When I was a child, I loved ghost stories. I would head to the local library at least once a week and check out a new book or two… and regardless of how hard my mom tried to steer my to a new section of the library, I always left with at least one ghost story in hand. My husband probably likes ghost stories even more than I do. (Another reason that he’s my perfect match?) In fact, whichever one of us dies first, we will likely haunt the other one for the remainder of their days just for ghostly giggles. So when my husband booked us for a weekend getaway at the most haunted hotel in America – The Historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park – I was all about it!
The Most Haunted Hotel in America
If you have never heard of The Stanley Hotel, you have probably at least heard stories about it. The hotel was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s horror novel-turned-movie, “The Shining”. Did anyone else just get a shiver up their spine? Seriously, that movie is CU-REE-PEE-creepy! Seriously, I’m approaching my mid-30s and still haven’t been able to watch it all the way through.
The first time I tried to watch that movie, was Halloween night when I was in the 6th grade. My best friend had a TV in her room (I was so jealous), and her mom let us rent a VHS tape from the video store (I’m showing my age, right?). Why that mother let two 12-year-old girls rent “The Shining” is beyond me. But I digress… We made it about a third of the way through the movie before we were screaming, with our heads under the covers until one of us got brave enough to run over to the TV and hit the stop button. (I guess this was before VHS players had remote controls, too. — geez, I’m old.)
Anyway, for all of you youngin’s who have never seen the 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson, it’s about a guy who becomes a winter caretaker at an old hotel and moves his family there. The guy goes crazy and his psychic son starts seeing disturbing visions as a demonic presence starts interfering with their lives. The movie plays on a loop on Channel 42 in the hotel. (Side note: the movie was not filmed at The Stanley. It was just the inspiration for the story.)
Actual Ghost Stories at the Stanley Hotel
Despite it’s reputation, the hotel doesn’t have a particularly dark past. But after the Stephen King book was published, countless stories of hauntings have surfaced. People have reported hearing someone playing the piano in the middle of the night or seeing apparitions in their rooms. The hotel, in a great PR move, capitalized on it and now offers ghost tours in the haunted hotel.
Our experience in the Most Haunted Hotel?
I wasn’t spooked. No scary little girls were walking the halls says “RED-RUM”. (Movie reference). No random figures lurked in the corner of our room. No unexplained footsteps, music or giggles.
We stayed on the 4th floor, which supposedly has the most paranormal activity. But no ghosts decided to visit that weekend. (Well, that’s my story.) My husband will tell you he woke up feeling like someone was sitting on his chest. I personally think he just had heartburn from the fast food we ate earlier that night. The picture below is a print out of some of the ghost reports people have experienced on the 4th floor.
Haunted or not, the hotel is cool. It has an old-fashioned charm to it, and is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States.
If you’re looking for things to do in Estes Park check out Pages of Travel.
Our room seemed a bit outdated and dingy. I think they could keep the historic feel and still touch up the rooms (and add air-conditioning). The room did not justify the price tag that came with it. But it is worth an experience. You can visit the hotel and take one of the paranormal tours without actually staying in the hotel. But if you love a good ghost hunt, put The Stanley Hotel on your list!