “yucky” face at the red walls and vibrant flower paintings (not my taste). Perhaps she didn’t like my editorial comment on the decor?
The next time I visit La Posada, I’ll be prepared for a midnight visit to the Staab house. And I’ll keep my opinions on interior design to myself.
Next Time on DTJ Blog: The Prankster Nun