Nick & Marcy Sacco are owners of the Haunted Castle House Bed & Breakfast in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. They purchased the Haunted Castle House in 2012 after it had been neglected and abandoned for over 5 years. Together, they quickly decided to turn this Queen Ann Victorian from a home into a bed and breakfast. After a variety of paranormal activity began to occur, it really became the brand for the B&B. Nick is a retired motorcycle officer from KCPD and Marcy is a retired attorney recruiter from a large company in Overland Park, Kansas. They live in the home along with several farm dogs and barn cats.
How do the experiences you offer at The Haunted Castle House give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
While restoring the Haunted Castle House we have kept it as original as possible to the 1850 construction. Guests learn that the Dixon’s got their idea to build the Castle House after visiting England in 1846. Learning how large manor homes were being built they returned and built a European style home here, even bringing the grand staircase back with them after having it custom built in London. Guests learn all of these details about the home plus the history of the then big town of Brumley and its people, including the home’s connection with the American Civil War.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
We have lowered our emphasis on the boring history of the home and concentrated more on it’s paranormal history. People are less interested in the construction of the Castle House and more interested in its ghostly history.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
It would be the fact that two doctors owned and practiced out of the Castle house for over 100 years. In addition, an upstairs room was used as a hospital room when there was no other type of hospital in the area between 1850 and 1950. People during that time didn’t have a hospital emergency room or a walk-in clinic they could go to when they were sick. Hundreds and hundreds of people were treated in the Castle House. Surgery was performed in the Castle House, babies were born in the Castle House and hundreds of people died here at the Castle House.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider visiting or staying at The Haunted Castle House?
I would want every guest to know that we are not a “Haunted House” where people wear costumes and jump out and scare you. The Haunted Castle House actually has over a century of documented paranormal activity. People need to understand that they may experience a paranormal encounter while they are here.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
That more people are coming here during the winter months and not just during the summer. More local business are staying open year-round which helps us keep our rooms full.
What sets the experience at The Haunted Castle House apart from other paranormal attractions?
There are lots of hotels, inns, etc., who will tell their guests that a certain room experiences paranormal activity. Here at the Haunted Castle House we can say that paranormal activity takes place in EVERY room. The many paranormal investigation teams who come here record activity in all parts of the home including the outside areas around the two cemeteries. Which is another point. The Castle House comes with two cemeteries in the back yard. Other hotels, B&B’s, inns, etc., can’t make the claim.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Talk to the hosts about little known places to go or see. We always suggest our guests visit the local children’s cemetery, historic swinging bridges and other out of the way sights the travel pamphlets don’t know about.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
I think our growth has been really helped by social media, especially Facebook. We it update daily talking about paranormal encounters guests have while they are here and events that are coming up. We share photos and videos that guests take capturing paranormal activity. This has put our Facebook following into the thousands.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Be fun and friendly with your guests. Go the extra mile for them and make sure they enjoy their stay. We don’t just take a credit card and hand out a room key when a guest arrives. We give them a guided tour of the Castle House and answer any questions they have. We talk in detail about the room they are staying in and its history. We also urge our guests to get to know one another and weather permitting we always have a big bonfire outside in our fire pit. Guests love the opportunity to sit and talk with you over drinks.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
I would say it’s when we get older guests in their 80’s or even 90’s. We have kept the Castle house so close to it’s original 1850 Victorian charm with very old antiques that many older guests get emotional. Many were raised in old country homes much like ours or remember visiting their grandparents in their home. The Castle House brings back these memories to them and they often share stories with us they remember as children.
Haunted Castle House B&B on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Haunted-Castle-House-BB/