March 2003 - El Tovar Hotel - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona



In the middle of the U shaped parking lot in front of the El Tovar Hotel, there is a marked grave hiding in a patch of land next to the stop sign. The grave is that of a former Harvey Girl that worked for Fred Harvey Company. The ghost of a black caped figure has been seen walking along the pathway leading up from the steps just to the right of the El Tovar Hotel all along the path, passing the grave and disappearing behind the Hopi House. Although most visitors are unaware, the El Tovar, built in the very early 1900's, is home to more then a few spirits. They say that Fred Harvey appears on the third floor during the holidays and invites people to the annual Christmas gathering held in the hotel. The third floor and the kitchen are the haunted hot spots at the El Tovar Hotel.

February 2003

I've done a little research on Fred Harvey, the El Tovar Hotel, and the "Harvey Girls".

Basically, Fred started a "Hooters" for the old west. He set up his first Harvey's House in Topeka Kansas The staff were a carefully screened group of women serving food to Railroad travelers. The restaurants were an instant success and soon there were 54 of them dotting Santa Fe stops.

Eventually, as railroad technology improved and enabled increased train speeds and longer operating distances, pressure on the railroads mounted to find some method for providing meals on the train itself. The successful evolution of dining cars gradually and, in some cases abruptly, caused the demise of the track side eating establishments.

Fred Harvey wasn't out of ideas quite yet, on January 14,1905 he opened a hotel that was like no other of it's time! The El Tovar! The hotel cost an incredible sum of $150,000 to construct and was the most expensive hotel in the territory at the Grand Canyon. Fred Harvey also brought along his "Harvey Girls" to complete the ultimate vacation experience.

March 8, 2003:

We arrived at El Tovar late in the afternoon. Before we even checked in, we went looking for the grave. We eventually found it after we asked someone that worked there. It was in the parking lot, just as the legend has said. It was in the middle of a little island of bushes, behind a dumpster and a 'do not enter' sign. The name on the grave stone was Pirl W. Ward. This person died in 1934.

As we were checking in we asked about the grave, and if it was indeed of a Harvey Girl. It turns out, it wasn't a girl at all, but some Cowboy or something named Pirl...and nothing weird or strange had been seen associated with the grave.


1. Discovering the grave.
2. History of the grave and Pirl, as told by an employee.

This was a minor let down, for me anyway, because I wanted to uncover some kind of murder love suicide scandal or something. Anyway, we decided to focus on the other parts of the legend, Fred Harvey and the 3rd floor.


3. Gift Shop girls talks about hauntings.

We found a girl in a gift shop that had been working at the El Tovar for a long time. She let us know that she and her boyfriend, who worked at a nearby lodge, experienced a lot of weird stuff late at night at the El Tovar. There is apparently a young boy who haunts the 3rd floor, and that Fred's painting mostly just stare at people funny, and then they will usually see him later.

Feel free to comment about this hunt!
Or, Join the discussion about this hunt by Clicking Here!

There is a larger painting of Mr. Harvey right at the foot of the stair case, and it does seem to stare at you. But I think it's just a very good painting. The places that you're most likely to see him were by the staircase leading up to the 2nd and 3rd floors, and by the fire place in the main lobby.

Anyway, we decide to go upstairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors to take some pictures and video. The 2nd floor is where Fred use to throw VIP type parties and things. There is a large open space where people can look down on the people on the first floor. The first group of pictures were pretty much clear, except for a couple questionable spots.

Damon setting up his camera on the 2nd floor. Notice some kind of light orb in the upper right hand side of the picture. Here is a shot of the same area where the orb appeared in the photo. We took numerous shots, but nothing ever showed up. This is a shot of the same area, just from the other side. Notice the orb is back.
This shot is from the 2nd floor looking toward the open area that looks out over the lobby. Here is the portrait of Fred harvey that 'stares' at people. This shot was taken from the 2nd floor. This shot was taken from the 2nd floor. Notice the staircase to the right. It leads up to the 3rd floor. There appears to be an 'orb' by the window.
This shot is from the second floor looking back toward the staircase that leads to the third. Notice a faint hazy ball of something on the stairs. Here is a closer shot taken a few minutes after the previous one. A more defined 'orb' can be seen in about the same spot. Looking down on the 2nd floor from the 3rd floor at the staircase.
On the 3rd floor looking back down the stairs. Some people think there is an orb in the chair in the corner. Not really sure what happened here, but this was taken on the 3rd floor. This is a shot of another stairwell from the 3rd floor. I don't see it, but some people think there is something trying to form in this picture.
Another random shot of Damon and his camera. Some people have told me they see orbs in this photo as well. I don't.


4. We take steps up to the 3rd floor.
5. Randy confesses that ghosts make him sick.

Now, I have to honestly say I felt nothing on the 2nd floor, however when we went to the 3rd I did feel find of funny. My heart rate quickened, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I don't believe it was a ghost. I really think it was the fact that I had to walk up stairs. I'm not use to exercise. However, Randy likes to get sick when ever he is in a haunted place and he claimed that he felt weird on the 2nd floor and when we sat down for a few moments on the 3rd floor he said he really felt bad. Because of this we went all the way downstairs to the lobby thinking he would feel better.

Well, we were wrong. We hung out in the lobby for a few minutes and took a bunch of photos. Randy still felt ill, so we went to the bar. After a few stiff drinks we all felt better. Why did Randy feel so ill? Hopefully the following pictures will lend some answers.
The following Photos were not altered in anyway and were all taken with in seconds of each other. We were sitting down in the lobby looking back up to the 2nd floor where the open area was. I took the first three and Damon took the last two.

Weird, huh? If that wasn't enough, take a look at these photos. Just after taking the pictures you saw above I a few of the fireplace. In the first photo, If you look to the left of the fireplace you'll see a white orb. Then look at the 2nd shot in the same place. Some people have told me they see a dark apparition. maybe a ghost trying to form or something. Then in the 3rd shot, there seems to be more orbs.
Feel free to comment about this hunt!
Or, Join the discussion about this hunt by Clicking Here!

Eventually, we did find our way to the bar. We spent way too much money on drinks and then hallucinated all the way back to our room.

Now, do I think the El Tovar is haunted by the ghost of Fred Harvey? It's hard to say. The pictures are definitely weird, and the people at the hotel definitely seemed to believe it was. I think, however, it's mostly a bunch of 'suggested' sightings and experiences. Maybe there is some haunting going on there, or at least there use to be, but while we were there no hard evidence showed itself. By hard evidence I mean something visible to the naked eye, or a possession of one of use hunters...and I can tell you for sure, no spooks possessed me...

...or did they...

(I don't think it's haunted)
Rating: Average rating: 2.4482758620689 29 Ratings
HAUNTEDMaybeWho CaresDoubtfulHell No!