Haunted Weekend at The Stanley Hotel

Evie here. Pumpkin’s letting me use her blog to tell you all about my weekend at a haunted hotel – The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

Mom’s friend Chris is writing a paper for school about her favorite Colorado landmark. Her favorite landmark is the Stanley Hotel. She’s always wanted to stay in the same room Stephin King stayed in that inspired The Shining. So she booked it – the infamous room 217 – and invited Mom along for her birthday. Well, wherever Mom goes, I go! Chris’s stuffed lion Stanley came too.

The hotel was built around 1909 by the same Stanley that had the Stanley Steamer car company. He was told he had tuberculosis and needed to to Colorado for his health. He was given 6 months to live. Colorado agreed with him so well that he lived another 40+ years!

The hotel was only 2 years old when it had a big explosion in guess what room – 217! The chief maid, Mrs. Wilson, went in to light a gas lamp and there had been a gas leak in the room. Her lamplighter set off the gas and the room exploded! She was blown through the floor to the room below. She survived, but both her ankles were broken. The Stanley’s took good care of her and paid all her bills and told her the if she wanted it, she could have a job at the hotel for life! And she did work at the hotel right into her 90s! Legend has it that 2 days after she died she came right back to work as a ghost in room 217.

Mrs. Wilson has different ways of haunting the room. If she likes you, she’ll unpack your stuff for you. Sometimes the housekeepers come to clean the room and it’s already been cleaned. If she doesn’t approve of you, you may come back to the room and find your bags packed and lined up at the door! In her day, it wasn’t proper for single men to stay under the same roof with the ladies so they stayed in a secondary building called the manor house. Well, unmarried couples staying in 217 sometimes report feeling something between them on the bed. Some couples have even checked out in the middle of the night because of this!

So this is the room Stephen King stayed in. He was there right when the hotel was closing for the season (the hotel didn’t have heat until 1982 so was only open during the warm months). Anyway, the hotel was kind of deserted and spooky feeling already. And he’s staying in a haunted room. He was having nightmares and thought he saw stuff in the halls, and all this is what inspired his book, ‘The Shining’. He wrote the book in just a week when he got home.

We took advantage of the room’s reputation. Chris put a sign on the door in lipstick that said ‘redrum’. We could hear the tour groups outside laughing at our sign! We had fun with the tour groups, too. We’d pull the door open and yell arrrrgh! and scare the people in the hallway. It was brilliant fun! People even wanted to take our picture just because we were staying in that room.

We had a haunting while we stayed there. When Mom and Chris were taking the hotel tour, of course the tour got to their room. They went to open the door because Chris wanted to use the bathroom and they were gonna let people see the room. Well, their key cards wouldn’t work! Neither one of them! So they took the rest of the tour and got new key cards and went back to the room. When they got back to the room, a nightgown that Chris had left out was folded up and put away! Mrs. Wilson must have liked us.

There’s a story about that room and Jim Carrey. Some scenes from ‘Dumb and Dumber’ were shot there and Jim Carrey was supposed to stay in room 217. Well, he was in the room 3 hours when he came flying out of there and refused to go back in! He made someone else go get his stuff and he didn’t want to be in the hotel at all anymore. He never told anyone what happened in the room. Maybe Mrs. Wilson scared him away!

Mom discovered a new drink while she was there – the Lord Dunraven Bacon Bloody Mary. Mom loved it! It was made with bacon infused vodka and garnished with candied bacon in addition to the traditional garnishes. She had one Saturday night. She loved it so much she had another one with breakfast Sunday morning!

Mom and Chris had one more exciting thing happen and it was all because of Stanley and me. They took us with them to the bar Friday night for drinks. The manager saw us and was curious why two grown women had stuffies with them. They explained about Chris’s paper and Pumpkin’s blog. The manager thought what we were doing was so interesting that he introduced the hotel owner to us! The hotel has had hard times over the years, but the current owner is working very hard to restore the hotel to how glorious it was when it was new.

There are lots of other ghosts in the hotel, too. The hotel gives a great tour, and I encourage anyone who can come and stay at the hotel or even somewhere else in town to take the tour. It’s pawsome! We all love the Stanley Hotel. I know we’ll go back to visit and eat there. I hope we get to stay there again some day!

There are so many pictures I decided instead of spreading them out through the blog I’d just set them up like a gallery at the end of the blog, so here are the pictures.