Stanley Hotel

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Anyone who is vaguely interested in haunted hotels will have heard of the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley claims it is the inspiration for the haunted horror of  Stephen King’s The Shining and with a long oral history of “ghostly adventures” occurring there, the Stanley is well aware of the money to be made off of its haunted reputation and has made it into quite an industry.  They readily admit to charging almost $150 more for their “haunted” rooms than they do for any other room at the same time of the season.  They have running ghost tours and a psychic that does readings.   If you decide to splash out for a ghost room, which we did, you had better be prepared for a sleepless night, not necessarily because of any ghostly activity but because there will be constant groups of people standing outside your door saying “Are you there?  Is anyone there? Make this red light flash, if you are there. If you have something you wish to communicate, speak into this machine and we will hear you.”  So basically you will be paying a premium to be annoyed ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  You should also not waste time getting a psychic reading, we did and she was so off on absolutely everything that it was clear she was either having the worst night in history, or our flat-faced stoicism completely flummoxed her attempts at cold reading.  We do recommend the ghost tour for those interested because it provides an interesting look into the Stanley history, haunted and regular, and our guide “Scary Mary” actually did a better job of providing an “intuitive reading” on one of us than the resident psychic. Which is not to say she sat down with us, she just came up to us at the end and said her spirit children wanted her to pass along a message to us, and it was fairly spot on and accurate.  So that was interesting, although I must provide the caveat that we were not as vigilant in flummoxing cold reading on the tour as we were with the psychic.  However, “Scary Mary” is actually a very sweet and informative guide and we very much recommend her.  Now having given a run-down of the business of ghosts at the Stanley, let’s delve into the fun of the stories.

The Stanley hotel was built in 1909 by Freelan and Flora Stanley of Stanley Steamer fortune.  They had initialy come to Colorado in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of Freelan’s tuberculosis but enjoyed it so much they purchased property and built a home.  Shortly thereafter, they built the Stanley as a summer resort for the guests they wished to entertain during their extended vacations in Colorado.  People today believe that Flora may still be “living” at the Stanley as one of her favorite pastimes was playing the piano, and the piano is often heard being played late at night when there is no one around.  In addition many people have heard sounds of revelry occurring in the empty ballroom.  Room 217 and 401 get singled out for special attention as people report numerous different disturbances occurring in these two rooms.  For instance, 401 is claimed to have a haunted closet where a man is seen standing and there are reports of banging noises coming from the closet.  This is absolutely true, banging noises do come from the closet because the closet shares a wall with the old, shuddering elevator.  Room 217 is said to be haunted by a more interesting ghost who is believed to be the long-term housekeeper of the Stanley.  Reportedly, if she likes you, she will help you unpack your luggage.  Room 217 is also the room Stephen King stayed in that allegedly inspired The Shining (it should be pointed out however, that another hotel also claims to be the inspiration and King has stated that the Stanley is not the inspiration).


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    Geographic Information

    333 Wonder View Avenue
    Estes Park, Colorado
    United States

    Get Directions »
    40.383333, -105.518333
    Larimer County, Colorado
    Nearest Towns:
    Estes Park, CO (0.5 mi.)
    Allenspark, CO (13.1 mi.)
    Lyons, CO (17.0 mi.)
    Grand Lake, CO (18.4 mi.)
    Bark Ranch, CO (18.8 mi.)
    Hidden Lake, CO (19.0 mi.)
    Jamestown, CO (19.7 mi.)
    Altona, CO (21.2 mi.)
    Ward, CO (21.5 mi.)
    Lazy Acres, CO (22.3 mi.)


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    1. The Stanley Hotel seems to have mostly residual energy i.e sounding like someone is walking behind you (at least on the 4th floor), orbs (mostly outside), etc. It has an interesting history but is overall peaceful and I experienced nothing alarming although I do not regret staying here. I will come back here one day.

      >Room 217 is also the room Stephen King stayed in that allegedly inspired The Shining (it should be pointed out however, that another hotel also claims to be the inspiration and King has stated that the Stanley is not the inspiration).
      I just got back from a tour at the hotel, room 217 is indeed the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining; Originally, 217 was a suite and the rooms surrounding 217 in that corner of the building were all part of the original room 217….where a maid that worked there was asked to fix acetylene lanterns one day during a power outage…the acetylene in the lamp in room 217 was leaking and she walked in with a candle, so when she opened the door there was an explosion that destroyed 10% of the entire hotel. The maid literally fell through the floor below into the room where the manager and his family were having dinner. Amazingly, aside from broken bones (both of the maids ankles were broken), everyone survived the explosion. The owner of the hotel paid for all of the maid’s medical expenses and told her when/if she still wanted her job it would be waiting for her. A year later she returned to work for the Stanley Hotel until her death, feeling like the Hotel staff was her family.

      The 4th Floor was a place for children and staff, Stanley the owner, would carve the children toys/etc, so often guests say they hear children running down halls/giggling on the 4th floor.

    2. I have never spent the night here before. No reason just haven’t yet. This place is haunted or has hauntings. I have plenty of pictures of this place showing “something” there in the photo. I have heard stuff, felt something on my shoulder and other things. I did not go up into any other floor but the main floor. As soon as I can swing the finances I am going to book a room and spend the night. There is something there for sure.

