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8 Hotel Mysteries That Are Still Unsolved

Updated: Jun. 02, 2024

From murders to disappearances, these unsolved mysteries all have hotels in common.

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sinister corridor
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Check in and never check out?

When we think of hotels, we think of a home away from home with comfy sheets and, if you’re lucky, beautiful views. Little bars of soap and chocolates on pillows aside, hotels should be a safe haven away from the troubles of the rest of the world. So what happens when they aren’t?

In these stories, something mysterious happened within the would-be luxury halls of hotels. The stories are unbelievable and spooky—but what’s scarier? The fact they are still unsolved. While some long-ago mysteries could be solved in the next decade, these ones are long-cold and still as mysterious as ever. Read on and make your own deductions.

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Madeleine Mccann

Madeleine McCann

Three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her hotel room in Portugal during a family trip on May 3rd, 2007. Madeleine was vacationing for seven nights with her twin siblings, her parents, and a group of family friends at the Luz Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz. The McCann parents dined with friends the evening of Madeleine’s disappearance and checked on all three of their children periodically throughout the night—until Madeleine’s mother discovered her missing. Over the next 11 years the Portuguese police, private detectives, and Scotland Yard, in the McCann’s home country of England, investigated. Despite their best efforts, the case is a mystery, and the circumstances still inspire Internet sleuth theorizers as well as shows like the new documentary series on Netflix, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Bringing even more attention to the case are two strong new leads, but the case remains unsolved. These 6 missing person mysteries that were miraculously solved might give her family hope.

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elisa lam
Damian Dovarganes/AP/Shutterstock

Elisa Lam

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, California, is home to many unsolved mysteries and murders. The most notable case is of Canadian college student Elisa Lam who went missing in 2013. Three weeks after going missing, hotel maintenance found 21-year-old Lam in the water tank on the hotel roof. Although law enforcement ruled her death an accidental drowning, the mysterious circumstances mean people still believe there is more to the story. Lam was last seen on CCTV footage from the hotel elevator acting strangely. It’s also worth noting that the roof is only accessible via a key for the staff. Many people wonder how Lam got there. She had bipolar disorder, but she had the proper amounts of medication in her system.

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Rose Burkert and Roger Atkison

In September 1980, Rose Burkert and Roger Atkison stayed at the Amana Holiday Inn near Williamsburg, Iowa. The couple got the last hotel room available thanks to a last-minute cancellation. The next morning, the housekeeper found the couple murdered—and there are some strange facts. There was evidence that the killer put their feet up on the desk, and that they carved a piece of soap. The murderer also left one word written on the bathroom mirror—”this.” Making things even creepier, there was a mortician convention in town with many attendees staying at the Inn. After their death, rumors circled about the possible killer. One is that Roger’s uncle, a serial killer and recent escapee from a Nebraska mental health center, is responsible. Yet, the case remains cold. It’s one of the 19 of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

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Phone on a table near a bed.

Jessica Kinsey

Jessica Kinsey from Union, Missouri was last seen at a Dollar Inn in Cloverdale, Indiana in 1995. The 14-year-old girl originally went to a friend’s house for the day, but she left the state with acquaintances, 23-year-old Jimmy Hopkins and Mark Henderson. Jimmy enlisted Mark to drive the trio to the Inn. Mark checked on them in the middle of the night, after hearing loud noises, before going back to sleep. Jimmy took Jessica and the car the next morning. His travels took him to California and Tennessee before returning to Missouri, without Jessica. Jimmy gave both police and Jessica’s family different reports of her whereabouts. One of his stories is that Jessica met a man named Capone. Jimmy provided an address to the hotel where they were staying—but it didn’t exist. Jessica’s family and the police repeatedly tried learning more information from Jimmy over the years. The police never charged him, and he died in 2008.

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Investigator desk with confidential documents, camera, magnifying glass, vintage typewriter and hat. Secret documents investigation concept.

Danny Casolaro

Danny Casolaro, a freelance investigative journalist, worked on a high-profile story involving government officials that he code-named “the Octopus.” He was found dead in his hotel room while in West Virginia to meet with a source. Although authorities labeled his death a suicide, his family suspects it was murder. We might never learn the exact circumstances about his death nor those of these strangest unsolved mysteries from each  state.

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Claudia Kirschhoch
Collin Reid/AP/Shutterstock

Claudia Kirschhoch

Claudia Kirschhoch, a journalist going to a press trip in Havana, Cuba, didn’t make it to her destination. The 29-year-old stayed at the Sandals Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica while waiting for available flights to the United States since she was not able to enter Cuba. Kirschhoch stayed a bit longer at the resort before mysteriously disappearing. The only missing things from her room were the clothes she wore the night of her disappearance. Kirschhoch befriended bartender Anthony Grant whose behavior, including calling in sick for four days after her disappearance, seems noteworthy. Further investigations found evidence of Kirschhoch in his car, but authorities don’t consider him a suspect. A 2002 judge ruling says Kirschhoch died of foul play, but there were no charges. This isn’t one of the unsolved mysteries easily explained by science.

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Earwax in ear close up,Healthcare concept,Selective focus
Winzy Lee/Shutterstock

Sickening noises

Diplomats and CIA agents from the United States and Canada suffered from “Havana syndrome,” a mysterious disease some people also refer to as “the thing.” For everyone with the syndrome, symptoms like nausea, hearing loss, vertigo, and nosebleeds, came after hearing a high-pitched noise in their hotel rooms or homes. Medical experts from the University of Pennsylvania found that the symptoms are concussion-like, although there were no signs of suffering from an actual concussion. Theories about the noises and the cause of the mystery illness range from pure paranoia and nerves, to a new kind of airborne weapon. In May 2018, an American in Guangzhou, China had the same diagnosis, according to the Washington Post.

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mayflower hotel
Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Room 871

Room 871 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. is allegedly the site of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s 2008 scandal. The mystery, however, revolves around the room number itself. According to the New York Times, the suite number went missing, reportedly forcing the hotel to nail the number plaque to the wall. No one knows who is responsible for stealing the plaque.