Creepy Stories About Colorado's Famous Stanley Hotel

front facade of The Stanley Hotel

Hotels are pretty well primed for ghost stories. They are liminal spaces, in-between spots that are meant to host travelers only briefly as they go about their business. That transience, combined with the general drama of human existence and a century or so of history, is possibly what makes the Stanley Hotel one of the most haunted such places in the nation. If the stories told by hotel staff and guests are to be believed, this spot in Estes Park, Colo., is so packed full of spirits that it may be harder to get a non-haunted hotel room than one without a ghostly occupant.

Truly, the scary tales of the Stanley Hotel have it all, from unseen parties, to eerie animals, to creepy kids, to no less than a modern master of horror feeling unease within its walls. The hotel was built by entrepreneur Freelan O. Stanley and opened in 1909, bringing something of a grand East Coast sensibility to the wildness of the Rocky Mountains, according to the Stanley Hotel itself. The hotel had faded somewhat by the 1970s but has since experienced a revival thanks in no small part to its beautiful location, some hard working restorers, and the growing backlog of creepy tales about this famous hotel.

Even Stephen King was creeped out by the Stanley Hotel

Whenever talking about the Stanley Hotel, it's inevitable to hear about horror author Stephen King. It seems almost too good to be true. Here is the notoriously creepy, atmospheric Stanley Hotel, sitting apart from its town as the Rocky Mountains loom up around it. Here is King, widely recognized as a master of modern horror, with over 50 books to his name, according to Barnes & Noble . His books include one about a creepy mountain hotel, titled The Shining . How did the two really cross paths?

According to The Gazette , King and his wife stayed at the hotel in 1974, arriving in the fall just before the Stanley closed for the winter. They booked room 217 pretty easily, considering they were the only guests in the hotel. King wandered the eerily empty hotel as staff prepared it for closure. That night, King says, he had a terrifying dream wherein his young son was chased through the hotel hallways by a malicious, animate firehose. He woke up in a sweat and went to smoke a cigarette. As King tells it, by the end of his cigarette, the structure of The Shining had already been built within his mind, inspired by the haunting emptiness of the Stanley Hotel.

A legend says room 217 is haunted by a housekeeper

Stephen and Tabitha King stayed in room 217 in 1974. Years later, after King's novel, The Shining, and its subsequent adaptation by director Stanley Kubrick, the hotel and their room, in particular, became very, very popular. Today, hotel staff report that room 217 must be booked months in advance. Yet, if the stories are to be believed, there's more to this particular hotel room than the fact that King dreamed up The Shining behind its door.

Out There Colorado reports that, as the story goes, Elizabeth Wilson was a chambermaid just going about her work in room 217 when a gas leak exploded, nearly killing her. She survived, however, living to a ripe old age. Guests now report that she still comes back to the room, cleaning up after the living inhabitants and driving apart unmarried couples who dare to share the same bed. Single men have claimed that their bags were packed by spectral hands that, in a pretty blunt sign, left the bags outside their room door.

Is there any truth to this story? As The World of Lore: Dreadful Places reports, there may be something to the tale. Hotel workers completing renovation work really did uncover evidence that there had been an explosion of sorts around the room, after all. The piecemeal newspaper reports from the time may indeed contain a germ of truth. And maybe Wilson really is still at the hotel, somehow.

One band says they keep getting haunted by the Stanley Hotel's ghosts

Roots rock band Murder by Death has played an annual concert at the Stanley Hotel since 2013. With their eerie, moody sound, it's not terribly surprising to see that they seem very at home in the hotel's historic ballroom. The band even takes a picture at the beginning of each annual performance that is inspired by the iconic final shot of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining . It's all in artistic good fun, but some may wonder if the atmosphere generated by the band is calling something else up from the depths of the Stanley Hotel.

As VICE reports, band members and fans have reported multiple creepy experiences that happen around the annual concert. Some of them could honestly belong to any haunted place, given that they center on ghostly whispers, frightening dreams, and touches administered by unseen phantom hands. One fan, however, had an ultra-creepy encounter. She claimed to have encountered an old woman in one of the hotel halls who didn't speak but had unnaturally long fingers and croaked at her. The fan did admit that she'd had some whiskey and wasn't wearing her glasses, but when is the last time a shot or two produced such a creepy phantom all on its own?

Multiple guests have reported ghostly children and pets in the Stanley Hotel

For many, children can be a bit creepy. That's not to say that all children are so, or that this is a rightfully earned distinction. But, there's certainly something extra unnerving about the idea of a child ghost, especially considering those bone chilling twin girls that appeared in the film adaptation of The Shining . And since hotels in general can be surreal in-between spaces, with people of all ages moving through in a nameless, phantom-like manner, is it so surprising that the Stanley Hotel has its share of creepy kid ghosts?

Legends of America reports that many of these stories seemed to congregate on the fourth floor of the hotel, with room 418 in particular as a locus. Some guests have complained of children playing in the hallway all night long, though they later learn that no children were booked into the hotel at the time. Even Stephen King is said to have spotted a small ghost child on the second floor.

There is even a smattering of animal ghosts that are linked to the Stanley. Roadtrippers  reports that the hotel has a small pet cemetery. Perhaps that's where Cassie comes from. She's a spectral golden retriever that some people swear have pawed at their doors. And if you happen to see a white cat wandering the property, you may have just encountered the spirit of Comanche, another resident of the cemetery.

Many believe that the fourth floor of the Stanley Hotel is its most haunted spot

Though eerie happenings have been reported practically everywhere in the hotel, many stories seem to congregate on the fourth floor, which was once a huge attic. That's at least what it looked like when Stephen King and his wife visited the Stanley, says Out There Colorado . He recalls wandering the empty space up there alone, a stroll that undoubtedly contributed to his inspirational nightmare.

TripSavvy reports that the fourth floor was once where children and nannies, along with women employees, stayed. Perhaps that's why the sounds of unseen children still echo through the renovated space, at least if guests' accounts are to be believed.

Guests in room 428 seem to be the ones most at the mercy of spectral phenomena. Some people staying there have reported hearing phantom footsteps and finding furniture moving around on its own. A few have even claimed that they saw a ghostly cowboy who simply appeared near the corner of their bed. This figure of the Wild West is said to be friendly, though undoubtedly few people are exactly overjoyed to see a strange man materialize in their private hotel room.

Jim Carrey still won't talk about what happened to him at the Stanley Hotel

Even the filming of a comedy movie doesn't seem to have lightened the atmosphere in select parts of the Stanley Hotel. According to Travel+Leisure , portions of Dumb and Dumber were filmed at the hotel. Naturally, some of the crew stayed there, with star Jim Carrey bunking up in the now-infamous room 217 by himself. The story goes that he appeared at the front desk in the middle of the night, asking to be moved to a different room as quickly as possible. When told that the hotel was fully booked, Carrey simply packed his bags and found another room in town. He's never spoken of what happened in room 217 or why he was so eager to get out.

Of course, this story has its skeptics. A hotel tour guide quoted in The Atlantic said of the tale, "That's a shady one," while going on to acknowledge that no one but Carrey himself really knows what happened that night. However, Carrey did stay there for a short while, and it wouldn't be out of keeping with the character of the hotel itself for something weird and perhaps unexplainable to have happened.

Flora Stanley is said to still play the piano in the hotel

According to Legends of America , the Stanley Hotel first opened its doors in 1909, the brainchild in part of Freelan O. Stanley, an early automotive developer perhaps best known for creating a steam-powered car known as the Stanley Steam Engine. Freelan and his wife, Flora, had first traveled out to Colorado seeking fresh mountain air as a treatment for Freelan's tuberculosis. They both fell in love with the region, eventually leading to their permanent residence there and the construction of the Stanley Hotel.

Perhaps, as some believe, Flora and Freelan grew to love Colorado and Estes Park so much that they've never fully left. Haunted Hotels of Northern Colorado reports that guests and workers alike claim to have heard Flora still playing her beloved piano in an unoccupied room. She's sometimes accompanied by the smell of roses, making for an appropriately ghostly tale.

As for Freelan, he's been spotted around the hotel, most often in the lobby of Billiard Room. Some clerks have looked up from the front desk to see a snappily dressed Freelan Stanley staring back at them before promptly disappearing. Others swear that his favorite rocking chair will slowly move on its own.

The basement beneath the Stanley Hotel creeps out staff and guests alike

Guests rarely get to view the space directly beneath the Stanley Hotel, unless they're part of a tour group that's led there by a hotel staff member. TripSavvy reports that the night spirit tour ends here, in a space popularly known as the "underground caves." Staff purportedly use this quasi-cave system to move about the hotel without coming across guests, though it's apparently not in use today. This dark, unoccupied space is still undoubtedly creepy, even to the most hardened skeptics.

For the less skeptical, there are a few different ghostly occurrences that are said to happen beneath the hotel. Per Nightly Spirits , some staff have said that the pleasant smell of baking sometimes wafts through the caves, attributed to the spirit of a long-gone pastry chef. Others have reported crossing paths with a gray cat with luminous green eyes. Said cat isn't a known occupant of the nearby pet cemetery, so it's easy to wonder just where, exactly, this eerie, ghostly feline hails from. These stories sometimes also mention the presence of limestone and quartz in the bedrock beneath the Stanley Hotel, which some paranormal believers claim traps the spiritual energy of the hotel, its staff, and the many guests who have stayed there over the years.

Stanley Hotel housekeepers report weird encounters throughout the place

Members of a hotel's cleaning staff are already pretty apt to come across some weird stuff. They move in and out of the rooms, ostensibly minding their own business but still coming across whatever people leave behind in their own travels. And that's just the living guests.

At the Stanley Hotel, housekeepers also reportedly have to deal with the foibles of longer-term undead guests. According to Out There Colorado , staff members have told guests that some of the ghosts aren't too keen on the sound of vacuum cleaners. Presumably, however, the spirits just have to deal with it on occasion, or else the hotel would never be clean.

The infamous room 418 even creeps out housekeepers, too. The World of Lore: Dreadful Places reports that cleaning staff have watched the television in room 418 turn itself off and on, while one unlucky housekeeper who had just made the bed saw the impression of a body form in the seemingly untouched sheets. One also wonders if anyone ever feels the critical eye of Elizabeth Wilson, the housekeeper who was reportedly injured in an explosion in or around room 217 and who, it's said, sometimes returns there to tidy up. After encounters like that, the sounds of a dog at the door or ghostly children in the hallway probably don't seem so bad.

The hotel's MacGregor Dining Room is said to still be hosting a phantom party

Fans of director Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaption of The Shining likely remember the final shot of the film. Without spoiling the plot of the movie, The Shining ends on an eerie picture of a party once held many decades ago in the film's hotel, named The Overlook. That picture may have been inspired somewhat by the ballrooms in vintage hotels throughout the country, including the creepy one in Colorado's Stanley Hotel. And, as some accounts maintain, that reputation is earned in part by the presence of some otherworldly visitors who still want to party.

According to Haunted Hotels of Northern Colorado , the Stanley Hotel's MacGregor Dining Room, which has been used as a ballroom, is reputed to be at the center of a few ghostly occurrences. Lights have been spotted moving by themselves, while others claim that they've witnessed those same lights turning on and off of their own accord. A few have even reported hearing — but not seeing — parties, complete with the sounds of disembodied voices accompanied by vintage music.

Some guests swear they've seen a long-dead Lord Dunraven in one hotel room

According to the National Park Service , the fourth earl of Dunraven, Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quinn, first traveled from Ireland to Colorado in late 1872. While in Denver, he was told of the excellent hunting in the mountains around Estes Park, and so he traveled to the mountain town just a few days after Christmas. He was so taken by Estes Park that he decided to own it. Dunraven began buying up parcels of land around town, perhaps to start a cattle ranch or perhaps more simply to establish a private game reserve. He established the popular Estes Park Hotel but then lost interest and left town by the 1880s. Dunraven eventually sold some of his land to F.O. Stanley and Stanley's business partner in 1908.

Though Dunraven is never recorded as having visited the Stanley Hotel, visitors swear that they've seen traces of him throughout the property. Some of the claims collected in Haunted Hotels of Northern Colorado center on Room 401, when Dunraven appears to the shocked occupants, who may also smell the traces of his tobacco. Both the door to the room and the closet door are said to move on their own, sometimes slamming shut as if displeased somehow. Some wonder if Dunraven has something to do with the many experiences reported in the room, after all, though no one's sure why he would appear in a hotel he never saw in person.

Even the staircase of the Stanley Hotel could be haunted

Surely a place is considered to be pretty darn haunted when even the staircase is said to be home to a ghost or two. In the Stanley Hotel, visitors walking in the front door are struck with the spectacle of the hotel's "Grand Staircase." According to numerous accounts, some of the hotel's spirits may be spotted or even recorded on this staircase. The Denver Post reported on the story of Henry Yau, a visitor whose picture of the staircase revealed a ghostly figure that appeared to be that of a woman in an old-fashioned dress. Yau claims that he did not recall coming across a real-life woman when he snapped the photo.

Another account related by HuffPost focused on the Mausling family of nearby Aurora, Colo. The father, Jay, was busy taking pictures when the Mauslings were taking one of the popular "spirit tours" offered by the hotel in 2017. When they later reviewed the photos, they noticed what appeared to be two ghostly figures on the stairs, including one of a little girl — though there were no kids of that size or description in their party.

Could these both be cases of mistaken identity or simply a photographer who wasn't paying as close attention to their surroundings as they claimed they were? Possibly. Yet, these eerie stories may still be enough to give you pause as you step on the Stanley Hotel's grand staircase, even if just for a moment.

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The Stanley Hotel, CO

The Stanley Hotel’s Haunted History

October 4, 2023 By //  by  Patrick McGuire

Regardless of whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can’t deny the Stanley Hotel’s ability for inspiring fear and intrigue. Let’s uncover the creepy legacy of this iconic Rocky Mountain destination and its supposedly, haunted history.

The Stanley’s spooky past is built on a combination of provable facts and events, and loads of anecdotal evidence and speculation. There are hotel guests and staff accounts of hearing disembodied voices, being touched by something or someone they can’t see, and all manner of other strange and unexplainable occurrences.

The Stanley Hotel’s Background

The Stanley Hotel

Today, the Stanley Hotel is a large, stately lodge that overlooks the mountain town of Estes Park . But before the hotel and town were established here, Estes Valley was an idyllic landscape replete with mountain streams and meadows that Ute and Arapaho tribes called home, according to the hotel’s website.

The Stanley Hotel’s origin story began when inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley, stricken with tuberculosis, traveled to the valley in hopes of getting their health back. Some tell this part of the hotel’s origin story differently and claim that Stanley was so ill that he was convinced he’d die from consumption and was intent on doing it in a beautiful place. But after just one summer, his health was indeed restored, which he credited to the fresh air and abundant sunshine.

Alongside his wife Flora, Stanley made plans to build a large hotel in Estes Valley that would feature the grandeur and Edwardian opulence of east coast establishments, but in a rustic, western setting.

When the hotel opened in 1909, guests marveled at the palatial structure in front of them. It was surrounded by wilderness but somehow featured electricity, telephones, modern bathrooms, and a maid and cooking staff in professional uniforms.

Stanley Hotel Aerial View Estes Park

For decades, the Stanley was seen as a posh, exclusive Mountain West destination that provided a restful, rejuvenating break for busy east coast lifestyles.

But by the 1970s, the hotel had fallen into grave disrepair due to years of neglect and lack of investment and had become a shell of its former self. The Stanley easily could’ve been demolished had it not been for a bizarre and fateful string of occurrences involving a now-seminal author and his famous nightmare that took place in Room 217.

Haunted Room 217

The Stanley Hotel

In the 1970s, author Steven King was working on The Stand and living in Boulder, Colorado. One weekend, he and his wife, Tabatha, traveled an hour north to Estes Park for a weekend away from their children. In a recent interview on The View , King explained that the Stanley Hotel was open on its last day for the season when he and Tabatha arrived looking for accommodations.

“It was their last day of the season. Everybody was leaving and nobody was coming in, and we said ‘can we check in,”

King said. They would be the only guests in the large hotel that night, and King recalled hearing the wind whistling outside the room. After a night at the restaurant and bar, the couple retired to Room 217.

In a lucid nightmare, the author dreamed of a coiled fire hose coming to life and chasing his screaming son as he ran down the halls of the hotel. After waking in a panic, King lit a cigarette and stared out the window. By the time he had finished the cigarette and gone back to bed, the rough outline of The Shining was fully formed in his mind.

The Stanley’s connection to King and the terrifying night that inspired The Shining are the hotel’s most famous and influential creepy occurrence, but strange and reportedly paranormal happenings had been reported in the hotel long before the 1970s, some specifically in Room 217. Take the night of June 25th, 1911, for example .

After the valley experienced a flood, the two-year-old hotel’s power went out for the first time. Freelan Stanley took it upon himself to install a gas lantern in each room to provide the guests with a light, and a leak caused a buildup of gas to form in Room 217.

The head chambermaid, Elizabeth Wilson, entered the room with a lit candle and set off a massive explosion. Wilson miraculously survived and was launched from the room’s entrance to the dining hall located on the first floor.

An estimated 10% of the hotel wasn’t as lucky, and one observer reported seeing a bathtub fly up in the air during the blast. After waking up from a coma, Wilson returned to work in 1913 and remained employed by the hotel until 1950.

This is where Wilson’s story should end, but it doesn’t, according to some hotel guests and staff. Her spirit is said to still inhabit Room 217, but reports claim that she’s typically more helpful than scary. Guests have shared stories of waking up to a room that was tidier than the night before with their clothes folded and suitcases organized.

One couple told a staff member at the Stanley that their bed was made around them during the night with them still inside. But take note, if you’re considering staying in this famous hotel and aren’t married, you may not have the most restful night if you choose to stay in Room 217. Unmarried couples have reported a chilly presence settling into bed with them as they’ve slept.

A haunted reputation and other creepy offerings

The Stanley Hotel, CO

Stanley died in 1940 at the age of 91, but, like Wilson, many believe his presence can still be seen and felt at the hotel, mainly at the bar and in the billiard room. The phantom of his wife Flora has a penchant for tinkering around on the hotel’s piano, according to multiple accounts.

