The Stanley Hotel is a 138-room Georgian hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of the Rockies. It was built by Freelan O. Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the rich and famous. The hotel and its surrounding lands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Stanley has hosted many famous guests, including the Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. The Stanley Hotel also hosted Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. Contrary to information sometimes published King was living in Boulder at the time and did not actually write the novel at the hotel. Parts of the mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there, although it was not used for Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic version.
The Stanley Hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick’s The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.
Many believe The Stanley Hotel is haunted, having reported a number of cases. Staff who work in the kitchen next to the ballroom after hours say they have heard a party going on when the room was empty. In one guest room people claim to have seen a man standing over the bed then running into the cupboard. It is further claimed that this same apparition is responsible for stealing jewelery, watches and luggage that has gone missing. Some others reported that they have seen ghosts in their rooms in the middle of the night, just standing in their room then disappearing. Sometimes, people in the lobby can hear the piano playing from the ballroom. When workers check to see whats going on, there would be nobody sitting in front of the piano. Workers think its Freelan O. Stanley’s wife playing it, who used to be a piano player. The television show Ghost Hunters was invited to investigate the hotel, the manager showed them the various places where these accusations occurred. Ghost Hunters discovered some reasons for the various phenomena, including wind and pipes but could not decipher the ballroom incident. Ghost Hunters also claimed to experience some occurrences such as seeing people in hallways then hiding and hearing children running and playing on the floor above them. The biggest occurrence claimed was that during changing of the film in the camera, a table jumped two feet in the air. Ghost Hunter Jason stayed the night in the room with the “ghost thief”, Jason stated that the bed moved, the cupboard doors unlocked and opened and his thick glass by the bed cracked open on the inside.
Stephen King got the idea for The Shining after staying in the almost empty hotel on the night before it closed for an extended period.
The neoclassical hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. While he and his wife were staying at the Stanley, King conceived the basic idea for the novel. The 1997 television miniseries version of The Shining was filmed at the Stanley, and it has been used as a location site for other films as well, most notably as the “Hotel Danbury” in Dumb and Dumber.
In May 2006, investigators with The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) investigated the hotel for the SciFi program Ghost Hunters. TAPS returned to the hotel on October 31, 2006 for a live, six hour follow-up investigation. In November 2008, UK channel LIVING broadcast Most Haunted’s investigation of the hotel.
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