Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Stanley Hotel

Sorry I've been silent lately, but last week I went on a wonderful road trip with the hubby and have frankly been too busy to write up a blog for y'all.  I wanted to share some great pictures and stories and have decided the best way to do that is to break up this post according to the stops we made.  

My friend Julia has dubbed our trip the Tour of Terror because even though the movie The Shining scares the pants right off me, we still wanted to have a grand tour of the hotels involved in the movie.  Our first stop was at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado.  It's a lovely hotel high in the Colorado mountains where you have a clear view of a nearby lake, a small mountain village, Estes Park, about 500 yards down the road, and the constant sound of the wind whistling/howling/groaning past.

 While there, we did take a haunted history tour of the hotel.  It was quite interesting to learn about a previous head of housekeeping who entered one of the upstairs rooms during a power failure, candle in hand to light the old gas lights, only to discover a gas leak and the room had quietly filled with unscented natural gas.  The poor woman was blown through the floor and landed in the formal dining room while pieces of that wing rained down all over Estes Park below.  Miraculously, she survived her injuries and was able to return to work afterward.  However, it is said that during her career she took special care of the larger suites, such as room 217, and after her death, was known to return to work and pack and unpack luggage in those rooms.  Such a hard-working ghost!

The story, as told by the tour leader, is that Stephen King stayed at the Stanley Hotel, in room 217, and was inspired enough to write The Shining.  Below is a picture of me taking a picture of the door to room 217. Super spooky!

During the tour, we were shown a staircase that lead upstairs from the third floor to access the bell tower on the roof.  Apparently during an earlier tour, someone thought the dark scary door at the top of the darkened and no-doubt creaky stairs needed the word RedRum written on it, so they did.  Silly kids, don't they know the second R is supposed to be backwards?  I don't know what's more terrifying, being in the haunted Stanley Hotel or knowing that they tolerate such blatant spelling mistakes!
 Below is a picture of me standing in the hallway outside of our room.  We were housed in The Lodge, which is the next building over from the manor house and was built a few years later.  If you look closely, you'll see behind me... down that long spooky hallway.... while I stand there smiling unsuspectingly..... Yikes! I'm too scared to go on!
While on our haunted history tour we were able to go into the basement of the manor house.  Back when the hotel was first constructed, Mr. Stanley was loathe to have his staff seen walking the grounds, back and forth between the manor house and the servants quarters out back. So what he did was have service tunnels dug under the main house. Unfortunately these tunnels were not reinforced to endure quite as long as the house, so sections collapsed and they fell into disrepair as the staff stopped using them.  A new electrical room needed to be dug out so the excavated soil was conveniently dumped into the collapsed tunnels.  When the tour was lead down here, we were asked for the sake of safety to not enter the tunnels, but we were welcome to take pictures.

Below is the closest we got to catching a ghost on film.  The first picture shows the start of the tunnel, nothing unusual. The second picture to its right (taken 2 seconds later) shows what looks like a light reflection in the middle of the tunnel.  The third picture, bottom left, shows a smaller light reflection that has moved up and to the right. The fourth picture is the same as the first.
So, are you scared yet?  Just keep in mind, this is only the first stop on our Tour of Terror!  Eeeeek!

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