The Stanley Hotel: “Is There Something Bad Here?”
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic The Shining made the Stanley Hotel world-famous. Located less than six miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colonial Revival landmark in Estes Park, Colorado has since become a beacon for history buffs, cinema lovers, and paranormal enthusiasts.
According to Finance Buzz, the Stanley Hotel is one of the scariest places in the world. It’s no wonder that the Stanley Film Festival chose the renowned establishment for its chilling atmosphere since 2013, until its unfortunate cancellation four years later.
The Overlook Film Festival picked up the baton and held its annual events at the Timberline Lodge hotel in Oregon, which was used for exterior shots in Kubrick’s film. Replete with ghost hunts and puzzle-solving assignments, both film festivals were both passive and interactive experiences — depending on your mettle.
According to Birth.Movies.Death, some of these would have attendees look for clues in the dead of night by themselves, or be visited by unnerving, finely-costumed strangers at night. For horror obsessives not contented by merely sleeping near room 237, it’s become a yearly must.
The hotel itself, of course, has an interesting history that precedes the overshadowing film. It first opened its doors over a century ago, in 1909.
According to Colorado, Freelan Oscar Stanley hoped the Rocky Mountain air would cure his tuberculosis. He felt Estes Park lacked a luxury hotel, so he opted to build one himself. With lumber from the nearby National Park, construction began in 1907 and finished two years later.
People have reported disturbing occurrences emanating from its rooms and hallways ever since.
Stephen King most notably stayed in the hotel and became so paranoid and scared that he was inspired to write the 1977 horror novel. It was his time in room 217, where one night he was abruptly ripped out of a nightmare so dreadful that he was moved to put the experience into novel form.
Room 217 is said to be haunted by the hotel’s housekeeper. Kubrick ultimately changed the number to 237 for the film adaptation, with a variety of theories regarding his motive. While nobody has reported seeing a decomposing old lady in their bathtub just yet, what has been reported isn’t any lighter.
Those who’ve stayed on the fourth floor have reported oddly similar accounts — namely hearing the sound of children giggling, running and playing in the corridors. Some claimed doors have inexplicably slammed shut, that lights turn on and off for no reason — and that there are drastic drops in temperature.
Perhaps most distressing, guests have claimed to have seen a cowboy appear at the foot of their bed in room 428. On top of that, if you happen to find yourself at the Stanley Hotel on a particularly quiet night and can hear founder Flora Stanley play the piano, don’t be alarmed.
She’s just been dead for 80 years.
Most recently, the Stanley Hotel was used for yet another Stephen King-centric marketing ploy, namely for a screening of the new horror film and Shining sequel Doctor Sleep, based on King’s own literary follow-up.
According to The Denver Post, Colorado has been actively attempting to expand its film industry. This particular film, with its direct connection to one of the most seminal horror films in history, might be just what’s needed to kick start that development.
The Stanley Hotel already generates a whopping $2.7 million per year from its ties to Kubrick’s masterpiece. There are 200,000 tours of the property every single year, with tourists from all over the world intrigued by the potential paranormal occurrences depicted in the film.
“I think [Doctor Sleep] is an even bigger opportunity for the Stanley than it is for Warner Bros.,” said Donald Zuckerman, Colorado’s film commissioner. “[John Cullen, the Stanley’s owner,] is very interested in promoting the Stanley Film Center, which is basically going to be a horror film-centric museum and educational facility.”
With the annual “Shining Ball,” recreational horror events, film festivals, and a litany of paranormal occurrences reported across the decades — the Stanley Hotel has certainly become a hub of those interested in otherworldly activity.