Brent Swancer June 4, 2021
Sitting on 6 acres of meticulously landscaped grounds in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico is the historic La Posada Hotel. Featuring lush gardens and fountains, the hotel is also built around an old Victorian style three-story brick mansion that is one of the oldest structures in Santa Fe. Built in 1884, this mansion has been maintained to remain pretty much as it always has, but although it is a charming and beautiful structure, the house also has a dark past and has long been considered one of the most haunted places in New Mexico.
The house was originally built by Abraham Staab, who had made a vast fortune as a major supply contractor for the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and it was meant to be a gift for his wife, Julia. At the time it was the most opulent residence in the area, with no expense spared to make sure it had the most luxurious features and furnishings, including a large ballroom. This made the Staab house the center of high society at the time, with Juilia Staab hosting grand parties attended by celebrities and the social elite from all over, including President Rutherford Hayes, General Sherman, and Governor Lew Wallace, and many others. It was here where the Staabs would raise their large family, having seven children over the years. To most, it would appear that the family had a fairy tale life, but dark clouds were ahead.
The La Posada Hotel
The descent into darkness began with the death of the couple’s 8th child in infancy, which Julia did not take well, withdrawing from the public eye, the lavish parties she had once thrown drying up. They would make several more attempts to have another child, but these all failed as well, sending Julia into a deep depression from which she would not emerge. Her hair was said to have prematurely turned white, she was never seen leaving her house, and the rumor was she had gone completely stark raving insane. On top of this, there was much dark gossip that beyond his public façade her husband was a cruel tyrant who mistreated her, tortured her, and kept her locked in her room and chained to a radiator like an animal. When she died in 1896 at the age of 52, it was not even really known what had killed her, with much speculation ranging from suicide, to an overdose, starvation from refusing to eat, or even murder by her husband, who had found it increasingly difficult to maintain his reputation and image in the face of Julia’s mental state and the rumors orbiting her.
Abraham Staab would continue to live there with all of his children, himself dying in 1913, and the grown children would gradually move out until the house was sold to an R.H. and Eulalia Nason in the 1930s, who then renovated it and turned the place into a hotel. The property was expanded over the years to include other structures around it, and other than just a hotel it would also become a popular spot for the arts. The La Posada hotel was very popular, attracting celebrities, artists, and writers, but in addition to all the guests that have come here are the ones who never seem to have ever really left at all, as the house has long considered to be extremely haunted.
The main ghost said to lurk here is that of Julia Staab herself, who seems to have loved her house so much that she refuses to leave it. Room 256, which belonged to Julia, seems to bear the brunt of the paranormal activity, with guests reporting all manner of weird stuff going on in there, such as faucets turning on or off, lights flickering, or most startling of all seeing the apparition of Julia lurking in the shadows and watching them. Hotel staff and security guards have reported hearing noises or voices in the room when no one is in there, and one security guard explained on the hit show Unsolved Mysteries of the time he heard a voice call out to him from the room to say “I’m in here,” only for him to enter and find no one there and all of the windows locked from the inside. Others have given eerie accounts of waking for no reason in the middle of the night only to be startled to see Julia’s ghost looming over them at the foot of the bed to leer at them before vanishing.
Julia routinely makes appearances at other areas of the hotel as well. She is known to appear at a fireplace on the premises, sometimes standing there but at others sitting in a chair. The bar seems to get a lot of activity as well, including glasses flying off of the counter or tables to smash into the wall, sometimes even when the place is packed with people, waitresses having their trashes flipped over by unseen hands, and customers have reported being nudged or poked. Generally speaking, Julia’s ghost tends to be described as not very friendly and rather mischievous, perhaps because she resents all of these strangers in her beloved house. Besides Julia, other reports speak of seeing the ghost of Abraham Staab, although his spirit is not nearly as active. It is all a whole lot of ghostly activity for such an otherwise quaint and charming place. What is going on here and why should these forces remain tethered here? Perhaps it is time to book a room and find out for yourself.