El Tovar Hotel

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The historic El Tovar hotel was one of the original Harvey Houses that served the rail lines, staffed by the civilizing influence of the Harvey girls. Although a grave marked “Pirl” can be found in the parking lot of the Tovar, its occupant is somewhat disputed. Legends say it is either a Harvey girl or a cowboy and nobody is really sure which. Regardless, a black-garbed figure is often seen walking near the grave before vanishing behind the Hopi House. In addition, it is claimed that Fred Harvey himself makes an annual appearance to invite the guests to Christmas festivities, which is nice, even though he’s been dead since 1901.

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    Geographic Information

    1 El Tovar Road
    Grand Canyon, Arizona
    United States

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    36.05739935191971, -112.13756843927001
    Coconino County, Arizona
    Nearest Towns:
    Grand Canyon, AZ (0.2 mi.)
    Grand Canyon Village, AZ (1.2 mi.)
    Tusayan, AZ (5.8 mi.)
    Valle, AZ (27.9 mi.)
    Supai, AZ (33.2 mi.)
    Cameron, AZ (42.4 mi.)
    Bitter Springs, AZ (47.8 mi.)
    Tuba City, AZ (50.4 mi.)
    Moenkopi, AZ (51.2 mi.)
    Williams, AZ (55.9 mi.)


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    1. When I stayed here a few years ago, I awakened one night to see a man standing by my bed looking down at me. He was so clear and solid I thought an intruder had come into the room. He was a man in his 70’s with thinning gray hair, a craggy face, and wearing a plaid long – sleeved shirt with an open collar. His arms were hanging to his sides and his head was tilted down, as I said, looking down at me. I blinked and he was still there. I screamed for my husband who woke after my second yell at him. I didn’t think ‘ghost’ until he just disappeared in a blink. My husband insisted it was a dream but I was oriented in time and place and I was looking at the actual room around him. Was it a dream? Possible, I guess. A ghost? I think it was, I really do.

    2. I stayed here and I had something unusual happen. I had a lamp in my room that was controlled by a wall switch. When I went to turn it off I took a step towards it to turn it off when it dawned on me to use the wall switch. The next morning when I went to turn it on with the wall switch it would not go on. I then stepped over to the lamp and discovered that it had been turned off at the lamp. I was pretty sure that I had not done that the night before. I remember chuckling at myself for even starting to do it. The real clincher for me was that I was completely unfamiliar with how the switch on the lamp worked. I was surprised how far up under the shade I had to reach to find the switch. I tried to turn it and found, instead, that the switch toggled.

      • I stayed there in the Presidential sweet, and the two nights we were there, the lamp turned on at exactly 5 am. Click. By the toggle switch. That night I tried to turn off at the wall switch, but it wouldn’t, so I read some more and then was able to turn it off. 5:15am the light turned on again.

    3. I also had the same exact experience as Julie. We stayed 3 nights back in 2001 for our honeymoon. One night I woke to an older man dressed in a suit from the early 1900’s standing above me over my bed. He was staring intensely at me. I was sort of in an awake/dreaming state. I started screaming and woke my husband but the man was gone. We also had our heavy door sling open in the middle of the day and the shower would turn on in the middle of the night. I have never in my life had such a blatant feeling that a place was haunted. We were in the 3rd floor to the right hallway overlooking the parking lot. We were in the 1st room on the left.

    4. My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon back in 1996. At the time, we were not aware that the hotel had a reputation of being haunted. In the middle of the night, I woke up and saw a black figure (almost like a shadow) in the shape of a man wearing a cowboy hat just hovering by the bed. It felt like it was looking at me! I was really scared. I wasn’t able to wake up my husband so I flipped on the lights and left them on all night.

    5. Hello! I stayed there for 2 noghts in Sept 2018 and my friend was getting her camera ready for the next morning Donkey ride. She took my pic in the room and after viewing it she showed me the pic and my face looked like an skeletal x-ray. I would post it but she had already deleted thinking the camera acted up. The next morning as I was in the room by myself after showering I was looking in the mirror at myself and noticed in the mirror a shadowy figure walk past behind me. I quickly turned around to look but saw nothing. Had goosebumps and said WTH!? Definitely felt a creepy vibe. My sister’s who stayed in another room upstairs said their beds were vibrating while sleeping and one said she felt as if someone sat on the end of the bed while sleeping. After talking to the concierge later in the day we asked if anyone has ever commented to staff about weird things going on he said most definitely. Still wish we had that pic!

    6. I visited in 2016. Woke up in the night to the sensation of hundreds of hands pulling me into the mattress and tearing at my skin, gripping my throat. I could see faint impressions of them, force pulling me down kept me from sitting up and a hand on my throat kept me from calling for help. Went on for about 15 minutes. Woke my dad up to tell him about it then went back to sleep. Never had anything like that before or since. Had pancakes the next morning, they were pretty good. Room was small for the price. I understand that there is a film detailing a somewhat similar haunting to what I experienced, I have not seen the film. If you have stayed here and experienced anything similar to this please reply, would love to hear theories as to what the nature of this spirit is. IT IS LIKELY NOT NATIVE, while native americans have a diverse range of beliefs the “vengeful indian ghost” trope is a work of fiction that does not represent potentially extant native spirits to my knowledge. Relevant information on the hotel’s history would also be appreciated.

      • Not only did I have the lights turn on (see above) The first night, someone lightly touched my hair with one finger. I pulled the covers over my head and told it to leave me alone. The second night, I lay down, and some very cold tingly thing felt like it was laying on top of me. I again covered my head and started saying Hail Mary’s. It left me alone.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. HauntedPlaces.org makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.