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  • Meagan Butler

The Haunted Hotel in Estes Park {The Stanley Hotel}

The Stanley Hotel

I am a believer when it comes to ghosts, entities, apparitions and the like. I am not sure if it was a particular event in my childhood, like levitating in a dream and waking up falling, or watching a scary movie like Poltergeist or The Exorcist. The kids at church (go figure) had vivid stories about Bloody Mary scratching a girl’s face while playing the game Bloody Mary in a mirror in the dark, and I believed every word of their tale. To this day, I won’t utter the words Bloody Mary in a darkened mirror {or Candyman for that matter}, and I certainly won’t play the Ouija board. I am certain the dead cat wrapped around the steering wheel of a friend’s sibling’s locked car after the Ouija continued to spell KAT, KAT is an omen to stay away from those things, and every movie with a Ouija board involved is sinister, so I just turn my head when the board is introduced to stay away from any spirits that may be conjured up by those looking for entertainment.

But real ghosts? Like the tangible ones that I can have hard evidence to prove their presence and lack of ill-intent? I’m in. There is a big difference between damned spirits and apparitions. Thankfully, Colorado has a place that has proven to be haunted, and a person doesn’t need to watch Ghost Hunters to really experience a haunting or presence of spirits. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is the place to go to truly experience the presence of ghosts.

The Stanley has been featured in episodes of Ghost Hunters and mentioned in magazines and other media sources that focus on the presence of spirits. The movie The Shining was based off the experiences Stephen King had  while visiting the hotel with his wife in 1973. Was it truly freaky twins in endless corridors? Maybe. Maybe not. REDRUM? Perhaps. The stories are endless of ghostly encounters, and all it takes is a little Googling to find all the freakiness.  

After hearing a particularly bone-chilling story from a friend, I decided it was time to visit. I wanted to do just that though, VISIT. While I am all about the ghosts, I am not inviting myself into a ghastly encounter while trying to sleep. Especially since this friend reported to me that while staying at The Stanley Hotel she was tucked into her bed like a burrito numerous times in the night. She thought it was her husband, and when she awoke, annoyed, and asked him why he insisted on tucking her in so tight, he told her that he had been sleeping. They promptly talked to the front desk, and what do you know? People have reported being tucked into their beds often at night in that room. Yeah, no thanks.

So, my husband and I decided it was time to take the RV up to Estes Park and visit the infamous hotel. We signed up for a Ghost Tour {You will need reservations}, and awaited our terrifying tour. As we waited, storm clouds rolled in. It was like the metonymy of the situation was begging for a ghastly delight. We crowded in the small room and listened to our guide’s suggestions for having ghostly encounter, and he issued warnings that many people report having their cell phones drained of batteries and their cameras shut down because of sudden battery failure. We were led into specific rooms that have had paranormal activity, and we did all of the things they suggest to lure the ghosts out. A few of the things they suggested, I flat out refused. Once I got in a pitch black bathroom with a mirror and had to call out to the ghosts? NOPE. I was done in there. I did, however, go into the room where Lucy, a young girl is said to frequent. Some of the people on our tour were tempting her with phrases the tour guide said to use. All of a sudden, the door to the room slammed shut. Instead of running, I went into the room with my camera, hoping to catch an orb of light suggesting her presence. I began to talk to her, and the door (which we opened again) started to close. I put my hands on the door to stop it, and there was pressure on the opposite side, like someone or something was pushing back. Not kidding here. There wasn’t anyone behind the door, and once the pressure stopped, the door went back to its normal function. Kind of cool and creepy all in one!

After that experience, the rest of the tour was informative, but not ghostly at all. We had fun learning about the hotel’s history, and of the famous people who stayed, or checked in and then checked out (Jim Carrey was said to have checked in to film Dumb and Dumber and had an experience he wouldn’t talk about, and checked out three hours later). We had a few drinks in the bar, and went upstairs quietly (non-hotel guests aren’t encouraged to leave the lobby area as to not disturb the guests), and then walked around the premises a little more. It was a fun time overall, and I’d love to do the tour again sometime on a less-busy weekend for the hotel. If you ever get a chance to make it to Estes Park, Colorado, stay or at least visit The Stanley Hotel. You will be glad you did! Maybe you will live to tell a creepy and paranormal tale! 


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