There are locations from around the world which are scenic, but for all their beauty and historical significance come with a turbulent past, and troubled souls that refuse to rest in peace.
As one of the most popular spots for visitors to Bogota, the luxurious Hotel del Salto (La Casa del Salto del Tequendama) in San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia, was first built in 1923 as a residential mansion for well-to-do architect Carlos Arturo Tapias.
The building displays divine French architecture and high windows and was constructed as a symbol of the joy and elegance of the elite citizens of the 20s. “The Mansion of Tequendama Falls“, as the house was called, was built during the presidency of Pedro Nel Ospina (1922-1926).
Possibly the world’s most picturesque train station was built further along the canyon overlooking the falls in 1923, and today you can still see the platform’s handrail half buried above the highway.
By 1928, an addition had been built and the building had opened as a hotel, to welcome wealthy travelers visiting the Tequendama Falls area. This venture was a successful one, as the hotel would be in operation for the next 60 years.
Starting in July 1950, the building was to be reconstructed into an eighteen-floor hotel, but that construction never began and the Hotel Del Salto continued on until the original structure became too damaged to operate from the ever increasingly polluted Bogota River.
Tourists gradually lost their interest to the area and the hotel closed in the early part of the 1990’s and was left abandoned ever since.
Tragically, it was also the scene of several suicides. The fact that many people in the past chose that spot to commit suicide, made others believe that the hotel is haunted. Even in present day people end their lives from jumping from a point above the falls.
The falls were used as a suicide spot even before the hotel was built when Muisca Indians would hurled themselves from the top of the falls.
It is these lost souls which are said to haunt the crumbling hotel and surrounding grounds. The location is open now as a museum during the weekends.
The Black Palace of Lecumberri (El Palacio Negro de Lecumberri) is located in Mexico City. It served as a penitentiary from 1900 to 1976, and now houses the National Archive.
Construction started on the building in 1888 with the intent of housing criminals and those who opposed the government. It was built using the Panopticon design which allowed for a single guard to observe all the prisoners without them being able to tell when the guard was looking; therefore making the inmates feels they were always being watched.
The prison was built to hold 800 men, 180 women and 400 children. It had 804 cells, workshops, a nursery, cooking and baking workshops. There was also an area of government, a section dedicated to medical and waiting rooms. By the 1970s over 4,000 inmates were housed there.
The living conditions within the prison were very dangerous due to the inmates' treatment by the guards or staff. Torture and beatings were common. Corruption was also present within the prison system.
Throughout its 76-year use as a prison, only two people escaped alive. The first, Pancho Villa, was a general of the Mexican Revolution who made his escape in 1912. The second was Dwight Worker, an American convicted of smuggling cocaine. With the aid of his then-wife Worker escaped on December 17, 1975, disguised as a woman.
Many believe that Palacio de Lecumberri is still haunted by the souls of the criminals who died between its walls. And since torture and murder were commonplace when this was a prison, many visitors and employees swear that they can still hear the screams of the victims.
Old prisons share with old asylums a sense of earthbound purgatory, a way station of lost souls. There have been some many reports about the presence of spirits and other disturbing supernatural incidents to such a degree that they are collectively referred to as "Lecumberri's ghosts."
One of them is known as "Don Jacinto" and he wanders the corridors at night muttering, "Again Amelia didn't come." Strangely enough, the Don is believed to have been a cleaner who worked at Lecumberri and died in the 1940s. He is an identifiable entity, as these things go — rather than some ragged old jailbird, forgotten by all.
Located in Cordoba, Argentina, the history of the Gran Hotel Viena, begins with a German named Max Pahlke in 1904, who traveled to Argentina in search of work. Max met and married an Austrian woman named Melita in Uruguay about ten years later.
Max was in good economic standing, and invested in the 5-star luxurious Gran Hotel Viena, named after his wife's birth place.
It was built on the shores of Ansenuza Sea or Mar Chiquita de Laguna, a saline lake. The purpose was to host many European tourists. The hotel contained 84 rooms, a medical facility equipped with doctors, nurses and massage therapists, a library, bank, dining room sitting 200, granite floors, walls lined with Carrera marble, bronze chandeliers, wine cellar, slaughterhouse, and bakery. It was the only hotel with air conditioning and heating systems in each facility, a large pool divided into saltwater and freshwater, electricity generating plant, garages with their own fuel supply and food warehouse. It was completed in December 1945.