Some hotel tour guides believe a ghost of a child with autism wanders the property and plays with guests’ hair. And guests on the fourth floor of the Stanley have shared stories of hearing children’s laughter in the hall with no one to be found.

Rachael Thomas, a tour supervisor for the Stanley Hotel, claimed she was mysteriously made ill on this floor in a 2021 interview . Creepy happenings like these have made the hotel an internationally famous hot spot for supposed hauntings, and it’s been featured on popular ghost-themed shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters .

Stanley Hotel Lobby Estes Park CO

Whether ghosts actually exist or if life after death is real or not is not something we’re equipped to meaningfully address or answer in this short article, but we can tell you with 100% certainty that the Stanley Hotel has a couple of decidedly creepy locations.

These include an on-site pet cemetery, where some of the owner’s animals have been laid to rest over the years (Cassie, a friendly golden retriever, is said to still deliver newspapers and scratch at the doors to be let in from outside despite being buried at the grounds); plus a large cave system that’s located under the hotel.

Why would a hotel need a network of caves, you ask?

The reason is that in the early days of the Stanley, it was seen as unprofessional for the staff to be seen by guests, so employees used the underground pathways to travel between rooms and the hotel’s bar, restaurant, and laundry facilities.

The ghost of a pastry chef is said to haunt the caves, as evidenced by the alluring and inexplicable scent of baked goods that are frequently reported there.

Stanley Hotel Staircase Etes Park CO

Room 401 is, according to some , the creepiest room in the hotel, and is thought to be haunted by an unfriendly male ghost by some accounts. Women have claimed that they were inappropriately touched by an unknown presence while standing in the room’s closet.

One man claims he witnessed his wedding ring inexplicably move from the bathroom counter and fall down the drain of the sink in the bathroom.

Down the hall in Room 407, multiple guests have reported the odd experience of being tucked into bed by some invisible force, and others have felt someone sit on the foot of the bed only to find nothing but an indentation on the covers when they switched on the light.

In Room 428, some have seen the vision of a cowboy looming over the bed as they slept, or standing in the corner. There aren’t any rooms above this room, yet over the years there have been multiple reports of strange sounds like furniture being moved and footsteps emanating from the ceiling.

Even without its paranormal reputation, the Stanley Hotel is a beautiful, fascinating place to visit. But with the potential to experience a haunting firsthand, guests from the world over travel here in hopes of witnessing something profound and unexplainable.

If you’re unsure whether you believe there’s something more than meets the eye happening here, you’ll have to book a room and see for yourself (affiliate link). When you do, request to be booked on the fourth floor, because that’s supposedly where you’re most likely to experience something, according to accounts.

Patrick McGuire

About Patrick McGuire

Patrick McGuire is a freelance writer and musician living in the mountain west.

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11 Creepy Things You Didn't Know About The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is infamously known for being the inspiration behind the Overlook Hotel, Stephen King's horrific edifice in The Shining.

Read update

The Stanley Hotel Continues To Creep Us Out In 2023

  • The Stanley Hotel may be famous for inspiring Stephen King's book, but 'The Shining' was actually filmed elsewhere.
  • Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel is haunted by Elizabeth Wilson, a housekeeper who died in a gas leak accident.
  • The fourth floor of the Stanley Hotel is the most haunted, with reports of paranormal activity like children's laughter and strange lights.

The Stanley Hotel was Stephen King's inspiration for his book called The Shining . He spent a night at this Boulder, Colorado hotel with his wife back in 1974, and he had a dream while sleeping that turned into a famous book and movie. Many guests have claimed that the rumors are true and it is indeed haunted, but King was the one to put it on the map.

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We have discovered the creepiest things that have happened in this haunted hotel. The ghosts might not be violent or angry, but their presence will instill fear into your soul. Keep reading to learn ten creepy things you didn't know about the Stanley Hotel!

UPDATE: 2023/08/04 14:59 EST BY NOAH STAATS

This post has been refreshed with new facts surrounding the Stanley Hotel, as well as other spooky information. Whether someone's seen the film or not: this haunted hotel is not one for the faint of heart. Beware of the fourth floor!

11 The Shining Wasn't Even Filmed Here

  • The movie, 'The Shining,' was never shot inside or around the Stanley Hotel.

One of the more shocking details of the Stanley Hotel is that the movie, 'The Shining,' did not take place inside. Instead, the film was shot almost entirely in the studio at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England, with some exterior scenes being filmed at the Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood in the Hood River area of Northern Oregon. This has always baffled people and continues to be a lesser-known secret of the film and hotel after all these years.

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10 Elizabeth Wilson Resides In Room #217

  • Room #217 is one of the most notorious at the Stanley Hotel.
  • It's haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Wilson, a housekeeper who died inside.

This is the most famous room in the entire hotel, and for good reason. There was a maid named Elizabeth Wilson who was lighting the gas lamps in the rooms many years back, but room 217 had a gas leak that blew the room apart and flung her body a story down.

She did survive with a few broken bones and continued to work at the hotel for a few more years, but for some reason, she chose to stick around here after her demise. Elizabeth still keeps to her housekeeping routine as people return to their rooms to find their luggage unpacked, shoes being lined up, and shadows seeming to pass through the walls.

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9 Room #428 Has A Friendly Cowboy

  • Room #428 at the Stanley Hotel features a friendly cowboy ghost.
  • People have reported being kissed on the forehead by him.

There is the ghost of a cowboy who frequents this room in the dead of night, but he just likes to sit in the corner or pace the floor. He is quite the gentleman as one couple asked him to leave the room, and he obliged, and other ladies have awoken to him kissing their foreheads goodnight. No one knows his story, but everyone can respect a man who respects the ladies, even in the afterlife.

8 Ghost Children Like To Play Games With Those in Room #418

  • Ghost children play throughout the Stanley Hotel: especially in and around room #418.
  • The infamous twins from 'The Shining' are based on these tales.

This particular room is haunted by ghost children who like to play with the objects in this room. Guests have seen lights flicker, hangers move of their own accord, and some people's covers are even ripped off of them during the night.

A four-year-old girl stayed in this room a few years back and told her mother in the morning that a young boy had tickled her in the night, but he left after she asked him to stop. Children are known to make up stories, although it is hard to think of this as just a funny coincidence.

7 The Concert Hall Is A Flurry Of Paranormal Activity

  • One of the most paranormal-active sections of this hotel is the concert hall.
  • Employees and guests have died in and around the concert hall, leading to its activity.

This is one area where a lot of people report hearing and feeling the touch of ghosts. There was a worker named Paul who used to enforce the curfew in the hotel, but unfortunately, he passed away back in 2005 after suffering a heart attack on the job.

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People say you can hear him telling you to "get out," while others swear he tried to push them out the door into the hall. The founder of the hotel named, Flora Stanley, was known for her pianistic skills which are often shown off in the concert hall as guests claim to hear music even when no one else is in the room.

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6 Lucy The Ghost Also Haunts The Hall

  • A small girl who had been thrown out of the Stanley Hotel and perished still haunts the concert hall and basement.

Many years ago, a young girl named Lucy was found in the hotel basement peeping at some construction plans. The staff found out and threw her into the cold, where she froze to death, and now she haunts the concert hall and basement.

A guest on the tour took the picture above, which showed a young girl in a hot pink dress, but no one on their tour was wearing that sort of attire. It was also strange as everyone agreed they never saw a girl that looked anything like that during the time they were there, which only proves that Lucy does exist.

5 The Male Ghosts Are Handsy With The Women

  • Male ghosts are also known to get handsy with female guests.

The male ghosts who reside in this hotel are not ashamed to touch young women during their stay, as guests have claimed to feel a presence stroking their hair, kissing their cheeks, or hands running along the length of their bodies. If anyone in the group feels a ghost near or on them, a simple 'no thank you, I'm taken' might work. However, a more stern warning towards them might be required if they're persistent. Hands off, bud.

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4 Lord Dunraven Makes His Presence Known

  • The original owner of the Stanley Hotel, Lord Dunraven, makes his presence well-known to guests of the Stanley Hotel.
  • It's also believed he haunts room #401.

Lord Dunraven was the original owner of the piece of land that the Stanley Hotel resides on. He never once visited the hotel, but it is hard to believe that the Irish man who haunts room #401 could be anyone else.

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He is another ghost that likes women and is unafraid to wrap an arm around them or play with their hair, but he isn't a fan of men. He generally gives a feeling of unwelcome or steals their valuables while they are away as the price for their stay.

3 Room #407 Has A Friendly Ghost

  • Room #407 has a much nicer ghost than some of the others, often showing compassion towards younger guests.

No one has ever s een the ghost that haunts this room , but it is apparently very friendly and caring based on its actions. A little boy once stayed in the room and kept kicking off his covers, and every time he did, the ghost would tuck him back in.

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Other guests have also reported being tucked in at night in this room, while some say the ghost likes to sit on the edge of the bed. It is the perfect room for someone who wants to experience paranormal activity but not be frightened by it in a way that makes them scared to fall asleep.

2 A Man Often Appears In Room #413

  • There is a male ghost who likes to pop into room #413, presumed to be a guest who died inside.

It is not uncommon for ghosts in old fashion styles to appear in haunted places, and room #413 is no different. There have been several guests who reported seeing a man sitting in the corner of the room in an old-fashioned suit that doesn't fit with today's style.

Other reports have been made of a man's face in a blue ball resting outside this room, which probably scared more than a few people. It is more than a little creepy, but we wouldn't expect anything less from a restless ghost.

1 The Fourth Floor Is Definitely Haunted

  • The most haunted floor at the Stanley Hotel is the fourth level.
  • This is where most paranormal activity occurs.

If you want to hear the sounds of ghosts, then you should book a stay on the fourth floor. You can hear children's laughter, partygoers returning after a long night, and the pitter-patter of children's feet running down the hall.

People have also seen strange lights, and some say they felt a presence while they were in this hall, all of which we wouldn't deem as normal activity in a hotel. It is hard to say it's not haunted when there are so many reports pointing to ghosts on this particular floor.

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The 7 Most Haunted Spots in The Stanley Hotel

Here's where you're most likely to spot a ghost at The Stanley Hotel

ghost stories of stanley hotel

TripSavvy / Vincent Mercer

Colorado’s famed Stanley Hotel is a repeat guest on “most haunted lists.” The Estes Park hotel, most definitely worthy of a day trip from Denver, has also hosted its fair share of paranormal investigators from shows like The Travel Channel’s "Ghost Hunters" and SyFy’s "Ghost Adventures." The hotel’s paranormal investigator Lisa Nyhart, who leads monthly ghost hunts which are more in-depth than the 90-minute hotel tours that happen multiple times throughout the day, has referred to the hotel as a “Disneyland for ghosts.”

But the Colonial Revival-style hotel that was first opened in 1909 is sprawling to say the least. The hotel features 420 rooms plus ballrooms, dining areas, and an underground cave system (more on that, later!) The hotel’s most famous stunt, perhaps, was creeping out horror writer Stephen King—so much so that he penned The Shining. But several other guests retell ghost stories of their own, reporting lights flickering off and on, doors abruptly slamming shut, seeing shadows, getting chills, and hearing the laughter of children.

Before we narrow down the most haunted places in the hotel, we picked up a pointer from a seasoned tour guide at the hotel on how to best capture ghosts on camera. Her pro tip: Take five or six quick shots to capture a fleeting spirit. Oh, and bring up back-up batteries because paranormal experts will tell you if spirits are present, they’ll have a draining effect on your batteries. Now you’re ready to capture orbs. (A television screen outside of the The Stanley Hotel’s tour office features plenty of ghosts caught on camera by tour guests).

Ready to proceed? Here’s where you’re most likely to find ghosts. And, we double-dog dare you to book a night in room on the fourth floor.

Perhaps the most famed spot in the Stanley Hotel, this is where horror writer Stephen King spent the night and got the inspiration for his 1977 bestseller "The Shining ." You can soak up the same Rocky Mountain views that King got when he stayed there. An added amenity? The room has a library of King novels.

When King and his wife arrived at the hotel, it was closing down for the season and they were the only overnight guests staying there. They ate dinner in an empty dining room while pre-recorded orchestra music played before retreating to their room on the spacious (and eerily empty) second floor. King woke up that night to a terrifying dream about his 3-year-old son being chased through the corridors and screaming. King jerked out of bed, realizing it was a dream. He lit a cigarette on the balcony and the plot for his now-famous book shaped up.

The room is thought to be haunted by Elizabeth Wilson, AKA Mrs. Wilson. She was the hotel’s head housekeeper and, during a storm in 1911, was injured during an explosion as she was lighting the lanterns in room 217. She survived, though broke her ankles and her spirit seems to be a regular in the room. Guests have reported items moved, luggage unpacked, and lights being turned on and off. Oh, and Mrs. Wilson is old-fashioned: She doesn’t like it when unmarried guests shack up together, so some couples have reported feeling a cold force come between them.

One of the biggest myths about the room is that it’s never available. Not true! You can actually book it and stay there if you dare. 

From an architectural standpoint, the staircase between floors in the hotel’s main guesthouse is a stunner. But the area has also been dubbed “The Vortex” a natural spiral of energy. It’s also known as the “rapid transit system” for ghosts that are known to haunt the hotel.

The Concert Hall

There’s a lot of paranormal hubbub said to be happening in this famed concert hall. Paul, one of the well-known ghosts haunting The Stanley, was a jack-of-all trades around the hotel. Among his duties? Enforcing an 11 p.m. curfew at the hotel, which could be why guests and workers hear “get out” being uttered late at night. The area is also a favorite spot for hotel founder Flora Stanley’s ghost to play the piano. A few of Paul’s antics: A construction worker reported he felt Paul nudge him while he was sanding the floors and tour groups on The Stanley ghost tour have reported he flickered a flashlight for them.

Another ghost known to wander about Concert Hall is Lucy, who quite possibly was a runaway or homeless woman who found refuge in the hall. She entertains the requests of ghost hunters, often communicating with them with flashing lights. Stanley historians, however, aren’t quite sure about her pre-death connection to the hotel.

More than a century ago, the entire fourth floor was a cavernous attic. It’s where female employees, children, and nannies stayed. Now, today’s guests will report hearing children running around, laughing, giggling and playing. Plus, there’s a famous closet that tends to open and shut on its own in this room.

 Really, you get a badge of bravery for staying in any room on the fourth floor. But, bonus points if you can book room 428. Guests have reported hearing footsteps above them and furniture moving about. But that’s actually physically impossible given the slope of the roof, tour guides say. The real haunt in this room, though, is a friendly cowboy who appears at the corner of the bed.

Grand Staircase

 From antique mirrors and portraits, there’s plenty to distract the eye on the grand staircase at The Stanley. But it could also be a popular passageway for the hotel’s resident ghosts. In 2016, a visitor from Houston snapped some photos on the grand staircase and, upon returning home and reviewing them, spotted an apparatus at the top of the staircase. The thing is he doesn’t remember anybody else being on the staircase at the time he was taking the photographs. The ghostly image of a woman is at the top of the stairs.

Underground Caves

If you go on the 75-minute night spirit tour at the Stanley (you don’t have to be a hotel guest to get in on it, but you should book in advance!), your tour will come to an eerie halt at the end with a visit to the underground cave system. Workers moved about the hotel through the caves in the early days so it makes sense this is a popular haunt. Skeptics will pass off the haunts as breezes from the historic piping and ventilation systems. But, beneath the hotel is a higher-than-average concentration of limestone and quartz, which some ghost hunters believe help capture energy at the property.

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I stayed in a 112-year-old hotel that's been nicknamed a 'Disneyland for ghosts,' and the stories I heard will keep me up at night

  • I went on a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining."
  • King isn't the only one who has shared stories of apparently paranormal encounters there. 
  • The hotel has a list of tales — such as stories of a ghost cowboy and golden retriever — that spook guests.

As the sun set over Estes Park, Colorado, I checked into the Stanley Hotel. In just a few hours, I'd be touring the 32-acre property in the dark, hoping to find what Colorado's most "haunted" hotel is known for: ghosts.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

During the fall of 2021, I traveled to Estes Park, Colorado, to visit the state's most popular national park and spend a night in one of the country's most "haunted" hotels . 

While I'm not easily spooked, I arrived knowing that the hotel had frightened one of the country's most popular horror novelists, Stephen King. While staying at the hotel, King says he had a paranormal encounter that inspired him to write his famous novel "The Shining," as he wrote on his website. 

King isn't the only person who has said they've had paranormal encounters there. The hotel formerly had an onsite paranormal investigator, Lisa Nyhart, who called the property a "Disneyland for ghosts," TripSavvy reported .

On September 30, 2021 — exactly 47 years after King's visit — I checked into the hotel for one night and joined about a dozen people on a ghost tour of the property.

The experience, which the hotel calls a spirited night tour, costs $25 for hotel guests and $28 for visitors at the time of writing. The hourlong tour highlights the spooky stories hotel guests, employees, and visitors have collected over the decades. And I haven't been able to shake the stories from my memory since.

The tour started with some historical insight. The guide told my group the Stanley Hotel was opened in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, known as FO Stanley. Today, it's known as the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining."

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Stanley relocated from Denver to Estes Park with the plan to die of tuberculosis in a beautiful place, the tour guide told my group.

But the clean air offered more than gorgeous scenery. Stanley survived tuberculosis and lived nearly 40 more years, the tour guide said. After his health improved, he and his wife, Flora Stanley, decided to stay and build a hotel, the guide added. 

Since it opened, the Stanley has welcomed historic figures, I learned on the tour. Everyone from the Roosevelts to the Rockefellers has spent nights on the property, but today, the hotel's most well-known guest is Stephen King. 

After reading stories about what King saw on his frightful night, I was ready to see the hotel firsthand and learn the eerie stories many have told about the institution.

The Stanley Hotel is comprised of four main buildings, and one includes a concert hall. The hall was built for the owner's wife, Flora, who some say still haunts the building today, the tour guide said.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

In 1910, FO gifted his wife Flora the concert hall, the tour guide said.

Flora was an avid piano player, but after performing just once in the concert hall, she learned she had stage fright and never performed again, the guide said.

Some believe Flora never stopped playing. According to the tour guide, hotel guests and late-night visitors claim they have heard music ringing through the concert hall despite not seeing a piano player around.

