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Haunted Hotels: The Stanley Hotel, Colorado

The Stanley Hotel was originally opened on July 4th 1909. The 140 room hotel was designed for the American upper class and is situated roughly five miles from the Rocky Mountain National Park, offering panoramic vistas of Lake Estes and the Rockies. Built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, his vision was inspired after a life-threatening brush with tuberculosis in 1903. The recommended treatment of the day was fresh air, lots of sunlight and a healthy hearty diet. As a result, Stanley sought the curative air of the Rocky Mountains and his health significantly improved, along with the beauty of the valley and his increased health he vowed to return back every year. Stanley lived to the ripe old age of 91 after passing of a heart attack in Newtown Massachusetts.

The building was completed in 1909 and featured state of the art features for that period a hydraulic elevator, dual gas and electric lighting, running water and a telephone in every guest room and a fleet of mountain wagons to ferry guests from the train station to the hotel some 20 miles away. The hotel was very much a summer retreat and was closed for business during the colder winter months, the hotel only became equipped with heat in 1983.

The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration behind the classic novel by Stephen King called The Shining as well as the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. King and his wife Tabitha spent one night in the hotel in 1974. When they arrived they discovered that they were the only guests, as the staff we’re getting ready to close for the season. It was during this overnight stay that King had a disturbing dream that was the basis for the book, which involved his three-year-old son running through the corridors being chased by a fire hose, whilst looking back over his shoulder with wide eyes and screaming. The Stanley Hotel served as his model for the Overlook Hotel, which is an evil entity haunted by its many victims. Room 217 is featured prominently in the novel being the room that King spent the night.

On June 25th 1911 a thunderstorm hit knocking out the power lines to the hotel, so the staff were entrusted with lighting the backup acetylene gas lamps throughout the hotel. Unbeknown to chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson there was a gas leak in room 217 and as she entered the room there was an instant explosion, which destroyed at least 10% of the 70,000 square-foot hotel. The chambermaid landed in the MacGregor Dining Room, directly under room 217, she suffered two broken ankles and recovered from her injuries. Wilson then worked as head chambermaid until her death in the 1950’s.

It is reported that Wilson haunts the hotel and in particular room 217, where guests have reported waking up to find their clothes have been folded up and put away. If unmarried couples stay in the room they experience an energy forcing them apart as they lie in bed together. Both Freelan Stanley and his wife Flora have both been seen dressed in the formal attire of the day in public areas such as the main staircase, lobby, and the billiard room. Often Mr Stanley has been seen in the administration office, whilst faint echo’s of Flora playing the piano can be heard in the ballroom, along with disembodied voices and the feeling of having your clothes pulled by unseen hands.

In this video clip one of the tour guides explains some of the creepy going-ons of room 217 and the rest of The Stanley Hotel.

In this video the team from Ghost Adventures hold a vigil in the three most haunted areas of The Stanley Hotel

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