The Haunted St. James Hotel
The riverfront St. James Hotel, originally called The Brantly, is located right in the middle of the Historic District of Selma, Alabama. From the hotel, guests get great views of the Alabama River and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Civil Rights demonstrators started their march from Selma to Montgomery. The hotel was also once occupied during the Civil War by Union soldiers; they burned most of the city, but luckily St. James was spared.
Following the war, the hotel was operated by Benjamin Sterling Turner; the first African American ever elected to the United States Congress. He reportedly hosted the legendary outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James in 1881, taking a break from his bank robbing. In 1892, the hotel fell upon hard times and ceased operations. The doors were closed on the building, and were not reopened for a century. A group of investors purchased the old hotel and after putting in approximately $6 million in restorations, they were able to officially reopen the doors of the establishment in 1997 as the St. James Hotel.
The St. James Hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Alabama. Many visitors to the hotel have reported accounts of hauntings and paranormal events. Since its reopening, two of the most reported "hauntings" in the hotel include Jesse James and his girlfriend Lucinda. Several have claimed to have seen the apparition of a man dressed in attire that was common for a man in the late 1800s. He is most often seen in the rooms in which he typically stayed - rooms 214, 314, and 315. However, he also has been sighted at a certain table in the bar.
Many things are known about Lucinda. For one, she enjoyed the scent of lavender so much that when someone smelled the scent, they knew she was near. Today, several witnesses claim they are able to smell lavender with no logical explanation.
In other instances, a full apparition of Lucinda is said to be walking the halls of the structure.
In the area of the courtyard, many strange events have been reported. First, several witnesses have observed what appears to be residual hauntings of individuals who are fully clothed in dress that was common to the 1800s. They seem unaware of the "living" surrounding them.
St. James Hotel
1200 Water Avenue
Selma, AL 36701
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