Ghosts of The Stanley Hotel and a Night In Room 217

The Stanley Hotel

Freelan Oscar Stanley built and opened the Stanley Hotel in 1909. It’s bold architecture is striking against the stunning and scenic backdrop of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. However, it’s location was strategically chosen to assist Mr. Stanley with a bout of tuberculosis. Fresh air was the main and only form of treatment for the disease at the time.

Freelan Oscar Stanley Statue
Statue of Freelan Oscar Stanley in front of the Stanley Hotel that he built.

For over 100 years the Stanley Hotel has catered to upperclass vacationers, but today it is mostly known for its close association with darkness. Many know the Stanley Hotel as one of America’s most haunted places and it’s relationship with the horror genre as being the inspiration for Stephen King’s best selling horror novel ‘The Shining.’

The Notorious Room 217

The Stanley Hotel’s most famous and requested room is without a doubt Room 217. It gained notoriety after famed horror writer, Stephen King, spent the night with his wife at the Stanley Hotel back in 1974. This night would forever change the image of the Hotel.

Room 217 of the haunted Stanley Hotel.
Spending the night inside the Stanley Hotel’s Room 217.

King and his wife arrived just before the hotel shut down for the Winter months, but were luckily able to spend the night. They were placed in the presidential suite (#217), being the only room left with clean bedsheets. Since the hotel was in the process of shutting down there were no other guests checked in and the King’s had the entire hotel to themselves.

Bed inside Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado.
Inside of Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel.

Stephen King spent a great deal of time drinking whiskey at the Stanley’s famous bar before taking a walk to explore the hotel and retreating to his room. It is fabled that he ran into two children on the fourth floor. A sight he thought was strange since there were no other guests staying at the hotel. He was to find out soon after that these children also did not belong to any of the staff members working at the premises.

After retiring to his room and falling asleep King has a dramatic dream which caused him to wake in fright. He had noticed a fire hose in the hallway just before entering his room and dreamt that his young son was strangled to death by this very object. After waking and feeling quite spooked, King got up for a cigarette. By the time he had finished that cigarette he had the story for his best selling and now movie adapted novel, ‘The Shining’, fleshed out in his head.

Room 217 Stephen King.
Framed picture of Stephen King inside of Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel.

While this legend is often associated with Room 217, it also has its own ghost story. This story begins in 1911 when the Stanley Hotel was powered by gas lighting. During a severe storm this power was lost and a maid was to enter Room 217 to investigate. Elizabeth Wilson caused an explosion upon entering the room with a candle, partly destroying that area of the hotel and sending her crashing through the floor, landing on the floor below and breaking her ankle. Elizabeth survived the explosion and went on to live the rest of her happy and long life.

Many now believe that she has returned to the hotel in death and has taken a liking to hanging around Room 217. Guests have reported that their belongings will become unpacked during their stay in this room, objects will move around on their own and the disembodied voice of a woman can be heard during the night. Some have also claimed to see the apparition of Elizabeth walking through Room 217 and exiting straight through a wall, which was once a doorway.

Behind the front desk of the haunted Stanley Hotel.
Keys at the front desk of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

Ghosts of The Haunted Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel rests on a bed of quartz and limestone, which many believe to be responsible for helping spirits energy remain strong within the building. This is just one theory that attempts to explain the high instances of paranormal activity within the haunted Stanley Hotel.

Pictures and mirrors on the main staircase of the Stanley Hotel.
Decor adorning the grand staircase of the Stanley Hotel.

The Lobby, Whiskey Bar, Music Room and Concert Hall

The Stanley’s are thought to still linger within the hotel that they built. Freelan Oscar Stanley has been sighted all throughout the hotel, yet is most frequently seen inside the hotel’s bar. Many of the staff believe that he is still looking after operations of his hotel and they claim to be able to feel his presence around them. Freelan’s wife, Flora, was an avid musician during life and some say she continues her hobby of playing the piano at the hotel. Phantom sounds of piano music when nobody is around have been reported from both the Music Room and the Concert Hall at the Stanley Hotel.

Famous whiskey bar inside the Stanley Hotel.
The Stanley Hotel’s whiskey bar.

A favorite spot for capturing apparitions within photos is the grand staircase of the Stanley Hotel, which proudly greets guests as they walk through the front doors. Several photos of a woman dressed in turn of the century garb on the stairs have been captured here.

Estes Park, Colorado's Stanley Hotel grand staircase.
Ascending the grand staircase in the lobby of the haunted Stanley Hotel.

