Stanley Hotel: Inside The Luxurious Haunted Hotel That Inspired The Shining – Continuing our series of sinister topics for the Halloween season, The Most Expensive Homes blog brings you another hotel filled with spooky stories. Sit down, turn off the lights and get ready to dive deep into the story of this hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you can’t deny the Stanley Hotel’s capacity to arouse dread and mystery. Let’s explore the eerie past of this well-known Rocky Mountain location and its purportedly haunted past.
The Stanley Hotel, a big, regal resort that sits over the mountain hamlet of Estes Park, still exists today. According to the hotel’s website, however, the Estes Valley was once a picturesque setting with mountain streams and meadows that the Ute and Arapaho tribes called home before the hotel and town were built here.
The Stanley began with Freelan Oscar Stanley, an inventor who, due to tuberculosis, had to travel to the valley, hoping for better health. In Estes Valley, Stanley developed plans with his wife Flora to construct a sizable hotel that would have the splendour and Edwardian richness of east coast hotels, but in a rural, western environment.
When the hotel first opened in 1909, visitors were astounded by the opulent building in front of them. Despite being surrounded by nature, it had power, telephones, contemporary bathrooms, a maid service, and a professional kitchen staff.
For many years, the Stanley was regarded as a chic, upscale Mountain West getaway that offered busy east coasters a restorative escape. But by the 1970s, the hotel had deteriorated significantly from years of neglect and underinvestment and was only a shell of what it had once been. If not for a strange and disastrous series of events involving a now-famous author and his infamous nightmare that occurred in Room 217, the Stanley could have easily been destroyed.
In the 1970s, Stephen King took a trip to Estes Park during the weekend, wishing for some time alone with his wife Tabatha. The couple ended up finding accommodation in the remote Stanley Hotel, which was open on its last day for the season. “It was their last day of the season. Everybody was leaving and nobody was coming in, and we said ‘can we check in,” the author recalled in an interview.
During that night, the author had a vivid nightmare in which a coil of fire hose came to life and chased his crying son through the hotel corridors. King lit a cigarette and glanced out the window after being startled awake. The general plot of The Shining was already taking shape in his head by the time he put out the cigarette and went back to bed.
This tale starts in 1911 when gas lighting first became available at the Stanley Hotel. The power went out during a bad storm, so a maid was sent to Room 217 to look into it. After lighting a candle and entering the room, the woman that went by the name Elizabeth Wilson produced an explosion that partially destroyed that hotel space, sent her flying through the floor, and broke her ankle. Elizabeth lived the remainder of her long and happy life after surviving the explosion.
Many people now think that she haunts Room 217. During their stay in this room, visitors have claimed that their items will be unpacked, things will move around on their own, and a woman’s disembodied voice can be heard in the middle of the night. Others have reported seeing Elizabeth’s ghostly image passing through Room 217 and exiting via a wall that once served as a doorway.
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It is believed that the Stanley family is still present in the hotel they established. Freelan Oscar Stanley has been observed at the hotel’s bar more frequently than anywhere else. Many members of the staff think he is still managing the affairs of his hotel, and many say they can sense his presence.
The Concert Hall on the grounds of the Stanley Hotel is believed to be the most spooky location. It is believed to be haunted by a number of ghosts. One of them is Paul, a former worker who was a handyman in the 1980s. Paul took great pride in his job, therefore it was not surprising that he died and was buried there. He is said to interact with those who have recorded an EVP of a male voice saying “get out.” Additionally, he has a space of his own in the Concert Hall’s lower level, where he typically engages with male visitors.
Another room, directly across from Paul’s, is also inhabited by a ghost. This ghost is referred to as Lucy. Although her origins are actually unclear, it is believed that she was a homeless woman who perished in this location from exposure to the cold weather. She reportedly interacts with paranormal enthusiasts staying at the Stanley Hotel and has made friends with some of the ghosts of young children who frequently visit her room.
The Stanley Hotel’s fourth floor is reputed to be the most haunted. It is believed that many children still haunt this area that was once the maid’s quarters. Even when there are no actual children present, visitors frequently hear the phantom sounds of kids laughing, playing, and running up and down the hallways.
A notable haunted room is 401, which has a closet that opens and closes by itself and is purportedly haunted by Lord Dunraven, the former owner of the property. The ghost of a cowboy who watches you sleep from the foot of the bed and furniture that moves around on its own makes Room 428 another popular paranormal destination.
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