In the basement of the concert hall, we heard about a ghost named Paul who apparently left behind a haunted couch.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

A former Stanley Hotel employee named Paul died in 2005, but some visitors say they've seen his spirit throughout the concert hall, the tour guide said. 

According to our guide, Paul had a couch in a room in the hall's basement. When he died, no one in his family wanted to make the journey to pick up the leather couch, so it remains, the guide told us.

The guide added that some have claimed to see a man sitting on the couch, lights flickering, and doors opening and closing unexpectedly.

As we left the concert hall, we stopped at The Lodge, which is a miniature replica of the main hotel building. There, visitors have claimed to see a ghostly golden retriever named Cassie, according to the guide.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The tour guide told us that if we hear clawing at our door, we shouldn't be alarmed; it's likely just Cassie, a friendly golden retriever who was buried on the property. 

On the hotel's property, there's a pet cemetery where Cassie was buried, the guide said. Sometimes, according to our tour guide, Cassie leaves her grave to visit guests, deliver newspapers, and search for treats. 

Inside the original Stanley Hotel, there are countless stories and paranormal sightings.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Over the years, the Stanley Hotel has grown in size. Today, it's made up of four main buildings, including the concert hall, the lodge, and a newer hotel and spa. But the most famous building is the original 1909 Stanley Hotel.

While the concert hall and lodge aren't without a spooky story or two, the original building is where the most accounts of ghosts have been reported, the tour guide said. 

Guests sharing stories of shadowy figures, strange laughter, doors closing and items moving randomly, and beds shaking are commonplace inside the original hotel.

The story of Elizabeth Wilson's ghost may be the most famous tale associated with the hotel.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The story goes that Wilson was the hotel's head housekeeper. One night in 1911, Wilson went from room to room with a candle lighting each room's lantern, according to the tour guide. But the hotel had a gas leak, and when Wilson stepped into room 217, her candle caused an explosion, the tour guide said.

Wilson fell through the second story and into the first floor, where she survived, the guide said. After recovering, she continued living at the Stanley Hotel into her 90s, according to the guide. 

However, our guide suggested that Wilson never left and said her ghost is often spotted in room 217, where she takes a particular disliking to unwed couples who stay in the room.

According to the guide, some guests say they've felt a cold force between them in the hotel bed, while others have said their luggage was mysteriously packed up and left at the entrance to their room.

The room Wilson is said to haunt is where King spent the night, and that inspired him to write "The Shining."

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Our tour guide shared the story about how King and his wife Tabby ended up at the Stanley. The couple was stuck on a roadblock and in the middle of a snowstorm while traveling through Estes Park in 1974, according to the guide. Defeated, they decided to book a hotel room at the Stanley, the guide said.

When they arrived, the couple learned that they were the only guests since the hotel was closing for the winter the next day, our guide said. King explored the empty hotel before retreating to room 217 for the night, the guide said.

But in the middle of the night, King woke after dreaming about a possessed fire hose chasing his son in the hotel, according to the author's website .

"That night I dreamed 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," King wrote of the inspiration behind his book.

"I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed," he continued. "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 tour guide mentioned that the fourth floor, where my room was located, was the "most densely spooky floor" of the entire hotel.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

According to the tour guide, the fourth floor was formerly an open layout without bedrooms where the nannies and children of the rich guests would stay. 

Today, it's common for guests on the fourth floor to report hearing children laughing and crying, the guide said. There have also apparently been sightings of ghost children playing with hotel guests, the tour guide said.

I attempted to spend the night in room 402 listening for the sounds of ghost children, but instead, quickly fell asleep. 

In room 428, there is a cowboy that sometimes greets guests.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The tour guide said that some guests — mostly women — have reported waking up in the middle of the night to a cowboy standing at the corner of their bed in room 428.

While there are no accounts of a cowboy dying at the Stanley, according to paranormal tour company Nightly Spirits , "those that know their Estes Park history believe this to be the spirit of 'Rocky Mountain' Jim Nugent." Nugent was Estes Park's first guide, but he died after a rival guide named Griff Evans shot him, according to Visit Estes Park . 

Inside room 428, the cowboy is said to sometimes give guests "a ghostly kiss," the Nightly Spirits website states.

Below the hotel, there's a series of tunnels that are said to be haunted.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The hotel previously had an expansive set of tunnels that workers used to navigate the property, our tour guide said.

Although many of the tunnels are said to have collapsed over the years, one is still included on the tour. Inside the tunnel, our guide shared stories of numerous ghosts who are said to haunt the underground part of the hotel.

While I didn't leave with any ghost sightings, I spent days reflecting on my tour guide's hair-raising stories.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

I quickly understood how a hotel like the Stanley could inspire a horror novel like "The Shining." Its eerie atmosphere paired with the tour guide's ghost stories left me spooked for days. 

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Legends of America

Legends of America

Traveling through american history, destinations & legends since 2003., the haunted stanley hotel in estes park, colorado.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado by Kathy Alexander.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado by Kathy Alexander.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is not only famous for its old-world charm and excellent service, but it is also known for its “active” paranormal phenomena and spirit folklore. The 100+-year-old hotel, located about five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, offers panoramic views of Lake Estes and the Rocky Mountains, and especially Long’s Peak.

This old hotel was built in the early 1900s by  F.O. Stanley , who created the Stanley Steam Engine — a steam-powered horseless carriage. The majestic Georgian-style hotel opened in 1909, catering to the rich and famous.

Freelan Oscar Stanley (F.O.) and his wife, Flora, traveled west to Colorado in 1903 because F.O. Stanley’s doctor advised him to seek the fresh mountain air.

F.O. Stanley, courtesy Estes Park Historical Museum

F.O. Stanley

Stanley, who suffered from tuberculosis, had been advised to not make plans beyond six months. The doctor arranged for the couple to stay in a friend’s cabin in Estes Park for the summer. Immediately, they fell in love with the area and F.O.’s health began to dramatically improve.

After spending the summer in the cabin, Flora wanted a home like the one she had left in Maine and the couple built their new home about one-half mile west of where the Stanley Hotel would later be built. Today the house is a private residence.

F.O. Stanley built the hotel on land that he purchased from the Irish Earl Lord Dunraven. Dunraven came to the area in 1872 while on a hunting trip. He built a hunting lodge, cabin, and hotel for his guests and illegally homesteaded up to 6,000 acres in an unsuccessful attempt to create a private hunting preserve. Dunraven was finally run out of the area after trying to swindle folks out of their land and money.

In 1906, construction started on the Stanley Hotel. Wood and rock were obtained from the nearby mountains and the hotel was built in the Georgian architectural style, which experienced a revival in the early twentieth century. In 1909, the luxury hotel was completed, with no expense spared. Equipped with running water, electricity, and telephones, the only amenity the hotel lacked was heat, as the hotel was designed as a summer resort.

Stanley Hotel Lobby by Kathy Alexander.

Stanley Hotel Lobby by Kathy Alexander.

The Stanley Hotel has hosted many “famous” guests including The Unsinkable Molly Brown , John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt , the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. And, of course, the Stanley Hotel hosted Stephen King, whose experience inspired his book, “ The Shining .”

In addition to its regular guests, the hotel is also said to play host to a number of otherworldly visitors. The most notable is F.O. Stanley himself who is most often seen in the lobby and the Billiard Room, which was his favorite room when he was still alive. On one such occasion, he was said to have appeared during a tour group’s visit to the Billiard Room, materializing behind a member of the tour. Bartenders at the old hotel also report having seen F.O. stroll through the bar, disappearing when they try to cut him off at the kitchen.

Piano on the Stanley Hotel Ballroom by Kathy Alexander.

Piano on the Stanley Hotel Ballroom by Kathy Alexander.

Not to be left out, Flora Stanley also haunts the hotel, continuing to entertain guests with her piano playing in the ballroom. Employees and guests have reported hearing music coming from the room, and when they take a peek in there, they can see the piano keys moving. However, as soon as someone walks across the thresh-hold to investigate further, the music stops and no more movement can be seen upon the keys of the piano.

There are several rooms in the hotel that seem to be particularly haunted. One is Room 407, which is said to sometimes be occupied by Lord Dunraven, who owned the land prior to F.O. Stanley. Reportedly, he likes to stand in the corner of the room near the bathroom door. On one such account, witnesses reported that a light in that corner kept turning on and off. While the light was off, they told the ghost that they knew that he was there, they would only be staying two nights, and would he please turn the light back on. The light turned back on. However, later when the lights were turned off and they were trying to sleep, noises were constantly heard from the nearby elevator during a time when the elevator was not in use. At other times, a ghostly face has been reported to be looking out the window of Room 407, when the room is not booked.

Stanley hotel Ghost Picture, courtesy Stanley Hotel

Stanley Hotel Ghost Picture, courtesy Stanley Hotel

Room 418 gets the most reports of haunting activity apparently from children’s spirits. Cleaning crews report having heard many strange noises from the room, as well as seeing impressions on the bed when the room has been empty. When guests stay in the room, they often report that they hear children playing in the hallway at night. One couple reportedly checked out of the hotel very early in the morning, complaining that the children in the hallway kept them up all night. However, there were no children booked in the hotel at the time.

There have also been many reports by guests of haunting activities in Rooms 217 and 401. Tour guides tell a story of the ghost of a small child who has been seen by many of the staff in various areas of the old hotel. Reportedly, Stephen King also saw the child, who was calling out to his nanny on the second floor. Other past employees report footsteps and apparitions seen throughout the building.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places today, the Stanley Hotel is open year-round and offers various accommodations including historic rooms, modern apartment-style residences for extended stays, and expansive condominiums.

The hotel offers both historical and paranormal tours.

More Information:

Stanley Hotel Stairway by Kathy Alexander

Stanley Hotel Stairway by Kathy Alexander

The Stanley Hotel 333 Wonderview Avenue Estes Park, Colorado 80517 800-976-1377

©  Kathy Weiser / Legends of America , updated October 2019.

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Don’t Believe in Ghosts? Spend a Night at This Haunted Hotel

There’s more to the stanley hotel than stephen king’s classic novel the shining—and it’s downright spooky..

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Don’t Believe in Ghosts? Spend a Night at This Haunted Hotel

Courtesy of The Stanley Hotel

When I arrived at The Stanley Hotel, made famous as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining , I was more than a little skeptical about the whole haunted-house notion. Yet there I sat, my hand down, when our Ghost Tour guide, Abbey, said, “Show of hands: Who here does not believe in ghosts?” For the next 90 minutes, our group wandered The Stanley’s main building and concert hall (ranked one of the world’s most active sites for paranormal phenomena) on an active ghost hunt.

“A lot of the ghosts in this building are young,” Abbey explained to the group. “They love high energy—so when you are happy and excited, they become excited.” She passed out “trigger objects” to entice the ghosts into communication: “paranormal pencils” and lollipops that you place, sucker-side down, on your palm as a means of communication for the ghosts. (Check out this guest video .) “I’ve seen lollipops lift up and spin around, rock back and forth,” Abbey said. “I’ve even seen them launch out of someone’s hand.”

But I wasn’t there just for a tour: I was there to spend the night, in search of the ghosts that inspired Stephen King ’s novel (later adapted into the famous film by Stanley Kubrick) and to learn about how The Stanley’s haunted reputation plays into its business today.

As the legend goes, one night in 1974, King and his wife were passing through Estes Park, a Colorado town 70 miles from Denver, when snowy road conditions forced them to find a place to stay. The Stanley—at that time “on the shabby side of shabby-chic,” a second guide told us—was the only hotel around, and the Kings were its only guests. After his wife went to bed, King wandered the long, empty corridors and had a drink with Grady (a bartender who has never been proven to exist), before turning in for the night. There, in room 217, he was woken by a nightmare about his son being chased down the hallways by a possessed fire hose. Before dawn, King had the premise of The Shining , which transformed The Stanley from rundown hotel to one of the most popular (and iconic) destinations for ghost hunters and Stephen King–junkies alike. (And the hotel wholeheartedly embraces its theme—see slideshow.)

While The Shining may have put The Stanley on the map, the hotel was known locally as a place of paranormal activity decades before King checked in. In the summer of 1903, American inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife, Flora, headed to the Rockies in an effort to cure Freelan’s tuberculosis. The fresh mountain air did wonders for his health, and by the end of that summer, the couple had purchased a chunk of land in Estes Park. They started construction on the hotel in 1907.

There are a few theories about the source of the hauntings—some point toward the Ute and Arapaho tribes, upon whose land the hotel was built—but the most common belief is that the spirits who wander the halls today are the Stanleys and their loyal employees , who remain eternally faithful to the hotel. Take Miss Wilson, for example: In 1911, the hotel’s chief of housekeeping entered room 217 (the room King stayed in) with a lit candle; its flame caught a gas leak, causing an explosion. Wilson survived, however, and continued to work in The Stanley well into her 90s—and beyond. Apparently, her ghost still tends the east wing.

While touring the concert hall, Abbey told us about other ghosts, including Eddy, a smelly middle-aged man who’s known to replace lightbulbs; Lucy, a girl who dislikes having her photograph taken (hers was the only room guests were asked not to take photos in); and Paul, the night watchman who loves cigarettes and booze and tells hotel guests to get out of his room when it’s past curfew.

As I walked into Lucy’s room, lollipop in palm, I alternated between feeling silly (I pictured the Stanley staff joking about gullible guests who would do anything to see a ghost—including walk around holding a lollipop) and feeling creeped out (I imagined innocent Lucy, waiting patiently for everyone to leave her bedroom so we could have a private chat). I mindlessly pulled out my phone and snapped a photo, then immediately realized what I had done. I felt queasy—did I just give a ghost a reason to be mad at me? I apologized out loud, to an empty room that I now felt unsafe in.

I left Lucy’s room and stepped into Paul’s room, an unmarked space across the hallway that looked like a storage closet and smelled just as musty. I was standing in front of a dresser mirror when suddenly my chest began to feel heavy, as if someone was sitting on it, and I couldn’t breathe. I left quickly, and after I told Abbey what had happened, she shared that Paul had died of a heart attack, and that most guests experience chest pains when they step into his room.

Minutes after the tour had ended, I soothed my nerves with a stiff drink at the hotel’s Whiskey Bar (it has a collection of more than 900 bottles), feeling thankful not to be staying in the main building but in The Stanley’s newest addition, the Aspire Residencies . My only worry, I thought, was mastering the hand-wave to get the new automatic-flush toilets to work. But Lucy had a different plan for me. I fell asleep easily, but at 3 a.m. I felt something brush past my right side. I saw a flash of bangs, brown eyes, and a big smile rush by, and then a teddy bear smacked me in the face. Had I dreamt it? I spent the rest of the night wondering if my accidental photo had inspired Lucy to take revenge and replaying all the terrifying scenes of The Shining in my mind.

At 10 the next morning, I joined my second tour, the more historical Stanley Tour, led by DD, a woman who had clearly had her coffee. I, on the other hand, was exhausted—and I just couldn’t shake off my brush with Lucy.

The tour led us to the fourth floor. I was the last one to reach it and, as I walked around the corner into the longest hallway in the hotel, I noticed how quiet the group had become. After gently pushing my way through a small crowd, I saw them: two girls, holding hands and walking toward us. They were uniform in height, hairstyle, and blank expression, and as they walked, they whispered, “Come and play with us. Come and play with us forever, and ever, and ever. . .” For a brief moment their invitation echoed throughout the hallway—and then the group dissolved into laughter.

It was a reenactment of the infamous Grady twins scene from the movie, but as I watched my fellow tour-goers taking selfies with the stand-in twins, I couldn’t stop thinking about how ready I was to hit the road and leave all ghostly matters behind. Would I have raised my hand if DD had asked the group if we believed in ghosts right then? Absolutely.

The exterior Story Parlor—a brick building with tall arched glass windows.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

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15 Ghost Stories From People Who Visited The Hotel That Inspired 'The Shining'

Linda Meyers

It's said that Stephen King once spent a night in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, and it was so creepy, he was inspired to write The Shining . The room he stayed in even appears in the story (although it was altered to Stanley Hotel room 237 for the Kubrick film adaptation). Years later, he returned to the hotel to use it as the primary shooting location for his miniseries based off the book. From then on, its visage has been known to horror and King fans alike as that of the haunted Overlook Hotel.

But are there really ghosts at Stanley Hotel? Its guests certainly seem to believe so . So we've gathered ghost stories from those who visited the hotel to find out. Scroll through, vote up the creepiest ones, and decide for yourself if you'd dare to spend a night at this eerie place!

Objects And Doors Move On Their Own

Posted by u/sscarecrow:

About five years ago, I had the pleasure of staying at the Stanley Hotel... I went on the ghost tour.

The first parts of it were pretty uneventful. The tour guide tried to summon some ghost of a little girl or something, but nothing happened. As we were leaving the room, my dad and some other guy were walking at the back of the group, me in front of them. All of a sudden, the door slammed shut behind us. They went to investigate, but found no way the door could have closed on its own. Cheesy, right?

After [the tour] ended, it was pretty late, so my dad and I went back to our hotel room. We fell asleep pretty quickly. However, I was woken up by a huge crashing noise... I had thought I dreamed it and brushed it off, but my eyes were drawn towards the bathroom door. I sh*t you not, the door was opening by itself. I whispered to wake my dad up as the door continued to open slowly, but he didn’t wake. So I was just lying there by myself, frozen as I watched this door open completely by itself. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

In the morning, the first thing I did was head for the bathroom. I stopped in the doorway. All the shampoo bottles and soaps had fallen into the tub. Literally all of them. There’s no way the air conditioner could have knocked them all over. 

Even The Grounds Around The Hotel Are Haunted

Posted by u/Thiek:

I stayed there a few years ago when my friend got married on the grounds. I didn't have any experiences in the hotel, but the building where they had the reception was straight up haunted. Me and another groomsman wandered around the building and there were crazy cold spots and footsteps right by us. But the craziest thing was when me and the groom's dad were taking a leak in the bathroom in the reception building before the service started. We were at urinals next to each other and the only ones in the restroom, suddenly one of the faucets behind us turned on. We looked at each other and then back and sure enough we watched the faucets on the other sink turn on too.

Not ashamed to say I didn't wash my hands........

