17 Unsettling Staff And Guest Stories Of Hauntings At The Hotel ‘The Shining’ Is Based On

The Stanley hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is allegedly one of the most haunted locations in the US. Hundreds of paranormal investigations take place their each year, with mixed results. Stephen King stayed there with his family — and woke up from a nightmare to begin writing a novel based on his stay there, The Shining. Jim Carrey stayed there while filming Dumb and Dumber at the hotel, and only lasted three hours.

Here are some of the most compelling stories from staff and hotel guests:

Room 217

“The hotel was getting ready to shut down for the season due to the fact that they did not have heat in the hotel (and wouldn’t till the 80s I believe) and it was just to cold, so they were surprised when Mr. King showed up unexpectedly with his family. They were stuck in a snow storm and so were offered bedding for the night, making them essentially the only people in the hotel that. Later on, when exploring the halls of the hotel, he witnessed an apparition of a woman that chilled him to the bone. The apparition was said to be that of a former employee who was the head maid. Many years before, the hotel had lost power due to a storm and she was asked by the manager of the hotel to go through and light the lamps (their back up source of light). What no one knew was there was a gas leak in one of the rooms. When she opened the door her open flame ignited the gas and essentially blew the room apart and sent her through the floor and into the room a story down. That room was 217. The same room Stephen King was staying in the night he was visiting the hotel. Now the maid did survive this catastrophe and went on to work at the hotel for a few more years but she still sticks around. If Stephen King hadn’t been stuck in a snow storm and offered boarding we wouldn’t have The Shining today.”

Room #401

“A male ghost, who some believe to be an Irish man named Lord Dunraven, is reported to be in this room. Although he never visited the hotel in life, as it was built 20 years after he left Estes Park, it was built on land he once owned. In the closet, women feel their hair being played with, an arm around their shoulder or waist, or a hand moving up the back of their leg. Men don’t feel particularly welcome in this room sometimes, as they have felt someone is pressing them into bed or their jewelry disappearing. This was the room where Jason of the Ghost Hunters television show had his drinking glass, which was set on the night stand, implode while he was sleeping. The closet door also opened and closed on its own.”

Room #407

“People have reported being “tucked in” in this room. A little boy said that he kept kicking his covers off, and they kept coming back up throughout the night. His mother was quite shocked and said that she hadn’t woken during the night, and certainly didn’t keep covering him. Another guest reported feeling someone sit on the edge of the bed, but when she turned the light on, no one was there. She did, however, see an indentation, as if someone had just gotten up.”

Room #418

“Ghost children do mischievous things in this room. Covers are sometimes removed during the night, and hangers are known to move on their own. Bathroom lights have also been reported to turn on and off on their own. A little girl, about 4 years old, and her mother stayed in there a few years ago. The following morning, the girl reported being tickled by a little boy during the night. She wasn’t afraid though. Instead, she simply told the little boy to stop, and he did!”

Room #428

“A ghost cowboy tends to frequent this room. A couple a few years back awoke to find a Wild West cowboy pacing at the end of their bed. After watching him for a few minutes, they politely asked him to leave, which he did, but not before leaning over the lady as if kissing her. Female guests sometimes wake to find him leaning in for a kiss on the forehead!”

Room #217

“Many housekeeping events happen in this room. Guests have reported returning to their room after dropping off their bags, and finding their luggage has been unpacked for them. Other guests have also reported their shoes being lined up, neatly, on the end of the bed. Shadows have also been reported passing through walls, as this room was once part of a much larger suite until the mid-2000s.”

Room #302

“A male ghost has been seen as a shadow in this room, walking near the walls. Photos have been known to fly off the walls, and Grant from Ghost Hunters had a table levitate while changing film.”

Room #413

“Several guests have reported seeing a man dressed in “old-fashioned” clothes standing in the corner of the room. The face of a man in a blue ball has also been seen on the outside door of the room.”

The concert hall

“The Concert Hall also is a hot spot of paranormal activity. Paul worked at The Stanley from 1995-2005 and died of a heart attack while en route from the hotel to the hospital after suffering chest pains. Known as a jack-of–all-trades, one of Paul’s responsibilities was to enforce the hotel’s 11 p.m. curfew. It’s not uncommon to hear a faint and ominous “get out” in the after hours, though it’s unclear if he’d be so bold as to shush hotel founder Flora Stanley, who can often be heard playing the piano, some seven decades after her demise. A construction worker sanding the floor just a few years ago believes Paul was brazen enough to physically nudge him to the door after feeling two arms pull him back. Paul is also known to flicker the flashlights of touring groups.”

The concert hall basement

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“Over the weekend, about 15 coworkers and myself had our company trip to The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, known for being Stephen King’s inspiration for “The Shining”. We took an 8pm ghost tour, where we joined about 15 other people to get guided around the property and told stories about it’s history and creepy things that are said to have happened. We were told to take lots of pictures, I’m sure to try and capture orbs or ghosts. Many green orbs were caught in pictures, but I don’t think anything is as creepy as this photo taken by my coworker- a little girl in a hot pink dress, who was definitely not on our tour.

