Have you ever heard of the Stanley Hotel? This historic hotel located in Estes Park, Colorado is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings. However, it’s also famous for something else – its ghosts.

If you’re wondering why the Stanley Hotel is haunted, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Stanley Hotel and the various ghostly encounters that have been reported over the years.

We’ll also delve into some of the theories behind why the hotel is haunted, and we’ll take a look at some of the most famous ghost stories associated with the Stanley Hotel.

The History of the Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is one of the most famous and iconic hotels in the United States. The hotel is renowned for its breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, luxury accommodations, and its eerie history of hauntings. But how did this grand hotel become associated with ghosts and paranormal activity? Let’s take a look at the history of the Stanley Hotel.

Early Years and Construction

The Stanley Hotel was built in 1909 by Freelan Oscar Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile. Stanley was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was advised to move to a place with a drier climate. He and his wife, Flora, fell in love with the Estes Park area and decided to build a grand hotel there. The hotel was designed to cater to wealthy travelers seeking a luxurious mountain retreat.

Construction began in 1907 and was completed in 1909. The hotel boasted 138 rooms, a concert hall, a billiards room, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. The hotel was equipped with the latest technology, including electricity, telephones, and a hydraulic elevator. The hotel was a huge success and attracted guests from all over the world.

Famous Guests

Over the years, the Stanley Hotel has hosted many famous guests, including Theodore Roosevelt, John Philip Sousa, and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. However, the most famous guest to stay at the hotel was author Stephen King. King and his wife stayed at the hotel in 1974, and their experience inspired King to write his best-selling novel, “The Shining”.

The Haunting Begins

While the Stanley Hotel has a rich history of famous guests and luxury accommodations, it is perhaps best known for its reputation for being haunted. The hotel has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations and has been featured on many TV shows and documentaries about ghosts and the supernatural.

The hauntings at the hotel are said to have begun in the early 20th century. One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the hotel is the story of Room 217. Legend has it that a housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson was injured in an explosion while lighting the lanterns in the room. She survived, but her spirit is said to still haunt the room to this day. Guests who stay in the room have reported strange occurrences, such as flickering lights and unexplained noises.

Other reported hauntings at the hotel include the ghosts of children playing in the hallways, the sound of pianos playing in empty rooms, and the ghost of Freelan Oscar Stanley himself, who is said to still roam the halls of his beloved hotel.

While there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ghosts or the paranormal, the stories and legends surrounding the Stanley Hotel continue to fascinate and intrigue people from all over the world.

Ghostly Encounters at the Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is famous for its paranormal activity. It is believed that the hotel is haunted by several ghosts, including the ghost of F.O. Stanley, the hotel’s founder.

The Ghost of F.O. Stanley

F.O. Stanley is said to haunt the hotel’s billiard room. He is often seen sitting in his favorite chair, smoking a cigar, and watching over the hotel he built. Some guests have reported smelling cigar smoke in the room, even though smoking is not allowed. It is worth mentioning that F.O. Stanley’s ghost is said to be friendly and welcoming to guests.

The Ghost of Room 217

Room 217 is the most famous haunted room at the Stanley Hotel. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former housekeeper named Elizabeth Wilson. According to the legend, she was injured in an explosion while lighting a lantern and died a few days later. Guests have reported strange occurrences in the room, such as items moving on their own and the feeling of someone sitting on the bed. It is worth mentioning that the room is one of the most requested rooms in the hotel, despite its reputation.

The Ghost of Lucy

Lucy was a young girl who is believed to have died from an illness while staying at the hotel with her parents. Her ghost is said to haunt the hotel’s concert hall, where she is often seen playing the piano. Some guests have reported hearing the sound of a piano playing late at night, even though the hall is empty. Keep in mind that Lucy’s ghost is said to be mischievous and has been known to play pranks on guests.

