Besides being a luxury resort, the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California draws in numerous guests for its paranormal activity. The story of Kate Morgan, often referred to as the “Beautiful Stranger”, lives on in the hotel—both in memory and in spirit.
Born in 1865 with the name Kate Farmer, Kate spent the first two years of her life living with her biological parents. When she was just two years old, her mother passed away and she was sent to live with her maternal grandfather.
In 1885, she married Thomas Edwin Morgan and took her husband’s name, being known from then on as Kate Morgan. They had a child together, but he only survived for two days.
For unknown reasons, she ran off with a man named Albert Allen just five years later. She was next seen in Los Angeles, California, where she was hired as a maid by the wealthy Grant Family. She told her coworkers that she was married to a gambler, which was strange because the husband she had left behind was a mailman working in rural Nebraska.
In November of 1892, she checked into the Hotel del Coronado, reportedly upset and alone. Passengers on the train she had taken to San Diego reported that she was arguing with a man who left her alone during the trip. She stayed at the hotel for five days before deciding that she would never check out.
On November 29th, 1892, her body was found on a set of outdoor steps leading to the beach. She died by what was officially deemed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Her family and friends never came to identify the body, but her employer had sent a photograph of her to investigators.
Kate Morgan’s death sparked a lot of controversy. Firstly, people were suspicious as to whether the gunshot wound was truly self-inflicted. Many suspected foul play. Secondly, many doubted whether the body belonged to Kate Morgan at all. Who was the “Beautiful Stranger” really?
Rumor has it that the name connected to the dead woman’s room was “Lottie Bernard”, which was deemed to be an alias. Many thought that it was actually Elizabeth Wyllie—a missing 24-year-old woman from Detroit. People argued that the picture of the victim did not resemble photos of Kate Morgan. They also argued that Kate was not a beautiful woman and was not the type to stay in an upscale hotel like the Hotel del Coronado.
Regardless of the controversy, the woman was officially identified as Kate Morgan according to the hotel’s professional historian. The gentle, yet active, ghost of Kate Morgan continues to bring fame to this haunted California hotel today.
According to the hotel website, her third-floor guest room is the most requested of all the Hotel del Coronado rooms. Guests have reported paranormal activity such as flickering lights, doors opening and closing, sudden temperature changes, items mysteriously moving on their own, strange smells and sounds, unexplained footsteps and voices, the television turning on and off, and mysterious breezes coming out of nowhere.
In addition to her previous guestroom, the hotel gift shop is also a favorite haunt of the Kate Morgan ghost. Objects often fall from shelves, landing straight up and unbroken. The ghost of Kate Morgan has also been spotted along the seashore and in the hallways of the hotel.
While Kate Morgan’s spirit is an active one, she doesn’t seem to have any malicious intent. Guests haven’t reported feeling threatened by her. She makes her presence known, but not to induce fear.
Why she still continues to haunt the property is a mystery. Perhaps it was simply a place that she fell in love with during her physical life. Or maybe she’s searching for something. Could it be that there are still facts surrounding her death that she wants people to discover? Only time will tell.
For more information on the ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado, check out the official book written by the hotel’s professional historian—The Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and The Hotel del Coronado.