The Fourth Floor

The fourth floor is said to be the most haunted within the Stanley Hotel. This area was once where the maid’s quarters were located and it is thought that many of their children still reside in that area. The ghostly sounds of children playing, giggling and running up and down the hallways are frequently reported by guests, even when living children are not around. Notably haunted rooms include 401, which is supposedly haunted by Lord Dunraven (former owner of the land) and features a closet that opens and closes on its own accord. Room 428 is also a paranormal hotspot, having furniture which moves around by itself and the ghost of a cowboy who watches you sleeping from the foot of the bed.

Stanley Hotel's haunted 4th floor.
Looking down a hallway of the haunted fourth floor inside the Stanley Hotel.

The Tunnel

Another hotspot for activity is actually underneath the hotel in a cave system. This was used by former staff to navigate the hotel. It is thought that some of the former employees continue to linger here, including that of a former chef. He is thought responsible for the smells of home-baked goods wafting through what is referred to as The Tunnel. This tunnel is also rumored to be the hang out spot for a deceased cat. Many have encountered this grey ghostly feline, which has bright green glowing eyes.

The Tunnel inside the Stanley Hotel.
Inside the Stanley Hotel’s haunted underground tunnel system, known as The Tunnel.

The Concert Hall

Said to be the most haunted spot on the Stanley Hotel’s grounds is the Concert Hall. It is thought to be haunted by several spirits. One of these is a former employee named Paul who worked as a handy man in the 1980’s. Paul took great pride in his work and it was no surprise that he returned to his place of work in death. He is thought to communicate with people who have captured EVP’s of a male voice stating ‘get out.’ He also has his own room in the basement level of the Concert Hall, where he usually interacts with male guests.

The extremely haunted Concert Hall of the Stanley Hotel.
Outside of the Concert Hall, the most haunted building which is part of the Stanley Hotel.

Just across from Paul’s room is another, also occupied by a ghostly resident. This spirit is known as Lucy. She is rumored to have been a homeless woman who died in this spot from exposure to the cold, yet her origin is truly unknown. She apparently communicates with paranormal enthusiasts visiting the Stanley Hotel and has befriended some of the young children spirits, who also frequent her room.

Inside the haunted Concert Hall of the Stanley Hotel.
Looking at the main performance stage inside the Stanley Hotel’s haunted Concert Hall.

Strangely, the Stanley Hotel also contains an object, not original to the hotel, but supposedly extremely haunted. This object is stored in the basement of the Concert Hall and referred to as the ‘Creepy Mirror’ by tour guides. It is quite an old antique piece, being older than the Stanley Hotel itself, yet its origins are not known. It is thought that this mirror contains some sort of energy trapped within it. Many guests over the years have captured figures and apparitions standing next to them when taking photos of their reflection in the mirror. These figures are creepily not apparent to the naked eye.

Creepy mirror in the basement of the Concert Hall at the Stanley Hotel.
Looking into the creepy, haunted mirror inside the basement of the Stanley Hotel’s Concert Hall.

Visiting the Haunted Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel has been immortalized as one of the most haunted places in the world. For anyone with an interest in the paranormal or a connection to horror films or fiction, the Stanley Hotel is a must visit. During my stay I was able to book Room 217! Make sure to request ahead of time to grab this room. Special requests for it can only be made over the phone. It is a little on the pricier side, yet was worth the cost for me to be able to tick that off my bucket list. Be prepared to have tour groups and visitors looking for a Room 217 selfie drop by at all hours of your stay. I was able to have some fun with this by banging and rattling the door and handle as they approached. You’ll be able to watch their scared reactions through the peep hole of the door.

Inside Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel.
Lounge area inside of Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel.

During my night inside Room 217 I was able to gain an intelligent response through my Spirit Box and heard some taps on the wall during the early hours of the morning. Let me know in the comments below if you have had your own paranormal experiences inside the Stanley Hotel.

Make sure to explore as much of the hotel as possible.  The Tunnel and the Concert Hall are only accessible by taking a guided tour. The day time history tour will cover tales including Stephen King. The night time paranormal tour mostly centered on the Concert Hall and The Tunnel. I was surprised not to hear any stories of the upstairs hotel rooms.

Finally, make sure to check out the amazing bar. You’ll find some delicious eats and some ‘The Shining’ inspired drinks. I tried both the Redrum Punch cocktail and the Redrum Ale, which is locally brewed. Both were great.

Redrum themed drinks inside Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel.
Enjoying a Redrum Ale and Redrum Punch inside of Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel.