The Ghost of Paul

Paul is the hotel’s most recent ghost. He is believed to be the ghost of a maintenance worker who died while working in the hotel’s basement. Guests have reported seeing him in the basement, as well as in the hallways and the lobby. Unfortunately, Paul’s ghost is said to be less friendly than the other ghosts and has been known to make guests feel uneasy.

Room Number Ghost
1. 217 Elizabeth Wilson
2. 401 Lord Dunraven
3. 407 The Phantom Cowboy
4. 428 The Cowboy

It is worth mentioning that the Stanley Hotel has been featured in several movies and TV shows, including “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick. The hotel has embraced its haunted reputation and offers ghost tours for visitors who are interested in learning more about the paranormal activity.

Theories Behind the Hauntings

The Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is renowned for its paranormal activity. People have reported strange occurrences, unexplained noises, and sightings of ghosts. But why is the Stanley Hotel haunted? Here are some theories:

  • Psychic Energy: Some people believe that the hotel’s paranormal activity is due to the psychic energy of guests and staff. They think that strong emotions, such as fear or excitement, can create an energy that lingers and attracts spirits.
  • The Thin Veil: Another theory is that the Stanley Hotel is built on a location where the veil between the living and the dead is thin. According to this belief, spirits can easily cross over from the other side and interact with the living.
  • Residual Energy: Finally, some people think that the hotel’s hauntings are due to residual energy. This is the idea that events, emotions, or actions can leave an imprint on a location, which can be replayed like a recording. So, the ghosts that people see at the Stanley Hotel may be residual energy from past events.

It is worth mentioning that the Stanley Hotel’s reputation as a haunted location was popularized by Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining,” which was inspired by his stay at the hotel. However, the hotel’s paranormal activity was reported before the book was published.

Keep in mind that not everyone believes in ghosts or the paranormal, and there are skeptics who think that the Stanley Hotel’s hauntings are simply a result of old pipes, creaky floors, and natural phenomena.

Hotel Chains: The Stanley Hotel is an independent hotel and not part of any hotel chain.
Location: The Stanley Hotel is located in Estes Park, Colorado, near Rocky Mountain National Park.
Ghost Tours: The hotel offers ghost tours, which take visitors to the most haunted locations in the hotel.
Other Haunted Locations: There are many other haunted locations in the world, such as the Queen Mary in California and the Langham Hotel in London.

Famous Stanley Hotel Ghost Stories

When it comes to haunted hotels, the Stanley Hotel in Colorado is one of the most famous in the world. The hotel’s reputation for paranormal activity stems from a number of ghost stories that have been shared by guests, staff, and paranormal investigators over the years.

Stephen King’s “The Shining”

Perhaps the most famous ghost story associated with the Stanley Hotel is the inspiration it provided for Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.” King and his wife stayed at the hotel in 1974, and the eerie atmosphere and strange occurrences they experienced during their stay served as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in the novel.

The Ghost Adventures Crew

In 2006, the Stanley Hotel was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures.” The crew reported a number of unusual occurrences during their investigation, including doors opening and closing on their own and a piano playing by itself. The episode helped to cement the hotel’s reputation as a hotspot for paranormal activity.

Other Famous Encounters

The Stanley Hotel has also been visited by a number of other famous individuals who claim to have had ghostly encounters during their stay. These include actress Lucy Liu, who reported feeling a ghostly presence in her room, and Oprah Winfrey, who said she had a “ghostly experience” while staying at the hotel.

While there is no concrete evidence to support the claims of paranormal activity at the Stanley Hotel, its reputation as a haunted hotspot continues to draw visitors from around the world. Keep in mind that the hotel offers ghost tours and paranormal investigations for those who want to experience the eerie atmosphere for themselves.


In conclusion, the Stanley Hotel is one of the most haunted places in the world and has a long and fascinating history. From its early beginnings to its current status as a popular tourist destination, the hotel has always been steeped in mystery and intrigue.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s no denying that the Stanley Hotel has a spooky atmosphere that’s hard to ignore. So, the next time you’re in Estes Park, be sure to stop by and see if you can catch a glimpse of one of the hotel’s famous ghosts.

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