Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, ColoradoThe Stanley Hotel
Brief history: Completed in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley (inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile), this 138-guest room hotel in the Colorado Rockies is probably best known as the inspiration for Stephen King's book The Shining, which he wrote after staying at The Stanley, in room 217. King did not write the novel there, nor was the 1980 Stanley Kubrick movie filmed there, but the TV movie version of The Shining was used as the location. Today, the elegant hotel is a popular resort and destination for ghost hunters; a ghost tour is even offered to visitors.
Ghosts: Several apparitions and other phenomena have been reported throughout the hotel:
- The ghosts of Freelan Stanley and his wife Flora have been seen dressed in formal attire on the main staircase and in other public areas, such as the lobby and the billiard room.
- Mr. Stanley has also been spotted in the administration offices, perhaps to keep an eye on the hotel's books. The Flora's piano playing occasionally echos in the ballroom.
- Disembodied voices and phantom footsteps have been heard in the hallways and rooms.
- Staff and visitors have reported unseen hands yanking at their clothing.
- More than one guest has said they have awakened to find their blankets taken from their beds and neatly folded.
- The Earl of Dunraven, who owned the land prior to the Stanleys, is said to haunt room 407, where the aroma of his cherry pipe tobacco still can be smelled. A ghostly face has also been reported peering out of the room's window when it was not occupied.
- Room 217, where Stephen King stayed, was the site of a tragic accident in 1911: housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson was nearly killed by a gas leak explosion. Since her death in the 1950s, strange, unexplained activity is said to take place in that room, including doors opening and closing, and lights switching on and off by themselves.
- Room 418 is the most haunted room, according to hotel staff, apparently by the ghosts of children. Guests who stay there say phantom children can be heard playing in the hallways at night. One couple complained that the noisy children kept them up all night, although there were no children staying at the hotel at the time. Impressions of bodies have been found on the bed when the room as been unoccupied.
- The ghost of a small child who calls out to his nanny has been spotted on several occasions on the second floor -- including by Stephen King.