Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Flanders Hotel’s Lady in White

If you ever visit  Ocean City's boardwalk be sure and say hello to Emily for me . . .

The Flanders Hotel was built in 1923 in Ocean City, New Jersey. It was named as a tribute to the American soldiers who lost their lives in Flanders Fields in Belgium during World War l.

Its’ architect, Vivian Smith, designed this elegant hotel in the Spanish Mission Revival style.

Hotel after boardwalk fire.
The Flanders maintained a reputation for grand service throughout the 20th century. It was the only building that survived the devastating fire in October of 1927, which destroyed twelve blocks of Ocean City’s boardwalk.

After this disaster, the city built the boardwalk closer to the Atlantic Ocean. This made room for the Flanders to put in two enormous salt-water pools between the hotel and the ocean. Thousands of people learned to swim in these pools until they closed in 1978.

One pool at the Flanders Hotel.
One unique feature the hotel has is a full basement below sea level. This space contains a maze of seven large rooms known as the “Catacombs of the Flanders.”

This hotel thrived even during the Great Depression. One reason for this was in the 1920s and 30s its catacombs were used by organized crime.

Its discrete location provided an ideal “neutral” site for crime bosses from New York, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City to meet.

These catacombs also came in handy during prohibition. A speakeasy was located in the hotel’s basement that served illegal liquor.

James M. Dwyer purchased the Flanders in 1996. He had the rooms remodeled into condominium units. However, Dwyer lost it to foreclosure in 2003.

Since many renovations, have been ongoing.

Keeping the building open was a struggle, but in 2009 the structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After millions of dollars in investments, today the building is used both as residences and as a full-service hotel. Also, the shops have reopened.

The Flanders has a resident female ghost who has been active for many years.

She is known as the Lady in White. For her ghost is seen by witnesses wearing a long white dress.

While alive this young lady, Emily stayed at the hotel. It is believed that she had lost her fiancé, a young soldier in WWI who did not return from Europe.

Portrait of Emily
that hangs in the 2nd-floor lobby.
Her ghost is described as having long brown hair and eyewitnesses report seeing her wandering barefoot throughout the hotel. But she is seen most often on the second and fourth floors in the hallways.

Emily is known to be a “whimsical” spirit who seems to be always happy. She is heard both humming and singing.

Her apparition is seen, but when she doesn’t appear, she makes her presence known in other ways. She is heard rattling doorknobs and playing with locks. She also likes to unscrew light bulbs, and she swings doors open.

The tail end of her white gown is seen flashing around corners as she runs from witnesses.

In 1999, her full apparition was seen in the morning hours in the hotel’s catacombs. Her ghost has also been seen in the Hall of Mirrors located in the Flanders’ lobby.

She was captured in a photograph taken during a wedding celebration in the hotel’s banquet room.

The Flanders has always accepted her presence in stride. A large painting of Emily is displayed on the second or main floor. The hotel’s restaurant is also named after her.

A recent view of Flanders Hotel.
The following is a short video about the history and the haunting at the hotel. People claim at 2:10 on this video, as it shows the basement speakeasy-- they can see a ghostly bartender.

This video provides a different backstory as to why Emily's ghost lingers.

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