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Are you a fan of horror movies and books? Or maybe you just love a good ghost story? If so, you’ve probably heard of The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado.

The Stanley Hotel is known for its haunted history, and one of the most infamous rooms in the hotel is room 217. So, what happened in room 217 at The Stanley Hotel? 

If you’re short on time, here’s the key takeaway: A leak in the gas line in Room 217 caused an explosion when head housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson entered with a lit candle. Miraculously, Wilson survived, though severely injured. The explosion and Wilson’s injury have fueled speculation about paranormal activity in Room 217.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of The Stanley Hotel, the legends surrounding room 217, and the true events that have taken place in the room. We’ll also explore the reasons why the room has become such a popular destination for ghost hunters and thrill-seekers alike.

The History of The Stanley Hotel

The Beginnings of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is a historic hotel located in Estes Park, Colorado, USA. The hotel was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, the co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, in 1909.

Stanley and his wife, Flora, were regular visitors to Estes Park and fell in love with the area. Stanley’s poor health also contributed to the decision to build a grand hotel in the mountains.

Stanley wanted the hotel to be a luxurious and elegant destination for wealthy travelers, and he spared no expense in its construction. The hotel featured modern amenities such as electric lights, telephones, and a fleet of automobiles for guests to explore the surrounding area.

Over the years, the hotel has played host to a number of famous guests, including Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Unsinkable Molly Brown. The Stanley Hotel was also the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining”.

Stanley Hotel

The Haunted History of The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel is known for its haunted history and paranormal activity. The most famous ghost story associated with the hotel is that of room 217.

It is said that a former housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson haunts the room and that she is the one responsible for the strange occurrences that happen there. Other guests have reported hearing children playing in the hallways, ghostly apparitions in mirrors, and objects moving on their own.

The hotel even offers ghost tours for guests who want to learn more about the paranormal activity associated with the property.

Despite its haunted reputation, The Stanley Hotel remains a popular destination for travelers from around the world. Its stunning architecture, beautiful location, and historic charm make it a must-see for anyone visiting Colorado.

The Legends of Room 217

The Stanley Hotel is a historic landmark located in Estes Park, Colorado. It is famous for its stunning architecture, beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains, and its connection to the paranormal. Room 217 is one of the most well-known rooms in the hotel, with many legends surrounding what happened in that room. Here are some of the most popular legends of Room 217.

The Explosion

One of the most popular legends of Room 217 is that it was the site of a massive explosion.

According to the legend, the head housekeeper of the hotel, Elizabeth Wilson, was lighting acetylene lanterns in the room when one of them exploded. She was badly injured, but managed to survive. However, her spirit is said to still be present in the room, making it one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel.

The Ghostly Housekeeper

As mentioned earlier, Elizabeth Wilson is said to still haunt Room 217. Guests have reported strange occurrences, such as the feeling of a presence in the room, items moving on their own, and doors opening and closing on their own.

Some have even reported seeing the ghostly figure of a woman in the room. While these claims cannot be substantiated, they have contributed to the legend of Room 217.

Ghostly Housekeeper

The Tragic Love Story

Another legend surrounding Room 217 is that it was the site of a tragic love story.

According to the legend, a young couple was staying in the room when the man was called away on business. While he was gone, the woman fell ill and died. When the man returned, he was devastated to find that his love had passed away.

Some guests have reported feeling a strong sense of sadness and despair in the room, which they attribute to the tragic love story.

While the legends of Room 217 at The Stanley Hotel cannot be proven, they have contributed to the hotel’s reputation as one of the most haunted places in the United States. Keep in mind that the hotel also offers ghost tours and paranormal investigations for those who are interested in experiencing the legends for themselves.

It is worth mentioning that The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s book The Shining, and has been featured in many movies and TV shows.

The True Events in Room 217

Room 217 at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, has become infamous thanks to the events that have occurred there.

The hotel was built in 1909, and in 1911, a fateful night of lightning struck the building, causing a fire that destroyed the top floor. It was reconstructed and has been operational ever since. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the hotel gained notoriety, thanks to the famous guests who stayed in Room 217.

One of these guests was Stephen King, who stayed in the room in 1974 and was inspired to write his best-selling novel, The Shining. King’s book and Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation have brought the hotel and Room 217 to the attention of the world.

The Fateful Night of Lightning

On the night of July 4th, 1911, a thunderstorm hit Estes Park, and lightning struck the hotel’s top floor, which was then used as staff quarters. The building caught on fire, and the staff and guests immediately began to evacuate. However, Elizabeth Wilson, the head chambermaid, was in Room 217 at the time and was too afraid to leave.

Fortunately, Wilson survived the fire, and her dedication to the hotel led to her being promoted to the role of housekeeper. She continued to work at The Stanley until her retirement in 1950. Today, guests can stay in the renovated Room 217, which has become one of the hotel’s most requested rooms.

The Famous Guests of Room 217

Room 217 has been host to many famous guests over the years, including Stephen King, who stayed there in 1974. King’s stay was the inspiration for his novel, The Shining, which features a haunted hotel and a room that drives its occupant insane.

Other famous guests include former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, who stayed in the room in the 1970s, and Jim Carrey, who stayed in the room while filming Dumb and Dumber in 1994.

Despite its reputation, guests who stay in Room 217 report a peaceful and comfortable night’s sleep, with no ghostly encounters. However, the hotel does offer a ghost tour that includes a visit to the room, where guests can learn more about the hotel’s history and legends.

Why Room 217 is a Popular Destination

For those who are interested in ghost hunting or simply curious about the paranormal, room 217 at The Stanley Hotel is a popular destination. The hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, has a rich history dating back to its opening in 1909.

Why is room 217 so popular among those who visit The Stanley Hotel?

Room 217 has also appeared in popular culture, including appearing as a playable level in the video game “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.” Additionally, the room is featured in the television series “Ghost Adventures” and was the subject of an episode of the paranormal investigation show “Ghost Hunters.”

It is important to keep in mind that while the history and legends surrounding room 217 may be intriguing, there is no scientific evidence to support claims of paranormal activity. However, for those who are interested in ghost hunting, The Stanley Hotel does offer a ghost tour that includes a visit to room 217.

Comparison Room 217 Other Rooms at The Stanley Hotel
History Unique history dating back to 1911 explosion Many rooms have hosted famous guests
Pop Culture References Featured in “The Shining,” “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters” Appears in various films and television shows
Paranormal Activity Claims of paranormal activity, but no scientific evidence No claims of paranormal activity

For those who are interested in learning more about The Stanley Hotel and its history, the hotel’s official website provides detailed information about the hotel’s amenities, accommodations, and history.

Room 217


In conclusion, the history of The Stanley Hotel and the legends surrounding room 217 make for a fascinating and spooky tale.

While the true events in the room may not be as dramatic as the legends suggest, there’s no denying the eerie feeling that comes with staying in the infamous room.

Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, a stay in room 217 at The Stanley Hotel is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Just be prepared for some ghostly company!

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