La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, NM (Paranormal Claims)

The ghost of Judge Slough

John Slough

In 1867 William Logan Rynerson, a member of the Territorial Legislative Council, took part in a campaign to denigrate the judge, and authored a resolution in the legislature to have the judge removed, leading Slough to slander Rynerson publicly. On December 15, 1867, Rynerson drew a gun on the judge in Santa Fe and said, “Take it back.” Slough exclaimed, “Shoot and be damned!” and Rynerson fired. Mortally wounded, Slough drew a derringer but was unable to fire. He died two days later.

Many people believe that Judge Slough continues to walk its hallways. In the 1970s, a guest reportedly called the front desk to complain that someone was walking up and down the hallway in front of his room. When an employee was sent to investigate, he saw a tall man in a long, black coat disappear into a stairwell. However, when he followed him to the stairs, there was no sign of the mysterious man. The judge’s ghost is also rumored to have been seen in the hotel’s lobby.

In a mockery of a trial, Rynerson was found not guilty (by reason of self-defense), an example of the growing power of what became known as the Republican controlled Santa Fe Ring. Outcries for a nonpartisan investigation were ignored over the protests of friends in New Mexico, Denver, and Cincinnati. The historian Richard Henry Brown says that the murder of Slough “helped affirm the position of New Mexico as ‘apparently the only place where assassination became an integral part of the political system. (from wikipedia)


The travelling salesman that jumps into the well

Another ghost that is seen in the hotel is that of a man wearing 1800’s clothing running across the Plazuela Restaurant. Both guests and staff alike have reported the sight of a ghostly figure that walks to the center of the room and then seemingly jumps into the floor and disappears. The ghost disappears as he jumps into the ground where the old well used to be. The La Plazuela, is situated directly over the old well. Furthermore, maintenance men have seen this specter in the bowels of the hotel. This is followed by storage areas being found in disarray. Another version of the story gives this account;

He was a traveling sales man from St. Louis who is written in the ledger as having checked in around 1934. According to history, the salesman lost all his money by drinking and gambling and became very emotional at the front desk. He can be seen, at times, in his black broad cloth with chalky white skin, running towards the hotel’s well and jumping into it.

The ghost of a newlywed bride

There have been two versions of this story printed in various books.

1.) The hotel is also the home to an apparition of a young bride who was murdered on her wedding night by an ex-lover. She mainly haunts the wedding suite (Room 510). A night auditor of 20 years has witnessed the apparition of a bride walking into the hotel lobby, only to vanish as she approached the front desk. The same apparition has also been seen on the elevator, the hallway outside room 510, and the basement.

2.) The most famous La Fonda haunting involves a young honeymooning couple from St. Louis, who checked into the hotel during the 1930’s. The story goes that the night of their stay, the husband started drinking down in the bar, got into a fight with the bartender and was shot dead on the bottom of the steps going back up to his room. What people have claimed to see is of the bride coming down the steps in her nightgown and standing over her newly departed husband. She has her hands held close to chest, then disappears. The help of the hotel are the ones who have seen her the most. According to legend, the bride had killed herself after lingering around the lobby of the hotel, then she pulled out a small Derringer and shot herself in the head Other miscellaneous events that are believed to be paranormal include;

Room 274 – (at the front of hotel) Housekeeping was going to clean up room when she witnessed someone lying in the bed with the sheets pulled up over his head. Thinking that he had not checked out yet, she returned to the front desk, double checked and found out the room was supposed to be vacant. She got the houseman to go with her to wake up the man and get him out of the room. The houseman went to the form on the bed, pulled back covers, and there was no one there.

Elevator to bell tower – security guards making rounds would always be met by the elevator, even on empty floors. Even heading down the stairs, he would still be met by the elevator. They believe that the elevator, which appears to be moving on its own accord, is being manipulated by the ghost of the newlywed bride.

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