Guest Meets Their Own Mrs. Massey

Posted by u/filmguerilla:

I stayed in that room [Room 217]... I'm pretty sure I know what happened to Stephen King while staying there, too (he never talks about it, so there's no way to confirm it, though).

About 2am I woke up to hear what sounded like a woman talking in the room, but it stopped when I actually jerked awake and up in the bed. After listening intently for about fifteen minutes, I dozed back off. Then, about 4am or so, I heard the woman again--but this time she kept going after I woke up (but I also didn't jerk up in the bed this time). It sounded like she was mumbling something over and over (maybe two or three lines) and then there was a little laugh and it stopped.

I turned on the light and, remembering the movie, went and checked out the bathroom. All was clear, but I won't lie, it was spooky!

A Bartender's Bottles Go Haywire

Posted by u/[deleted]:

Well, I live here during the season - so I tend to ignore things as they come up. However, on my first night closing by myself, I was walking by the whiskeys (anyone who’s seen the bar at the Stanley knows they have a massive scotch/whiskey selection) and all of a sudden, the corks started popping out of the bottles randomly all over the place. I can’t explain it as none of them are carbonated and it scared the sh*t out of me.

Paranormal Activity Makes An Employee Quit

Posted by u/artsy7 fartsy :

I had an ex who was the head of room service there for a while. He quit, said he just couldn’t handle it anymore. He wouldn’t ever go back in the building after that... It was in the late 80s (dear God I’m old) and he didn’t really like to talk about specific things - he felt like talking about it would make it worse. (or maybe made it more real).

I do know that they would often get room service calls from rooms that weren’t occupied (they had an old school switchboard system) and swore they had conversations with voices on the line. There were also specific rooms that servers refused to go to so he would have to.

He and the other servers also often talked about a woman - I don’t think she was connected to a specific room, but she wore a long black dress and a large hat. She would often be seen on the stairs and seemingly turn a corner then no one would be there. He even swore he saw her in the piano room (main floor in the front) one day when it was busy and full of people.

There was also an employee floor that he lived in for a very short amount of time - and then refused to live there anymore. They also swore that there was another building outside of the main hotel that was actually a worse place to go than the hotel itself, I think they used it for banquet storage.

Strange Anomalies Appear In Photos

Posted by u/namethem819:

My husband and I, and our daughter, who was three years old at the time, stayed here in the summer of 2013. I'd always wanted to visit, due to it being the inspiration for The Shining . We were excited to find that our room was on the fourth floor... My daughter and I were in our room while my husband got our bags from the car. I took a few pictures of her in the room, and they showed up in sepia tone, even though I had my camera on the normal setting. Only the photos inside our room were like this, and only when my husband wasn't with us.

That evening we were walking outside exploring and I took some pics of our daughter. We were in the courtyard area, where I think they have outdoor weddings. The pictures I took show white ghostly looking arms grabbing at my daughter. It was terrifying when I reviewed the pictures later.

Photos I took in the hallway show a white floating profile of a man's head up near the lights by the ceiling. It might have been some sort of reflection from the lights, but was enough to seriously freak me out. It had detail that made it seem like it wasn't just a trick of light. I also found it weird that we never saw other people in the fourth floor hallway - except for once when we opened the door to get out on our floor and a Jack Nicholson impersonator, who could have been Jack's twin, was waiting to get into the elevator. My reaction was pretty hilarious, since I was already on edge. Kudos to him for roaming the hotel and adding to the ambiance.

I didn't look at my pictures until we got home from the trip because I was worried about what I would see and didn't want to scare myself out of sleeping there. I ended up having weird sleeping experiences anyway. I kept feeling like someone was pressing the covers down on top of me, like I was trapped underneath them. I barely slept. My husband didn't have any odd experiences... Also, several times the bottom of the curtains of our room looked like they were being pulled up, and also bumped out like someone was behind them.

A Ghost Appears In Someone's Dreams

Posted by u/overitdub:

We stayed up at the condos, but definitely did the ghost tour at the Stanley the next day. Anyway... I went to the bar at Stanley’s alone, had 2 glasses of wine and went back to the condo and to bed. At around 2am in the morning, the tv turned on by itself, downstairs. It was blaring Mr. Woodcock  on Comedy Central. We had never watched Comedy Central that evening, we had it tuned to something else. I could not get it to turn off and ended up unplugging it in the hopes that it had not woken my elderly mother yet. After that, all my dreams were of a pudgy little red haired boy running up and down the stairs, giggling.

Went on the tour next day. Was told stories about the kids that haunt the place. Kids just died frequently back in the day I guess. The guide told stories of how the kids seem to pick up on teachers and nurses, and follow them in particular (nurse here). He also mentioned that they liked to run on the stairs and turn on tvs in the middle of the night....there! That’s all I got for The Stanley Hotel. It was enough though.

Unexplained Sounds And Sensations

Posted by  u/stinkycrow666:

This summer my girlfriend and I decided to knock a trip off the bucket list and stayed on the fourth flour of the Stanley Hotel for 4 nights. For those who don't know that is the "haunted floor," and there has been paranormal activity in every room.

Paranormal stuff starts happening right away. When we step into the elevator and start going up we both hear a faint whisper, and I bring it to her attention only to have her tell me she heard it too... Other weird stuff happened, like my phone bouncing around on my stomach after I set it there in bed, and my girlfriend feeling hands run down her back when she got out of the shower. We also would hear footsteps in the attic that was above our room pretty much all night every night.

They Felt Like They Were Being Touched

Posted by u/venus974:

Had some interesting experiences spending the night at the Stanley Hotel last week. My daughter (21) and I shared a room and bed- she got REALLY freaked out after she saw a certain photo during the ghost tour and didn't want to sleep there... we had to sleep with the lights and tv on.

I woke up because someone was holding my foot. I'm a light sleeper and have been half-awake many times, seeing my dreams play out in my room - but I've never felt like I was being touched. It wasn't a cold touch. This was under the covers, and it was firm but not squeezing. I rolled over and sat up- my heart has never beat so fast before- I looked over and [my daughter] was staring at me, so I just told her I couldn't get comfortable so I wouldn't scare her more. 

Child Spirits Look For A Nanny

Posted by u/dannysfinger:

So scary I made my husband take shifts with me to sleep at night. I woke up hearing children whisper in my ear twice. Next day, took the ghost tour and found out children would stay with their teachers/nannies on that floor and they often make themselves present to people who work with children. I was a nanny at the time.

An Employee Sees Ghosts

Posted by u/partiallyasleep:

I had a friend who worked for the Stanley for a couple years. She swore there were several ghosts who lived there and interacted with the employees. The most convincing evidence I've seen was a physical photograph she showed me of her with a group of people standing in front of a mirror - on either side were two translucent figures, a woman and a man in a top hat. 

A Specific Area Makes A Guest Feel Sick

Posted by u/Mrs-Han:

I was a part of a tour with my brother, and we were taken in front of a room known as “The Cowboy Room” where a fugitive stayed before he was hanged. While the tour guide was talking, I felt an intense wave of nausea. I thought I was going to pass out and I stumbled over to a railing. Had I leaned forward, I would have fallen and broken something. My neck, maybe. I had to lean against my brother for support and he was very confused, asking me what was wrong. I kept telling him that we needed to move away from that area. As soon as we did, my nausea went away.

A Ghost Isn't Happy With Trespassers

Posted by u/mugglepucks:

One time my wife (then GF) and I were there and, being the jerks we are, we decided we wanted to see the upstairs without paying for the tour. So we went down to the basement and took the elevator to the top floor (you'd think that it wouldn't be that easy). Anyway as we were walking down the hall towards the stairs to get out, the door slammed so quickly and loudly that it felt inhuman. I was surprised nothing fell of walls, shattered, etc... I don't believe in ghosts or any paranormal sh*t but at that moment that shit was definitely freaky as f*ck. 

A Child's Doll Teleported

Posted by u/Funsize212 :

We stayed at The Stanley Hotel in 1994. All I know is we had the room with the bathroom that had a circular window that you can see on the left corner of the picture of the hotel. I had a baby doll that I slept with and brought with me EVERYWHERE. When we left the hotel, I noticed I didn't have her with me but we needed to fly home. The hotel staff stated they could not find her in the room.

They later found her in a housekeeping closet, claiming they hadn't moved her. This could easily be explained by a housekeeper's story, but part of me wonders.

Flora Stanley Flirted With A Guest

Posted by u/Natnatnat145 :

Took a ghost tour where the guide showed us the most active paranormal spots. At one point we went into the basement of the concert hall and were all packed together in a small hallway. The guide was talking about how this building was the original owner’s wife’s (Flora Stanley) favorite building.

All of a sudden I smelled roses and I assumed someone had put on moisturizer or something so I asked my mom if she smelled it as well. She said no and I asked around and people said they didn’t smell anything, and I was shocked because it was so strong and obvious. I told the tour guide and she looked surprised and told me Flora Stanley used to wear rose perfume, rose oil, and bathe in rose water. Instead of feeling scared, I felt comforted and honored that I was the only one to smell it, like she’d chosen me specifically or something. Whether it was really her or not, it makes me smile whenever I think about it now :)

  • Graveyard Shift

Shining a flashlight on real places around the world that are really haunted and really spooky.

Black Monk House in Yorkshire, UK

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What Happened at The Stanley Hotel? The True Story Behind The Shining’s Inspiration

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Are you a fan of horror movies or ghost stories? If so, you might have heard of The Stanley Hotel, a historic property located in Estes Park, Colorado.

If you’re curious about what happened at The Stanley Hotel and the ghostly legends that surround it, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll explore the mysterious history of The Stanley Hotel, including the ghost stories, paranormal activity, and unexplained events that make it one of the most haunted destinations in the world.

The History of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel located in Estes Park, Colorado, is known for its mysterious history and paranormal activities. The hotel’s history dates back to the early 1900s.

The Origins of the Property

The land where the Stanley Hotel stands was originally owned by Lord Dunraven, an Irish nobleman who purchased a 6,000-acre property in Estes Park. He planned to turn the area into a private hunting reserve but his plans never materialized, and he eventually sold the land.

The Arrival of F.O. Stanley

In 1903, F.O. Stanley, the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, and his wife Flora, moved to Estes Park due to F.O.’s failing health. They were so taken with the beauty of the area that they decided to build a grand hotel on the property.

Design and Construction

The Stanley Hotel was designed by architect T. Robert Weiger in the Georgian Revival style and was completed in 1909. The hotel boasted 138 guest rooms, electric lights, telephones, en-suite bathrooms, and a hydraulic elevator, which was a luxury in those days.

The Hotel’s Golden Years

The Stanley Hotel’s golden years were in the 1920s and 30s when it was a popular destination for wealthy and famous guests, such as the Unsinkable Molly Brown and the horror writer, Stephen King. The hotel’s popularity waned in the 1970s, and it almost fell into disrepair.

It is worth mentioning that the Stanley Hotel’s fame skyrocketed after Stephen King stayed in room 217 and was inspired to write his best-selling novel, “The Shining.” The hotel’s paranormal activities and ghost sightings have attracted many visitors over the years.

The Ghost Stories of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is known for its paranormal activity and has been a popular destination for ghost hunters and enthusiasts alike. Many guests have reported strange occurrences and sightings at the hotel, which has led to several ghost stories associated with the property. Here are some of the most popular ghost stories of The Stanley Hotel:

  • Room 217 and the Ghostly Housekeeper: Room 217 is perhaps the most famously haunted room in the hotel. According to legend, a housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson died in the room in 1911 after an explosion occurred while she was lighting a lantern. Guests have reported strange occurrences in the room, such as their belongings being unpacked and put away by an unseen presence. Some have even claimed to have seen the ghostly figure of Wilson herself.
  • The Children of The Stanley Hotel: Another popular ghost story involves the spirits of children who haunt the hotel’s hallways. Guests have reported hearing the sounds of children laughing and playing, only to find that no children are present. Some have even claimed to have seen ghostly children running through the halls.
  • The Ghostly Party Guests: In the hotel’s ballroom, guests have reported seeing apparitions of people dressed in formal attire dancing and partying. Some have even claimed to have heard the sounds of music and laughter coming from the ballroom when it is empty.
  • The Haunted Concert Hall: The Stanley Hotel is also home to a concert hall that is said to be haunted by a ghost named Paul. Paul was a former handyman at the hotel who died during a gas leak in the building. Guests have reported seeing Paul’s ghostly figure in the concert hall and hearing strange noises and footsteps coming from the area.
  • Other Mysterious Happenings: In addition to these popular ghost stories, guests have reported other mysterious occurrences at The Stanley Hotel. For example, some have reported hearing strange noises, like knocking or footsteps, coming from empty rooms. Others have claimed to have seen objects move on their own or felt cold spots in certain areas of the hotel.

While some may dismiss these ghost stories as mere legend or superstition, many guests and employees of The Stanley Hotel have experienced unexplainable events firsthand. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a stay at The Stanley Hotel is sure to be a memorable and potentially spooky experience.

The Influence of The Stanley Hotel on Popular Culture

The Stanley Hotel has had a significant impact on popular culture, especially in the horror genre. Stephen King’s iconic novel, “The Shining,” was inspired by his stay at the hotel in 1974. The eerie atmosphere, ghost stories, and unsettling energy of the hotel all influenced King’s writing. The film adaptation, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was not filmed at the hotel, but the 1997 TV miniseries of the same name was shot on location.

Aside from “The Shining,” The Stanley Hotel has been featured in several other films and TV shows. These include the horror film “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd,” the sci-fi series “Stargate SG-1” and the reality TV show “Ghost Hunters.” The hotel’s unique architecture, historic charm, and haunted reputation have made it an attractive location for filmmakers and TV producers.

Furthermore, The Stanley Hotel has been referenced in various literary, artistic, and cultural works. In the music industry, the hotel was featured in the title track of the album “The Stage Names” by Okkervil River. In literature, the hotel was mentioned in the novel “Doctor Sleep,” the sequel to King’s “The Shining.” The hotel was also the inspiration for the setting of the “American Horror Story: Hotel” television series.

Paranormal Investigations and Experiences at The Stanley Hotel

For those seeking an eerie and spine-tingling experience, The Stanley Hotel offers a range of paranormal investigations and experiences. The hotel has gained notoriety for being a hotbed of supernatural activity, and many curious visitors have sought to explore the ghostly occurrences that take place within its walls.

One group that has taken a particular interest in investigating the paranormal activity at The Stanley Hotel is The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. This team of experts has conducted numerous investigations at the hotel over the years, using state-of-the-art equipment to capture any potential evidence of ghostly activity. Their findings have been featured on popular TV shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, adding to the hotel’s reputation as a haunted destination.

For those looking to experience the paranormal activity firsthand, The Stanley Hotel offers a variety of tours and ghost hunts. These experiences allow guests to explore the hotel and its grounds with knowledgeable guides who share the hotel’s fascinating history and stories of ghostly encounters. Some tours even provide access to areas of the hotel that are typically off-limits to the public, such as the underground tunnels that were once used to transport supplies.

Many visitors to The Stanley Hotel have reported personal experiences and encounters with the paranormal. Some have claimed to see apparitions, hear unexplained noises, or feel sudden drops in temperature. These personal testimonials have only added to the hotel’s reputation as a hub of supernatural activity. However, skeptics argue that these experiences can often be explained by natural occurrences, such as drafts or creaky floorboards.

The Future of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel has a long and fascinating history, but what does the future hold for this iconic destination? Here are some of the latest developments:

Preservation and Restoration Efforts

As one of the most recognizable landmarks in Colorado, The Stanley Hotel is committed to preserving its historic character and charm. The hotel’s management has invested millions of dollars in recent years to restore and renovate the property, including updates to the guest rooms, restaurants, and public spaces. Additionally, efforts have been made to improve the hotel’s energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.

It is worth mentioning that The Stanley Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that any restoration work must adhere to strict guidelines to maintain the building’s historical integrity. Visitors can rest assured that The Stanley Hotel will continue to stand as a testament to the past, even as it moves into the future.

The Stanley Film Center

In 2013, The Stanley Hotel announced plans to build a state-of-the-art film center on the property. The center would serve as a hub for filmmakers and film enthusiasts, offering workshops, screenings, and other events. Unfortunately, these plans have been put on hold due to funding issues.

Despite this setback, The Stanley Hotel remains committed to supporting the arts and creative expression. The hotel hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including music festivals, literary conferences, and art exhibitions. Guests can also enjoy live music and performances in the hotel’s historic concert hall.

The Stanley Hotel Today

Today, The Stanley Hotel continues to be a popular tourist destination and a favorite spot for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts. Visitors can take a guided tour of the hotel, which includes a visit to the famous Room 217, where Stephen King stayed and got inspiration for his novel “The Shining.”

On the other hand, The Stanley Hotel is also a great place to relax and unwind. The hotel’s beautiful grounds offer stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, and guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and fishing. The hotel’s restaurants and bars offer a range of dining options, from casual pub fare to fine dining.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s hard to deny the allure of The Stanley Hotel and its fascinating history. As we’ve seen, this property has inspired countless stories, films, and legends, and it continues to be a popular destination for those who seek a spooky adventure.

So if you’re ever in Estes Park, Colorado, why not pay a visit to The Stanley Hotel? Who knows what you might discover…

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Sara Thomas is the founder of HotelChantelle.com, a website dedicated to hotel safety products that travelers can use for added security and peace of mind.

After an unsettling hotel stay during a work trip, Sara realized a need for portable products that could secure hotel rooms. She launched HotelChantelle.com to provide devices like hidden camera detectors, portable door locks, and other discreet safety tools for travelers.

With a background in law enforcement, Sara understood the vulnerabilities of hotel rooms and wanted to empower travelers to protect themselves. She heads up a team that tests and reviews innovative security products for travelers to use in hotels globally.

Sara is committed to helping travelers feel relaxed and secure during hotel stays through access to protective gear they can easily take on any trip. The site covers products like personal safety alarms, RFID blocking gear to prevent digital pickpocketing, and items to safeguard personal data and belongings in lodging.

When she's not reviewing new products or running the site, Sara enjoys planning family vacations using the safety tools she sells on HotelChantelle.com. She lives with her husband and kids in Atlanta.

