GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — There are plenty of hotels throughout Greensboro, but there’s only one that includes this eyebrow-raising disclaimer: “The hotel does not advertise or make any claim to any kind ‘ghost’ or ‘paranormal’ activity at the property.”
The Biltmore Hotel, located at 111 W. Washington St., is believed to be the oldest hotel in the City of Greensboro, and, as with many old buildings, the hotel has accumulated a few unsettling stories.
“It is the opinion of the ownership that these are nothing more than just stories for entertainment purposes and those that share an opinion of ‘ghosts’ are their own opinions and beliefs,” the Biltmore Hotel’s disclaimer reads.
In other words, don’t expect to get your money back just because you didn’t see a ghost.
And yet, while the Biltmore Hotel’s official stance on the alleged haunting is skepticism, Biltmore Hotel General Manager Brian Coleman recounted for us the stories and rumors that seemingly refuse to die.
How the Biltmore Hotel came to be
The history of the building that houses the Biltmore Hotel Greensboro dates back to 1895 with some familiar names: Moses and Caesar Cone—the former being the namesake of Greensboro’s Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital.
“When Caesar and Moses come traveling the Southern Railroad will land in Greensboro, North Carolina, [they] discover that the Quaker farmers here have amassed a huge amount of cotton and indigo because of the civil war that’s going on,” Coleman said.
The Cones decided to set up shop and bought a mill in the area. As the brother’s started making money, they began generating a lot of tax revenue, but not for Greensboro. Their headquarters was still in New York. To get its piece, the City of Greensboro filed suit against the Cones.
“So I use the expression of ‘Caesar and Janette Cone will bite their thumb at the city,’ because, in one afternoon in the summer of 1897, Jeanette and Caesar Cone will purchase every piece of available property in what was then considered downtown Greensboro,” Coleman said.
In 1903, they opened 111 W. Washington St. as their new headquarters and the building became “the first building in downtown that was completely wired with electricity and fastened with indoor plumbing.”
The death of Phillip Mullins
Eventually the building was sold to a group of men, including a Mr. Phillip Mullins. The bottom floor was leased out to the post office, but, in 1933, the post office abruptly left. The reason why may have had something to do with what happened to Mullins.
“Late fall of 1932, Mr. Mullins’s body will be found at the corner of West Washington and Green Street,” Coleman said.
Mullins had supposedly jumped from a third-floor window, but there were rumors circulating and an odd ligature mark around his neck.
“Mr. Mullins more than likely didn’t jump from a third floor window,” Coleman said. “More than likely he would have been pushed.”
While his body was shipped away, some say he never left.
“Phillip has a habit of a gracing the cheek of young ladies or females period,” Coleman said. “He’ll tap you on the shoulder. Most people describe walking down the hallway and getting that spiderweb on the skin feel.”
The redheaded woman
In 1933, things changed. Not just with the post office leaving.
“There’ll be a young woman found at the foot of the stairs at 111 W. Washington St. And in the reports that we found, she was described as a young redheaded lady known to her friends by the name of Lydia,” according to Coleman.
“It is thought that Lydia was pushed from the bannister from the second floor so there wasn’t a tumbling down the stairs. In the time that I’ve been here since 2009, there have been five men who have filed reports that they have been pushed down the stairs.”
Women have nighmares. Couples get interrupted. Four construction workers throught someone was in their bathroom late at night only to find it wasn’t any of them.
“None of them were brave enough to open the door,” Coleman said. “So what they did is they threw luggage and shoes down the steps and hauled butt out the front door.”
Coleman described a time that a mother came down the stairs and up to the desk “very, very, very upset.”
“She wants to know who this redheaded woman is that’s been hanging out in the bathroom with her son for the past hour talking to him.”
The unknown boy
The one people see the most also happens to be the smallest.
“The little blond-headed boy that rides up and down the elevator, we have no idea who he is or where he came from.”
You be the judge
In all, four people are known to have died at the hotel, including a man about seven years ago. And stories of strange happenings continue to this day.
“95% of the time, it’s those people who don’t know any of the backstory,” Coleman said. “They haven’t come looking for anything supernatural. They’re the ones who run into it.”
The general manager says he heard plenty of things in there while it was shut down during the pandemic, but he adds that the more people, the more energy is in the building, the more often oddities seem to happen.
If you’re interested in staying at the Biltmore Hotel, you can book a room on their website. But keep in mind that there are 26 rooms and the hotel cannot promise or guarantee a particular room number.
And if you’re hoping for a story of your own? Well…
“The hotel or its ownership make no other guarantees.”
Hear even more
If you’re interested in hearing even more from Biltmore Hotel General Manager Brian Coleman, we’ve got it all here in the Hauntings in the Piedmont podcast, hosted by FOX8’s Michael Hennessey.