Colorado is not only filled with history but filled with myth and legend. The land seems to have come alive at night when the moonlight hits it just right or in the intensity of a summer lightning storm. When people go missing, stories are told that they either stumble across one of these hidden folklore haunts or are taken by them!
The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park Colorado, has a special place in the lore of the state. Countless ghost hunters and fans of Stephen King’s The Shining (and Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation) visit Estes Park to see it; but there is more than what meets the eye!
Without going too much into detail about the hotel and giving away its secrets, we can tell you that stories came from visitors sharing their experiences.
This is one such story: “I had a friend who stayed there for a weekend – she didn’t stay in the haunted room (Room 217), but she would always complain that every time she was in the lobby, she would feel like she was being watched. She didn’t see anyone or anything there, but she always felt like someone was behind her. She told me that every time she went into the bathroom by herself, she could hear someone walking around in there – even when no one else was in the room with her. Another time, when she was in the hallway by herself, she saw the doors to one of the rooms (not room 217) open up and then close again.Photo credit: Abdulaziz on Flickr
There is a good reason why people believe that there are ghosts in The Stanley Hotel. This hotel has quite a history! From its construction through opening (haunted or not), it has seen its share of history.
The building was built in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, who made his fortune by patenting a non-explosive alternative to black powder called “F Stanley Jr Black Powder”. He used the money he got through this (among other things like Wurlitzer organs, automobiles, and even a car company) to build the hotel. The building has always been an attraction in Estes Park, Colorado – at times it would be called “The Magic Mountain”. There was no magical activity inside until Stanley Sr. died in 1934.
Freelan Oscar Stanley Jr took over his father’s business, but didn’t want to run it. He was busy with organizing boxing matches and living the life of an itinerant playboy, so he opened up the hotel for 75 cents a night to whoever wanted to stay there – but only if they were “well behaved”!
Photo credit: AWikipedia
The hotel was open throughout World War II (although rooms were hard to get) and then closed in the late 1950s for renovations and upgrades. When it opened again, Stanley Jr’s mother was running things; she would greet guests at the door and give them a tour of the hotel! After her death, the reclusive Stanley Jr appeared occasionally to make sure things were going well.
The last time he saw his hotel was in 1970 when he and the new owner (a man who turned out to be a brutal conman) walked through it before he gave it up. Stanley Jr died in 2004, but reports of his ghost activity continued.
Room 217 is the most supposedly haunted room, with 10 different stories of “paranormal events” reported by guests and staff members alike.