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Close Encounters

A Compassionate Moment With the Ghost of Hotel Del Coronado



Kate Morgan, the famous ghost of the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California.

By Charles Spratley

San Diego, California – One of the best parts of doing tours is the number of people you meet each year. Years ago, when I lived in San Diego I met a wonderful woman who had a love of history and we engaged in several business ventures together before I moved to Orange County. We kept in touch over the years and she wound up running the Heritage Department of the famous Hotel Del Coronado, which is on Coronado Island near San Diego. She did a fantastic job working on research of the hotel and started doing historical tours and decided they also wanted to do a ghost tour in the evening.

That is where I come in.

I’ve been doing tours for many years and very happy to be celebrating ten years working for Haunted Orange County. I’ve produced several tours as well as lectured on the paranormal and occult. After running ghost tours for some time, my friend called me and asked if I would come down and work with her guides and give them advice on delivering a bone chilling evening of ghostly stories. Their hospitality was amazing. Upon my check-in, I found out my reservations were to be in Kate Morgan’s room. Supposedly the most haunted room on the vast property.

For those of you who may not know the story, Kate Morgan was a young woman who checked into the hotel Thanksgiving Day in 1892 and after a few days, committed suicide on the steps leading out to the beach. There have been many reports of Kate being seen throughout the hotel and grounds. The phenomenon reported in her room over the years has been astounding to say the least… Impressions left of the bed…  Cold spots, etc.

I spent two days working with the hotel tour guides helping them construct a successful path to their haunted tours. We spent hours going over research and worked on tour principles, timing and of course hardcore historical ghost stories. But the most intriguing part of the adventure was my last night at the hotel and my possible encounter with Kate Morgan.

I was doing EVP sessions with a digital recorder as well as EVP sessions during my stay with nothing tangible coming from it. One evening while I typed my final notes, I decided to do one more EVP session. I turned on the recorder and started to ask Kate questions about her life. I was moved when I asked about her being happy. I turned off the recorder then slumped in the chair in my room. I explained to the supposed spirit that inhabited my room I simply wanted to tell her story and my job was to train the guides in telling the real story of Kate Morgan. I then explained I knew what it was like to feel alone. Depressed. Helpless. I then, for no rhyme or reason, told the empty room around me the story of how I lost my darling Sherri, my love and partner, to cancer at the age of 54. I immediately felt the room get a tad colder. I looked up and noticed the fan. It had been on the entire day. The AC was set at a comfortable climate, yet I felt a distinct chill in the room. I walked away from below the fan, yet the air still seemed chilly. I checked the KII and it read normal. I chalked it up as my emotions getting the best of me though my instincts told me different. I got ready for bed and crawled under the blankets to settle in for my last night in paradise.

The clock said 3:00 am – I woke with a start. I felt it. I knew I felt it. I turned on the light and stared at the empty room before me. I woke to the feeling of fingers gently gracing the top of my face … from forehead to cheek. I felt the stroke twice. That second touch roused me from my sleep. I was at one time both exhilarated but also calm. I didn’t dream the sensation. I was sure of its presence. 

Did Kate reach out to me in my sleep? Was it her hand, telling me everything was going to be alright? 

Some I’ve spoken to have even ventured to ask if I thought it was Sherri coming to me, telling me all is okay. No, Sherri has been too silent to me these past two years to make herself known at this juncture. I’d like to think Kate came to me and we had a moment … Compassionate and otherworldly.

I spent the next morning with the hotel guides, but did not feel inclined to share my experience. I wanted to gather my thoughts and write them down before I flew off the handle with my story. I called the manager at the Heritage Department a few days later and told them my story. We go back years and all they said is,”It’s good to see Kate let’s herself be known every once in awhile.”

The hotel Del is a beautiful luxury resort with a historic and scattered dark past. I strongly recommend a visit … And if you do, please give my regards to the Beautiful Stranger.

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