The Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour

Published on September 29th, 2010 in: Halloween, Horror, Travel |

By Julie Finley

I recently spent a few days in Colorado in and around the Rocky Mountain National Park area, specifically in a lovely area called Estes Park. It’s a small resort-like place northwest of both Denver and Boulder, and even though its considered to be at the foothills of the Rockies, the elevation is almost double to that of Denver. (And considering I live in Cleveland where there are no mountains, this was a major difference in altitude!)

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Whilst on my trip, I made my way over to the infamous Stanley Hotel for one of their tourist traps known as The Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour. For $15 you can tour the hotel with a guide who gives you a history of the building; if you were so inclined to document evidence of the paranormal, you could also do that! So even though the admission was steep, I felt it was worth it.

First of all, if you don’t know what The Stanley Hotel is (or why it is infamous), I can see why someone would not care about going on this tour. However, if you are familiar with Stephen King’s The Shining, you would know exactly what this place is!

In the awesome and legendary Stanley Kubrick film version of The Shining you get to see a visual spectacle of a beautifully creepy hotel, as well as Jack Nicholson becoming possessed by it. I was always under the impression that they filmed the movie in the hotel itself, but that myth was quickly extinguished during the tour. Only the exterior shots of the building were, while the interiors were filmed on sound stages, and the snowy isolation scenes were shot in Canada. (Bummer).

However, the made-for-TV version of The Shining (starring Steven Weber as Jack Torrance) was shot at the Stanley Hotel, so if you actually bothered to watch that version of it, you will actually see the intricacies of the hotel itself. According to Stephen King, the second version of the film was by-the-book verbatim, but the Kubrick one was not. (And it’s worth noting that Stephen King hated the Kubrick version. . . even though I think the Kubrick one was phenomenal!)

It’s also worth noting that Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining based upon his experience whilst staying at the Stanley Hotel: apparently something happened that spooked him deeply! Whatever it was, it must’ve been pretty scary to scare the likes of Stephen King!

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In the tour of the building, the history of the building is revealed, as well as the cinematic history of it. Other than The Shining, one of my all-time favorite films—Dumb & Dumber—also had a lot of scenes shot at the Stanley Hotel. All of the hotel scenes that are supposed to take place in Aspen, Colorado are filmed at The Stanley. So actually, Jim Carrey has more physical ties to the place than Jack Nicholson does, since he actually stayed there!

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