The Stanley Hotel is a 140-room neo-Georgian hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of the Rockies. It was built by Freelan Oscar Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the rich and famous, including the RMS Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. The hotel and its surrounding lands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Stanley Hotel also hosted the horror novelist Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. Parts of the television mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there, whereas Stanley Kubrick's cinematic adaptation The Shining was filmed in sets built at Elstree Studios in England (some of the exteriors showed the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, and others showed a set based on a truncated version of that hotel).
The Stanley Hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick's feature film on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.
Many believe the Stanley Hotel is haunted, having reported a number of cases of ghostly activity, primarily in the ballroom. Kitchen staff have reported to have heard a party going on in the ballroom, only to find it empty. People in the lobby have allegedly heard someone playing the ballroom's piano; employees investigating the music purportedly found nobody sitting at the piano. Employees believe that particular ghost is of Freelan O. Stanley's wife, Flora, who used to be a piano player. In one guest room, people claim to have seen a man standing over the bed before running into the closet. This same apparition is allegedly responsible for stealing guests' jewelry, watches, and luggage. Others reported to have seen ghosts in their rooms in the middle of the night, simply standing in their room before disappearing.
The Syfy television show Ghost Hunters was invited to investigate the hotel. The manager showed them the various places where these alleged ghost activities occurred. Ghost Hunters discovered some rational reasons for the various phenomena, such as wind and pipes. However, they could not decipher incidents in the ballroom. Ghost Hunters also claimed to experience other paranormal occurrences, such as seeing people in hallways then hiding and hearing children running and playing on the floor above them. The biggest alleged occurrence was that during changing of the tape in the camera, a table jumped two feet in the air. Ghost Hunter Jason Hawes stayed the night in the room with the "ghost thief"; he stated that the bed moved, the closet doors unlocked and opened and his thick glass by the bed cracked open on the inside. 1The Stanley Hotel was also the lockdown site for the TV show Ghost Adventures on October 15, 2010.
After hearing claims that paranormal activity at the hotel are due to the geological makeup of the property, Rocky Mountain Paranormal contacted the US Geological Survey for information on the site. The scientists' conclusion, based on a satellite survey of Colorado, showed "nothing unusual about the aeromagnetic data in the area of Estes Park as compared to that general area of the Rockies". After this request for geological information, the government sent soil scientists to do a thorough soil survey on the property. The results showed the soil is mainly crumbled schist containing nothing radioactive. No large deposits of quartz, limestone or magnetite were evident.
In Skeptical Inquirer's Naked Skeptic column by Karen Stollznow she discusses RMPRS's investigation of The Stanley Hotel, "During the investigation, The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society researched popular beliefs and claims; they solved some mysteries, they performed valuable outreach, and they maintained the historical integrity of the Stanley Hotel. However, they didn’t discover any anomalous phenomena. They found a leak in the ceiling but no ghosts."
Stephen King got the idea for his novel The Shining in 1973 after staying in room 217 in the almost empty hotel on the night before it closed for an extended period.