The Stanley Hotel
Redrum, redrum! Horror movie fans will remember those words vividly from Stephen King’s The Shining, a story about a man who slowly loses his sanity as the caretaker of a large hotel, The Overlook. Did such a place really exist? A hotel filled with spirits and ghostly activity? Actually King was partially inspired for the story while staying at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado. King even reports an encounter with the ghost of a distressed young boy calling for his nanny.
The Stanley Hotel was constructed after F.O Stanley was diagnosed with tuberculosis. His Dr advised him to take in the clean mountain air though he had a grim diagnosis of 6 months to live. F.O Stanley and his wife stayed in a friend’s cabin in Estes Park and fell in love with the area. Soon his health even started to improve. The Stanley’s built a home for themselves in the mountains and 3 years later bought the land the Stanley Hotel sits upon. Construction was completed in 1909. Word traveled fast of this extravagant and isolated hotel and soon celebrities and even royalty were making reservations. The hotel holds 138 guest rooms.
Mr. Stanley passed away in 1940 but he is just one of the many spirits reported at the hotel. He has been seen in the lobby and billiard room, he has even been seen casually strolling through the bar area. There have been reports of the employees attempting to stop the apparition before he heads to the kitchen area but he simply disappears.
F.O’s wife Flora is also seen. She often enjoyed playing the piano and guests report seeing the keys to her beloved piano moving with no one playing them. The faint sound of music can be heard at times with no apparent source. The couple can also be seen together, walking through the corridors or engaging in guest activities.
Room 418 seems to get the most reports of paranormal activity. Cleaning crews have reported strange noises coming from the room. There have been imprints seen on the bed as if someone is sitting though no one is there and the most frequent reports are of the sounds of children in the halls. Guests have reported hearing children laughing, running, playing and even rolling a ball all throughout the night. Once a couple checked out early and complained the children kept them awake all night. Upon inspection the guests were assured that no children were staying on that floor at the time.
Lord Dunraven, who owned the property prior to the Stanley’s purchase, is believed to haunt room 407. He has been seen standing in the corner and often turns the lights off and on. There have also been reports of him opening and closing the windows when he isn’t busy peering through them when the room isn’t occupied.
My favorite known ghost of this hotel is Elizabeth Wilson. She was a maid at the Stanley many years ago. In the year 1917 she was attending to her usual rounds on the second floor. She was lighting the gas lamps as was her usual duty. She was unaware of a gas leak and when she arrived to light the lamp at room 217 there was a large explosion and the room was quickly engulfed in flames. The heat caused the floor to cave and she fell through. She survived and Mrs. Stanley did everything to make her comfortable after the incident. She gave the maid a promotion, a raise, and free rent at the Stanley. Elizabeth continued to do what she loved at the hotel, even after her death. Earlier I stated that Stephen King stayed at this hotel, well during his visit, shortly after checking in he left his suitcases on the bed and went to dinner. When king returned he noticed his bags had been unpacked and his clothes were folded and placed in drawers or hung in the closet. King was assured that no one had been in the room at any point while he was gone. Stephen King’s room number was 217.