And apparently years ago, a young girl (12-13) by the name of Lucy was squatting in the basement of the concert hall (which is where this photo was taken), and discovered upon plans to begin some construction. She was forced to leave, the night got below freezing, and she froze to death. Everyone on my tour has vouched that this girl was not on our tour (who wouldn’t remember someone wearing that hot pink?). The man pictured is our tour guide- no one would have been in front of him. I am convinced this is the ghost of Lucy. Just one more added note, though I doubt if anyone would believe me, but there was only ONE time throughout the tour where I felt any strange energy or feeling, and it was right here, heading down to the basement of the concert hall.”

Room 217

“Elizabeth Wilson was the chief housekeeper who, during an early summer storm in 1911, was injured in an explosion as she was lighting the acetylene lanterns in room 217. She survived with broken ankles, but to this day takes special care of room 217’s guests, possibly even King, who stayed there just days before the near-deserted Stanley closed for the winter. King is said to have encountered a young child during his stay, though there were no children visiting at that time. Guests have reported items moved, luggage unpacked, and lights being turned on and off.”

The concert hall

“Lucy also wanders the Concert Hall, tampering with lights and lifting spirits. She’s been known to actively communicate with and answer questions from staff and parapsychologists via flashlights, but her story and pre-death connection to The Stanley remain unclear. It is surmised she was a runaway or homeless woman who found refuge there. Whatever her history, employees insist Lucy’s presence and distant melodious humming lightens the energy and mood wherever she lingers.”

The hotel at large

“Eddie, who initially presented himself with a foul odor, earning him the nickname “Stinky Man.” Apparently offended by the moniker, Eddie switched tactics and began exuding a more pleasant smell. His presence, however, seems to cause discomfort, possibly due to a life of hardship, according to visiting psychics and mediums. He has since lightened up, but remains the resident prankster and apparently a ladies’ man, often suspected of stroking the hair and kissing their cheeks of female guests. Eddie began visiting The Stanley just a few years ago and has no known connection to the property. It is wondered if Lucy and Eddie are simply a new demographic of guests, and raises the question of travel in the afterlife.”


“A myriad of phenomena, not necessarily attributed to the aforementioned usual suspects, has been reported throughout the property. The sounds of partygoers, bygone celebrations, and children laughing (particularly on the fourth floor where children and nannies once stayed), can often be heard. The hotel’s preternatural afterlife is often palpable and has attracted professional skeptics and paranormal investigators alike. The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Syfy’s Ghost Hunters are just two of many teams to investigate the occurrences. Most claim to have heard voices and thumping and saw strange lights, shadows and orbs. Ghost Hunter’s lead investigator Jason Hawes had a glass on his nightstand shatter not long after the closet door opened and closed.”

The concert hall

“I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to supernatural or paranormal happenings but one thing in particular really messed with my head; at the beginning of the tour you follow tour guide to the music hall which would often be occupied by children playing during the day time.

When you arrive in the hall you’re are seated in the observation box and given an introduction of sorts explaining that none of the spirits or activity are angry or violent and that alot of the activity was thought to be that of children (especially in this hall). So, our guide asked by show of hands if any of the tour members are good with kids to which I, along with 4 or 5 others raised our hands; everyone who raised their hands she gave a dum dum sucker to for us to hold out on our palm as if we were handing it to a child and depending on the spirits comfortablity with you they would supposedly pull on the the sucker. Some people claimed to feel movement, some didn’t feel a thing but, I personally felt and watched this fucking sucker drag from the middle of my hand all the way off to the ground.

That fucked with my shit.”

The staircase to nowhere

“When I was a kid, the Stanley was just a pretty hotel with dumpy rooms (1970s canary yellow and olive drab. Borderline craphole). We never stayed there, it was just a place to get a good, cheap lunch. (Obviously, this was before the miniseries, when it was still cheap and not haunted).

Anyway, I’d screw around and explore the hotel because hotels are fun to screw around in and explore. My brother, my sister, and myself were wandering the hotel after lunch, poking our heads into open rooms and whatnot. Well, we round the corner of the hallway and to our right is an small opening in the wall of the hall leading to a set of very narrow and steep circular stairs descending into pitch black darkness. None of us had the cojones to check it out. Wish we had, I never saw that staircase again.”

3rd floor

“My ex-girlfriend and I went there around New Years a couple of years ago. I can confirm it is very haunted. On the 3rd floor, my ex turned white as a sheet after stopping in front of a particular door. I asked her what had happened, she said that something had ran their hand from her backside up to the nape of her neck. There was no one else around but us. When the docent got all of the tour members gathered around the door she had the experience at, she began to tell the group about an apparition that likes to grope pretty young ladies and run his hand from their back side up to their neck. Super Spooky!”

The ballroom

“It’s absolutely beautiful- and haunted. My sister lived in Colorado for years so one winter we were visiting we decided to make the trip to Estes Park. Well being the rule breakers we are in my family, we ditched the official tour and took our own. We came across this big room with chairs covered in white cloth. We decided to “play ghost” and drape the cloths over ourselves, pretend to be ghosts, and take pictures. We, of course, thought we were hilarious. The ghosts decided to delete every picture we took in that room. All the pictures we took before and after were still on the camera, just the ones where we were playing ghost were deleted. Weird place!”

Room 1301

“In a bathroom at the Stanley the shampoo bottle was thrown into the tub once when we were investigating 1302 once. I’ve had my voice recorder knocked over. As far as seeing anything with my own eyes or objects thrown at me, no. Not yet. I think it takes a lot of energy for spirits to manipulate our physical environment, so it’s rare, but it does happen, yeah.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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