in True Ghost Stories

The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel in the Colorado Rockies was completed in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley. This 138-guest-room hotel is probably best known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s book The Shining, which he wrote after staying at The Stanley, in room 217. King did not write the novel there, nor was the 1980 Stanley Kubrick movie filmed there, but the TV movie version of The Shining, which starred Rebecca DeMornay, was used as the location. Today, the hotel is a popular resort and destination for ghost hunters. Regular ghost tours are also offered.

Several apparitions and other phenomena have been reported throughout the hotel:
The ghosts of Freelan Stanley and his wife Flora have been seen dressed in formal attire on the main staircase and in other public areas, such as the lobby and the billiard room. Mr. Stanley has also been spotted in the administration offices. The sound of the Flora’s piano can also be heard playing occasionally in the ballroom.

Disembodied voices and phantom footsteps have been heard in the hallways and rooms.

Staff and visitors have complained about having their clothes pulled by unseen hands.

Various guests have reported that they have awakened to find their blankets taken from their beds and neatly folded.
The Earl of Dunraven, who owned the land prior to the Stanleys, is said to haunt room 407, where the smell of his cherry pipe tobacco still fills the air. A ghostly face has also been reported peering out of the room’s window when it was not occupied.
Room 217, where Stephen King stayed, was the site of a tragic accident in 1911: housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson was nearly killed by a gas leak explosion. Since her death in the 1950s, strange activity is said to occur in that room, including doors opening and closing, and lights switching on and off by themselves.

Room 418 is the most haunted room, according to hotel staff, apparently by the ghosts of children. Guests who stay there say phantom children can be heard playing in the hallways at night. One couple complained that the noisy kids kept them up all night, although there were no children staying at the hotel at the time. Impressions of bodies have been found on the bed when the room has been unoccupied.

The ghost of a small child, who calls out to his nanny, has been spotted on several occasions on the second floor – including by Stephen King himself.

by Alan Toner