Day 183: Ghost Hotel

Day 183 of the Nowhere To Be Project took place at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado (full review of the hotel to come tomorrow). I love a good ghost story and regularly seek out purported haunted places out of curiosity. More often than not, the stories of hauntings are just that…make believe. With that being said, the time I’ve spent here at the Stanley feels very different. There is an energy here that I cannot entirely explain in words. It is an anxiousness. Something feels unfinished or dissatisfied. I have the urge to leave as quickly as I can. These sensations have nothing to do with the creaky floors and worn wall-coverings. It is in the soul of the space somehow. I’m staying in room 1209 of the lodge. The lodge was once a detached Manor House to the hotel. I have the same inexplicable feeling in this space as I do in the main hotel.

A statue of F.O. Stanley, the founder of the Stanley Hotel, looks out from the property to the looming mountains. This statue is accessible by successful navigation of the fabled hedge maze.

I walked the entire hotel, lodge and the surrounding grounds, paying special attention to the rooms where paranormal activity has been reported most frequently (217 and 401). I’ve been told that Stephen King stayed in room 217 in the mid 1970s and was awakened by a nightmare that he couldn’t shake. That nightmare became “The Shining”. Room 401 is supposedly haunted by a former housekeeper and frequent strange occurrences are reported by guests. Neither one felt extreme in any way, but oddly enough I was overcome by a horrendous urge to run as I approached and walked the fourth floor. The time I spent there was vastly uncomfortable. It was almost as if I was confined to a space between two opposing magnets. I felt like I should not be there…as if I wasn’t welcome. I snapped some photographs and headed down the stairs. I just enlarged one of the hallway photos and there are some strange shadows and lights visible in the lefthand corner at the end of the hallway. I did not notice these at the time and there were no lights visible anywhere, either inside or outside, while I was in the hallway.

An odd light and shadow visible at the end of the hallway on the left

In an effort to process my unusual experience, I plan on doing some additional research on the history of the Stanley Hotel and the property upon which it is built. I did pick up a book about its history and hauntings in the hotel’s gift shop, so that may shed some light. The hotel isn’t shy about about its haunted reputation and openly profits from it (as witnessed by the girls dressed as creepy twins roaming around and the REDRUM wine glasses on offer in the gift shop), but I’ve visited many similar spots and have never been completely enveloped by the pulse of a place as I have been here at the Stanley.

Day 124: Ghosted in Leadville, Colorado

On Day 124 of the Nowhere To Be Project we headed up to Leadville. Leadville is about 45 minutes by car from Vail and is a couple thousand feet higher in elevation. Leadville, a city that was once rich in silver, was founded in the late 1800s. At its peak, Leadville rivaled Denver for the most populous city in Colorado.

The Lobby of The Delaware Hotel

Leadville’s current claims to fame are largely based in folklore of the past. For instance, Doc Holliday had some raucous times there before heading on to Glenwood Springs. The historic Tabor Opera House, Delaware Hotel and Silver Dollar Saloon are rumored to be haunted. I inquired with the front desk clerk at the hotel (still in operation) and was told rather brusquely that “ghosts aren’t real”.

Whether they are real or not, ghosts might be the only inhabitants that could still find some sparkle in Leadville. Sadly, it is one of those places that you pass through on the way to somewhere else. The views on the way up and down are well worth the ride (making the local railroad and bike trails popular with tourists), but I would be hard-pressed to recommend it as a destination in and of itself.

Silver Dollar Saloon