Today I want to share when horror dreams come true. And no, not those dreams. If the dolls from my nightmare had dragged me down the stairs, I would still be screaming.
I’m talking about when your favorite creepy fiction has a basis in reality, for when those two world collide… fabulousness happens.
One of my all time favorite scary books is Stephen King’s THE SHINING.
The creep factor in this one blows me away. I’ve read it a few times and will never think that a hedge animal is something cute. I also knew that he wrote this book after having an experience in a real hotel, The Stanley Hotel.
In 1974, Stephen and his wife checked into the Stanley Hotel. Room 217. When they arrived the hotel was getting ready to close for the season, so they were the only guests in the hotel. Can you imagine? Long, empty corridors. Vacant rooms.
The couple had dinner in the grand dining room, totally alone. All the chairs lingered on the tables, except for theirs. Taped orchestral music echoed through the halls.
After dinner, Stephen took a walk around the empty hotel. In the bar, Grady served him drinks.
That night he had a dream -his three-year-old son running through the halls being chased by a fire-hose. *
Any of this sound familiar?
Real life creeps into fiction, sets our imaginations spinning. And because I love this book, I wanted desperately to see The Stanley Hotel. I wanted to be in the place that inspired it, walk where Stephen King had walked. Sounds a little stalker-y, but let’s ignore that.
In 2011, on our way back from vacation in Utah, my hubs and two kids stopped in Colorado. As I was perusing a brochure, I gasped in delight. For we were not far from that very hotel in Estes Park.
I begged to drive by… no, wait! I want to go INSIDE IT! Then my hubs, because he is fabulous, discovered The Stanley Hotel has TOURS.
I went on what they call a haunted tour (the kids were far from thrilled, but if you can’t warp your children’s minds, what good is life?). Our tour guide gave details about the history, which is completely fascinating, and added in little paranormal stories. The maid in Room 217. The guy in the closet. The kids who run the halls on the fourth floor.
Now many people know the 1980 film THE SHINING directed by Stanley Kubrick starring Jack Nicholson, but that movie did not feature the actual Stanley Hotel.
You might know the 1997 TV miniseries THE SHINING starring Stephen Weber. That was filmed at The Stanley Hotel.
During the tour, I walked the halls, listening, watching. But sadly I had no experiences. No cold spots. No strange sounds or shadows. Horror fan or no, a visit to this historic place is worth it!
The stories of long ago.
It’s ME standing in front of Room 217. The most haunted room! Stephen King touched that door knob. I hope they didn’t wash it, cause I touched it. I don’t look excited at all.
And I had to have a picture by the main stairs. Jack chased Danny and Wendy with a mallet on these babies.
Now my dream has shifted. I want to STAY OVERNIGHT there. Spending the money and making reservations (a long time in advance) for Room 217 is probably not going to happen. However, I will take anything. And when I do get to stay there, you can come. As long as you promise to sit quietly in the hall with me all night watching and listening for ghosts.
*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shining_(novel) for the information about Stephen King’s stay
*photos of the hotel thanks to Jason Palm and me
*movie and book photos courtesy Google Images