CREEPY CORNER ROAD TRIP: The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas

Has Mr. Louise been possessed by a painting?
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Louise Hung
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Has Mr. Louise been possessed by a painting?

Fine, I'll say it. 

I WISH I WAS STILL ON THE CREEPY CORNER ROAD TRIP. (Rolls around on floor, shakes fists, gets out of breath, looks for pizza.) 

While, yes, overall I'm happy to be in Hong Kong, a part of me would give anything to be back in that black Chevy Impala: my butt roasty-toasty in a heated seat, Mr. Louise gabbing on about the finer points of his never-to-be-made '80-style movie titled Dope Pope ("This summer...the Pope is...DOPE?" Cue radical guitar riff), the two of us gleefully hurtling towards another hotel where I won't sleep until 4am. There's holiday withdrawal, and then there's "Every Night is a Ghost Adventure" withdrawal. Woe is me. 

You all were there, you know how it was. As much as I love the little shoebox I call an apartment, I miss looking around a dimly lit room in the middle of the night, wondering how many thousands of eyes had shared this view over the decades, even centuries. I miss looking out the window at a busy Savannah street or a silent Cimarron road and wondering if spirits of the past would recognize the sights? 

I miss wondering what had happened in my room, and if I wasn't quite alone? I miss the slightly musty, "old house" smell of our hotels.

And to be honest, I miss sleeping like a starfish in a king size bed and hot running water that comes out of a faucet without having to prime the water heater for 15 minutes then judiciously turning the water on and off while I try to stretch the three to five minutes of hot water into a span long enough to actually wash my person without cutting corners. 

I know, PROBLEMS, right? Sorry to drag you into my drama. 

So as I was going through my road trip photos, tenderly reminiscing about how the Crescent Hotel smelled like soap and vintage clothes, I came across my photos from the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. 

The Adolphus! I never got to tell you about my little visit to what might be Dallas' most haunted hotel! 

Lou at Adolphus ballroom

In what was once the Adolphus ballroom. 

Having spent a large part of my young adulthood in Dallas, the Adolphus has always stood as a symbol of status and opulence to me. And ghosts. I am my mother's daughter after all. ("LOUISE, you KNOW the Adolphus is 'mostly ghostly'. We should just GO, and sit in the lobby, and see what we see." — Louise's Mom)

So with Mr. Louise, my mom, and my dad in tow, the Hung clan invaded the Adolphus. You're imagining us kicking down the doors, Thor-style, bellowing, "SHOW US YER GHOSTS!" right?

Adolphus stock photo

By Renelibrary (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It wasn't quite like that. 

On a brisk spring evening the four of us convened in the Adolphus Hotel lobby, where we were met by the Adolphus' resident ghost guide, Kevin. If you're ever in Dallas, and want a "ghost tour" of the Adolphus, simply call the concierge and ask for a tour with Kevin. I don't think they really advertise their ghost tours, but ask and ye shall receive. 

An eager, charming, and knowledgeable host, Kevin took us through the various haunted hotspots of the Adolphus, while telling us the history of the gilded, baroque hotel. Built in 1912, the hotel has seen presidents, royalty (a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II hangs in the lobby, a portrait placed to commemorate her stay), stars of the silver screen, and most notably the man behind the hotel, Adolphus Busch of the Busch Beer Company. 

Of course such a hotel is bound to have its share of ghost stories. As we walked through the lobby, Kevin gave us the highlights. I appreciated that while he was enthusiastic and obviously fascinated by the paranormal, he maintained an air of elegance and humor about the Adolphus ghosts. It suited the classy ambience of the hotel.  

We passed a mirror, original to the hotel if not older, in which people had supposedly snapped pictures of specters in. No such luck this time, but I'm a sucker for a those old, decaying mirrors. 

adolphus mirror

Just me and Mr. Louise, no ghosts here. 

As we carried on, we ended up in a dark lounge, not yet open for business that night. Kevin explained that a phantom "bartender" or staff member had been seen behind the bar when nobody else should have been around.  

Though I found the lounge to be a place I'd be delighted to cozy up to a whiskey, I didn't find it all that unsettling — just dark. Mr. Louise on the other hand, went all "Ray Stantz staring too long at Vigo the Carpathian" on me for a while. 

