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by Allen J. Sheinman | June 17, 2011

Most run-of-the-mill lists would wait for Oct. 31 for this, but not The List. After all, ghosts do their work year-round.

1. The Landmark Convention Center and Temple Theater, Tacoma, Wash. (tacomaslandmark.com). The convention facility here dates from 1927 and was originally built to serve as the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Washington State, yet all the paranormal activity seems to take place in the adjoining 1,620-seat theater, built in 1930. Over the years, observers have reported ghostly male figures, eerie glowing lights or auras, bone-chilling wisps of wind and a service elevator with a mind of its own. Meeting spaces at the complex include the aptly named 3,280-square-foot Gothic Ballroom, which accommodates up to 200 living souls for a banquet, and the Temple Theater Ballroom, whose 7,000 square feet can host 600 cabaret-style and 1,400 theater-style, perfect for employee team-building productions of Phantom of the Opera.

2. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta
(fairmont.com/banffsprings). This 770-room, castle-like structure in the midst of verdant Banff National Park was built in 1888 and has an Old World (some would say Otherworldly) air about it. The property has engendered such staff loyalty, at least one bellman is said to remain active on the job some 35 years after his demise. It's alleged that some of the guests, too, like to come back after they've earned their postgraduate of life degree, perhaps to enjoy the more than 76,000 square feet of flexible function space.

3. The Hanford Civic Auditorium, Hanford, Calif. (bit.ly/l7rU3u). Reports of spirits in the upper balcony of this handsome auditorium, built in 1924, include one chap in a black suit who vanishes as soon as he finishes applauding a seemingly empty stage. Some visitors say they've overheard discussions of legal topics in an otherwise unpopulated men's room -- not the usual chamber for a judicial conference. The venue offers a main hall that seats 500, while the West Wing seats 50.

4. Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas (driskillhotel.com). In Austin's business district, the 189-room Driskill Hotel has been a convenient headquarters for the living and not-so-living alike since 1886, beginning with the original owner, one Col. Jesse Driskill, who to this day is said to turn the bathroom lights on and off and leave behind the smell of cigar smoke. Other "guests" of the nonpaying, nonbreathing sort include the "Houston Bride," who actually was stranded at the altar and now plies the hallways clutching her ex-fiance's credit cards, and a young girl ghost who forever chases a ball down the hotel's grand staircase. The Driskill offers more than 18,000 square feet for those who like to meet in the still-supple flesh.

5. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo. (stanleyhotel.com). An hour's drive outside Denver, the 138-room Stanley sits on 160 acres overlooking the majestic Rocky Mountains. Built in 1909, the property offers 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space, plus a 3,052-square-foot concert hall -- which is rumored to draw the attention of the piano-playing Flora Stanley, wife of original owner Freelan O. Stanley and herself the former owner of a pulse. Oh, by the way, some years ago a writer by the name of Stephen King stayed in room 217 -- and not long after began to pen The Shining.

Sources:
Meetings & Conventions,TaxiMike.com, WeirdFresno.com, HauntedAmericaTours.com