Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Santa Fe: The Ghost of Julia Staab

Living in New Mexico, I have heard about Julia Staab’s ghost for many years. Her husband Abraham Staab made his fortune supplying goods to the U.S Army during the Civil War. He then moved to Santa Fe and was a very successful merchant. 

Abraham in a search for a Jewish wife, arranged for Julia to leave her home in Germany and come to New Mexico territory in the 1870s. 

In 1882 he had an elegant three-story brick mansion--in the French Second Empire style-built on Palace Avenue in Santa Fe for his wife.

The couple was very happy at first. They had seven children and Julia enjoyed showing off her beautiful European furnished home. The mansion’s third story ballroom became the center for Santa Fe’s social elite. It is stated Julia loved her home so much that she remained even after death.

Julia’s life changed with the birth of her eighth child. This baby died shortly afterward, and Julia fell into a deep depression. It was around this same time she discovered Abraham was having an affair. 

With this added stress it is said her hair turned white overnight. She suffered through several miscarriages and finally descended into madness. 

She spent her last remaining years in her bedchamber. She died in 1896 of an apparent suicide. Her surviving children all grew up in the mansion. Their father Abraham died in 1913. The third-floor ballroom burnt down around 1919.

In the 1930s, the Nason family bought the home and the six-acre surrounding estate with the intention of turning it into a hotel. They built a series of Revival-style adobe casitas around the existing Staab mansion and carriage house. 

The original entrance, to the 19th-century mansion, can be seen off the lobby to the right near the hotel’s restaurant. As people walk up the staircase there is a sense of otherworldliness in the area. 

The second-floor guestrooms--originally the Staab family bedrooms still have many of their original furnishings. Julia’s large bedroom is now a favorite guestroom, #256.

The Nason’s called their new hotel La Posada, which in Spanish means “inn” or “resting place.” Their hotel quickly became a popular gathering place for Santa Fe’s art colony. 

It was during the 1970s that Julia’s ghost first began to appear to guests and employees at the hotel.

Her misty apparition wearing black was first seen in the hotel’s lobby and on the staircase that leads to the second floor. 

One compelling encounter occurred when the hotel’s furnace went out. Employees tried to enter this room but the door became mysteriously jammed shut. The phone rang in the hotel lobby from Julia’s bedchamber --no one was staying in this room at the time. A woman’s voice stated:

“This is my house. Why isn’t the furnace working? I’ll get it fixed.”

Ten minutes later the furnace room door was open and it was working. 

Julia’s ghost is often encountered in her bedchamber. While alive, she loved to take long baths. Guests that have stayed in her room report hearing the bathtub running in the middle of the night. 

Many guests have heard Julia’ voice and heavy breathing in the room as well. 

One couple checked out early because the husband saw Julia's ghost at the foot of the bed. 

A hotel employee who was giving a tour of the second floor, knocked on Julia’s bedchamber door forgetting that no guest was staying in the room at that time. He was surprised to hear a woman’s voice state, “Don’t come in, I am dressing.” He quickly moved the group along.

After the hotel was renovated in the 1990s, Julia’s ghost was seen in many other areas of the hotel.

A bartender setting up for service saw Julia’s ghost quietly sitting nearby. He and other witnesses that night saw several glasses fly off the bar. 

One experienced waiter kept dropping his tray of drinks. He told the bartender later that something kept hitting his tray out of his hands. 

A female guest using the downstairs restroom placed her purse on the counter upright. Within seconds all of her make-up flew out of her purse and scattered across the floor.

Two of the cleaning staff also encountered Julia’s ghost. A maid cleaning a male guest restroom spotted Julia’s image in a mirror staring at her. When she turned around no one was there. 

A janitor mopping a floor looked up and saw Julia's brown eyes staring intently at him. He was so unnerved he quit. 

Several of the kitchen staff report pots and pans fly off their hooks and the lights in the room often flicker. The sink taps often turn on and off, the plumbing has been checked but no apparent reason has been discovered.

Today the Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa is one of the cities finest hotels. Elegant gardens and fountains surround the building. It is located just two blocks east of the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

The following is a segment that Unsolved Mysteries did about Julia Staab's ghost. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Slight correction please that elucidates the tragedy of Julia Schuster Staab's life. She lived in her mansion after its completion in 1882 until her death in 1896. BUT, before that, she lived seventeen years in a small adobe house in which she bore 7 children. HENRIETTA, her eighth and last baby, was born in 1883, one year after relocating to the mansion. Tragedy struck when her precious Henrietta died an infant. Julia NEVER had a moment to enjoy her "palace" as her world came crashing down around her. Her mansion became her prison in no uncertain terms.