    3. We stayed here and caught a few things. We also sat in on the “psychic” lady. I definitly got Fake off of her, like the lollipop trick. BUT my hubby is a medium. we took a few pictures of where she said there was something. She got 1 right. It was a small figure ( going to submit photos). We tried to play with the kids as we were staying on the 4th floor. We didn’t get much but was asked by the kids why we were there and why we wanted to play. They didn’t want to play. When we went to bed, we kept getting woken up by what sounded like a ball bouncing in the bathroom. It was a very unique experience, we only stayed one night, but definitly worth a whole weekend to explore, investigate and see what we can find. I am definitly hoping to return to the stanley

    4. I’m not sure if the place is haunted but I had a strange experience there in 2004. I was using the bathroom downstairs from the lobby off the staircase when all the toilets flushed simultaneously. I was the only one in the bathroom at the time. The toilets had levers, not automatic sensors. I’m not sure if it was a plumbing pressurization issue or something paranormal, but it was strangely unsettling given the reputation of the hotel.

    5. Hoosier Tourist  |  

      My two daughters and I took the ghost tour at the Stanley. It was definitely a very very fun paranormal experience. One of my daughters is 11 and the other is 17. Our tourist guide had given anyone that either is a kid, is good with kids, works with kids, or anyone who wanted to try the experiment a lolly pop. In the experiment you would lay your hand flat out and put the head of the lolly pop (wrapped) standing up. Our tourist guide, Tiv, had told us that the spirit’s of the kids loved to play with the lolly pop and your fingers. As soon as my 11 year old daughter had put it on her hand correctly the stick go the lolly pop started to move in a strange way and her thumb felt funny as if the spirit child was playing with it. When we went to the spirit of Lucy’s room my 11 year old daughter felt a tug on her hair, the nice lady next to her felt a tap tap on her shoulder, my 11 year old’s lolly pop kept getting knocked down on her hand then going back up, and when all of this was happening there was a sent of weed through the air (there is no AC). A few minutes later in Lucy’s room Tiv had to persuade Lucy to play with the door. After a while the door started to close then open. Once we got into one of the last rooms my 17 year old daughter’s lolly pop started to lean towards to the side unexplainable. In one of the rooms where there was known to be and older man i had my hand out with the lolly pop and as soon as I slowly turn my head to see my 11 year old’s lolly pop going around and around my lolly pop gets patted down, by patted down i mean falls stait off as if the spirit of the man had slapped it off. Once the tour was over we decided to sit for a second, my daughter’s lolly pops were going around and around my 11 year old felt a light tug on her thumb and slight pressure on her foot as if the spirit child had accidentally stepped on it. Lastly, my daughters and i walked out, no one else walked out at the same time, the lights flickered a few times. My 17 year old and I had expected that it was the spirit of the child that had said good bye to my 11 year old. So, when no one else was there we had my 11 year old walk up to the stairs and do the lolly pop experiment, as soon as she did it it knocked down and went rolling down the stairs. We didn’t get a room at the Stanley that night and we were pretty sad… but we promised that we would come back to Colorado soon and continue our journey in the Stanley Hotel!!!!

    6. I know that the hotel is 100% real and haunted in the whole hotel and the buildings around it. I have been there to take pictures and had experiences of my own. I do paranormal investigation stuff of my own. I believe in ghosts 100%.

    7. The Stanley is def worth a visit. I went a few years back with my sister and we both had odd things show up in our photos. She was using digital and I had a 35mm film camera, so it can’t have been anything to do with the cameras. I hope to go back and do the tour again.

    8. I spent a night here and I had really vivid dreams and woke up with scratches on my arm. My bathroom door kept creaking open and any time anyone went anywhere near the antique cage elevator, they got a huge static shock. Seriously, we started trying delicately to press the elevator buttons with anything but hour skin because it got downright painful.

      Is it haunted? I don’t know. It could be the power of suggestion but this is definitely one amazing place to go even if you don’t end up feeling haunted.

    9. Bunch of crap. I am a ghost/spirit believer but have had a couple odd experiences at the Stanley in the 70’s and 80’s. Today the hotel is doing well over a million a year off tours and the bigger the money the further they grasp to be haunted. They blame Dunraven for all things bad in Estes but he was gone in 1888, long before the Stanley was built. 100 year old buildings creak and groan. Scary Mary was full of crap and some basic math would have showed her lies.

    10. I spent a night therr about 3 years ago. I had several experiences. First, I saw a cowboy sprinting by on the 2nd floor, as I was going up thr staircase. I remember thinking it was weird that someone would be dressed like that in that hotel and also weird that he was running so fast but he was silent. There was no sound to his feet hitting the floor. My husband was already in the 2nd floor heading to the room and the cowboy would have run by him. When we got in the room I said something to my husband about how weird that cowboy was and he had no idea what I was talking about. That night we took the ghost tour. In the basement of the concert hall I had weird experiences– enough that I do not care to ever go back in there. I could not be in the caretaker’s room. Entering the room caused me to have a severe headache as if I had a pointy object pressed into my forehead. When I went back in the hall, the pain went away right away. Re-entered the room and it instantly returned to my forehead. In the other room across the hall, myself and another lady were the last 2 in the room after the tour guide had already walked out with her flashlight. The door to the room closed on us. We stood there for a moment in complete shock that the door very deliberately shut and we were in the dark with everyone else in the hall. A second later I felt the feeling of static or pins and needles, starting at my ankles and going all the way up my back. The other lady said her hair was being pulled. I wasn’t pulling her hair. The guide opened the door and we ran out of there. In the tunnel beneath the hotel I caught an orb in a photo. After the tour we went to the hotel bar and were comparing tour photos with another couple. The other couple caught a terrifying image of a very tall entity that looked like a demonic pirate for lack of a better way of desceibing it. We could make out a beard and a long nose. It looked evil amd it was in the halleay standing right behind the lady as her husband took her photo. It was the hall directly outside the door of the room that caused my head to hurt.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.