The Travel Channel recently named The Stanley Hotel one of the scariest places in America and mom.com named the Estes Park hotel the spookiest place in Colorado.
Surrounded by the magnificent Rocky Mountains, The Stanley Hotel is one of TDS’ largest commercial customer in Estes Park. It also provided the inspiration for Stephen King’s terrifying novel, The Shining.
King and his wife stayed in Room 217 on Sept. 30, 1974, and King had nightmares about his then three-year-old son screaming as something chased him through the long, empty halls. The nightmares and other stories from Lloyd the bartender provided the copy for what became King’s first hardcover bestseller.
TDS Employee Stories
On Oct. 26, 2014, TDS’ Johnny Olivas, senior warehouse technician in Berthoud, Colorado, checked in to The Stanley Hotel and has the following story to share about his experience there:
“We stayed in Room 174, dropped off our luggage and then closed the closet door. We ate and then did the haunted hotel tour. My girlfriend is walking about six feet in front of me when she turns around and tells me to ‘stop pulling her hair.’ She then starts taking pictures of me which has all these orbs around me in the photos. The next morning I`m lying on the bed while my girlfriend gets ready, when in the mirror I see the closet door slowly open and the light turns on all by itself. She also sees this and she immediately turns to me with the biggest eyes I have ever seen anyone make in my life. She takes off to the hallway and tells me to get our stuff. Yes, we checked out immediately because she was so scared after that.”
TDS’ Debbie Hernandez, supervisor of Consumer Sales – Retail in Colorado, stayed at The Stanley Hotel. It was such a windy night, that she said her bed was “just shaking and shaking.” When she asked the front desk clerk about the wind storm, he looked at her with a confused look and said, “There wasn’t a storm last night.”
TDS’ Kathleen Holmes, supervisor of Direct Sales, said she and her husband were walking around The Stanley Hotel, when he turned to her asking if she was holding his hand? She wasn’t. He later said it felt like a small child was holding his hand. Later that evening, Kathleen said the window in their room kept opening and would not stay closed even after she locked it several times. Finally, Kathleen was at the hotel with a friend and they were taking a selfie in front of a mirror, but when they looked at the photo later, Kathleen wasn’t facing the mirror – she was walking away. “That was the freakiest thing ever, because I know I should have been facing the mirror in that photo.”
History of The Stanley Hotel
The 142-room Colonial Revival hotel was built by Freelan Oscar “F.O.” Stanley, who invented the steam-powered car. The hotel is said to be haunted by F.O, and his wife, Flora Stanley, guests, and employees of the hotel. It’s said that Flora’s antique Steinway can be heard playing in the dead of night.
Room 217, where author Stephen King stayed, is said to be visited by the ghost of Elizabeth Wilson, the former head housekeeper. Other ghosts play piano in the concert hall after dark or hang out in an underground cave system.
Experts consider the hotel one of the nation’s most active sites for paranormal activity. Nightly ghost tours take you through the Stanley Hotel’s most haunted spaces. The tour does a good job of mixing historical information about the hotel and supernatural information about ghosts and paranormal activity. You can go on the 90-minute tour even if you are not staying at the hotel. The tours do sell out, so book before you visit Estes Park.
The tour guides say the spirits are mostly good-natured spirits who like to have fun with the guests. “They’re here because it reminds them of the happy times they spent here,” the guide said.
In the basement rooms of The Concert Hall is where the friendly spirits of Lucy and Paul can be heard and felt. The tour also takes you to Mr. Stanley’s favorite room, the Billiards Room. This is where the image of Mr. Stanley just appeared one night and can be seen in a flag that was given to the hotel from a soldier who served in the Persian Gulf War. Mr. Stanley was known to tell people that we should never forget the sacrifices of those who serve in the military (click to enlarge photo).
Finally, the tour concludes in the basement in the employee tunnel. The spirit known as Pierre enjoys touching the hair of women in this area of the hotel. During the tour, TDS’ Cheryl McCollum said she had to pull back her hair three times because it kept “blowing” in my face. Hello Pierre.
In addition to serving as the location of Stephen King’s 1997 TV miniseries version of The Shining, The Stanley Hotel also served as the fictional “Hotel Danbury” of Aspen, Colorado, in the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber. Fun fact: actor Jim Carrey requested to stay in room 217 (King’s room). He lasted three hours before running out and demanding to be moved to another hotel. Carrey has never said what spooked him.