Balsam Mountain Inn

Posted by junketseo in Asheville Ghost Tours
Balsam Mountain Inn - Photo

The Balsam Mountain Inn, a three-story hotel located on the outskirts of the Nantahala Forest in North Carolina, is a hotbed of spiritual activity. Marzena Wyszyska, who purchased the historic Neo-Classical Hotel in 2017, once doubted the hotel’s haunted reputation. Her mind was quickly changed after just one terrifying overnight stay. 

Completely alone in the hotel, she heard the sounds of nails scratching against her hotel room’s wall, and in the middle of the night, her sheets were abruptly pulled from her bed. She has since welcomed the spirits, whom she refers to as family. 

Lovingly referred to as the Stanley Hotel of the South, this isolated Inn has attracted visitors from far and wide. Some come in search of an escape from the hectic city life. Its spiritual prowess draws others, hoping to connect with the unknown. 

Where Is The Balsam Mountain Inn?

The Balsam Mountain Inn is located 40 miles Southwest of Asheville, North Carolina, in the Balsam Gap. 

Let’s look into the hotel’s secluded and restless past to discover what makes it so haunted. 

Read our blog for more spooky tales just like this one! 

The Grand Old Lady of Balsam

The town of Balsam, which as of 2000 has a population of 49, was once a major tourist destination along the Southern Railway. The seclusion of the mountains attracted visitors from nearby Asheville, bringing large numbers to the Balsam Mountains. 

These mountains are perched over 3000 feet above sea level and are a part of the expansive Appalachians. Their immense height, some of the highest in the renowned mountain range, led two entrepreneurial souls to capitalize on their newfound fame. 

The Balsam Mountain Inn

Brother in Laws Joseph Kenny and Walter Christy from Athens, GA, saw the immense city folk flocking to the mountains for fresh air. The small boarding house the two operated in Balsam Gap soon became overcrowded, and in 1905 construction began on what would soon be known as “The Grand Old Lady of Balsam.”

By 1908 the hotel was completed. It was three stories tall and offered fantastic views of the surrounding Appalachian wonders. 100-foot porches surrounded the building, offering full-scale views of the forest. Fishing and hunting expeditions were led by the two out of the Inn, and the hotel’s grandeur was unrivaled in the Appalachians. 

But as times changed and the railroad lines ceased to be America’s primary mode of transportation, the hotel slowly choked to death. In 1949 the railway no longer took passengers through the gap. The construction of US Highway 23/74 furthered the hotel’s slow death. By the 1980s, the only guests visiting the once illustrious hotel were longtime guests near their death. 

It underwent an initial restoration by the end of the decade and, in 1991, reopened for the first time. In 2017 Marzena Wyszyska took control of the hotel, returning it to its status as a major tourist destination. 

Odd Happenings At The Balsam 

Upon purchasing The Balsam Mountain Inn, Wyszyska was told of the numerous guests that checked in but never checked out. She did not think much of it, not a believer in fairy tales and ghost stories. But, after her first overnight stay in the old Inn, her mind quickly changed. 

In the middle of the night, Wyszyska’s sheets were pulled off her bed by some unseen force. Terrified, she attempted to fall back asleep but struggled. In the morning, a groggy Wyszyska heard the sounds of nails scratching against the empty room wall beside her. 

In an attempt to cleanse the property of these lost souls, Wyszyska hired a priest. His actions seemingly intensified the spiritual activity, and a new course of action was needed. A team of paranormal investigators began a series of communications that led to a shocking discovery. The hotel was haunted by many former guests, more than Wyszyska felt she could handle. 

Instead of attempting to remove them all, she welcomed them. Today grey iron signs are hanging above every haunted room. They read “Welcome,” alerting guests that they may meet one of these famous spirits. Journals are kept in each room, encouraging guests to share their experiences with others. 

Room 205 and The Sheriff

One spirit has made its presence known more than others. That spirit is lovingly and terrifyingly known as “The Sheriff.” According to investigators that came into contact with his troubled soul, “The Sheriff” was shot outside the hotel in 1928. What the dispute was remains unknown, but his bleeding body was brought into room 205, where he slowly bled to death. 

He was a womanizer in his life and continues to be so in the afterlife. Women who stay in the room have reported activity more often than men at an alarming rate. 

Who is The Sheriff of The Balsam Mountain Inn?

A local sheriff was shot outside the hotel in 1928. He was brought into Room 205, where he died an agonizing death. His spirit continues to haunt the hotel and Room 205.

Ghosts of The Balsam Mountain Inn

Guests of The Balsam Mountain Inn report large assortments of spiritual activity. They range from shadow figures to disembodied voices. 

Spiritual Activity at The Balsam Mountain Inn:

  • Sheets being pulled off the beds
  • Shadow figures
  • Whispers outside hotel room doors
  • Disembodied giggling 
  • Objects moving on their own
  • Doors slamming 

The hotel garnered so much attention that in 2020 a documentary entitled Balsam was created about the hotel’s many guests. Spearheaded by actor and paranormal investigator Kane Hodder, better known as Jason Voorhees in Friday The 13th films 7-10, this documentary shows the hotel at its most vulnerable.

The crew had the hotel entirely to themselves due to the Covid pandemic, and the results are shocking—a highly recommended film for any curious paranormal enthusiast. 

If you are in Asheville and looking for a bit of adventure, seek out the Balsam Mountain Inn. Whether you are craving an outdoor or otherwordly experience, the hotel will gladly provide you with both. The spirits are friendly, although sometimes troublesome, and the world-class hospitality is second to none. 

Craving more spooky stories? Keep reading our blog! And next time you find yourself in Asheville, take a ghost tour with one of our experienced tour guides to learn more about its haunted past!