Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Stanley Hotel

When I think of the Stanley Hotel, what springs to mind is Jack Nicholson, wielding a heavy axe, busting through a closed door into a room and saying, "Heeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" Who doesn't, right? This image has become synonymous with the Stanley Hotel. In fact, it's the only way most people know of the Stanley, even though Kubrick's film was shot in Oregon. It has become an icon of pop culture due to Stephen King's classic book, The Shining and the miniseries filmed there. The horror story wasn't only the location for the film, but also King's inspiration for the story itself.

The Stanley Hotel was built in 1907 by none other than F.O. Stanley, creator of the Stanley Steamer. He and his family moved to Estes Park, Colorado in 1903 for Stanley's health. However, he noticed that the town was severely lacking in, well, everything. The town had no economy of any kind, and no amenities to offer guests and visitors. So, Stanley purchased 160 acres of land from one Lord Dunraven, and construction of his grand hotel began. The hotel, which now sits on 55 acres, still uses most of its original buildings, however the water reservoir and golf course have been replaced with growth and wildlife. Estes Park, though, would never be the same. By the time of his death in 1940, Stanley had given the sleepy town a bank, sewers and even the first water and power company. Estes Park became a place for the living to find rest, and the dead to find life. (

What happens here?

There are many ghost stories surrounding the Stanley Hotel. One of the more famous ones is of Mrs. Stanley. She likes to play the piano located in the Ballroom. However, if you get too close, she'll stop playing. It seems Mrs. Stanley would prefer not to have an audience.

on their hit show Ghost Hunters, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson had some exciting things happen to them during their investigation of the Stanley. Grant (and his cameraman) had an entire table lift off the ground while they were trying to change a battery! Jason felt his bed move, heard his closet opening and closing, and even had a glass on his nightstand break in half right next to him. Whoever was responsible definitely wanted to make their presence known.

Room 418 has a lot more going on as well. Guests report hearing children playing in the halls (when no kids were booked into the hotel), as well as see a dark figure standing in their rooms at night and racing into the closet.

Another haunted room is 407, Lord Dunraven's own room at the hotel. He is sometimes seen standing in the window when the room is not booked. When someone is occupying it, he likes to turn lights off and on, and stand in the corner of the room.

Stephen King himself has said to have seen a little boy calling out for his nanny in the hotel. Many of the tour guides also tell the story of a boy running around the grounds.

And last, it seems, Mr. Stanley couldn't bear to leave his luxurious home. He is heard playing the piano in the music room, and shooting billiards in the Billiard Room of the hotel.

What I haven't noticed about the Stanley is anything evil. The OverLook Hotel in The Shining is definitely not the Stanley Hotel of real life. The ghosts here appear to be friendly, not malicious in any sort of way. I hope to get out to Colorado to investigate for myself, but from what I've researched, the ghosts here stay here because it's a lovely place to be. They don't harm, or have ill intent toward any of the guests. There will be no Jacks coming through doors, no boiler room accidents, no scary twins up on the fourth floor. Just reflections of the glory days of this fine hotel, offering a little entertainment to guests and investigators.

To see where I got my information, pictures and to learn more about the Stanley Hotel, click the links below! There are more ghost stories awaiting you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Considered one of the most haunted places in the world, Waverly Hills Sanatorium sits as a landmark to disease to death. It was built as an advanced treatment center for tuberculosis, but the majority of its patients tragically died. Without antibiotics, patients were prescribed a lot of fresh air (in all seasons- keep in mind this is Kentucky, and it does snow), an incredibly healthy diet and a treatment called heliotherapy, which utilizes the rays of the sun to create Vitamin D in the skin and fight the illness. Unfortunately the vast majority of patients, both adults and children, died here. To keep the other residents in high spirits, the deceased were taken through the Body Chute, an underground passageway that stretches below the building and away from the site. After the epidemic, Waverly Hills was turned into a hospital that treated all manner of illnesses, but by 1982 they were shut down due to lack of funds and serious mistreatment of patients. All in all, over 60,000 people perished.

Because of all the death this land has seen, is it any surprise that countless reports of strange noises and weird sightings flow from its front doors? Nearly every paranormal show or book has done an investigation here. There doesn't seem to be anyone who has visited the crumbling hospital that hasn't come out with some kind of experience.

What happens here?

There are more stories to file out of Waverly Hills than this post has characters for. Below is a run-down of some of the most prominent legends, tales and sightings from Waverly Hills.

The first is a long-standing story of the nurse near 502. Depressed, unmarried and supposedly pregnant, the nurse hanged herself, not seeing any other option. No one knows for how long she was there, undiscovered. But now she is seen around the room, walking back and forth, making herself known to dozens of people.

One of the most popular ghosts is Timmy, who seems to reside in the children's ward. There have been many accounts of him interacting with visitors, and he really enjoys playing with rubber balls. Several investigations have included EVP sessions using the ball, and there has been more than one video taken of the ball moving on its own, including on the popular SyFy show, Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. (Timmy playing with the ball)

There is a more recent spirit nicknamed "the crawler," or the "the creeper," that employees and guests have started witnessing within the past few years. It's reported to be a shadow very low to the ground that moves in the corridors on the fourth floor. According to the owner on Ghost Hunters, the shadow stands, then crawls up the wall to the ceiling. Honestly, that sounds frightening!

As with any haunted place, but maybe more especially at Waverly Hills, masses of EVPS have been captured. They've been reported to get more frequent in recent years. Electrical equipment will go nuts, and not because of any power coming to the buildings. No power is hooked up to the building. Footsteps resound all over the Sanatorium, and are heard quite often in the body chute/death tunnel.

The owners have brought in a wheelchair that a patient used to own in Waverly. It likes to move around the nurses' ward, and more than a few inches. Tina, the owner and caretaker of Waverly, has said it likes to roll across the room- 20-30 feet.

There have been so many pictures and videos and EVPs and personal experiences gotten from Waverly Hills. If you can name an activity, it happens here. Below are just a few of the tons of pieces of evidence of the paranormal at Waverly Hills. I hope to investigate here myself one day, and have my own experiences and evidence to produce for you. (ghost in the back window at about :36) (a lot of great evidence in one handy video)

To learn more about this astonishing building, here are a few websites to get you started!