The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is a breathtaking sight both inside and out. Built by F.O Stanley to appeal largely to the rich and famous, this massive, Georgian style hotel transformed the economy of the small, mountain town of Estes Park. The hotel was propelled into the spotlight by Stephen King’s novel The Shining and the subsequent movie directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson. Today, the building also has a reputation for being one of the most haunted locations in the United States and proudly offers daily ghost tours.
F.O Stanley came to Estes Park in 1903 after receiving orders form his doctor to seek out fresh mountain air. His doctor instructed Stanley, who suffered from tuberculosis, not to make any plans beyond six months. While staying at a friend’s cabin, Stanley and his wife quickly succumbed to the beauty of the majestic mountain landscape and Stanley’s health began to improve. They built a home half a mile from where the Stanley Hotel now stands.
Construction began on the Stanley Hotel in 1906 and it opened in 1909. Famous guests included John Philip Sousa, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, President Theodore Roosevelt, various Hollywood actors and actresses, as well as an emperor and empress of Japan. Author Steven King stayed at the hotel while writing The Shining.
Both guests and employees have experienced paranormal activity in The Stanley Hotel. Unlike the paranormal entities portrayed in The Shining, these real-life ghosts are not malicious. Two of the many spirits that are said to haunt The Stanley Hotel include F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora.
Reports of Stanley occur mainly in the lobby, Billiard Room and the bar. According to reports, Stanley’s wife Flora plays the piano (the same piano that was present when the couple was alive) in the ballroom. Guests and employees claim to have heard faint music coming from the ballroom and have witnessed the piano keys moving. Some witnesses have seen a woman sitting at the piano bench.
Certain guest rooms have a history of frequent supernatural activity. Room 418, in particular, has been an area frequented by several child ghosts that have been heard laughing and playing, most frequently just outside of the door. Guests have complained of children playing in the hallway late at night while others have reported impressions on the bed and noises in the room. Stephen King had his own run in with a child ghost – a little boy who was calling for his nanny.
Room 407 allegedly houses another spirit who likes to turn the lights on and off, sometimes turning them back on at the request of the person staying in the room. Noises are also reported within the room and outside the door. A face is sometimes seen in the window of this room, viewable from the outside. Although the fourth floor seems to be the most active area, footsteps are heard all throughout the building and sightings of various apparitions have been witnessed in many other areas.