Are you a fan of horror movies or ghost stories? If so, you might have heard of The Stanley Hotel, a historic property located in Estes Park, Colorado.

If you’re curious about what happened at The Stanley Hotel and the ghostly legends that surround it, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll explore the mysterious history of The Stanley Hotel, including the ghost stories, paranormal activity, and unexplained events that make it one of the most haunted destinations in the world.

The History of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel located in Estes Park, Colorado, is known for its mysterious history and paranormal activities. The hotel’s history dates back to the early 1900s.

The Origins of the Property

The land where the Stanley Hotel stands was originally owned by Lord Dunraven, an Irish nobleman who purchased a 6,000-acre property in Estes Park. He planned to turn the area into a private hunting reserve but his plans never materialized, and he eventually sold the land.

The Arrival of F.O. Stanley

In 1903, F.O. Stanley, the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, and his wife Flora, moved to Estes Park due to F.O.’s failing health. They were so taken with the beauty of the area that they decided to build a grand hotel on the property.

Design and Construction

The Stanley Hotel was designed by architect T. Robert Weiger in the Georgian Revival style and was completed in 1909. The hotel boasted 138 guest rooms, electric lights, telephones, en-suite bathrooms, and a hydraulic elevator, which was a luxury in those days.

The Hotel’s Golden Years

The Stanley Hotel’s golden years were in the 1920s and 30s when it was a popular destination for wealthy and famous guests, such as the Unsinkable Molly Brown and the horror writer, Stephen King. The hotel’s popularity waned in the 1970s, and it almost fell into disrepair.

It is worth mentioning that the Stanley Hotel’s fame skyrocketed after Stephen King stayed in room 217 and was inspired to write his best-selling novel, “The Shining.” The hotel’s paranormal activities and ghost sightings have attracted many visitors over the years.

The Ghost Stories of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is known for its paranormal activity and has been a popular destination for ghost hunters and enthusiasts alike. Many guests have reported strange occurrences and sightings at the hotel, which has led to several ghost stories associated with the property. Here are some of the most popular ghost stories of The Stanley Hotel:

  • Room 217 and the Ghostly Housekeeper: Room 217 is perhaps the most famously haunted room in the hotel. According to legend, a housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson died in the room in 1911 after an explosion occurred while she was lighting a lantern. Guests have reported strange occurrences in the room, such as their belongings being unpacked and put away by an unseen presence. Some have even claimed to have seen the ghostly figure of Wilson herself.
  • The Children of The Stanley Hotel: Another popular ghost story involves the spirits of children who haunt the hotel’s hallways. Guests have reported hearing the sounds of children laughing and playing, only to find that no children are present. Some have even claimed to have seen ghostly children running through the halls.
  • The Ghostly Party Guests: In the hotel’s ballroom, guests have reported seeing apparitions of people dressed in formal attire dancing and partying. Some have even claimed to have heard the sounds of music and laughter coming from the ballroom when it is empty.
  • The Haunted Concert Hall: The Stanley Hotel is also home to a concert hall that is said to be haunted by a ghost named Paul. Paul was a former handyman at the hotel who died during a gas leak in the building. Guests have reported seeing Paul’s ghostly figure in the concert hall and hearing strange noises and footsteps coming from the area.
  • Other Mysterious Happenings: In addition to these popular ghost stories, guests have reported other mysterious occurrences at The Stanley Hotel. For example, some have reported hearing strange noises, like knocking or footsteps, coming from empty rooms. Others have claimed to have seen objects move on their own or felt cold spots in certain areas of the hotel.

While some may dismiss these ghost stories as mere legend or superstition, many guests and employees of The Stanley Hotel have experienced unexplainable events firsthand. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a stay at The Stanley Hotel is sure to be a memorable and potentially spooky experience.

The Influence of The Stanley Hotel on Popular Culture

The Stanley Hotel has had a significant impact on popular culture, especially in the horror genre. Stephen King’s iconic novel, “The Shining,” was inspired by his stay at the hotel in 1974. The eerie atmosphere, ghost stories, and unsettling energy of the hotel all influenced King’s writing. The film adaptation, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was not filmed at the hotel, but the 1997 TV miniseries of the same name was shot on location.

