A couple of weekends ago the weather was warming up, most of the snow had melted, and I wanted to get out of town for a little while. So Matt and I packed up the car and decided to take a quick trip to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho and check out the Lava Hot Springs Inn. In 2009 when I started my paranormal investigation team the Lava Hot Springs Inn was one of the first locations that were suggested to investigate. For whatever reason, that never happened, and I was excited to finally get the chance to explore it firsthand.
Earlier that day I called to make our reservation and asked specifically for room 13 as I had heard that it was one of the more haunted rooms in the hotel. To be honest, I knew more about the history of this location than the paranormal stories connected to it.
The Lava Hot Springs Inn was built in 1924 and was a state-run sanatorium/hospital until sometime in the late 1930’s early 1940’s. People would come to the Lava Hot Springs Hospital not only for typical medical care and surgeries but also to soak in the mineral-laden hot spring pools on the property.
From what I could piece together it appears that during WWII the Hospital was leased to the government to use for rehabilitation of soldiers. Many of the soldiers that stayed at the hospital were from the Bushnell Army Hospital in Brigham City, Utah.(( The Salt Lake Tribune · Tue, Oct 26, 1943 )) Following the war, the hospital was used to care for the county’s indigent and elderly patients.
In 1950 the hospital was sold to a private company and became the Valleyview Rest Home which remained in operation until the 1970’s. In 1988 it was sold to its current owner and turned into a hotel. One of the cool things about it being turned into a hotel is that very little has changed inside the building.
The most well-known ghost of the hotel is that of an older lady named Martha. She seems to stay mainly in Room 13 and is seen by guests who are outside looking at the building. She is said to stand in front of the window and is appears to be knitting or sewing. Those that have encountered her while staying in this room said they awoke to find her in the room, wearing a hospital gown, and usually, asks them what they are doing there.
When the building was a hospital, Room 13 was the anesthesia room and has double doors (now sealed) that led to the operating room. The operating room is currently used as a sitting area on the second floor of the hotel. As is the case with many haunted locations, there is a story that goes with the ghost of Room 13.
The ghost of Room 13 is said to be an older lady who was brought to the hospital for minor surgery. While being prepped for surgery she had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and never regained consciousness. It appears she has also never left the Lava Hot Springs Inn.
Room 13 isn’t the only haunted room in the hotel. Just down the hall from Room 10 is said to house a very cranky ghost of an elderly woman. Also, on the first floor of the Lava Hot Springs Inn, Room 7 is said to be haunted by the ghost of a WWII era soldier.
The basement is home to the more ominous and forceful spirits of the hotel. The employees we spoke with said they have never felt threatened. There were a few however that are a little leery about spending time in the basement. Especially when the hotel is free of guests.
The shadowy figure of a man has been spotted in the laundry room and also in the boiler room. Interestingly enough, the laundry room originally served as the hospital’s morgue.
Things That Go Bump In the Night
During our short stay, we spent some time chatting with the front desk employee about her experiences there. She said that it isn’t uncommon to hear footsteps in the hallway upstairs even when the hotel is empty.
She also said that there have been employees who have been pushed while near the top of the stairs. Not hard enough to make them fall, but enough for them to take notice. Doors are also reported to slam shut on their own. Water faucets in a couple of the rooms often turn on by themselves. And she said they feel as if at least one of the ghosts here is that of a young boy.
I couldn’t confirm that any young children died at the hospital. I did find an incredibly sad death that occurred on Christmas Day, 1925. A 15-year-old boy was accidentally shot by his friend with the rifle he had gotten as a Christmas present. He was taken to the Lava Hot Springs Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.(( The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) · Fri, Dec 25, 1931))
Housekeepers at the hotel report changing over a room only to turn around and it appears that someone has just been laying on the freshly made bed. They also say items will be moved only to reappear in a different location. Muffled conversations have also been heard, which wouldn’t be unexpected in a hotel. However, the staff says that when this has occurred the hotel has been completely empty of guests.
I have to admit I was hoping something strange would happen during our stay at the Lava Hot Springs Inn. Unfortunately, however, it was a really quiet night. The hotel is incredibly quirky. The soaking pools were great, and they even have a few hotel cats that wander around. Buster (pictured above) was my favorite.
If you’re ever in need of some relaxation with the possibility of some paranormal activity, take a drive to the Lava Hot Springs Inn and see for yourself.