Argentina declared war on Germany 10 days before it surrendered. Because of the Allied victory, Max was asked to leave his position in the Mannesmann Company. This along with several cases of abuse associated with employees of the hotel forced Max to close down the hotel and move his family in March of 1946.
After Pahlke's departure, the hotel continued to be under his ownership. Max Jr. his son, continued treatments there until 1963 when his parents mutually agreed to reopen the hotel.
In 1977, the area was destroyed by a flood and some families who had lost their houses had obtained authorization from the government to stay at the abandoned Gran Hotel Viena. After they moved, they were the first witnesses to confirm there were other guests besides them, but these guests were not from our world anymore.
According to many testimonies, there are at least two ghosts. One of these ghosts is a security guard who has appeared in some tourists´ pictures with his distinctive moustache, and some people have even reported hearing the sound of his keys as well as his steps around the hotel. The other ghost is supposedly his non-official lover who disappeared in the hotel back in the 1940s.
Another legend attached to the hotel dates from WWII. It is said that by the end of 1945 some residents of Miramar (Cordoba) gave witness, with great conviction, to having seen in the vicinity of the Gran Hotel Viena, walking very early in the morning, a mysterious old man, withered and trembling, someone that clearly was not from the village.
He wore a long green overcoat and a beret of the same color. Lonely and brooding, the old man spoke to no one, but early Miramar risers had seen him somewhere, and after some search of their memory, identification came quickly: the old man was none other than the defeated Führer of Germany, Adolf Hitler.
What was it that gave him away? Was it his unique mustache or did he inadvertently slip a salute with his right arm extended? Nobody knows. There are no photographs or evidence that irrefutably certify the presence of such a character in that remote corner of Cordoba. The only thing that there is are rumors, stories circulating by word of mouth, confirming the biggest conspiracy ever organized after World War II. What could Adolf Hitler have been up to in Miramar? What relationship did the Führer have with the Grand Hotel Viena?
The isolation of the Grand Hotel Vienna, by the mid-1940s, helped to sustain the legend of being a "safe place, out of reach of the curious." There were also the health benefits associated with the hotel.
"The hotel area was always forbidden for Miramar inhabitants", said Patricia Zapata, a member of the 'Civil Association of Friends of the Gran Hotel Viena-area'. "No one came very close to the building. This was 'the German area'. We were very afraid, especially when we were kids".
Whoever it is that haunts the ruins of this hotel no doubt are still reliving the skulduggery and conspiracy that circulated among the guests and those that worked at el Gran Hotel Viena in the aftermath of WWII.
The legend that surround el Castillo del Gringo Loco located in Sangolqui, Ecuador is as mysterious as ever.
The building belonged to the Hacienda Santa Clara, which was owned by a frenchman, who got the moniker of the "El Gringo Loco". He was about sixty years old and he was frequently seen taking solitary walks in the surrounding area. There was also rumors that he had built a secret labyrinth of caves nearby. When he died, the structure was left abandoned. Walls that surround the building date back to the beginning of the 20th century.
In one version he was a German or French soldier who fled to Ecuador to escape the horrors of WWII in Europe. He brought his wife and daughters with him. It appeared he was mentally disturbed and one day ran after them throughout the property, eventually catching them and killing them. He then disappeared and the construction stopped on the structure.
In another version, the owner and his wife, lose a daughter, and they slowly go mad wondering around the structure and caves. It's said you can hear the child crying in the dead of the night.
Throughout the years it gained a reputation as a place where some would gather to perform dark rituals.
Fausto Navarrete has a house nearby, and he tells the story that one day he had some friends over. They started to drink and decided to explore the caves. He described where everything on the property was overgrown, lichen covered the stones, and the place looked like a mausoleum.
While exploring they came across the bloody head of a ram that seemed to have been used in some type of occult ceremony. They also found discarded women's underwear.
Another story is about a group of people who participated in rituals there and wrote their names on the wall of the Castillo del Gringo Loco. Within a short amount of time they each died under tragic circumstances.
Sources - VintageNews MexConnect GreyFalcon
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer