Paranormal Revelations – Cosmopolitan Hotel

The SDPRS team conducted an overnight investigation of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, in Old Town, San Diego on October 23, 2010.  Seven team members were present for the investigation, as well as an observer who is a relative of one of the hotel staff.  We were able to obtain a few interesting results, which will be explained in the following paragraphs.

     The Cosmopolitan Hotel has an expansive history of 175 years, originating with a gentleman by the name of Juan Lorenzo Bandini, a pioneer who settled in the area in the 1800s.  He built his huge home from 1827 to 1829.  The home was quite large and accommodated his family well. 

     After Bandini’s death, stage master Albert Seeley had his eye on Bandini’s original structure.  He envisioned transforming the original residence, making it a place for travelers to revel in comfort and entertainment.  The year 1869 marked the debut year for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where Seeley added a second story to the premises.  The hotel was an L-shaped Greek Revival hotel.  However, in 1888, Seeley sold the Cosmopolitan.

     The building’s next role was a functioning canning facility for an olive factory in 1900.  Then, in 1928, Bandini’s grandson, Cave J. Couts Jr. obtained ownership of the former hotel.  The building soon re-emerged as a functioning hotel, complete with a restaurant, wired electricity, gas and new décor. 

     James H. and Nora Cardwell then came into the picture in the 1950s, taking proprietorship of the structure, where it became a lavish tourist motel.  The year 1968 marked an important time for the building as well as Old Town:  the hotel was sold to the state of California and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park was born.

     On the afternoon of October 23, 2010, the SDPRS team arrived to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is now renovated to resemble and match its original décor.  We checked into our room, which is one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel.  We unpacked our arsenal of equipment, settled in and relaxed for a few hours prior to the investigation.  Around 5:00 p.m., we decided to partake in some delicious Mexican fare at the renowned Casa Guadalajara, which is located on the corner of Taylor Street and Juan Street at one of the entrances to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.  After finishing off our meals and digesting a bit, we then walked back to the haunted Cosmopolitan Hotel to get ready for the night’s investigation.

     Our psychic medium and spiritual growth consultant, John, arrived after walking around the premises.  He briefed us on the many paranormal hot spots of the hotel and was even able to come into contact with the famed Isadora Bandini, probably the most noted specter at the hotel.  One of the investigators, Joy, filmed John as he briefed us, which became a part of the investigation case file. 

     After John left, we broke up into three smaller teams.  Team A consisted of Charlie, Delia and the investigation observer.  Team B consisted of Sarah, Joy and I.  Team C was inclusive of Audrey and Maria who investigated our haunted room for most of the night, as it is one of the most active spots in the hotel.  Team A started in the inside bar area, game room and wine room.  Team B started with an EVP session in the dining room areas.  After about an hour or so, Team A and B merged to conduct an ITC session in the wine room, which proved to be the most interesting part of the night.

     We had several pieces of equipment running in the wine room during the ITC session.  The Mel-8704 meter, Tri-Field meter, Ghost meter, temperature sensors, video cameras, digital and analog audio recorders were all running during this session.  Charlie’s AM/FM radio scanner, which he modified for ITC purposes, was smoothly scanning the various bands, when all of a sudden, it stopped mysteriously on Native American chanting.  First of all, the radio scanner is not supposed to stop by any means and demands the physical touch of pushing a button to effectively stop scanning.  Second of all, if this was of paranormal origin, stopping on Native American chanting would coincide with the history of Old Town in general. 

     A few moments later, Delia said out loud, “Please stop the radio (scanner)” and it stopped on its own volition.  Again, very mysterious! The wine room as it is today was formerly the kitchen area and at one point, when we asked what the room was used for, a response came over the radio scanner that firmly said, “Cocina,” which is the Spanish translation of kitchen.  Another interesting piece of ITC evidence that we obtained was when I asked who was in the room with us.  Right after my question, a female voice said, “Isadora.”  Isadora is not a common name by any means and it was very possible that the late Isadora Bandini communicated with us.

     Sarah, Joy and I also acquired some interesting EVP results from our session we did in the general dining room areas.  At one point Joy saw shadowy figures in the room and was touched by an invisible force at one point.  Music was very popular during the Cosmopolitan’s heyday and Sarah was able to capture very faint piano and harp music.  Both a piano and harp were present in the hotel during our investigation.  We made sure to secure the area as well, so no outsiders could creep in and interfere with our investigation.  I even heard disembodied footsteps pacing back and forth, which were not caught on recorder, however.  Perhaps most interesting about this session is the fact that our EVPs seemed to coincide with the history of the hotel and what John intuitively picked up.  John picked up the presence of a small boy named Stefan who used to live on the premises and I may have captured an EVP that corroborates what John intuitively felt.

      Here is a summary of some of the EVPs we obtained during this session:

  • I asked, “Is the little boy here?”  A child’s undecipherable response can be heard.
  • I also asked, “What is your name?”  The same child’s voice can be heard saying “Stefan.”
  • There were many wine glasses situated on the various tables, so I decided to conduct an experiment to see if any entities could tap the wine glasses.  I then asked, “Just for fun, can you please tap a wine glass as it is confirmation for us to know that you’re really here?”  A female response of “No” came right after my question.
  • I also asked, “Who built this hotel?”  A faint female voice responds with “Albert” as in Albert Seeley perhaps.

     Later on, Team A and Team B merged to conduct another EVP session in another portion of the dining room on the opposite side of our first EVP session.  At one point, all of us audibly heard what sounded like child laughter.  We examined this with a critical eye and determined beyond a reasonable doubt that there were no living children outside the premises or inside the premises.  Plus, the sound most definitely emanated from inside the very dining room area that we were situated in.  Little did I know that upon reviewing my audio, I would capture an EVP that directly coincided with the laughter.  About 20 seconds after we report hearing the child laughter, I obtained an EVP of a small child saying, “Happy.” 

     Maria and Audrey had some interesting personal experiences upstairs in the haunted room.  Maria also caught some interesting EVPs, such as, “Prey for me,”  “Maria,” “I love you,” and “Get out of here.”  Both of them also heard some weird sounds that they couldn’t account for.

We will be conducting future investigations at the Cosmopolitan Hotel as a part of a research project.


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