Location: Estes Park, Colorado, USA
Operation Time: 1909 -
Freelan Oscar Stanley, the co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, suffered from tuberculosis and came west to Estes Park, Colorado as suggested by his doctor. The doctor arranged for Stanley and his wife, Flora, to live in a cabin in Estes Park for the summer. They were instantly in love with the area, and Stanley’s health improved incredibly. Since they were fond of the area, they decided to open a hotel there, and called it Stanley Hotel. Stanley built the hotel on land purchased from the British Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, who had come into the area in 1872 on a hunting trip. Dunraven built a hunting lodge, a cabin, and a hotel for his guests and illegally homesteaded up to 15,000 acres. He tried to create a private hunting preserve, but it was unsuccessful. Dunraven was eventually kicked out of the area after he tried to scam people out of land, money, and possessions. Construction on the hotel began in 1907. It was going to be designed as a summer resort, as it had running water, electricity, and telephones (all the basic features of a hotel, these days). The only thing it lacked was heating, but, since it was intended to be a summer resort, it didn’t matter. It opened in 1909, and it received a lot of tourism. After they were done living in the summer cabin, Flora wanted to live in a home like the one they used to live at in Maine. They built one about a half a mile away from the hotel. When it comes to hauntings, there have been a large number of reported cases, most of them taking place in the ballroom. The Stanley’s kitchen staff have reported hearing a party going on in the ballroom, but when it is checked, they find it empty. Another case is that people have heard someone playing the ballroom’s piano, when no one is sitting there. It is believed that the piano playing ghost is Flora Stanley, who was a piano player at the hotel. One apparition is said to be a man who stands over the bed before running into the closet. He is also known for supposedly stealing guests’ jewelry, watches, luggage, and belongings. Other reports of this ghost have stated that people see him in the middle of the night, standing over them until it vaporizes away. The SyFy Channel show Ghost Hunters was invited to investigate the hotel for paranormal activity. The hotel’s manager gave them a tour of all the allegedly haunted places. Some of the phenomena was explained as a natural occurence, such as wind and pipes. However, the ballroom incidents could not be explained with any logical conclusion. When it came to the incidents such as children running and laughing, they claimed that it was probably just kids on the next floor (but how can this be true when the sound is as if it was on the same floor?). The strangest occurence was when a table jumped two feet into the air. Ghost Hunter Jason Hawes stayed the night in the room where the ghost burglar was reported. The bed moved, the closet doors unlocked, and a thick glass by the bed cracked from the inside. Stephen King got the idea for his novel The Shining after he stayed at Room 217 in the near-empty hotel on the night just before it closed down for a long time.
- The hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel The Shining. The idea came to him when he and his wife were staying at the hotel, and the 1997 TV miniseries version of the book was filmed at the hotel.
- The hotel was in Dumb and Dumber as “Hotel Danbury”.
- TAPS from SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters investigated the hotel in May, 2006, and returned to it on October 31st, 2006 to do a live, six-hour investigation.
- The finale of the second season of Ghost Hunters Academy had their finale at the hotel.
- In November of 2006, UK’s Most Haunted featured an investigation of the hotel.
- Ghost Adventures had an episode with the hotel in their 4th season.
- The Stanley Hotel was featured on Most Terrifying Places in America.