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. (stanleyhotel.com)
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!