Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Experience at the Stanley Hotel

Anyone that knows me knows I have a special appreciation for the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Not just because it’s a beautiful place in a beautiful location and it’s even nicer to stay there-but because I had an experience in 2002 that not very many people can claim and even fewer can prove with a video.

Haunted History: Cooks and bus staff report music coming from a ballroom that stops when they walk in. Bartenders have seen the ghost of F.O. Stanley stroll through, disappearing when they go to cut him off at the kitchen. Active rooms are 401, 217 and 218. In room 401, a guest had entered the room to find a ghostly little boy jumping on the bed. In room 407, the ghost, reportedly of Lord Dunraven, has been seen in the windows as well as in room 407.

I guess I will start with a little history…

The hotel is a 138-room Georgian hotel that was built by Freelan O. Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the rich and famous. The hotel and its surrounding lands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Stanley has hosted many famous guests, including the Titanic survivor Molly Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. Stephen King was inspired while staying here to write The Shining. Parts of the mini-series version were filmed there, although it was not used for Stanley Kubrick's film.

In 1903, Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, came to Estes Park for his health.

This is F.O. Stanley:

Stanley suffered from tuberculosis and came West at his doctor's suggestion. The doctor arranged for the couple to stay in a cabin in Estes Park for the summer. Immediately, they fell in love with the area and Stanley's health began to dramatically improve. Impressed by the beauty of the valley and grateful for the improvement in his health, he decided to invest his money and his future there. In 1909, he opened the elegant Stanley Hotel, a classic hotel exemplifying the golden age of touring.

Stanley built the hotel on land that he purchased from the English Earl Lord Dunraven. Dunraven came to the area in 1872 while on a hunting trip. He built a hunting lodge, cabin, and hotel for his guests and illegally homesteaded up to 15,000 acres in an unsuccessful attempt to create a private hunting preserve. Dunraven was finally run out of the area after trying to swindle folks out of their land and money.

This is Lord Dunraven:

Dumb and Dumber was filmed here as well.

Remember this scene?

Staff who work in the kitchen next to the ballroom after hours say they have heard a party going on when the room was empty. Guests have reported that they have seen ghosts in their rooms or hearing the piano playing from the ballroom, glasses have broken by themselves and doors have been known to open and close. Children have been seen or heard running the halls when no children were staying there. Back when we stayed there the first two times, it was very empty after September and you could easily be the only people in the building. It wasn’t until 2006 when Ghost Hunters was invited to investigate the haunted activity that business seemed to pick up and the hotel became busy all year round. It usually takes at least a months notice to get a room, which averages about $150 a night now.

In October, 2002, we stayed at the hotel in room 401. A few hours later we were playing with my new camcorder with night vision turned on and upon taping out the window and to the left we noticed a figure standing in one of the windows. We continued to record thinking it was just a person in another room when we noticed it was only showing in the top half. Naturally we wanted to get all of the facts so I went out in the hall outside the room and had my wife call it. I could hear the phone ringing but no one picked up. I immediately called the front desk and asked then if there was anyone in that room and the lady told us it was vacant. I had explained to the desk clerk what we had seen and she wanted to see the video right away. We went downstairs and showed her the tape and she could not believe it. She was excited herself and grabbed a key so we could all go check out the room. It was indeed vacant and upon further examination, we noticed that the window where the figure had been standing is right above the bathroom sink and the direction it fades to would have taken it immediately through the wall seen here:

I showed this tape to ghost investigators here in Denver where they ran numerous filters and tests and they concluded that there was indeed a person's figure in that window. Not only a person, but we could make out a man with a mustache and a bowlers or cowboy hat on. Some see his hands in his pockets. Right before this figure fades away to the left, it actually comes closer to the glass to reveal the mustache even better...almost to say "I see you and you should not be seeing me!" The face creeps me out every time I see it and the dozens of people I have showed it to come to the same conclusion.

Here is the video:


We have another trip planned in November and we are hoping to get something equally interested but I'm not sure you can get much better than this.

1 comment:

  1. Am loving your site! So glad I found it! Thought you might find my post on the Stanley interesting...