The True Story Behind America’s Most Haunted Hotel

Colorado’s Stanley Hotel is a century-old hotel that is so creepy, it inspired a critically-acclaimed horror movie. Join us through this post as we tell you its true story. But beware, it’s not for the faint-hearted!

The Stanley Hotel in the Remote Mountains of Colorado

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This impressively large and well-maintained inn that can house a variety of guests and events may seem pretty normal at first sight, but once you learn the history, however, you’ll realize just how spooky it actually is…

The Story Of The Haunted Hotel

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In 1903, when American inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley (founder of the carpet cleaning service company Stanley Steamers) was on his deathbed with a severe case of tuberculosis, he and his wife ventured out to Colorado for the therapeutic mountain air. After a few calm weeks, Freelan became bored and he and his wife designed a massive 48-room Georgian mansion on 160 acres of land, complete with lavish luxuries to attract guests.

A Place For The Wealthy

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After seeing their vision completed, they finally opened to the public in 1909. It was only a matter of time before wealthy and successful people took an interest in it.

Grand Opening

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Luckily, business at the Stanley Hotel Business was booming right from the start. But, soon after its grand opening, guests started reporting unusual things happening.

Haunted From The Beginning

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Strange noises were frequently heard echoing through the winding halls and empty corridors. Many guests left with an eerie feeling. But when a popular author stayed overnight in the ’70s, the hotel truly developed its frightening lore.

Stephen King Had a Horrifying Experience

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Stephen King, his wife Tabitha, and their son stayed in the hotel one wintry evening. They were the only guests in the entire place, which was creepy on its own, but then, a nightmare haunted King and truly chilled him to the bone. The author had a dream that a demonic presence was chasing his son all throughout the halls of the hotel. Even after waking, King couldn’t shake the horrible feeling, and he turned his experience into perhaps his most popular novel, The Shining.

King Stayed In The Room Pictured In The Book

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The room King and his family stayed in was number 217. Changed to 237 in the film adaptation of his book, room 217 had a sinister history in real life, which may have explained King’s terrifying ordeal.

Tragic Accident in Room 217

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In 1911, two years after the hotel opened, there was a severe gas leak in the room. The head housekeeper went in, lit a candle, and was killed instantly when the gas exploded. It is said that her spirit never left the room.

The Haunted Concert Hall

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But Room 217 is not the only area of the hotel said to be haunted. Piano music can be hear coming from the concert hall, even when the room is empty. Some guests even swear that they saw the piano’s keys moving on their own!

Ghost Employees Haunt The Hallways

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There’s also an entity known as “Paul” who apparently haunts the hallways of the hotel. He was once an employee whose job it was to ensure guests followed the 11 p.m. curfew. People claim to hear the words “get out” murmured after dark.

Ghosts in The Basement

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Perhaps the scariest experiences reported in the hotel is the presence of a 13-year-old girl named Lucy said to roam the hotel corridors. As the story goes, she ran away from home and hid in the basement of the hotel. When employees found her, they tossed her out into the cold, and she froze to death.

Guests Take Pictures of Ghosts as Proof

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This picture taken by a hotel guest named Stephanie Reidl is believed to be proof that Lucy exists. What looks like a small girl dressed in pink standing in front of the wall, but Stephanie adamantly denied there was ever a young girl on her hotel tour that day.

Spirit Hours

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Here’s another unsettling photo taken by a family from Aurora, Colorado, during one of the hotel’s “spirit tours.” The shape of a young girl dressed in white walking down the grand staircase can be seen clear as day; the family swears the girl wasn’t there when they snapped the picture.

Its Paranormal Activity Actually Attracts Guests

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Of course, all the sightings of apparent ghosts and otherworldly energies keep guests interested in the hotel. People from all over come to the Stanley to hopefully get a dose of the excitement and the paranormal experiences it offers.

‘The Shinning’ Art And Halloween Parties

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The hotel completely embraces the fact The Shining was based on its paranormal sightings. Decorating the walls of every room are stills from the movie and artwork dedicated to Stanley Kubrick’s terrifying vision. And every Halloween, the hotel hosts a massive costume party anyone can attend.

The Redrum

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Both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick helped the Stanley Hotel become a massive tourist attraction. And it is marvelous that the place that inspired a classic horror movie and gave meaning to the term “redrum” embraces its creepy side!

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