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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Posted by Ciara Armstrong on October 23, 2019
Hey Amy my name is Ciara and i’m doing a report can you explain how the 217 room is so haunted.
Posted by Amy on October 24, 2019
Hey Ciara! Good luck with your report! I have already explained this in the article. Just give it a read.
Posted by Doni on October 28, 2019
I stayed at the Stanley a couple years ago with my young adult kids. We are avid fans of King books and The Shining is one of our favorites. I was not a believer of ghosts before our stay. However, the last night we were there, I felt as if something sat on the edge of my bed. Within about ten seconds, my son thought someone was in the bathroom and ran in there to turn on the light. It’s hard to describe, but it was a definite creepy and surreal experience.
Posted by Amy on October 29, 2019
Hi Doni! Thank you for reading! I love that you were able to visit the Stanley Hotel with your children and have an actual experience! Thanks so much for sharing it here, that is amazing!
Posted by Julia Kyle on October 31, 2019
I like a good scare and a ‘real life’ haunted location. But the sheer weight of spirit claims is a bit silly and
undermines the Stanley mythos a little. It seems one can claim to have heard the ghost of every Tom, Dick and Harry who ever worked there. Not sure that’s how eternal unrest is supposed to work. 🙂
A lot of people who didn’t meet a horrible end somewhere aren’t likely to manifest and linger there. The part about the staff’s children still making noises was particularly silly.
Posted by Amy on October 31, 2019
Hi Julia. I recount many of the paranormal events that have been reported at the Stanley Hotel, over many years, in this article. These stories are not my own, yet from people who have claimed to have had these experiences at the hotel. The Stanley is certainly notorious, partly due to the enormous amounts of paranormal events reported within its wall, partly due to its ties to Stephen King. It is fine that you are skeptical of others’ experiences, in fact, I feel that is the best way to be when looking at the paranormal. I personally like to remain open to everything though, all ghost stories can sound a bit “silly” until you are the one who has encountered the activity first hand. Also, have you ever considered that maybe these hauntings are residual, more so than intelligent beings remaining stuck? Cheers for the comment and reading, I appreciate your thoughts.
Posted by katelyn smith on November 7, 2019
im really intrigued, i want to stay overnight here so bad was it worth it? on one of your pictures in the mirrior theres a handprint on it, idk if you noticed but ive watched acouple documentaries of this hotel and i truely believe its haunted
Posted by Amy on November 19, 2019
Hi Katelyn. The Stanley Hotel is quite expensive, especially if you want the Stephen King room 217, but for me personally, it has always been on my bucket list so was definitely worth it. Even if you don’t get to stay in room 217 you can still enjoy ghost tours of the hotel and learning about why The Stanley is considered haunted. I did notice the hand print too – creepy.
Posted by Jon Graham on November 22, 2019
We got married in Estes Park and had our first couple nights in Room 217. We definitely had paranormal encounters … dum dum lollipops going ballistic in our hands, messages through evp, our shoes were lined up at the foot of our bed the next morning, but nothing ever felt sinister. We can’t wait to go back.
Posted by Amy on November 23, 2019
Hi Jon! Thanks for reading! That is so amazing to hear, it sounds like the Stanley will always hold a special place in your hearts. Very cool to know you experienced so much activity and are looking to return. I’d love to know if anything further happens for you both. Enjoy!
Posted by Catherine Behl on December 8, 2019
I stayed at the Stanley Hotel, it was lovely. The only paranormalish (could’ve been the electrics gone bonkers) thing that I saw was the message waiting light on the phone in my room started flashing, like a heartbeat, it wasn’t flashing when I arrived.
It was a very peaceful place. I stayed in room 322.
Posted by Amy on December 8, 2019
Hi Catherine. Thank you so much for reading. It is very cool to hear you had the chance to visit and stay at the Stanley. It is also nice to hear you enjoyed your time there. Interesting to know about how that light on your phone reacted too! Thanks for sharing this!
Posted by Tammy Ressler on December 15, 2019
My husband and I stayed in 401 the Friday night after thanksgiving. We experienced a LOT of things. I am going to copy and paste my recollections. My Shephard wined when we walked in the room.
John heard children laughing. I heard ALL kinds of noises, children running, loud bangs, the window banged all night.
John had times during the night he tried to scoot closer to me and couldn’t like there was somebody else there. He woke up having panic attacks and has never done that before. Like he was being suffocated.
My right thigh was touched, moved and shook. Three different times. My whole body was shook. And the bed moved.
Sometimes the room would be cold and creepy other times just a room.
The windows banged all night from hurricane strength winds adding to the atmosphere.
John’s phone was moved.
John opened the creepy closet and said “oh yeah” “he’s still in there. Just got the shivers “ and now Zorro is acting strange. And there was growling in the creepy closet. We both heard it.
Something white flitted through the lens when I was in the Macgregor room. A number of my pictures have white in them or were whited out when nothing white was in the lens. Most of the photos of Zorro had a filminess around him. This was on the evening tour.
There’s nothing like having your Shephard sit and stare on alert at a chair by a creepy closet.
We smelled three different smells at different times. We both smelled floral. I smelled rotten and John smelled cigars.
I had a whiskey glass I planned to bring home and when I went to pick it up to pack it, it flew across the table onto the floor.
Our dog was very happy to leave. I did bring home the whiskey glass. It was sitting right side up in the bathroom at home. After a couple days I looked over and it was upside down when I was getting ready for bed. Only my husband and I were there and both deny doing it. The next morning it was right side up again.
Posted by Amy on December 16, 2019
Hi, Tammy! Thank you for reading and sharing your own experiences at the Stanley Hotel. It is an interesting place and fascinating to hear that all of this happened to you, wow!
Posted by Tammy Ressler on December 15, 2019
Our phones acted funny. Rapidly changing screens. The thermostat randomly glowed(lit up) and the clock was stuck on midnight.
Posted by Tammy Ressler on December 15, 2019
Both our alarm clocks went screwy when we got home. His hummed and mine constantly flashes now.