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Stranger Dimensions

The Strange Hauntings of the Historic Stanley Hotel

The Haunted Stanley Hotel

As the location that inspired The Shining , the Stanley Hotel is notorious for bizarre and unexplained paranormal activity. Each of its 140 rooms holds a secret, each of its walls tells a story. But is that unassuming hotel in Estes Park, Colorado really haunted by the ghosts of its past residents?

Before we get to answering that question, let’s take a brief look at some of the latest pieces of ghostly evidence that have spilled out of the Stanley Hotel. These first two arrived in the form of alleged spirit photographs taken in April 2016.

Ghosts On A Staircase

On April 18, 2016, CNN shared an Instagram image posted by tourist Henry Yau. He’d taken a photo of a staircase, only to find what appeared to be two apparitions at the top of the stairs. The figures have been described as a woman in old-fashioned clothing with a child standing next to her.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEGowDDzCdI/

According to CNN, Yau had reportedly visited the Stanley Hotel based on its haunted history and connection to Stephen King’s The Shining , and had waited for the staircase to be empty before taking the photo. However, skeptics have deemed the figure nothing but an image “artifact.”

A Figure From Above

On April 22, Meghan Levy and her fiancé, Kyle, visited the Stanley Hotel and took some pictures, only to find a strange anomaly in one of them – a mysterious figure that seems to peak through one of the windows (top left).

Is this the latest ghost sighting at the @StanleyHotel ? You be the judge: https://t.co/1CyNhhvnoK @GhostAdventures pic.twitter.com/Dlos2FJFRT — Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) April 24, 2016

You may think that photo is a bit lacking, but it’s not the only case of a spirit caught gazing out one of the hotel’s windows. Stephen Wagner, About.com’s Paranormal Phenomena Expert, has collected many ghost stories, one of which involves a man named George and his own encounter with what may be the ghost of a young child looking down at him from a window at the historic hotel.

In October 2017, a new photo of ghostly activity surfaced , this one of two haunting, vaporous girls near a staircase inside the hotel. Jay Mausling, who took the photo, claimed there were no girls present in the room when the photo was taken.

Lucy In Pink

To round out the more recent ghost sightings, on August 19, 2015 Week In Weird highlighted a photo taken by Stephanie Reidl and her coworker while on an infamous Stanley Hotel ghost tour. They captured the photo as they ventured down into the Concert Hall basement, and on closer examination it contains a haunting visage, indeed – that of a small girl wearing a pink dress, staring deathly forward.

According to Week In Weird , they believe it may be the ghost of Lucy, a young runaway girl who had once taken refuge in the hotel’s basement and later died.

The History of a Haunted Hotel

The haunted corridors of the Stanley Hotel

Now that we have those out of the way, we can look back and wonder why the Stanley Hotel may be so haunted. Its history is very odd, to tell you the truth, starting with how it first came under the ownership of Freelan O. Stanley, the hotel’s namesake. He and his wife, Flora, visited Colorado in 1903, in hopes that the clean air and fresh climate would help cure his tuberculosis.

It did, and the Stanleys chose to make the location home to a grand hotel, which they opened in 1909. They outfitted it with the latest technology , including electric lights, running water, telephones, and automobiles. They even built their own hydroplant that provided electricity to the hotel.

They say both F.O. Stanley and his wife, long dead, have since materialized within the hotel, with Mr. Stanley appearing at the bar, while Mrs. Stanley can sometimes be heard happily playing the piano. They aren’t alone. Many other ghostly sightings have occurred throughout the years.

  • The land’s previous owner, the 4th Earl of Dunraven, haunts Room 407. He’s occasionally been seen in the room, standing in the corner, the smell of pipe tobacco lingering in the air.
  • Ghostly children haunt Room 418. Sounds of laughter and running footsteps can sometimes be heard in the room and throughout the hotel’s hallways. Strangest of all are the indentations on the bed despite no one having been in the room.
  • Flickr user David shared a photo from the exact moment a Stanley Hotel tour guide had a ghostly encounter of her own in Room 418 . She’d been talking about the room’s ethereal occupants when she shuddered and said, “One of them is hugging my leg right now.”
  • According to the Stanley Hotel’s official website, the Concert Hall is also haunted. While you may hear Flora Stanley tapping on the piano keys, there are also  reports of an occasional ghostly “Get out!”
  • The ghost of Lucy, as well, has been found in the Concert Hall, answering questions for curious staff and ghost hunters. She can sometimes be heard humming distant melodies. (Here’s a picture of the Concert Hall and its pianos , by the way).

Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel

All of these are fascinating tales. However, it was one specific event that may have opened the way for the numerous paranormal experiences that followed.

It happened in Room 217.

According to the Estes Park Trail Gazette, one night in 1911, a thunderstorm knocked out the hotel’s power, and chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson entered Room 217 with a lit candle to relight the acetylene gas lamps. What she didn’t know was that the room was already filled with leaking gas, and as soon as she entered, it erupted in an incredible explosion. However, there are many conflicting reports about what happened that night, and the truth of the story is itself a compelling mystery.

Suffice it to say, something happened. Elizabeth Wilson, or whoever entered Room 217, did not die that night, but like lightning striking the elevator at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, perhaps that event sparked some kind of opening to the dimension of the other side, a road leading directly into The Twilight Zone .

Or not. It’s always hard to say.

Do strange things happen at the Stanley Hotel? Almost certainly. Stephen King himself spent a night in Room 217 in 1974. Only he and his wife were at the hotel, aside from staff, and that night he had the strangest nightmare of his son running through the halls screaming and being chased by a wild fire hose. It was then that the idea of The Shining came to be, and King used the Stanley Hotel as a model for the novel’s setting.

But are these events paranormal in nature, ghosts or specters, visitors from the great beyond? That, ultimately, is for you to decide. If you dare, the Stanley Hotel offers ghost tours so you, too, can explore its haunted corridors. What will you find if you do?

Photo of Rob Schwarz

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The Stanley Hotel | The Haunted Hotel in Colorado that Inspired “The Shining”

A small carnival outside The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

  • Post author By Melissa
  • Post date August 14, 2023
  • 15 Comments on The Stanley Hotel | The Haunted Hotel in Colorado that Inspired “The Shining”

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Best known as the haunted hotel in Colorado that inspired The Shining , The Stanley Hotel is a magnificent testament to history and grandeur. Nestled in the picturesque town of Estes Park, Colorado, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, this iconic hotel attracts visitors who travel from all over the world.

Many come for the ghost tours and curious allure of the paranormal, while others are simply seeking a luxurious experience and spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains. We personally wanted to stay there for both reasons.

This guide to The Stanley Hotel delves into the fascinating history and allure of the most haunted hotel in Colorado that inspired The Shining novel and feature film.

The Stanley Hotel History 

exterior of the stanley hotel considered the most haunted hotel in colorado

Built in 1909, this famous haunted hotel in Colorado is known for inspiring the legendary horror novelist Stephen King to write his best-selling book, “The Shining.” But its history is far richer than its ghostly claim to fame. 

Wealthy entrepreneur and inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley originally built the Colonial Revival hotel as a luxury, mountain retreat for affluent travelers seeking to escape the summer heat of the plains.

After he and his wife Flora moved to Estes Park while he battled Tuberculosis. Clean air and mountain life served him well and his health improved dramatically, which led him to build the mountain resort.

Over the years, the hotel hosted numerous celebrities, politicians, and even served as a hospital during World War II. 

It wasn’t until 1974 that Stephen King stayed the night at the hotel and ultimately was inspired by the eerie atmosphere and old-fashioned décor. A few years after his stay, he published his best-selling novel, The Shining . 

Today, The Stanley Hotel remains a beloved landmark in Estes Park, attracting 400,000 visitors and guests from all over the world each year with its unique blend of history, luxury, and mystique.

The Most Haunted Hotel in Colorado & The Shining Inspiration

The Stanley Hotel is not only considered the most haunted hotel in Colorado, it’s undoubtedly ranked among the most haunted hotels in America .

If you have never heard of The Stanley Hotel, you have probably at least heard stories about it. As noted, the hotel was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s horror novel-turned-movie, “The Shining” .

Sheer mention of the novel and the movie are sure to send a shiver up the spine of anyone who has ever read the book or watched the movie. Seriously, it is creepy and dark! 

“The Shining”

the stanley hotel from across a big field in estes park

For those who have never read the novel or seen the 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson, it’s about a man who becomes a winter caretaker at an old hotel called the Overlook Hotel and moves his family there. The father goes crazy and his psychic son starts seeing disturbing visions as a demonic presence starts interfering with their lives. 

It was Halloween night and I was in the 6th grade the first time I tried to watch the movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. I was having a sleepover with my best friend who had a TV in her room. Her mom let us rent a VHS tape from the video store (yep, I’m that old). Why that mother let two 12-year-old girls rent The Shining is beyond me. But I digress.

We made it about a third of the way through the movie before we were screaming, with our heads under the covers until one of us got brave enough to run over to the TV and hit the stop button. (I guess this was before VHS players had remote controls, too.)

The Shining plays on a continuous loop on Channel 42 at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

While the movie was not actually filmed on-site at The Stanley, the haunted hotel in Colorado that inspired The Shining has leaned into its notoriety and makes the most of it.

Is the Stanley Hotel in Colorado really haunted?

the grand staircase at the stanley hotel estes park

Despite its reputation as Colorado’s most haunted hotel, the Stanley Hotel doesn’t have a particularly dark past. However, after the Stephen King book was published, countless stories of hauntings and paranormal experiences at the Estes Park haunted hotel have surfaced. 

People have reported hearing someone playing the piano in the middle of the night or seeing apparitions in their rooms. But, none of the ghost stories associated with the hotel are threatening in nature. 

The Stanley Hotel, in a great marketing move, has capitalized on the ghost stories and its haunted reputation and now offers ghost tours in the hotel.

While people do claim to have had encounters with ghosts at The Stanley Hotel, I guess you could say, if there are actual ghosts at the Colorado hotel, they are nice ghosts.

Our experience staying at The Stanley Haunted Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

When I was a child, I loved ghost stories. I would head to the local library at least once a week and check out a new book or two… and regardless of how hard my mom tried to steer me to a new section of the library, I always left with at least one ghost story in hand.

My husband probably likes ghost stories even more than I do. In fact, whichever one of us dies first, we will likely haunt the other one for the remainder of their days just for ghostly giggles. So, when my husband booked us for a weekend getaway in Estes Park, we both wanted to stay at The Historic Stanley Hotel. 

There are a lot of great things to do in Estes Park , but staying at or at least taking a ghost tour at the haunted hotel that inspired The Shining is one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences.

While The Stanley does have an old, somewhat spooky atmosphere, nothing about the hotel feels scary or ominous. We never felt fearful, nervous or unsettled while staying at the haunted hotel in Colorado.

In fact, staying at this famous hotel should be on everyone’s Colorado bucket list . 

There were no scary little girls walking the halls saying “RED-RUM”. (A reference to The Shining ). Also, we didn’t see any dark figures lurking in the corner of our room. And we heard no unexplained footsteps, music, or giggles filling the late night silence.

“Spirited Rooms” at The Stanley Hotel

We stayed on the fourth floor in the original portion of The Stanley Hotel, which supposedly has the most paranormal activity.

There are a few rooms that have heightened paranormal activity reported among guests, and you can specifically book one of these “spirited rooms”.

Stephen King stayed in room 217 when he reportedly had a nightmare that inspired his novel. Other rooms where ghost activity has been reported or detected include 401, 407, and 428. 

The picture below is a print out of some of the ghost reports people have experienced on the 4th floor.

A paper telling stories of the stanley hotel colorado haunted hotel the shining

However, no ghosts decided to visit that weekend. Well, at least that is my story. My husband will tell you he woke up feeling like someone was sitting on his chest. I personally think he just had heartburn from the fast food we ate earlier that night. 🙂

Accommodations at The Stanley Hotel

Our room was a bit outdated, but the historic hotel has recently undergone massive renovations, so the rooms and bathrooms have received a face lift since our stay.

The rooms in the original portion of the hotel do not have air-conditioning, which can make for an uncomfortable night during warm summer months. 

Staying in the original Historic Stanley Hotel can be pricey. After all, you are paying for something different and unique. You are paying for the hopes of a paranormal experience. 

You can also book a room in one of The Stanley’s adjacent properties the Aspire Hotel, The Lodge at the Stanley, and The Residences at The Stanley. 

READY TO BOOK THE STANLEY HOTEL ESTES PARK? READ REVIEWS, FIND RATES, AND BOOK YOUR STAY HERE .

Ghost tours at The Stanley Hotel

Even if you don’t stay at the Colorado haunted hotel that inspired The Shining, you can take a 60-minute night tour of the hotel for $30 per person.

During the walking tour, a knowledgeable and engaging storyteller recounts the paranormal tales and experiences people have reported at the hotel over the years. 

Keep in mind, children under 8 years old are not allowed on the tours. 

Other things to do and amenities at The Stanley Hotel

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Aside from the hotel itself, The Stanley has four restaurants on site, a Whiskey Bar and Lounge and a gourmet coffee shop and bakery. 

If staying at The Stanley Hotel, the town of Estes Park and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park boast lots of great hikes, activities, and tours that are sure to keep you entertained during your stay. The national park is one of the most visited and popular parks in the United States. 

Located less than 90 minutes from Denver , Estes Park and its famous haunted hotel make for a great weekend getaway or vacation for families, couples, and all types of outdoor lovers.

You’ll even find occasional carnivals and other events taking place at the historic hotel making it a family-friendly place to stay.

Final thoughts on the Colorado Haunted Hotel that inspired The Shining

the stanley hotel at sunset

Haunted or not, The Stanley Hotel is a cool place to visit. It has an old-fashioned charm to it, and is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States.

Whether you love a good ghost hunt and are brave enough to spend the night in a haunted hotel that inspired The Shining, or you join one of their paranormal tours, The Stanley Hotel is a must-visit in Colorado.

Its fascinating history, ghostly allure, and its pop culture claim to fame makes the historic hotel an unforgettable travel experience. 

Have a question or comment about the most haunted hotel in Colorado that inspired “The Shining”? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts about The Stanley or any other haunted hotel where you’ve stayed in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this guide to the haunted hotel in Colorado that inspired The Shining to save it for later!

Looking for a unique travel experience? Discover the haunting history and timeless charm of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Take a tour of this historic landmark, exploring its rich past, stunning architecture, and of course, its connection to Stephen King's famous novel, The Shining.

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15 comments on “The Stanley Hotel | The Haunted Hotel in Colorado that Inspired “The Shining””

I couldn’t finish the book much less see the movie. So I will not be staying at the hotel. There is also a haunted hotel in San Antonio.

The funny thing about the hotel is that it was never thought to be haunted until the book came out. Stephen King stayed there the day before the place was going to shut down for the season. He and his wife were the only guests in the entire hotel. That night he had a nightmare and came up with the idea for the book. So, I really don’t think it is haunted… maybe I should have called this post the most “unhaunted” hotel in America. 🙂

After reading your comment, I have to respond. I stayed a night in room 217 by myself. It’s haunted. I captured a few things on my cell phone recorder. It’s not a fake.. It’s a feeling you just can’t fake, and it started happening as soon as I was alone in the room.. 1. I got touched, at the writing desk, a full bottle of water shot off of it landing on the floor. The paper describing the room slid across the table by it’s self. 2. Cleaning noises at night, you can hear brooms being swept across the floor, zippers being zipped up. My bed even got fluffed. I have it on cam. 3. sounds of trash bags opeining up, whishpering caught on cell recorder. 4, Foot steps walking around the bed. 5. a voice saying, done.. and then seconds later die, die 6. a little girl laughing and a man saying gonna lay down. Those are all the things I experienced in the hotel. So I have to laugh when you say it’ s not haunted. Belive me.. it is.

This is fascinating! I may have run screaming if that happened to me. And I didn’t say it isn’t haunted. I’m just saying I didn’t personally experience the paranormal. My husband still swears he did though.

Fun! Who could ever forget RED-RUM. Love that you are both ghost buffs – I am a bit too..

The Shining was the only movie that ever spooked me out (more specifically those evil twin girls)!

I’m definitely not a massive ghost buff, but I would say I’m curious. What I would do if I ever saw anything is beyond me… but from your review I think I’d be pretty safe there.

Are you on a mission now to actually find/stay somewhere that is haunted?

No way! I’m like you, I don’t know what I would do if I actually had a real ghost experience. LOL. I love a good ghost story, but I don’t know how much I really believe in them. I guess that’s why I wasn’t scared to stay at this hotel.

You are so brave and you are right. Why would anyone let 12 year old girls rent “The Shining.” When I read the paper in the photo about Room 408 I would have screamed. I hate scary things and you are so brave for doing this!

I always tell my husband I’m going to haunt him if I go first and keep tabs on how he is spending my life insurance lol I had no idea The Shining was inspired by a real hotel. I used to read a lot of Stephen King in days gone by.

I’m such a scaredy cat that my husband didn’t tell me about the paranormal activity at this hotel until we were getting into bed!!! Yikes! We had a very young baby at the time, who was up in the night still, and I was so worried I’d hear something! Thankfully, the ghosts picked on someone else that night.

I am way too much of a scaredy cat to stay in a hotel that is deemed haunted. I believe in ghosts and if I were ever to encounter one, i could only wish it were a nice friendly one.

I don’t mind hearing stories of haunted hotels, castles, etc., but the minute it is associated with a Stephen King movie, count me out! Such a chicken and the visual of Jack Nicholson in that classic post just makes my neck hair stand on end. A very cool find though- the most haunted hotel of all!

Everything about this entices my travel bug! I have to say this is not on my Must SEE bucket list!

OMG! Never heard about it before, and although I appreciate your post, I don’t think I never will since that looks super scary 🙂

I’m the one that spends all night awake and imagining shadows everywhere after an horror film… can’t handle it very good… In any case, looks like a nice experience for someone found of these kind of things!

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Home » United States » Colorado » The Haunted Stanley Hotel • Our Ghost Story

The Haunted Stanley Hotel • Our Ghost Story

by Barbara | Last updated Jun 5, 2022 | Colorado , Discover , Hotels , Recent Posts | 24 comments

ghost stories of stanley hotel

We don’t have many ghost stories to tell and actually our Stanley Hotel ghost story is our only one. But…what you are about to read about our stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park , CO is a TRUE story. NO kidding. NO exaggerations. ONL­­­­­­Y the truth.

