Inside the horror hotel that inspired The Shining

Nestled in the naturally beautiful Rocky Mountains, the Stanley Hotel looks like somewhere you’d want to stay the night.

But once you open the doors of the Colonial building, you may start packing your bags quicker than you were expecting.

Ghosts are said to walk the halls of the 20th century lodgings, with guests adamant that they’ve heard haunting screams in the night.

One such visitor was Stephen King, who dreamt of his son wailing as he endured a restless sleep at the hotel.

On his website, the author recalled: “In late September of 1974, Tabby and I spent a night at a grand old hotel in Estes Park, the Stanley.

“We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter.

“Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect—maybe the archetypical—setting for a ghost story.”

He added: “That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming.

“He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed.

“I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

This evening of terror inspired the author to pen The Shining in 1977, a horror set in the fictional Overlook Hotel.

It also influenced the author as he wrote follow-up story Doctor Sleep in 2007.

As the spooky sequel hits British cinemas this Halloween, here’s a look back at the Stanley’s terrifying history.

Freelan Oscar Stanley, an inventor, opened the Stanley hotel to guests in 1909.

The 48-room grand building catered to the moderately wealthy, who enjoyed evenings in its dazzling ballroom.

But in a story that’s been passed through generations, spine-tingling occurrences started taking place at the location after a storm struck in 1911.

After the power went out, housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson checked in on guests and attempted to illuminate their rooms.

As she lit a lantern behind the door of 217, a gas leak caused a fiery eruption.

In the inferno, the cleaner suffered two broken ankles.

Even though Elizabeth didn’t die at the hotel, her ghost is said to haunt room 217.

Ghost hunters claim Mrs Wilson has moved their clothes around and meddled with light switches.

Many have also felt a cold presence in the room, with some couples reporting they’ve felt an obstruction between them.

Conspiracy theorists believe the spectre takes revenge on unmarried guests who reside together due to its old fashioned values.

In The Shining, King’s experience a lot of their trauma behind the door of 237.

The author made a small tweak to Stanley’s haunted number so he wouldn’t put guests off of visiting.

At the time, this room didn’t exist in the hotel so there was no risk of customers complaining.

King needn’t have worried about his impact on Stanley Hotel's footfall.

Decades on, fans of the paranormal flock to the lodgings.

Many pay a premium to stay in the building’s most notorious rooms – and operators even offer tours of the “haunted” destination.

Many guests enjoy spending time at the Stanley’s Concert Hall.

Some believe the ghost of Flora Stanley – a hotel founder – plays the piano in the room.

Handyman Paul is another ghoul that’s been spotted in the room.

Apparently, he shouts “get out” at visitors who dare to walk to corridors past an 11pm curfew.

Room 428 is another room that thrill-seekers book into.

The site once housed a cowboy who was hanged for murder.

While the spectre is said to be friendly enough, he does have a tendency for moving objects around.

Guests have also reported hearing footsteps, which is strange given that it’s the top floor of the hotel.

So would you dare to visit? Rooms don’t come cheap.

Two guests can expect to pay upwards of £170 per night at the location.

  • Ghosts

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