This has to be one of my favorite places to explore! Looking for more hotels related to The Shining? Check out the Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite, which is also haunted and provided inspiration for the interior sets of The Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaption of The Shining.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (22)

  • Posted by daniel lang on May 27, 2019

    this would be an amazing history lesson for some im really intrigued in this thanks for the information

      Posted by Amy on May 28, 2019

      Thanks Daniel, glad you enjoyed it. It was an interesting place to explore and I love its ties to Stephen King’s The Shining.

  • Posted by Blake Emerson on May 28, 2019

    Just took the tour Sunday. Found the tour lots of fun, but on the plane back I was reviewing photos and two pics are a dead ringer for some ghostlike creatures lingering in the photos. Too cool!

      Posted by Amy on May 28, 2019

      That is so awesome that you got to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, too. I would love to see your photos if you care to share – If so, you can reach out to me on my contact page and I can reply with an email address.

  • Posted by Call Me Sunflower on June 1, 2019

    i just read it and… it was the best!!!
    I’m sure the spirits history would be good for a dark sleep-over night…
    THX for the fun i had while reading 🙂

      Posted by Amy on June 1, 2019

      Thank you so much for reading Sunflower. Hope you get to have a sleep-over there of your own some day.

  • Posted by K U R T (@DafielmotoKurt) on June 9, 2019

    I really love the information that you shared, i wish someday i could travel and check in to that hotel.

      Posted by Amy on June 9, 2019

      Thanks for reading my article and leaving a comment Kurt. Hope you get to visit the hotel someday.

  • Posted by Joanne Petersen on June 13, 2019

    I wonder how far out you have to book room 217? 🙂 Thanks for your insider info and photos — I really have to do this one day.

      Posted by Amy on June 13, 2019

      Thanks for reading, Joanne! Glad you enjoyed the article. I booked my stay at the Stanley in Room 217 just a week or two before staying there, yet called up and booked based on when that particular room was free. The hotel is pretty accommodating and will help you book into 217 if that is what you wish. I’d assume certain times of year (Halloween time) book out faster than others though. Hope this helps.

  • Posted by Theo on June 14, 2019

    It makes me so uncomfortable that Elizabeth and I share the exact same first and last name. Glad I never use my birth name heck

      Posted by Amy on June 14, 2019

      Wow! That is so interesting and kind of cool. I think it would creep me out a bit too though. Thanks for reading and sharing this.

  • Posted by Scott Wolf on August 11, 2019

    I went to school in Ft. Colllins, just up the road and we had a formal there. Stories of a man on the roof by the lodge throwing things were told as we walked by.I felt a sharp energy of chaos, fear, and cold when I walked by…just a really bad feeling.

      Posted by Amy on August 11, 2019

      Thank you for reading and sharing this interesting story, Scott! Sounds pretty creepy!

  • Posted by Carlisle on September 12, 2019

    I’d heard that Lucy was a young girl, who likes lollies… A brilliant YouTube series by Sam and Colby has been filmed there, and I would totally recommend it! Thanks for your sharing on this!

      Posted by Amy on September 12, 2019

      Hi Charlisle, thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it. I also have a video on this location too (not sure if you saw it at the top of this article). Thanks again.

  • Posted by kakashi on September 13, 2019

    this was cool thanks

      Posted by Amy on September 14, 2019

      Thanks for reading Kakashi!

  • Posted by Chloe on September 17, 2019

    I actually saw a YouTube video of this and i was like”I go to read more” so i read this storie and i still can’t believe it.The haunted Mirror i can’t still believe because in the storie is says”this mirror contains some sort of energy trapped within it”but what if it is something to do with the flash of your phone if you know what i mean it’s almost like the glow in the dark sticks.Mirror-it’s dark in the basement you take a photo with your flash and you see something.Glow in the dark sticks-It’s dark you crack the stick and you see what’s all around you.Because if you crack a glow stick in front of the mirror it can just as well be the flash on your phone.

      Posted by Amy on September 17, 2019

      Hi Chloe. Thanks for reading my article. I also have a video on YouTube too if you’re interested. I don’t claim any of the ghost stories regarding the mirror to be based on my own experiences. I did visit and took a photo of the mirror without flash (as you can see in my photo) but didn’t pick up anything unusual – except a creepy handprint, likely the result of the mirror being dirty. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Posted by Mike Coon on September 29, 2019

    Amy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article and viewing the video. The Stanley Hotel has been a bucket list trip and I am happy to say I have made my reservation and will be staying very soon. Thank you for sharing as I will use the info for things to focus on while I’m there.

      Posted by Amy on October 2, 2019

      Thank you so much for reading and watching, Mike! That is so cool to know you have planned your own trip! I hope you have an excellent time. Let me know if anything spooky happens!

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