As Kevin, my mom, my dad, and I left the lounge, I looked over my shoulder to see Mr. Louise looking intently at a large painting of a lady and a dog. Painted in dark colors, save for the white dog, it was hard to make out in the low light. 

lady and dog painting Adolphus

One of Mr. Louise's numerous photos of this painting. 

Trotting over to him I asked, "Hey, you coming? What are you doing?"

Mr. Louise just kept scrutinizing the painting, intermittently snapping multiple photos of it, scrutinizing the photos, then squinting back up at the painting. He mumbled something about, "...the dog..."

"We gotta go, Kevin's taking us up to the ballroom."

"What?" Mr. Louise half looked at me. "Oh. Ok. Sorry. This painting... and the dog. It's so weird. I'll tell you later."

Ok, now the goosebumps showed up. 

Nonetheless, we caught up with Kevin and my parents, and took the lift up to the 19th floor, the hotel's former ballroom. 

adolphus ballroom 19fl
adolphus ballrom2
adolphus ballroom elevator

Once a grand gathering place, the ballroom was gutted in the late '70s to make space for more luxury rooms. It is now slowly being restored, the bones of its original glory being dug out bit-by-bit (Kevin showed us a whole in the floor where the ballroom's original flooring could still be seen). 

Kevin expertly showed us around the floor, showing us where former hallways ran, as well as where rooms and an upper level balcony would have been. 

adolphus former hallway

Kevin and my dad walk where a former corridor on the 19th floor would have been. 

While ghostly happenings have been reported all over the hotel, the 19th floor seems to be something of an epicenter for all things strange at the Adolphus. 

As the sad story goes, there was a bride in the 1930s who was to be married at the hotel. However, her groom left her at the altar, and in her grief she supposedly hanged herself from the balcony of the ballroom. Since then, her ghost has been heard running the hallways, weeping, and the sound of a music box is even said to be heard when she is near. 

Some say, the lonely ghost will even follow you to your room if you encounter her. 

former balcony

Where the former balcony would have been. 

Couples to be wed at the Adolphus have reported that their belongings will disappear, then reappear after they report it missing. When the 19th floor was guest rooms, specific rooms were said to be visited by the ghost bride. 

Below is where one of the rooms where the bride manifested once was. It was one of her favorite "haunts". We're looking at the corner where the bed would have been. 

ghost bride room 2

Another consistently haunted room was once in this spot: 

haunted room on 19th floor

If this were still a room, we'd be standing just inside the doorway, looking toward the bed. Here's a blurry shot of Kevin standing just "outside the door" to room 16. 

kevin outside door

Guests have complained of feeling as if they were being watched in this room (this is actually a complaint throughout the whole hotel), and a former guest said a figure appeared at the foot of their bed. As recently as 2011, a guest left a review that while staying in room 1916, they were bothered by a band playing late into the night. 

One of the residual haunts reported at the Adolphus is of a phantom band playing at odd hours in the former ballroom. Did the guest hear the Adolphus "ghost band" (Adolphus Ghost Band will be a goth-honky tonk band one day) or just some instrument wielding youths?

As our tour concluded and Kevin ushered us back to the lobby, I caught up with Mr. Louise and asked him what was up with him and that painting in the lounge. 

"The dog's face kept changing."

Come again?

"It kept changing. The more pictures I took, the more its face seemed to distort. Not many pictures came out. But he started off looking like a normal dog, then he looked angry. It was the weirdest thing. I just thought it was a cool painting, but that dog freaked me out."

Mr. Louise showed me the photos of the painting, and the close-ups of the dog he took, but I'll be honest I didn't, and still don't see a difference between "normal dog" and "angry dog". What was sort of interesting to me was that of the 20 or so pictures he took, many ended up foggy, blurry, or randomly way too dark, while others were clear. 

I don't know what to think of Mr. Louise's dog, but who am I to deny another person's experience? 

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the "not angry/angry" dog, as well as a few more of Mr. Louise's photos. What say you Creepy Corneristas? Is my husband possessed by Fido the Carpathian? Or was it all just the eerie Adolphus playing tricks on us?

side by side angry dog

Fido the Carpathian. Left to right, "not angry" to "angry". 

up close dogs

A close up of Fido. Sorry for the poor quality. Do you see a change in him? 

spooky Fido the Carp

One of Mr. Louise's weird, blown out pictures. He used a flash, but in multiple shots in a row, this is the only one that came out quite like this. What do you think?