The Stanley Hotel – Colorado

In true Friday the 13th fashion, we have a haunted hotel story. This hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining, and you can still stay there today.

The Stanley Hotel has a long history. It saw the likes of Harry Houdini and many other greats of the time. Freelan Oscar Stanley has the house built, unveiling the 100-room East Coast Colonial-style house in 1909. He and his wife had fallen in love with Estes Park after the moved there on the advice of Freelan’s doctor. It helped Freelan’s tuberculosis, and he lived longer than had been expected.

Eventually, the house changed hands in the 1930s when Freelan sold it to a corporation who transformed it into a hotel. It didn’t fair well because the nearby national park was still growing. John Cullen bought the hotel, and thanks to Stephen King, was able to turn it into a success. King had visited the hotel in 1974, and it became the backdrop for his book “The Shining.” The pet cemetery that was onsite also inspired King. King wanted to invest in a cinematic do-over using the Stanley Hotel. Cullen agreed to this, and trucks were brought in loaded with the McGregor ballroom stage, furniture, and wallpaper that is still there to this day. So that brings us to the question, is the Stanley Hotel really haunted?

The guests of the hotel think so. In 1911, there was an explosion in room 217 that sent Elizabeth Wilson, a chambermaid, through the floor and broke both of her ankles. She somehow survived, but people believe she haunts the hotel.

Stephen King even believes he experienced something otherworldly at the hotel. He said:

“I dreamt of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

The staff won’t explicitly state if they believe the hotel is haunted, instead, they leave it up to guests to draw their own conclusion. They don’t try to hide from their reputation either. They have daily “ghost tours” and offer special bookings for rooms 401, 407, 428, and 217. They even have a resident psychic.

If you are interested in experiencing this hotel for yourself, make sure you book well in advance, especially if you want one of the rooms listed above.