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Staying Overnight in a Haunted Hotel

Tips on making your stay in a haunted hotel less "fright"-ful

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An overnight stay in one of the world's haunted hotels, mansions and B&Bs can make for an unforgettable experience. Sleeping -- or trying to sleep -- up close and personal to a few restless spirits can make or break your belief in the supernatural. There are plenty to choose from, haunted by all manner of restless ghosts from young children to crotchety old men. Before you book a stay in a haunted hotel, read on for some advice that may make your stay less "fright"ful.

Avoid booking your stay during "spooky" dates, such as Halloween. The spirit world doesn't seem to know the difference between October 31 and June 4. Choosing a more meaningful date may make it harder for you to secure a room, and more expensive for you to stay.

Do your homework! Research the story of the property and the entities that haunt it before you go. Ghost-chasing is more fun if you know what you're looking for.

Leave small children at home. Children may be unduly frightened, meaning you'll have to stay awake handling nightmares and soothing fears all night. Children also tend to be ultra-sensitive to the unseen world, so even if you don't tell them the hotel is haunted, they may see and hear things that will confuse and frighten them. Best to leave them home until they are old enough to handle those scary movies on cable television without nightmares.

Find out where the ghosts hang out. There may be a special guest room that gets more activity than others. Or perhaps you should be in the green ballroom in the wee hours to catch a glimpse of the netherworld. Call the hotel staff ahead of your stay with special requests -- chances are they'll help out if they can.

Know your options. Many guests check out of haunted hotels suddenly at 3:00 a.m. You won't know how you'll react to a sighting until it happens. Before you settle down for the night, have a backup plan. Know what alternate hotels are nearby and will accept a very, very late check-in.

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