Ghosts at The Stanley Hotel?

Is The Stanley Hotel haunted? We think so. What is haunting the hotel and why we don’t know. But there were strange, unexplainable things going on the night we stayed there. And, after staying at the hotel for just one night we were convinced it was haunted. The Stanley Hotel ghosts were very active the night we were guests there.

Where is the Stanley Hotel?

We arrive at the stanley hotel.

Hi! We are Lou and Barbara, a world traveling, nature loving couple searching out new and interesting places to explore, photograph and share with you our readers. CONTINUE READING

Our stay at the Stanley Hotel was in celebration of our son’s graduation. It was a surprise gift to him as he was a fan of the movie Dumb and Dumber staring Jim Carrey and many of the scenes from the movie were filmed throughout the hotel. Before leaving Denver, on our way to Estes Park, we watched the movie The Shining, just to get us in the mood! Our son of course didn’t know what the connection between watching The Shining and our upcoming trip to Estes Park was but he would soon find out.

The Shining Hotel

In the lobby of the Stanley Hotel there was a Stanley Steamer Car on exhibit that was really cool to see. After arriving at the hotel our son of course was excited to check out the hotel and some of the locations where scenes from Dumb and Dumber were filmed. And now he knew we were also at the hotel where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. He had no idea, and neither did we, what kind of night we had in store for us!

Our Stanley Hotel Ghost Story

After dinner we drove to a nearby market to purchase drinks and snacks for our evening at what we were now calling the Shining Hotel. We watched TV, ate our snacks and retired for the evening. NOT! I don’t think any of us slept much that night. I closed my eyes and the closet door, which had been closed all evening, suddenly POPPED open with a creaking sound that startled us all. My husband closed the closet door, climbed back into bed and the door POPPED open again. OK, we’ll just leave the closet door open. No problem. Back to bed – again. No one is sleeping of course and now our ROOM door starts rattling!

Oh, my, God! We can’t believe this. We check and no one is at the door but it continues to rattle periodically like someone is trying to get in. By now we are all in quite a panic but calling the front desk at a hotel that is supposedly haunted is NOT going to get us much sympathy!

I don’t recall what time of night it was but apparently some of us had managed to doze off. By now my daughter and I had taken some of the blankets and pillows and we were sleeping on the floor beneath the open window. I don’t know why! Is this night ever going to end? Remind me please to NEVER watch The Shining before staying at the Stanley Hotel! Whose idea was this anyway?

Things Seem to be Calming Down (but not for long…)

Everything seemed to have calmed down but there was an eerie howling sound coming through the window. The hotel, located at the base of the mountains must get a lot of wind current blown over it daily. The wind was slowly blowing the thin white curtains up in the air, which was casting shadows all over the walls from the full moon light outside. The shadows looked very weird especially playing against the old wall paper. It was a very strange setting, but nothing else had changed so everyone eventually fell asleep.

Our son explained to us that while sleeping he had a sense of something extremely close to his face. When he opened his eyes he saw his right arm fully extended toward the closet door that had sprung open earlier. He quickly yanked back his arm and got out of bed and lay down under the table near the rest of us. This was when in his mind he had seen enough. He covered himself up with blankets but within a minutes time he began to hear noises. But this time they seemed to be coming from right above him on top of the table that he just laid down under. IMPOSSIBLE is what he said he was thinking. The sounds continued and sounded like bags crunching, but they were loud enough that there was no mistaking that they were there in the room with us. About 30 seconds later, a bag of chips fell off the table and hit our son in the face. The only small part he actually had exposed from under the covers. He leaped up to confront whatever the heck was there in the room with us….

OMG…there is something in our room, on the table, dragging our bag of dinner rolls off with it! It jumps onto the windowsill of the open window and drags the bag of rolls with it. It then jumps out the window onto the ledge outside of our room -in the dark of the night. WHAT THE HECK? IT’S A RACCOON!

I don’t know how, but we somehow made it through that night. Dismayed as we were about our closet door springing open again and again and our room door rattling repeatedly like someone was trying to get in, it was the raccoon that topped that night off at The Stanley Hotel!

The Raccoon Thief at the Stanley Hotel!

Well the front desk is certainly going to hear about this in the morning! Explaining about our little intruder and how he entered our open window on the 2nd floor in the middle of the night and made off with our bag of dinner rolls giving us all a fright…well let’s put it this way, it seems the Stanley Hotel hears ghost stories much more bizarre than ours!

Needless to say this surprise celebration of our son’s graduation turned out to be one our family will never forget and one that we love to share with others. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and that you will check out The Stanley Hotel when you visit Estes Park in Colorado. It’s a fabulous hotel and one well deserving of its reputation! Check Rates & Availability!

And, if you’re interested in deals on other lodging options while in Estes Park you can find them at Booking.com .

Do you have a ghost story to share?

Have you ever wanted to visit a Ghost Town? Read about our recent visit to Bodie California – A Ghost Town in Arrested Decay .

Have you stayed at The Stanley Hotel? Did you experience any unusual happenings while you were there?

Tell us about your experience at the Stanley Hotel in the comments below.

Related Vacation & Travel Ideas

24 comments.

Jeff Rushing

A hungry little ghost with a black mask on!

I would love to visit The Stanley sometime

Barbara

Hi Jeff, you never know what you might see when you visit the haunted Stanley Hotel, lol. I hope you get to visit, it can be quite an experience!

Jill

Great story, scary experience! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Thanks Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed our scary ghost story. Staying at the Stanley Hotel is a great experience, you never know what you may encounter!!

Boulder

I love it ! The ghost story is really !

Glad you enjoyed our ghost story. The Stanley Hotel is a great place to visit if you like to be scared!!

Sean

I stayed there 3 weeks ago and saw Elvis

lol…I’m jealous!

diane weise

2006 stayed on second floor,during the nite, went to the bathroom and positively turned out the bathroom lite , this was 5:30 in the morning, when we woke at 7:30, the light was on and my husband swore he had not gotten up and used the bathroom. i felt like someone had been in our room it was so hot and this was Feb. none of us slept well that night, especially our son and wife and new baby. she cried all night. This was our anniversary present from our son. We didn’t stay another nite.

There are so many unexplained things going on at The Stanley Hotel as you and I have both experienced; it definitely all contributes to this famous hotel having a very haunted reputation!!

Aldrin

I would love to have my honeymoon at that hotel. 🙂 Pleasure plus a little bit of a spooky sensation 😀

Pat Walsh

My husband and I stayed at the Stanley three years ago, stopping there on a trip from Denver up into the Rockies and Breckenridge. We were given a room in the smaller annexe. After dinner my husband went on ahead to the room, and I followed about two minutes later. As I was walking along the second floor corridor, parallel to the front of the building, I smelled burning – a really strong smell of woodsmoke. There are no windows in the corridor, so it wasn’t coming in from outside, and it wasn’t someone having a sneaky cigarette – definitely wasn’t cig smoke. The smell disappeared when I turned the corner into the corridor leading to our room. I told my husband about it, as it seemed really odd at the time. We went back together to check that the hotel wasn’t on fire, but the smell had gone. There was no trace of it, though it had been very strong only a few minutes before. I didn’t smell it again. I still find it strange and though there may well be some very ordinary explanation for the smoky smell, I don’t know what it is.

That is very strange Pat, as are so many unexplained experiences at the Stanley Hotel!

A Cook Not Mad (Nat)

I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time. After watching The Shining, I probably would have run out screaming.

So true, it wasn’t funny at the time and watching the Shining just before we stayed at the Stanley Hotel just compounded the spookiness…lol

Thomas

I think ghost are real

I bet most of the visitors to the Stanley Hotel would agree with you, Thomas!

ciki

LOL! What a great haunted hotel story! I love horror movies and you really tell a tale well! Well raccoon or not, am sure this is one story to tell for years to come:) Great shots!

Thank you so much, ciki! As scary as it was for us that night we do indeed have a tale to tell for years to come. Welcome to the site!

Val-This Way To Paradise

What a night!! I stayed in a haunted hotel in Eureka Springs, AR once and it was quite the experience…

It was a memorable night that’s for sure, and one we will not be forgetting. Val, I’d love to hear about your experience at the haunted hotel in Eureka Springs, AR!

Quinn McVey

Are you referring to The Crescent Hotel? I tried to tall my sister, niece, and nephew into staying there but they didn’t go for it. It is beautiful and eerie at the same time.

Becky Padmore

Scary story, not sure I’d be brave enough to stay!

Funny you should say that, Becky…after our stay there I don’t think I’m brave enough to stay again either!

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16 very real ghost stories that'll chill you to the bone

Do you check under the bed for monsters before you go to sleep? Double check the closet to ensure the boogeyman isn't hiding inside? Are you afraid of...ghosts?

Then perhaps you should stop right now, because we're about to delve into the world of the paranormal — and these tales are not for the faint of heart.

Whether you believe ghosts are rea l or just made up for the movies , these ghost stories, as told by real people who experienced things they simply can't explain , are sure to give you pause — if not proof — that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to supernatural happenings.

To help curate our collection of spooky yarns, TODAY.com spoke to Derek Hayes, host of " Monsters Among Us ," a podcast in which callers share details of mysterious encounters.

According to Hayes, he receives hundreds of calls each week and submissions from across the globe. "But every once in a while, somebody will call in one of those personal stories. It's that personal connection for me that really brings it home," Hayes tells TODAY.com.

"And some of those are just terrifying ."

We've collected a sampling of those 'terrifying' stories right here, along with a handful of other scary ghost stories from a ghost hunter, as well as unexplained incidents told by a variety of ordinary people who claim they've experienced something extraordinary.

Whether you believe them or not is, of course, entirely up to you. But if you end up sleeping with the lights on tonight, don't say we didn't warn you.

The ‘grandmas’ in the cemetery

Headstones in a misty graveyard.

Jeff, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, was driving with his 3-year-old son, Miles, in the back seat, when they passed by a cemetery. It was a modest cemetery with only flowers and small plaques.

“It basically looks like a giant garden,” Jeff explains on “Monsters Among Us.”

According to Jeff, as they drove by, his toddler, who’d been happily singing, abruptly stopped, pointed to the cemetery and exclaimed, “Look at all those people!”

Jeff turned to look, but didn’t see a soul. Confused, he asked Miles what he was talking about. “All those people over there,” his son replied. “There sure are a lot of grandmas.”

As Jeff tells it, chills ran down his spine as he asked his son what the people were doing. “They’re all standing there, looking down at the grass,” Miles said.

Completely unsettled by the conversation, Jeff sped up and drove home. Later that same day, he says his young son was watching TV when he turned to Jeff and said, “You know … they weren’t alive.”

Thinking Miles was referring to the cartoon, Jeff asked what he meant. “Those people we saw ... they were all paused,” his son replied.

“I don’t know if my kid has the sixth sense,” Jeff says. “Or if he just has a wild imagination.”

The ghost of The Stanley Hotel

ghost stories the stanley hotel

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, has been around for more than 100 years and was built as a posh getaway for the wealthy seeking solitude in the mountains.

As the years passed, however, occupancy declined and by the 1970s, the grand hotel had fallen into disrepair. It was around that time that famed author Stephen King spent the night there and was inspired to write the book “The Shining.”

The book and blockbuster film helped return the Stanley to its former glory. Now, guests come in droves to see the hotel that inspired one of the scariest horror movies of all time.

Given its history, it should come as no surprise that many visitors report strange happenings. Aware of the ghostly rumors, Texas resident Henry Yau booked a last-minute getaway in April of 2016 to “check it out.”

After arriving, Yau had dinner, then wandered around the Stanley to take photos. Stopping at the staircase, he waited for people to clear the area, then took a picture, thinking nothing of it.

Later that night, however, Yau fell seriously ill. “I felt really sick, I had the shivers, I was like, something’s really wrong,” he tells TODAY.com. His companion suggested he go to the emergency room, but Yau refused.

On the trip home, Yau began swiping through the photos he’d taken when he discovered what he said was a “really, really strange image” of someone standing on the stairs.

Except no one had been there.

The next day, he posted the photo on Instagram, half-joking that he’d captured a ghost — and the world took notice. Almost overnight, Yau found himself in the limelight with his ghost picture warranting attention from global media outlets and paranormal experts who wanted to examine the photo.

“Some experts say that there’s two ghosts, and other people said that the reason I got sick is because the ghost was trying to materialize, taking energy out of me,” he said. “There’s so many theories about this.”

And what does Yau think? “I have no idea,” he says with a laugh.

The ghost truck stop

Empty Bar

On his way to get married, a military man and his best man set off on an 800-mile road trip from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to Lafayette, Indiana.

It's 1 a.m. on a cold January night in 2014 and the man tells "Monsters Among Us" that the weather is bad and temperatures are in "the negative double digits."

As the pair close in on Indianapolis, they discover they have no money to pay for gas to refuel the car and are about to run out.

"Growing up in the trucking industry with my dad, I decided to stop at a truck stop," the man explains. But because the main interstates were shut down due to the weather, they had get off the highway and search for a truckstop along the back roads instead.

"(We) found a smaller truck stop. It had one truck and it was just kind of strange. It was just a blacked out truck with a blacked out trailer. There was no real markings on it, nothing distinguishable," he says.

They went in, hoping a clerk or waitress would spot them a few dollars for gas enough to make it to Indianapolis, at which time they'd go to the bank, take out cash and pay back the loan.

Inside they found a tidy diner, occupied by a waitress, cook and a lone truck driver.

"I went inside, talked to this driver and he bought us a cup of coffee. We sat there and talked for about 30 minutes about what was going on and why we were headed, where we were and what we were doing. And he gave us 20 bucks for gas. I went outside, pumped our gas, came back in and I told him, 'Hey, I really appreciate it. I'll be back.'"

Making good on his word, the man got cash from the bank upon arriving in Indianapolis and returned to the diner.

"When we arrive at about 10 o’clock in the morning, it's boarded up," he says. "It looks like it’s been abandoned for years and the truck’s gone. But we had just been in there."

They pull in anyway and find a police officer parked in the lot. They explain what happened just hours before to which the cop chuckles and replies, "Oh, you met the ghost of three."

"So, two military members converse, had a cup of coffee with, interacted with, three people at a diner that had a fuel pump. I got $20 worth of gas," says the man. "When I came back, it been boarded up for, if I remember correctly, the cop said it had been boarded up for the last 25 years."

The hauntings at the Lizzie Borden House

The Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts.

On August 4, 1892, Andrew and his wife, Abby Borden, were found brutally murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts, home. Though murder wasn’t uncommon in the late 1800s, the fact that they were bludgeoned to death with an ax and the main suspect was their 32-year-old daughter, Lizzie Borden, certainly was.

The crime and trial that followed made headlines around the world. Lizzie was ultimately acquitted of murder, but she remains forever linked to the heinous killings, as does the home where the crime was committed.

Now a bed-and-breakfast and museum, the Borden home attracts history buffs and thrill-seekers who come to see for themselves if rumors that the house is haunted are, indeed, true.

“When I started working here, it was more of the history. I really didn’t care about the paranormal,” Suzanne St. John, a realtor and tour guide at the Lizzie Borden House, tells TODAY.com.

However, that all changed after St. John says she experienced a few unusual happenings of her own.

“Guests tell us they hear laughing and playing in the middle of the night, things get moved around,” she says. And St. John has experienced a few unusual things herself, saying that once she discovered toys scattered across a room that no one had been in.

St. John also talks of a picture that fell over and slid two feet across the floor without any plausible explanation, as well as a closet door that once opened on its own volition.

On the eve of the anniversary of Andrew and Abby’s murder, St. John says that she and two other tour guides at the house felt a sudden sharp, piercing pain in their left eyes — the same exact location of Andrew Borden’s fatal injuries.

Perhaps the most unsettling, however, is the story St. John tells of a tour guide at the Lizzie Borden house who asked her group to silence their cell phones before beginning the tour. Moments later, a guest’s cell phone rang. She looked up and said, “It’s my mom.”

The tour guide asked if she wanted to leave and take the call, to which the woman replied: “She died two years ago.”

The ghost of Captain Joseph White

A shadowy image is captured in front of the Gardner-Pingree House in Salem, Massachusetts.

Though Salem, Massachusetts is best known for its infamous witch trials, there have been plenty of other chilling stories throughout its 400-year history.

One of them is the tale of Captain Joseph White, a wealthy merchant who was found bludgeoned to death in his bed.

It was a crime motivated by money, according to Giovanni Alabiso, owner and tour guide at Salem Historical Tours, who says the 82-year-old merchant was allegedly targeted by greedy brothers hoping to get their hands on his will.

Brothers Joseph and Francis Knapp enlisted the help of Richard Crowninshield to help get the job done. “Late in the evening, when Captain White is asleep, Dick Crowninshield comes in, he goes upstairs to the second floor and takes a club and bashes the captain over the head and crushes his skull,” Alabiso tells TODAY.com.

The murder resulted in a scandalous trial and is said to be the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” as well as the game “Clue.”

Whether it’s the brutal nature of the crime or revenge for the attempt to steal his money, the spirit of Captain Joseph White is said to still wander the halls of his former home. “People believe Captain White is roaming around that house, protecting whatever treasure he reportedly has,” Alabiso said.

Tourists take photos of the house, and despite being empty, many pictures reveal shadowy figures (both male and female) in the windows and on the landing of the Gardner-Pingree House.

Who are they? No one knows.

“It’s definitely, absolutely active,” Alabiso says.

The haunted ventriloquist doll

Ventriloquist doll playing piano

When Marty was a child back in the '90s, she tells "Monsters Among Us" that she was a fan of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy sidekick, Charlie McCarthy.

She says that when her father came across a ventriloquist doll as he wandered through a small magic shop located outside of Santa Rosa, California, he decided to buy it for her birthday.

While ringing up the sale, Marty says the cashier gave her father "weird vibes" and said to him: "You know when you put your hand inside the doll, he's going to come alive."

Laughing off the comment, he brought the dummy home to his daughter.

According to Marty, she was over the moon when he dad gave her the doll, saying: "I was so happy when I got that doll, I was obsessed."

