Estes Park, CO is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, Stanley Hotel. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
The hotel was designed and built in 1909 by the original owner, Freelan Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile. It is a majestic mansion in the scenic Rocky Mountains. The Stanleys arrived in Colorado in 1903, Freelan was suffering from tuberculosis and his doctor advised him to seek fresh mountain air. They fell in love with the area while recuperating and decided to build the hotel.
The 138 room, the four-storied inn was built with the comfort and entertainment of the Stanleys' friends and special guests in mind. Each guest room had a private bath, heat, phone, and electricity, thanks to the power plant and dam that Stanley built. The electricity that was created not only kept the lights on at his Stanley Inn but also powered the homes and businesses of the people of Estes Park, for free.
Despite the Stanley Hotel's grandeur and opulence, it was probably destined to remain obscure until a famous guest changed its future—and it's past. 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.
The Stanley Hotel may be best known, for its most famous guest, Stephen King, who used the majestic hotel as the inspiration for his The Shining, which he wrote after staying in room 217. King did not write the novel there, nor was the 1980 Stanley Kubrick movie filmed there, but the TV version of The Shining was filmed here.
Today, the elegant hotel is a popular destination for travelers and ghost hunters alike.
This haunted history of the Stanley Hotel is not limited to the fame that Stephen King bestowed on it with its iconic novel. The Stanley had earned a sound reputation as a paranormal nerve center long before King’s arrival at the hotel. Most of it is attributed to the attached spirit of the F. O. Stanley who created this majestic hotel.
During the years since his death in 1940, the apparition of Mr. Stanley reportedly has appeared to guests checking in at the reception desk and in the billiard-room. He was said to have appeared in the Billiard Room during a tour group's visit, materializing behind a member of the tour. Bartenders report seeing F.O. stroll through the bar.
Accompanying him, the phantom of his wife Flora, once a pianist, sometimes can be heard tickling the ivories in the empty music room.
While some spots are more spiritually active than others, guests have reported strange occurrences – shadowy figures, eerie laughter, flickering lights, and items moving on their own – in every room on the hotel compound, which includes a century-old lodge and concert hall. Disembodied voices and phantom footsteps have been heard in the hallways and rooms and staff and visitors report unseen hands pulling at their clothing. More than one guest has said they have awakened to find their blankets taken from their beds and neatly folded.
Stephen King stayed in Room 217, which was the site of a tragic accident in 1911: housekeeper, a gas leak explosion nearly killed Elizabeth Wilson. After she died in the 1950s, strange, unexplained activity started taking place in that room, including lights switching on and off by themselves and doors opening and closing. The ghost of a small child who calls out to his nanny has been spotted on several occasions on the second floor, including by Stephen King.
Room 418 is said to be the most active room, it is apparently haunted by the ghosts of children. Guests claim phantom children can be heard playing in the hallways at night and one couple complained that the noisy children kept them up all night when no children were staying at the hotel at the time. Impressions of bodies have been found on the bed when the room has been unoccupied.
The hotel offers several ghost hunting packages and events and is a favorite destination for travelers seeking the haunted! Due to its incredible history and recorded haunted experience, this hotel has been featured on several paranormal television shows, including Haunted History, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, and My Ghost Story.
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