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    Updated on Nov 12, 2019. Posted on Oct 31, 2019

    The Stanley Hotel Is So Haunted It Inspired "The Shining" — Here's What Happened When I Went Ghost Hunting There

    The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is considered one of the most haunted places in America.

    According to legend, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is one of the most haunted places in the United States.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    In fact, it's so ~spooky~ that horror legend Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining after spending just ONE night here.

    So like any dedicated horror fan would, I decided to go ghost hunting at the Stanley Hotel and see if I could have any scary experiences myself.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    Now, full disclosure, I am not a paranormal activity expert of any kind. And my level of ghost hunting consists of using my camera to photograph or film anything ~weird~ and also using an EMF (electromagnetic field) reader app on my phone to try and find unusual electromagnetic activity. I did not expect to see anything paranormal, but REALLY wanted to.

    1. The first place I had to check out was, of course, the infamous Room 217 — the room Stephen King himself stayed in.

    Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: Back in 1974, King and his wife Tabitha spent one night at the hotel. It was the end of the season, so they were the only guests. Legend has it, after Tabitha went to bed, King wandered the halls of the hotel alone and was creeped out enough to formulate ideas for The Shining. Aside from King's experience, other hotel guests of Room 217 have reported things like returning to their room to find their luggage unpacked, their shoes mysteriously being lined up, and shadows passing through walls (the room was once part of a much larger suite until the mid-2000s).

    Did I find a ghost? No...but someone else did.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    I used the EMF reader to see if there was any strong electromagnetic energy happening around Room 217, but unfortunately (or fortunately?!) there was no significant change in the energy levels. The inside of Room 217 was surprisingly...pleasant? I asked someone on the cleaning staff if they'd ever experienced anything strange in this room and she told me that one time she saw the bathroom door swing closed on its own. The bathroom was indeed creepy (supposedly King pulled back the curtain on the clawfoot tub here and wondered, What if someone had died here?!), but sadly no ghostly experiences for me in this room!

    2. Next on the list was Room 401. A male ghost, thought to be Lord Dunraven, supposedly haunts this room.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed, en.wikipedia.org

    The backstory: So Lord Dunraven never actually visited the hotel while ~still alive~ (it was built 20 years after he left Estes Park). But the hotel was built on land he once owned. When staying in this room, women have reportedly felt their hair being played with (eww?), an arm around their shoulder or waist (extra eww?!?), or a hand moving up the back of their leg (wtf?!?!?). Supposedly, men don’t feel particularly welcome in this room, as they've reportedly felt someone pressing them into bed or experienced their belongings disappearing.

    Did I find a ghost? No, but I found a very scary message across the hallway.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    This room actually had a very ominous vibe outside of it and that's probably because it's right in the middle of the fourth floor — supposedly the most haunted floor of the entire hotel. Nothing set off the EMF meter outside this room though. However, I was very drawn to a strange and incredibly steep staircase across from Room 401's door. I couldn't resist climbing up the stairs, and what I found at the top was a trap door and the words: "REDRUM"!!!! IDK who wrote that there, but I was NOT expecting to see that (let alone anything) and it definitely freaked me out.

    3. I went to Room 407 next. This one has had reports of a "caring" ghost haunting it.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: People have reported being “tucked in” by a ghost in this room. Supposedly, a little boy said that he kept kicking his covers off, and they kept coming back up throughout the night. His mother 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.

    Did I find a ghost? Maybe.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    My experience: Again, I didn't have access to the inside of this room, but when I was using the EMF reader it jolted up around the door knob. Now, I know there's an electric smart card reader on these doors, BUT...it didn't jolt up around the door knobs of rooms 401 or 217, so I was suspicious. Did a ghost want me to know they were inside? Maybe.

    4. Room 418 was up next, said to be haunted by children.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: It's been reported that bedcovers are sometimes removed during the night, and that hangers move on their own, too. Bathroom lights have also been reported to turn on and off on their own. A 4-year-old girl and her mother stayed in there a few years ago and the following morning, the girl reported being tickled by a little boy during the night. She wasn’t afraid though. Instead, she supposedly told the little boy to stop, and he did. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Did I find a ghost? Very possibly.

    Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed

    My experience: When I first got to this room there were a lot of people walking around in the hallway, so it did not seem scary. However, when they finally left and it was just me, it was a little TOO quiet for my liking. So, I decided to use my camera to see if I could film anything ~weird~. As I filmed, my camera kept adjusting focus in the empty hallway (you can see how the exposure keeps changing in the GIFs). Now, normally a camera does this when there's movement or light changing to "find" the focus, but...this hallway was perfectly still and the lights weren't changing. What was my camera trying to focus on? Did I catch a ghost in my camera?????

    5. Next was Room 428. They say a cowboy ghost haunts this one!

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: They say a ghost cowboy is frequently found in this room. A couple once awoke to find a 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. Legend has it female guests sometimes wake to find him leaning in for a kiss on the forehead.

    Did I find a ghost? Nah.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    My experience: This room was in the corner of the building by a large staircase, so a lot of people came and went. Unfortunately, nothing ghostly happened. I waited outside for a while to hopefully spot shadows under the door or maybe a strange flickering of lights nearby, but nope! The EMF meter did not detect anything either, not even a spike near the door handle. Guess this cowboy ghost was out hitching his horse.

    6. I checked out Room 413 after that. They say a lot of ghosts hang out in this one.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: Over the years, many guests have reported seeing a man dressed in “old-fashioned” clothing standing in the corner of the room. It's also been said that people have seen the face of a man in a blue ball on the outside door of the room.

    Did I find a ghost? Maybe.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    My experience: I did not see the face of a man in a blue ball outside the door. However, the EMF reader spiked very high near the door handle and I got a spooked by some strange hand prints on a window in the ceiling nearby (BTW why is there a window in the ceiling when there's another floor above?!). I also heard singing in the hallway, but it may have been from a nearby room. The thing is, I couldn't quite pinpoint WHICH room the singing was coming from. Definitely some weird stuff happening around Room 413.

    7. And finally, I checked out the Music Hall — a ghost named Paul supposedly lives in the basement here.

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The backstory: Paul was a security guard at the hotel from 1995-2005, but sadly died of a heart attack. Legend has it he would go around from building to building, room to room, to make sure people were adhering to the 11 p.m. curfew when he was alive. Today, he's said to be the most vocal spirit at the Stanley, yelling and stomping around 11 p.m. and appearing as a shadow figure. Supposedly, he's also accompanied by the smell of bourbon, scotch, whiskey, or cherry tobacco cigarettes.

    Did I see Paul? No.

    Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed

    My experience: We were told to look at and/or photograph a creepy chair THROUGH a mirror to try and catch a glimpse of Paul (or other spirits). I did it, I did not see anything. I WILL say I was in this room when it was pitch black, and it did creep me out...but nothing paranormal actually happened to me. Not that I could see, anyway.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    The Stanley Hotel is 110 years old, so it definitely has a scary energy. At night, you'll hear a lot of creaking and probably experience chilly gusts of wind. I was disappointed that I didn't personally see a door randomly close or lights turn on by themselves. However, I was happy to have found that "REDRUM" message on the trapdoor, as freaky as it was. I'm still pretty skeptical about my camera trying to find focus in the fourth floor hallway, as well as the EMF reader jumps...but who's to say those events weren't actually caused by ghosts?!

    "Come play with us. Forever...and ever...and ever..."

    Darren Leis / BuzzFeed

    To go on your own ghost-hunting adventure, or to book a spooky stay, you can visit the Stanley Hotel's website!

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