USA Today 10Best asked readers about the best haunted hotels in the country. To no Coloradan’s surprise, The Stanley Hotel made the list at No. 5 as one of the most haunted hotels in the country.
However, the ghost stories started long before King’s novel.
The hotel is in Estes Park where it originally opened over 100 years ago in 1909. Since then, activity has been recorded in nearly every room by ghost hunters and documentarians.
Ghost City Tours breaks down the most well-known haunted stories.
The concert hall
The concert hall is one of the most documented spots for ghost activity, especially following its renovation in 2000.
The hall’s history dates to the hotel opening, when designer Freelan Oscar Stanley built the hall for his wife, Flora. For opening day, he gifted her a piano. She often played the piano in the concert hall during their time there.
Rumor has it that her music can still be heard from the hall today, even after all the guests have left the space.
The fourth floor
Ghost City Tours claims the fourth floor is one of the most popular spots for ghost sightings. Guests commonly report hearing children running through the hall.
Inside the rooms, the stories get spookier. Reports include closet doors opening and closing by themselves, as well as disappearing and reappearing items.
The most detailed story comes from room 428 where guests have seen a cowboy at the edge of the bed, along with heavy footsteps and rearranged furniture while the guests sleep.
Locals believe this to be the spirit of James Nugent, known as “Rocky Mountain Jim,” who founded much of Estes Park. While he didn’t die in the hotel, as the story goes, his spirit gravitates to female guests and sometimes gives them a ghostly kiss while they sleep.
This is debatably the biggest hot spot. It all stems from an accident in the hotel’s early years.
During a snowstorm, the head housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, went room to room lighting the acetylene lanterns in case of a power outage. As she was lighting the lanterns, a leak on the second floor filled the wing with flammable gas. As she lit the lantern in room 217, an explosion destroyed the room, hall and floor beneath sending her through the floor.
While she wasn’t killed, many people believe her spirit stayed in room 217 after she passed. Guests report lights being turned on and off, items being moved and even a cold force between unmarried couples while they sleep.
This room is where King came up with his famous novel. After being awoken by a nightmare of his son being chased and killed by a firehose in The Stanley Hotel, he began working on a story of a haunted hotel awakened by a son’s psychic power. This later became known as “The Shining.”
The entire hotel has a story.
Some psychics even claim that the hotel is a “vortex,” or a paranormal portal. Psychics, guests and workers claim to have seen ghosts near the staircase, and many believe this is why the hotel is so haunted.
Whether it’s fact or fiction, the numerous reports coin The Stanley Hotel as one of the most haunted hotels in America.