Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Read House Hotel is a very important landmark and is also known for the high amount of paranormal activity that happens specifically in one of the rooms. As of March 12, 2019, daily guided tours are being offered at the historic hotel and there is much to discuss when mentioning the infamous room 311 and the terrifying experiences that have taken place there.
In 1871, six years after the Civil War had ended, Dr. John T. Read and his son decided to make a new hotel at the same spot where the Old Crutchfield House stood. The Read House Hotel opened on New Year’s Day in 1872 and over the years, many famous people stayed there, including Winston Churchill and Oprah Winfrey. Even Al Capone stayed there in the 1930s during his federal trial. Oddly enough, he stayed in the haunted room 311 where iron bars were added to the window so he couldn’t escape (the bars were removed in 2004 during renovations).
There have been many people throughout the years that claimed they have experienced unexplained things happening in room 311. It is believed that the spirit of a woman named Annalisa Netherly is the one who haunts that room. As the legend goes, Annalisa and her husband stayed at the hotel at some point in the 1920s. While some say she was a prostitute and others argue that point, she was (for whatever reason) cheating on her husband when he caught her with another man in their hotel room. One day, the hotel staff found that Annalisa had been murdered as her dead body was lying in the bathtub, her throat slit wide open.
There is, however, another version of the story where they were a happy couple staying at the hotel until Annalisa’s husband started cheating on her and she ended up dying in room 311 from a broken heart.
Whichever version you wish to believe, the room is a highly active location for paranormal activity. Men in particular have been targeted in that room, as Annalisa strongly dislikes all males, especially those who smoke. People who have stayed in room 311 have felt like they were being watched, they have heard unexplained loud noises that woke them up in the middle of the night, and some have even claimed to have seen a ghostly apparition. I guess it’s not surprising that guests have called the front desk in the middle of the night to complain about the paranormal activity in that room.
In 2017, a group of investors made a $25 million investment to renovate the entire building. Ken Merkel, who is the general manager, said, “We really wanted to make the Read House the grande dame that it used to be in the 20s and 30s,” adding, “We really wanted to make sure that we did it right. And we wanted to make sure that it represented Chattanooga in the heart of the city.”
While there are now daily guided tours at the location, visitors won’t be able to stay in room 311 for the next little while. “We are probably not going to rent that room immediately so that we can fill the void and let people get a look at it. We will eventually rent that room, probably at a premium rate, just because Annalisa, you know we have to make sure she gets her due,” Merkel said.
He also explained some paranormal experiences that he has witnessed for himself, “You walk in the room and the water is on and everyone kind of goes, how did that happen. Different things with the pictures tilted one way or the other or bumps in the night. All of the things that add to the allure of 311.” When they do decide to rent out that room again, it will certainly be an exciting – and possibly terrifying – experience for those interested in the paranormal.