But before long, strange things began happening. Though impossible because the doll's head was made of hard plastic, she says its expression would change, including his smile.

Worried something would happen to her precious dummy, Marty's family shut it away in a cupboard most nights. One night, she and her family were awakened by the "pitter patter" of steps in their living room. Thinking it was the dog or another family member, they went to look.

No one was there. Except for the doll, who was sitting on the couch.

"We remember specifically we always put it away because I loved that doll so much that I took care of it," Marty says on the podcast.

Other strange occurrences began happening. While Marty and her dad were away, her uncle was alone in the house. The uncle says he heard Marty's father calling his name from the living room, even though he wasn't home.

When he went to look? He found the doll, once again, sitting on the couch. And no one else.

"All of our family was pretty much scared of the doll," Marty says. "People would start hearing their names being called, and we would hear walking at night. So, we just decided we needed to get rid of it."

Being Mexican and religious, Marty says her parents wanted to burn the doll in case it was demonic. They put it on the grill and, according to Marty, it wouldn't burn. "This doll would not go up in flames, at all, whatsoever."

They tried cutting it up with a knife, but were unsuccessful. Finally, they threw it in the trash can. After the garbage was collected, Marty's dad went to retrieve the bin.

In it? The doll.

To rid themselves of the dummy, they dug a hole in the backyard, then filled it with cement.

Marty and family have long-since moved away, but she says they still think about the doll and the possibility that eventually "it finds one of us."

The imaginary 'friend'

Ghost Stories

Jacqueline from Oklahoma says that while her memories have faded over the years, she recalls having an imaginary friend when she was young.

Her grandparents, "Granny Junie" and "Pa Hank," lived in a small home with a quiet backyard. Jacqueline recalls visiting them as a child.

"I have very good memories of my Pa Hank," Jacqueline says on the podcast "Monsters Among Us."

"He would sit under the tree with me and tell me stories." The stories were often about his life and memories of prohibition, she says. "He was actually a very interesting character."

The only problem? Her grandfather died in 1981 — and Jacqueline was born in 1982.

"I don't think I ever realized that I was getting stories from a ghost," she says, adding that the rest of her family knew of his presence in the house. "My Granny Junie would never stay in the house on the anniversary of his death," she says. "He did die in the house."

Jacqueline also recalls hearing Pa Hank get up in the middle of the night when she was staying at the house. "It never occurred to me that these were memories of an entity," she said.

In hindsight, Jacqueline says that even though her childhood "imaginary friend" was actually her dead grandfather, it casts a different light because it was a relative and not a stranger.

"It never felt like ghosts, it felt like talking to my Pa Hank."

The kidnapping ghost

Ghost Stories

On "Monsters Among Us," a caller named Joe tells of moving to Georgia from California in the late 1990s. Soon after, he says his brother followed him to the Peach State and rented an old house built in the 1800s.

"It looked nice from the outside ... it did not feel good from the inside," Joe says during the podcast.

According to Joe, things seemed off from the moment he helped his brother move into the home. "I walked into the house and went, 'Oh, man.' The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I just felt ill-at-ease, like this place isn't cool at all," he says.

Moments later, while carrying items into the bedroom, Joe says he heard whispering.

"A heated whispering, almost an argument, between two people that seemed to be hovering in the top of the ceiling area of the room," he adds.

Joe ran out of the room and asked his brother if he'd felt something off about the house, too. His brother had picked up on the vibe, but assured Joe that things would be alright.

"As long as you're good," Joe says he told his brother. "I'm not good, but I'm going to help you. I'm going home and I probably won't come back here."

And, sure enough, Joe's brother began experiencing unusual occurrences in the house.

The most alarming, however, was when Joe says his young niece was found wandering alone on a busy road with her hand up in the air.

Police and other agencies were called to investigate the incident and when asked, his brother's 4-year-old explained that she'd gone for a stroll with the "old lady that lives here."

"She just wanted to go for a walk, so we went for a walk."

Given that the front door was too heavy for a 4-year-old to open by herself, no one could understand how she was able to leave the house.

According to Joe, his niece said, "The old lady opened the door, then we petted the dog for a little bit, then went for a walk."

"She was so genuine and honest at 4 years old, that he couldn't call her liar," Joe says during the podcast.

Soon after, his brother moved and never returned.

The ghosts of Stone’s Public House

Ghost Stories

Considered one of the most haunted restaurants in America, Stone’s Public House in Ashland, Massachusetts, doesn’t have a ghost problem — it has a ghosts problem.

Janet Morazzini, a longtime resident of Ashland, is the bartender and manager of Stone's Public House, which was built by John Stone back in 1832.

According to Morazzini, even before she began working at the inn, she heard stories of the ghost of a young boy roaming the halls of the restaurant, which once served as an ad hoc hospital during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

It makes sense, Morazzini tells TODAY.com. “That’s where they would quarantine all the sick people,” she explains. “Apparently, quite a few souls have passed just due to that.”

The inn is also the site for other untimely deaths, including that of a young girl who was struck and killed by a train while she played near the railroad tracks bordering the property.

According to Morazzini, a father and son visiting the inn stepped outside the restaurant to watch the trains. After coming back inside, Morazzini overheard the father reassuring his young son that there wasn't anyone else outside — despite the son insisting he'd seen a little girl sitting beside them.

“He’s like, ‘She was sitting right next to me. She was crying. You didn’t see the little girl?’ And the dad said, ‘There was nobody there, it was just me and you, buddy,'" Morazzini recalls.

Other ghosts are said to haunt the old inn, including that of proprietor, John Stone, who Morazzini says didn’t actually die there, but is believed to be “watching over” the place.

One night when Morazzini was alone at the inn, she says she heard footsteps walking directly above her on the second floor. “I was just like, there is no explanation for that whatsoever. I’m leaving," she tells TODAY.com.

Still, she doesn’t believe that the spirits have bad intentions. “I’ve never had that scary, hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-gotta-get-out-of-the-building feeling there."

The unexpected passenger

Ghost Stories

In the 1990s, Julie, a resident of Portland, Oregon, was driving out the city to meet with friends when she found herself in traffic. The 18-year-old soon discovered that the cause of the slowdown was due to a dreadful car crash and to her horror, as she passed the scene, she realized that someone had died.

A moment later, “there was a woman sitting in my passenger seat.” Julie says on “Monsters Among Us.”

Though she admits it sounds crazy, Julie reports seeing a woman dressed in work clothes seated next to her. And despite being in complete shock, the woman in the passenger seat was even more freaked out. “She looked like somebody who just suddenly ended up in somebody else’s car,” Julie says of the incident.

Panicked, the woman demanded to know how she got there and who Julie was. It was then that Julie noticed the woman had an unearthly quality about her and realized that whoever she’d passed on the side of the road was somehow in the car with her.

“'Ma’am, you need to calm down, my name is Julie and I’m here to help,’” she says she told the stranger. Julie later went on to explain to the woman that she’d been in a car accident and somehow ended up in her passenger seat. The woman was stricken.

At that exact minute, they passed a clearing in the trees. With some encouragement from Julie, the woman peacefully walked toward the sun, then disappeared.

In completely disbelief, Julie pulled over and convinced herself she’d imagined the whole thing. Several days later, however, a story came on the news about a trucker injured in a car accident.

“Before they finished, they threw a picture up of the woman that was in my car and explained that she had passed away in the accident,” Julie says during the podcast. “It was unbelievable, it was too much.”

The ghost in the choir loft

The First Church in Salem, Massachusetts.

Alicia Diozzi, teacher, tour guide and owner of Salem Kids Tours , typically sticks to talking about Salem, Massachusetts' long and diverse history.

However, there’s one story she likes to share about a ghost that haunts First Church in Salem. The plot twist? Only children can see it.

“The little ones, maybe age 4 or 5, will ask about a ghostly presence that they see up in the choir loft in the main sanctuary of our church,” she tells TODAY.com.

According to Diozzi, kids often point to the same spot in the church and claim they see a woman there.

“The kids will say she’s in a long dress, long-sleeves, and that she sometimes can be heard singing with the choir," Diozzi says.

Tales of the choir ghost have been circulating since the 1960s, says Diozzi. And she might have dismissed them had her own son not pointed to loft 15 years ago and asked about "the lady who sings with the choir."

Was she chilled?

“Yes, definitely,” Diozzi says. “I feel like the main sanctuary at First Church has that feeling, you do kind of feel the presence of the past.”

It’s not a bad feeling she says, but rather a history or energy that’s comforting in a way.

The ghosts of 'Shawshank' penitentiary

The Ohio State Reformatory.

The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio is widely known for being the location of the classic movie, "The Shawshank Redemption."

But the old penitentiary, which was shut down in 1990, also has a reputation for being haunted.

Home to some of the most hardened criminals, the maximum-security prison was once the site of murders, suicides and other violent encounters, according to Theresa Argie, author and paranormal investigator known as “ The Haunted Housewife ."

“(The reformatory) had this incredible vein of violence that ran through it almost from the beginning," Argie tells TODAY.com.

“You can imagine why a place like that would be haunted,” she says. “There’s something negative there, you can just feel it in your bones.”

And there are, in fact, plenty of ghost stories from the old prison.

“We ran into female spirits there, which I thought was incredibly interesting,” Argie said. One of them, she says, is likely the wife of a former warden who was accidentally shot and killed while pulling a box down from a closet shelf.

According to Argie, they've captured recordings of a woman crying and, on occasion, smelled rose perfume in the bedroom.

Another spirit that’s said to haunt the reformatory is a woman who sits in the prison chapel and cries. “When you approach this woman sitting in the pew, she disappears. Other people have seen her walking," Argie says.

Then there's the malevolent presence there, according to Argie. And with the help of a medium, she says she communicated with it.

“He would literally be cussing at me,” she recalled.

While their sessions with the angry ghost were unnerving, it wasn’t until he followed Argie’s partner home that they were truly terrified.

“One day, she saw him, through a reflection of her window, she saw this thing in the back, this shadow figure, and she knew it was him," Argie tells TODAY.com.

After seeking the help of a paranormal expert, Argie says that "we haven't seen him since."

The phantom ambulance lights

Ambulance on forest road

In the mid 1990s, Robert worked as paramedic in a small Texas town and tells the story of a "strange happening" that he and his partner experienced on a call one night.

After receiving a call for a female having chest pains, he and his partner climbed in the ambulance to make their way to the address.

"We took off Code 3, which means using our emergency lights and sirens," Robert recalls.

In the absence of GPS back then, Robert says that they relied on maps and mailbox numbers to guide them to the rural location.

"The address we were going to was a very rural one," says Robert. "So, there was no street lights and it was a very dark night, so it was very difficult to read the mailboxes."

As they searched for the correct driveway, Robert says he turned off the sirens. After determining they'd found it, they pulled in only to discover they were mistaken.

"So, we turned off the emergency lights as we backed up to the road and went up the correct driveway," he explains.

Upon arriving at the scene, the paramedics realized that they'd been at the exact same address the month prior for a male suffering from cardiac arrest.

"In typical medical black-humor fashion, we mentioned to each other that this was probably the wife who was now having a heart attack and was now going to go join her husband."

They jumped from the ambulance, bags in tow, and began treating the woman, who, fortunately, ended up being alright. Robert says he sent his partner to get the stretcher from the ambulance so they could take her to hospital for evaluation.

"When he returned, he had this strange questioning look on his face," according to Robert. The pair wheeled the patient out to the emergency vehicle and that's when Robert saw that the ambulance "had nearly every light it was equipped with turned on."

"Strobe lights, flood lights, some interior lights ... everything on."

After taking the patient to the hospital, Robert asked his partner why he'd turned on all the lights.

In fact, he reminded Robert that they'd shut them all off after going to the wrong address.

"Neither of us recall activating the emergency lights, strobes or flood lights when we arrived at the house. There was no real reason to do so, we'd already gotten there.

"In the end, we wrote it off as her dead husband letting her know that he was still there."

The ghost dog

Fog in the nature park

Sarah, from Lancaster, Ohio, tells "Monsters Among Us" the story of her childhood dog, Cricket, who according to Sarah was a "pretty unhappy dog."

"She was super cranky, she only liked my grandma," Sarah says. "She didn't seem like she felt well."

Still, the family loved their dog and was devastated when the pup ran out into the road and was struck and killed by a passing car as they were preparing to leave on a family vacation.

"It was very sad, very upsetting, especially with me being a child. My grandmother was there, she loved Cricket and Cricket loved her. They had this special relationship that none of us had."

Despite the loss, the family had prepaid for their vacation, and not having a lot of money, decided to still go, leaving Cricket with an aunt who offered to take of the necessary details.

Upon arriving at the hotel where they were staying, Sarah says the family was "melancholy and sad" over the tragedy.

"We go to bed, and in the middle of the night, I'm not sure why I woke up, but I startled, woke up, sat up in bed, and looked down, and on the floor was Cricket, a full-body apparition, of her," says Sarah.

"She looked so happy, she looked like a different dog. She was jumping around. All that crankiness, all that unhappiness she had, was gone. It was like she was coming to tell me that she was OK. It was the clearest apparition. I've never seen an apparition again. It was the first and only time."

Sarah says she told her mother in the morning what she'd seen and her mom dismissed it as her middle-school brain just trying to make sense of the loss.

"I guess that's possible," says Sarah, "but to this day, I can still envision Cricket in that moment. I've never forgotten that image and it helped me feel better about what had happened because she seemed so happy and I do think she was visiting me that night."

  The ghosts of Willoughby Coal

The Willoughby Coal building in Ohio.

Built in the late 1800s, the Willoughby Coal building in Willoughby, Ohio, housed a variety of businesses in it's time, including a train depot, cheese factory and flour mill.

In 1912, it became the very prosperous Willoughby Coal, supplying coal to local residents before it was sold to Henry Windus and William “Don” Norris in the 1930s.

Over time, the relationship between the two owners grew contentious, according to Theresa Argie. “Henry Windus wanted to buy the business from Don Norris, but Don was unwilling to sell," the paranormal investigator tells TODAY.com

One morning, Norris allegedly told his wife he was going out for bread and to check on repairs being done on the Willoughby building.

He never returned.

Several hours later, his body was discovered in front of the door. “He was laying in a bloody heap,” Argie says.

Even though his death was ultimately ruled accidental, Argie says that Norris' family believed he'd been murdered. Though no one knows what really happened that morning, Argie believes his spirit still haunts the building.

“We have come in contact with him on many, many occasions,” she says and claims that others have reported seeing faces in the window and heard unexplained footsteps and other unusual occurrences at the building.

But Norris isn't alone.“We’ve probably got five or six resident spirits in the building."

The ghost nanny

Ghost touching sleeping granddaughter

Kip, a caller from New York state, talks of an old home that he and his wife purchased. Upon moving in, his wife invited her sister and newborn baby to come for a visit.

“The stayed in the downstairs bedroom and my wife was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom,” Kip explains on "Monsters Among Us," and says the first night their guests stayed, his wife overheard her sister talking to someone in the middle of the night.

The next morning, Kip’s wife asked who she’d been talking to and her sister replied, “I woke up in the middle of the night and there was an old lady standing over my baby and I had to tell her to get away.”

According to Kip, there were more unexplained incidents in the house including mysteriously moving lamps and a creepy occurrence with a fire alarm that went off while his wife was outside working in their garden.

“She immediately runs back into the house, figures out that it’s the smoke alarm in that same downstairs bedroom going off,” Kip says on the podcast. “When she opened the door, she said for a split second all she could see in the room was this white fog.”

Within moments, however, the white fog disappeared and the alarm shut off.

Convinced the house was haunted, Kip’s wife reached out to a neighbor to learn more about the property and discovered that the previous owner was a 90-year-old woman who tragically died in a house fire.

“Needless to say, we fixed up the house and got out of there as fast as we could and moved someplace else," says Kip.

Read on for more scares!

  • Are witches real? What to know on fact or fiction
  • Are werewolves real? The truth might surprise you
  • Scary books to read, from classics to modern fiction

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Sarah is a lifestyle and entertainment reporter for TODAY who covers holidays, celebrities and everything in between.

Aliens at a Miami mall? Police say ‘lol’

Police respond at the Bayside Marketplace in Miami on Jan. 1, 2024.

Teens running, police converging and a grey splotch that appears to be moving: Videos from an outdoor mall in Miami stoked wild claims this week on social media that aliens had landed on Earth. But the truth is far more terrestrial.

On Monday, a group of roughly 50 teenagers caused a riot at Bayside Marketplace, an outdoor mall roughly 5 miles from South Beach, according to the Miami Police Department.

The teens were setting off fireworks, which led to a panic as some assumed there was a shooting, said Miami Police Department public information officer Michael Vega. Four teens were arrested.

Police were dispatched “for crowd control due to the juveniles refusing to leave,” Vega said in an email to NBC News. “Some businesses were temporarily closed to allow us to clear the area.”

In the days after the incident, users on social media launched a speculation frenzy, homing in on what they described as “Miami Mall Aliens.” Some suggested police were responding to aliens, not teenagers. Several people reviewed video of the incident circulating online and claimed they could see an alien figure in the grainy footage. Others quickly posted memes.

While many of the responses online appeared lighthearted, the posts show just how quickly and easily misinformation can spread on social media. The response also underscores an uptick in interest in extraterrestrial activity, from hearings in Congress last summer about “unidentified aerial phenomena” or “UAPs” to Mexico’s Congress showing off what it claimed were “nonhuman” aliens. Both of those events also became prime meme fodder.

However, Vega said aliens had nothing to do with Monday’s incident.

“There were no aliens,” he wrote in the email. “No airports were closed. Nothing is being withheld from the public. LOL.”

Still, by Friday afternoon, “Miami Mall Alien” was trending on the social media site X.

“10ft Aliens/Creatures (caught on camera?) fired at inside and outside Miami Mall, media silent, cops are covering it up saying kids were fighting with fireworks, yet all these cop cars, & air traffic stopped that night except for black military choppers…and no media coverage,” claimed one post on X, which on Friday appeared to trigger a slew of conspiracy theories and memes.

One person posted what appeared to be an AI image of a generic alien holding shopping bags, and joked it was “The Miami Mall Alien.”

Another person shared an image of golfer Tiger Woods holding out his hand, as if to shake another person’s hand, with the caption: “Me to the aliens if I’d been at the Miami mall.”