Aside from “The Shining,” The Stanley Hotel has been featured in several other films and TV shows. These include the horror film “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd,” the sci-fi series “Stargate SG-1” and the reality TV show “Ghost Hunters.” The hotel’s unique architecture, historic charm, and haunted reputation have made it an attractive location for filmmakers and TV producers.

Furthermore, The Stanley Hotel has been referenced in various literary, artistic, and cultural works. In the music industry, the hotel was featured in the title track of the album “The Stage Names” by Okkervil River. In literature, the hotel was mentioned in the novel “Doctor Sleep,” the sequel to King’s “The Shining.” The hotel was also the inspiration for the setting of the “American Horror Story: Hotel” television series.

Paranormal Investigations and Experiences at The Stanley Hotel

For those seeking an eerie and spine-tingling experience, The Stanley Hotel offers a range of paranormal investigations and experiences. The hotel has gained notoriety for being a hotbed of supernatural activity, and many curious visitors have sought to explore the ghostly occurrences that take place within its walls.

One group that has taken a particular interest in investigating the paranormal activity at The Stanley Hotel is The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. This team of experts has conducted numerous investigations at the hotel over the years, using state-of-the-art equipment to capture any potential evidence of ghostly activity. Their findings have been featured on popular TV shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, adding to the hotel’s reputation as a haunted destination.

For those looking to experience the paranormal activity firsthand, The Stanley Hotel offers a variety of tours and ghost hunts. These experiences allow guests to explore the hotel and its grounds with knowledgeable guides who share the hotel’s fascinating history and stories of ghostly encounters. Some tours even provide access to areas of the hotel that are typically off-limits to the public, such as the underground tunnels that were once used to transport supplies.

Many visitors to The Stanley Hotel have reported personal experiences and encounters with the paranormal. Some have claimed to see apparitions, hear unexplained noises, or feel sudden drops in temperature. These personal testimonials have only added to the hotel’s reputation as a hub of supernatural activity. However, skeptics argue that these experiences can often be explained by natural occurrences, such as drafts or creaky floorboards.

The Future of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel has a long and fascinating history, but what does the future hold for this iconic destination? Here are some of the latest developments:

Preservation and Restoration Efforts

As one of the most recognizable landmarks in Colorado, The Stanley Hotel is committed to preserving its historic character and charm. The hotel’s management has invested millions of dollars in recent years to restore and renovate the property, including updates to the guest rooms, restaurants, and public spaces. Additionally, efforts have been made to improve the hotel’s energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.

It is worth mentioning that The Stanley Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that any restoration work must adhere to strict guidelines to maintain the building’s historical integrity. Visitors can rest assured that The Stanley Hotel will continue to stand as a testament to the past, even as it moves into the future.

The Stanley Film Center

In 2013, The Stanley Hotel announced plans to build a state-of-the-art film center on the property. The center would serve as a hub for filmmakers and film enthusiasts, offering workshops, screenings, and other events. Unfortunately, these plans have been put on hold due to funding issues.

Despite this setback, The Stanley Hotel remains committed to supporting the arts and creative expression. The hotel hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including music festivals, literary conferences, and art exhibitions. Guests can also enjoy live music and performances in the hotel’s historic concert hall.

The Stanley Hotel Today

Today, The Stanley Hotel continues to be a popular tourist destination and a favorite spot for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts. Visitors can take a guided tour of the hotel, which includes a visit to the famous Room 217, where Stephen King stayed and got inspiration for his novel “The Shining.”

On the other hand, The Stanley Hotel is also a great place to relax and unwind. The hotel’s beautiful grounds offer stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, and guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and fishing. The hotel’s restaurants and bars offer a range of dining options, from casual pub fare to fine dining.


Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s hard to deny the allure of The Stanley Hotel and its fascinating history. As we’ve seen, this property has inspired countless stories, films, and legends, and it continues to be a popular destination for those who seek a spooky adventure.

So if you’re ever in Estes Park, Colorado, why not pay a visit to The Stanley Hotel? Who knows what you might discover…

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