Ghost of Kate Morgan at Hotel del Coronado

by Doug MacGowan

Nobody heard the gunshot. It wasn’t until they found Kate Morgan’s body on the staircase that anyone knew there was a shooting.

The latter half of the 19th century seems riddled with haunting stories, and the luxurious Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, California, is no exception. The hotel is now a host to the ghost of Kate Morgan, who died in late 1892. The story of Kate Morgan is a fine example of a story with a few facts that became embellished with many fictions and exaggerations. It is hard today to tell what really happened

Does the ghost of Kate Morgan haunt the Hotel de Coronado?

Does the ghost of Kate Morgan haunt the Hotel de Coronado?

Who Was Kate Morgan?

What we do know is that Kate was born about 1865 in Iowa. Her mother died when Kate was quite young, so she was sent to live with a grandfather. In 1885, she married a man named Thomas Morgan. The marriage was apparently an unhappy one, as Kate ran off with another man in 1890. The two headed west, although that relationship eventually disintegrated at some point because when Kate arrived in Los Angeles in mid-1892, she was looking for work and she was alone. She eventually found work as a maid in one of the wealthier households, although she seemed to have problems fitting in with the family and staff of the households, as she worked in three different homes in two months.

Hotel del Coronado

In late November of 1892, she arrived in San Diego, again solo, and checked in to the Hotel del Coronado under the name of Lottie Bernard. She looked ill and seemed to get worse as time went on. She told concerned staff that she had cancer and was waiting for her brother, a doctor, to come and take care of her. As far as we know, Kate did not have a brother who was a doctor.

She bought a gun.

On November 29th, Kate Morgan’s body was discovered on an exterior stairway leading down to the beach. Her new gun lay nearby and it appeared that a single gunshot to the head ended her life. They ruled her death a suicide, although that would be questioned almost a century later when a lawyer digging around the official files would state that the bullet that killed her was of a different caliber than her own gun. Regardless of this finding, a re-investigation never opened.

Reports of Paranormal Activity at the Hotel

Almost as expected, stories of the hotel room she had occupied being haunted began to circulate — and still do today. Guests in that hotel still report of malfunctioning electrical equipment, unexplained cold spots and breezes, and shadowy phantoms.

It appears that Kate Morgan became quite taken with the fancy hotel and decided not to check out.

Kate Morgan” Wikipedia, pulled 8/27/13
“Hotel Del Coronado” Paranormal Activity Investigators, pulled 8/27/13

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