By K. Shriver
"I ain't afraid of no ghosts!"
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is one of the most haunted places in the country, with several spirits inhabiting the hotel and its grounds right alongside its guests. Many folks attribute the hotel to Stephen King's The Shining, as it was the inspiration behind both the novel and movie. However, while many of the events in The Shining are fictional, the ghosts and its haunting history are anything but.
In fact, you can check out several articles we've written previously on The Stanley and its spooky history:
- Urban Myths and Legends
- Ghost Hunting Activities
- Most Haunted Places in Colorado
- Haunted Hotels in Colorado
And if you ever find yourself in Estes Park, The Stanley Hotel is a must-go. Recently, the Our Community Now team had the opportunity to visit Estes Park, and of course, we had to stop by The Stanley Hotel and partake in its popular nighttime ghost tour!
Photo by K. Shriver
Let me tell you, as someone who doesn't "do" horror movies or ghosts or anything within that realm, the tour itself is actually quite manageable—though, there is a daytime tour option, as well, if you're not a fan of things that go bump in the night.
Setting off on the tour of the grounds (the Concert Hall, our first stop, is in the distance on the right).
While there were a few times the lights would get turned off by the guide and we were instructed to participate in "calling the spirit" (this totally freaked me out, by the way), a majority of the tour was focused on the ghost stories and the history behind the infamous hotel.
The words "Help Me!!" are scrawled on the middle window pane, third row down. 😬 🤷♀️
I only felt a bit "off" in the Concert Hall, which is adjacent to the main hotel building, whereas everywhere else we visited on the property I felt perfectly fine. The moment I stepped into the empty hall, I nearly immediately felt weighed down and had a bit of trouble breathing, as if the air was thick with smog. Then, as soon as we got outside, that "heavy" feeling completely disappeared.
(I'll be honest, I think I was more excited to see "The Danbury," aka the name The Stanley Hotel "adopted" when it was featured in 1994's Dumb and Dumber, than I was to participate in the ghost tour. As a big Jim Carrey fan, it was fun trying to "recreate" various scenes at the actual film location!)
A nod to The Shining.
However, several of my coworkers had "hands-on" experiences throughout the nearly 70-minute ghost tour—we covered a lot of ground, from the Concert Hall to the main building, and The Lodge, as well as in a tunnel system beneath the hotel itself.
Our tour guide encountered a ghostly presence here in the underground tunnels just a couple of weeks ago. Do you see anything?
Unfortunately, we didn't get to check out the infamous Room 217, though here's a photo from it from the outside of the hotel (it's the room with the balcony):
Room 217, on the second floor
So, I asked my coworkers to write about their experiences throughout the tour, and while some didn't see or "feel" the spirits, others totally did.
Here's what my team had to say:
Being able to experience the Stanley Hotel was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The fact that we were able to attend at night made it even more exciting. From the minute I walked into the hotel, I could feel a shift in energy. My head got heavy, and there was a slight dizziness that followed. Everything intrigued me. From the photos on the walls, to the haunted concert hall, to the dark and dirty basement space, there was no doubt in my mind that spirits resided in these places. At one point on the tour, we were waiting to see if the grounds keeper/security guard would make an appearance from the “other side.” As we were all packed in a small room, with the lights recently shut off, I felt a pressure on the back of my spine. It did not feel evil or scary; it felt more like someone was making sure we were all protected. This seemed very much in line with what a grounds keeper/security guard would be doing. Seconds after that pressure was felt, there were two distinct thumps above the room that everyone in our group heard … something that the tour guide had just recently said tends to happen from time to time. This was a sure sign that something was there with us that night. It’s hard to entirely describe all the things experienced that night. I would definitely recommend people going to the grounds in order to experience all the interesting feelings and observations made when walking through the Stanley Hotel. If you can get a chance to go, I would highly recommend it.
Taking the Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour is now a box checked off on my bucket list! The history of the grounds and buildings was fascinating, but I can't say that I personally saw or felt any ghosts or spirits myself. Afterwards, however, I thought it was weird that all of our photos (stereotypically) turned out blurrier than normal, and I did catch some odd ghost-like images on-camera (though they could easily be explained by something else, too). The experience was really fun and interesting—but I could do without the dank basement rooms where they turned out the lights!
We don't remember taking this photo. But there is a clear geometric mist.
A photo taken by mistake features a twirly geometric mist.
I never felt "creeped out" but I did notice that, at times, there [were] different energies moving room from room. I have no explanations why I got goosebumps on my body when in certain rooms. I also used a SLS Camera app on my iPhone that has been used by other Ghost Hunters and there were a few times it creeped me out. At 2 different moments throughout the tour, there was a [figure] that showed up on the SLS, both standing/seating behind the same person, at which point there was no one near her. I also saw at the beginning of the tour a white mist light figure that was about 4 ft high off the ground LITERALLY following a friend of mine to the stairs. Unfortunately, the app doesn't record so I have no proof of it, but I KNOW WHAT I SAW. I didn't sh*t my pants, but after that tour, I have become more intrigued with the spirit world. DON'T JUDGE ME.
In the Concert Hall, an "anomaly" got picked up on the SLS Camera app. That circled portion? Nobody was standing there, and yet ...
Have you been to The Stanley Hotel? Did you have any "otherworldy" experiences while staying there? Share your thoughts and ghost stories with us in the comments below.