Constructed in 1907, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is not famous just for being one of America's historic hotels, but also because it is called one of the most haunted. This Colorado getaway destination is frequented by hundreds of thousands annually, and whether you visit for the hotel's unparalleled beauty or to experience an overnight stay in one of its haunted rooms, you're sure to exit with a new-found appreciation for the paranormal.
History in Pop Culture
The Stanley Hotel (stanleyhotel.com) gained fame and notoriety thanks in part to one famous visitor, horror author Stephen King. While King was staying in the hotel, the paranormal experiences he says he encountered in room 217 were the inspiration to write his bestselling novel "The Shining." A movie and subsequent television mini-series were conceived from King's novel, and the hotel was in turn used as a filming location. Televised paranormal investigations have also taken place at The Stanley, by the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" and SyFy's "Ghost Hunters." Both investigative teams stayed overnight in various hotel rooms to film and capture the hotel's ghostly activities.
Out of the main hotel's 140 rooms, guests have reported the majority of the paranormal activity from at least five, most of which are on the fourth floor. Room 408 is said to be haunted by the ghost of a little boy who likes to play with guests' bed covers, while room 407 is a hub of activity with lights being switched on and off, faces appearing in the window and many unexplained noises throughout the night. In Room 418, most of the experiences have been with children. Guests claim to hear them laughing, giggling and playing in the fourth-floor hallways, so much so that complaints are made to the front desk. However, staff has stated that many times, no children were staying in this area when the reports were made. Room 401 is the former nanny break room, and guests have claimed to see a man's apparition hanging around there. Staff believes this is Lord Dunraven, the man who initially owned the 160 acres of land The Stanley Hotel was built on. He is said to enjoy stealing items and hiding them in various parts of the room, only to be found later, and he seems to like the ladies who stay in the room and will often breathe on their necks. Room 217 is where Stephen King and his wife stayed and where it is said that a former housekeeper was injured during a freak electrical explosion. Since the housekeeper's death, she supposedly helps take care of guests staying in this room by doing some of the unpacking for them.
Other Haunted Areas
The Stanley Hotel's guest rooms are not the only areas that have experienced paranormal activity. The hotel's former owners, F.O. and Flora Stanley, are said to be seen often in the ballroom playing the piano or waiting to welcome their guests. Visitors claim to have seen piano keys depressing on their own and hearing music fill the air. Other areas where you might catch the former owners include the bar, the lobby, the music room and the main staircase. The ghost of a small child is also said to be a frequent visitor to the hotel lobby and often heard calling out for his nanny as if he were lost. King also reported seeing this child during his stay on the second floor.
Tours and Ghost Hunt
As of publication, The Stanley Hotel offers two ghost tours and a ghost hunt to anyone who wishes to participate, whether you're a paying guest or not. The daytime tour lasts 90 minutes and provides an overview of the hotel's history. It also takes visitors around the grounds to various paranormal hot spots, including the grand ballroom, the music room and the billiard room. Children age 5 and younger are not allowed on this tour. The two-hour nighttime tour focuses even more on the paranormal aspect of the hotel, what previous investigative teams have found during their visits, and tour guides relay stories and experiences from past guests. Children age 10 and younger are not allowed on this tour. The five-hour ghost hunt is the most in-depth of all, allowing participants 18 and older to investigate hot spots on the grounds and in the hotel with the hotel's own paranormal researcher and investigator, Lisa Nyhart.