Others remarked that the new year was bound to be wild if aliens had been spotted mere days into January.

“5th day into the New Year now people spotting Aliens in the Miami Mall 2024 is in for one hell of a ride,” the person wrote.

There were, of course, some who wondered: If there was an alien sighting, where’s the proof?

“Everybody have cell phones, but nobody have an up close video of the 8-10 foot alien by the Miami mall?” wrote one X user .

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter covering youth and internet culture for NBC News, based in New York.

21 injured after possible gas explosion at historic Fort Worth, Texas, hotel: 'Very loud and very violent'

ghost stories of stanley hotel

At least 21 people are injured after an explosion Monday rippled through the bottom floors of a hotel building in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, authorities said.

One person was in critical condition and four others were seriously injured, MedStar spokesperson Matt Zavadsky said at a news briefing Monday. The rest had minor injuries.

Craig Trojacek, a spokesperson for the Fort Worth Fire Department, said the first call of a fire at Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel was received at around 3:32 p.m. local time. Multiple calls about an explosion came in after.

The smell of gas permeated through downtown Fort Worth, Trojacek later said, adding that investigators are confident the blast was "some kind of gas explosion."

Photos of the explosion showed windows and debris blown out and scattered across the street.

The fire department said Monday evening the blast no longer posed any public safety issues to downtown Fort Worth, but crews would be on the scene all night to continue search efforts and ensure no one was trapped.

Desiree Partain of MedStar, which provides ambulance and emergency medical services in Fort Worth, said medics treated four people on the scene but did not take them to a hospital.

According to Trojacek, investigators are working with federal investigators to determine the cause of the blast. The scene, Trojacek added, had left rescue teams unable to immediately reach some parts of the building.

"We had reports of people trapped down in the basement, and because of the explosion that took place, some of those access areas were either covered up or it didn’t feel safe at that point to get people down into," Trojacek said.

Developing into the night: For an update, sign up for USA TODAY's Evening Briefing newsletter

'Very loud and very violent'

Mike Vanca was staying at the hotel but was not inside when the explosion happened. He was in a nearby office and still felt the shockwave from the explosion.

"The building shook like someone slapped the side of it with your hand," Vanca told KDFW. "So it was very loud and very violent."

Hunter Chacon, an employee at nearby Wicked Butcher, told the Dallas Morning News that he arrived to downtown shortly after the blast as first responders were still pouring in. He ran toward the commotion before he was stopped about three blocks from the hotel.

“From there, I could definitely smell the gas,” Chacon said.

Historic building completed in 1920

The 245-room Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel dates to 1920, according to the hotel’s website , and is located in a busy area of downtown about one block from the Fort Worth Convention Center. The building, known as “The Waggoner Building,” has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

Sandman Hotel in Fort Worth said Monday that due to damage from the blast, it won't be taking bookings “until further notice.” 

The hotel did not immediately return USA TODAY’s request for comment.

Trojacek said a restaurant in the building had been under construction but said it was not definitive that is where the blast occurred.

Kristin Goodspeed, a spokesperson for natural gas provider Atmos Energy, told USA TODAY that technicians were on the scene at the request of the city’s fire department.

"Gas has been isolated to the affected area, and we will continue to assist the Fort Worth Fire and Police Departments and all officials in support of their investigation," Goodspeed said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he had been in contact with local officials following the blast and was ready to "immediately deploy any additional personnel and resources needed to keep Texans in the area safe and out of harm’s way."

Contributing: The Associated Press

  • Main content

I stayed in a 112-year-old hotel that's been nicknamed a 'Disneyland for ghosts,' and the stories I heard will keep me up at night

  • I went on a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining."
  • King isn't the only one who has shared stories of apparently paranormal encounters there. 
  • The hotel has a list of tales — such as stories of a ghost cowboy and golden retriever — that spook guests.

As the sun set over Estes Park, Colorado, I checked into the Stanley Hotel. In just a few hours, I'd be touring the 32-acre property in the dark, hoping to find what Colorado's most "haunted" hotel is known for: ghosts.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

During the fall of 2021, I traveled to Estes Park, Colorado, to visit the state's most popular national park and spend a night in one of the country's most "haunted" hotels . 

While I'm not easily spooked, I arrived knowing that the hotel had frightened one of the country's most popular horror novelists, Stephen King. While staying at the hotel, King says he had a paranormal encounter that inspired him to write his famous novel "The Shining," as he wrote on his website. 

King isn't the only person who has said they've had paranormal encounters there. The hotel formerly had an onsite paranormal investigator, Lisa Nyhart, who called the property a "Disneyland for ghosts," TripSavvy reported .

On September 30, 2021 — exactly 47 years after King's visit — I checked into the hotel for one night and joined about a dozen people on a ghost tour of the property.

The experience, which the hotel calls a spirited night tour, costs $25 for hotel guests and $28 for visitors at the time of writing. The hourlong tour highlights the spooky stories hotel guests, employees, and visitors have collected over the decades. And I haven't been able to shake the stories from my memory since.

The tour started with some historical insight. The guide told my group the Stanley Hotel was opened in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, known as FO Stanley. Today, it's known as the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining."

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Stanley relocated from Denver to Estes Park with the plan to die of tuberculosis in a beautiful place, the tour guide told my group.

But the clean air offered more than gorgeous scenery. Stanley survived tuberculosis and lived nearly 40 more years, the tour guide said. After his health improved, he and his wife, Flora Stanley, decided to stay and build a hotel, the guide added. 

Since it opened, the Stanley has welcomed historic figures, I learned on the tour. Everyone from the Roosevelts to the Rockefellers has spent nights on the property, but today, the hotel's most well-known guest is Stephen King. 

After reading stories about what King saw on his frightful night, I was ready to see the hotel firsthand and learn the eerie stories many have told about the institution.

The Stanley Hotel is comprised of four main buildings, and one includes a concert hall. The hall was built for the owner's wife, Flora, who some say still haunts the building today, the tour guide said.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

In 1910, FO gifted his wife Flora the concert hall, the tour guide said.

Flora was an avid piano player, but after performing just once in the concert hall, she learned she had stage fright and never performed again, the guide said.

Some believe Flora never stopped playing. According to the tour guide, hotel guests and late-night visitors claim they have heard music ringing through the concert hall despite not seeing a piano player around.

In the basement of the concert hall, we heard about a ghost named Paul who apparently left behind a haunted couch.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

A former Stanley Hotel employee named Paul died in 2005, but some visitors say they've seen his spirit throughout the concert hall, the tour guide said. 

According to our guide, Paul had a couch in a room in the hall's basement. When he died, no one in his family wanted to make the journey to pick up the leather couch, so it remains, the guide told us.

The guide added that some have claimed to see a man sitting on the couch, lights flickering, and doors opening and closing unexpectedly.

As we left the concert hall, we stopped at The Lodge, which is a miniature replica of the main hotel building. There, visitors have claimed to see a ghostly golden retriever named Cassie, according to the guide.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The tour guide told us that if we hear clawing at our door, we shouldn't be alarmed; it's likely just Cassie, a friendly golden retriever who was buried on the property. 

On the hotel's property, there's a pet cemetery where Cassie was buried, the guide said. Sometimes, according to our tour guide, Cassie leaves her grave to visit guests, deliver newspapers, and search for treats. 

Inside the original Stanley Hotel, there are countless stories and paranormal sightings.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Over the years, the Stanley Hotel has grown in size. Today, it's made up of four main buildings, including the concert hall, the lodge, and a newer hotel and spa. But the most famous building is the original 1909 Stanley Hotel.

While the concert hall and lodge aren't without a spooky story or two, the original building is where the most accounts of ghosts have been reported, the tour guide said. 

Guests sharing stories of shadowy figures, strange laughter, doors closing and items moving randomly, and beds shaking are commonplace inside the original hotel.

The story of Elizabeth Wilson's ghost may be the most famous tale associated with the hotel.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The story goes that Wilson was the hotel's head housekeeper. One night in 1911, Wilson went from room to room with a candle lighting each room's lantern, according to the tour guide. But the hotel had a gas leak, and when Wilson stepped into room 217, her candle caused an explosion, the tour guide said.

Wilson fell through the second story and into the first floor, where she survived, the guide said. After recovering, she continued living at the Stanley Hotel into her 90s, according to the guide. 

However, our guide suggested that Wilson never left and said her ghost is often spotted in room 217, where she takes a particular disliking to unwed couples who stay in the room.

According to the guide, some guests say they've felt a cold force between them in the hotel bed, while others have said their luggage was mysteriously packed up and left at the entrance to their room.

The room Wilson is said to haunt is where King spent the night, and that inspired him to write "The Shining."

ghost stories of stanley hotel

Our tour guide shared the story about how King and his wife Tabby ended up at the Stanley. The couple was stuck on a roadblock and in the middle of a snowstorm while traveling through Estes Park in 1974, according to the guide. Defeated, they decided to book a hotel room at the Stanley, the guide said.

When they arrived, the couple learned that they were the only guests since the hotel was closing for the winter the next day, our guide said. King explored the empty hotel before retreating to room 217 for the night, the guide said.

But in the middle of the night, King woke after dreaming about a possessed fire hose chasing his son in the hotel, according to the author's website .

"That night I dreamed 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," King wrote of the inspiration behind his book.

"I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed," he continued. "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 tour guide mentioned that the fourth floor, where my room was located, was the "most densely spooky floor" of the entire hotel.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

According to the tour guide, the fourth floor was formerly an open layout without bedrooms where the nannies and children of the rich guests would stay. 

Today, it's common for guests on the fourth floor to report hearing children laughing and crying, the guide said. There have also apparently been sightings of ghost children playing with hotel guests, the tour guide said.

I attempted to spend the night in room 402 listening for the sounds of ghost children, but instead, quickly fell asleep. 

In room 428, there is a cowboy that sometimes greets guests.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The tour guide said that some guests — mostly women — have reported waking up in the middle of the night to a cowboy standing at the corner of their bed in room 428.

While there are no accounts of a cowboy dying at the Stanley, according to paranormal tour company Nightly Spirits , "those that know their Estes Park history believe this to be the spirit of 'Rocky Mountain' Jim Nugent." Nugent was Estes Park's first guide, but he died after a rival guide named Griff Evans shot him, according to Visit Estes Park . 

Inside room 428, the cowboy is said to sometimes give guests "a ghostly kiss," the Nightly Spirits website states.

Below the hotel, there's a series of tunnels that are said to be haunted.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

The hotel previously had an expansive set of tunnels that workers used to navigate the property, our tour guide said.

Although many of the tunnels are said to have collapsed over the years, one is still included on the tour. Inside the tunnel, our guide shared stories of numerous ghosts who are said to haunt the underground part of the hotel.

While I didn't leave with any ghost sightings, I spent days reflecting on my tour guide's hair-raising stories.

ghost stories of stanley hotel

I quickly understood how a hotel like the Stanley could inspire a horror novel like "The Shining." Its eerie atmosphere paired with the tour guide's ghost stories left me spooked for days. 

ghost stories of stanley hotel

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

  1. Creepy Stories About Colorado's Famous Stanley Hotel

    Stephen and Tabitha King stayed in room 217 in 1974. Years later, after King's novel, The Shining, and its subsequent adaptation by director Stanley Kubrick, the hotel and their room, in particular, became very, very popular. Today, hotel staff report that room 217 must be booked months in advance.

  2. The Stanley Hotel's Haunted History

    October 4, 2023 By // by Patrick McGuire Regardless of whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can't deny the Stanley Hotel's ability for inspiring fear and intrigue. Let's uncover the creepy legacy of this iconic Rocky Mountain destination and its supposedly, haunted history.

  3. 11 Creepy Things You Didn't Know About The Stanley Hotel

    10 Elizabeth Wilson Resides In Room #217 Photo by Shalvin Deo on Unsplash Visitors of the Stanley Hotel touring the interior. Room #217 is one of the most notorious at the Stanley Hotel. It's haunted by the ghost of Elizabeth Wilson, a housekeeper who died inside.

  4. The 7 Most Haunted Spots in The Stanley Hotel

    Colorado's famed Stanley Hotel is a repeat guest on "most haunted lists." The Estes Park hotel, most definitely worthy of a day trip from Denver, has also hosted its fair share of paranormal investigators from shows like The Travel Channel's "Ghost Hunters" and SyFy's "Ghost Adventures."

  5. Stories From a Ghost Tour at the Hotel That Inspired 'the Shining'

    I went on a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining." King isn't the only one who has shared stories of apparently paranormal encounters there. The hotel has a list of tales — such as stories of a ghost cowboy and golden retriever — that spook guests. Advertisement

  6. The Haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

    Dunraven came to the area in 1872 while on a hunting trip. He built a hunting lodge, cabin, and hotel for his guests and illegally homesteaded up to 6,000 acres in an unsuccessful attempt to create a private hunting preserve. Dunraven was finally run out of the area after trying to swindle folks out of their land and money.

  7. The Stanley Hotel, The Most Haunted Hotel in Colorado

    — Stephen King, The Shining (1977) The Stanley Hotel: The Haunting Beauty of a Frightening Night's Sleep Any big hotels have got scandals. Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go. Sometimes one of 'em will pop off in his room, heart attack or stroke or something like that. Hotels are superstitious places.

  8. Inside The Stanley Hotel That Inspired 'The Shining'

    In October 1974, ascendant horror writer Stephen King and his wife spent a night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, at the foot of the Rockies. With the winter barrage of snow and cold looming, the hotel was about to close for the season, leaving King and his wife as its sole guests.

  9. The Spooky Story Behind Colorado's Haunted Stanley Hotel

    In the fall of 1974, writer Stephen King and his wife stopped for the night at an old hotel overlooking the city. Once among the grande dames of the west, The Stanley had fallen on hard times and was a ghost of its former, Edwardian-era self. Upon arriving, the Kings learned the hotel was closing for the winter and only a skeleton crew remained ...

  10. The Haunted Stanley Hotel

    333 E Wonderview Ave. scroll down to read more. Tucked away near the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, just 70 miles from bustling downtown Denver, Colorado, sits one of the country's most notoriously haunted destinations, as well as the famed inspiration for Stephen King's acclaimed horror novel The Shining—the Stanley Hotel.

  11. 17 Unsettling Staff And Guest Stories Of Hauntings At The Hotel 'The

    The Stanley hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is allegedly one of the most haunted locations in the US. Hundreds of paranormal investigations take place their each year, with mixed results. Stephen King stayed there with his family — and woke up from a nightmare to begin writing a novel based on his stay there, The Shining.

  12. The Story Behind the Haunted Stanley Hotel

    As the legend goes, one night in 1974, King and his wife were passing through Estes Park, a Colorado town 70 miles from Denver, when snowy road conditions forced them to find a place to stay. The Stanley—at that time "on the shabby side of shabby-chic," a second guide told us—was the only hotel around, and the Kings were its only guests.

  13. Ghost Stories From The Hotel That Inspired 'The Shining'

    Voting Rules. Vote up the Stanley Hotel ghost stories you find the creepiest. It's said that Stephen King once spent a night in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, and it was so creepy, he was inspired to write The Shining. The room he stayed in even appears in the story (although it was altered to Stanley Hotel room 237 for the Kubrick film ...

  14. What Happened at The Stanley Hotel? The True Story ...

    Here are some of the most popular ghost stories of The Stanley Hotel: Room 217 and the Ghostly Housekeeper: Room 217 is perhaps the most famously haunted room in the hotel. According to legend, a housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson died in the room in 1911 after an explosion occurred while she was lighting a lantern.

  15. Stanley Hotel: Haunted History

    The haunted history of the Stanley Hotel goes far deeper than the ghost stories that emanate the building today. It also goes beyond the inspiration for the book written by Stephen King, "The Shining." The hotel was a vision fulfilled by a prominent man of the early 20th century, Freelan Oscar Stanley. And that is where the haunted history begins.

  16. The Strange Hauntings of the Historic Stanley Hotel

    On April 22, Meghan Levy and her fiancé, Kyle, visited the Stanley Hotel and took some pictures, only to find a strange anomaly in one of them - a mysterious figure that seems to peak through one of the windows (top left). Is this the latest ghost sighting at the @StanleyHotel?

  17. Stanley Hotel Tour: An Honest Review (including Historic, Ghost, and

    The Stanley Hotel was built in 1909 by inventor and businessman Freelan Stanley and is a famous landmark in Estes Park, Colorado. Famously known for being the location where Stephen King imagined the plot for The Shining, the Stanley Hotel offers 60-minute historic, paranormal, and Shining tours.

  18. The Stanley Hotel

    The Stanley Hotel History. The Stanley Hotel is known as one of the most haunted hotels in Colorado. Built in 1909, this famous haunted hotel in Colorado is known for inspiring the legendary horror novelist Stephen King to write his best-selling book, "The Shining.". But its history is far richer than its ghostly claim to fame.

  19. The Haunted Stanley Hotel • Our Ghost Story

    The Stanley Hotel is located in Estes Park, Colorado less than 6 miles from Rocky Mountain National Park. Built in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley of the Stanley Steamer car fame, it is where horror novelist Stephen King and his wife Tabitha were guests when he was inspired to write the novel "The Shining." Staying in Room 217 they were the only guests at the hotel that night.

  20. Haunted Colorado: Ghost stories from the Stanley Hotel

    The Stanley Hotel may be one of the most famous haunted places in Colorado. Here are some the ghostly stories from the Estes Park hotel.More local videos her...

  21. The Haunted History of The Stanley Hotel

    So those are some of the most famous ghost stories and places around the The Stanley Hotel where there are reported a lot of paranormal activity. These stories, combined with King's famous novel and other supernatural legends attached to the grounds, have made The Stanley Hotel an alluring attraction for those interested in eerie secrets.

  22. 16 Real Ghost Stories That'll Chill You to the Bone

    The ghost of The Stanley Hotel Photo courtesy of Henry Yau. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, has been around for more than 100 years and was built as a posh getaway for the wealthy ...

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  25. Stories From a Ghost Tour at the Hotel That Inspired 'the Shining'

    The hotel has a list of tales — such as stories of a ghost cowboy and golden retriever — that spook guests. Advertisement As the sun set over Estes Park, Colorado, I checked into the Stanley ...