It is no secret that Stephen King's The Shining is one of the scariest novels ever written. The Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, released 40 years ago, has also gone down in history as one of the creepiest films of all time.
The story centers on a family staying at a mountain resort that is full of paranormal activity. Take a closer look at the two haunted hotels that have direct ties to Stephen King's classic horror story.
The Stanley Hotel has become one of the most well-known in the United States due to its ties to Stephen King's creepy novel. As the story goes, King and his wife needed a weekend away from the kids and showed up at the Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado on the day it was set to close for the winter season. The staff agreed to let them stay for the weekend if they paid cash so they were literally the only two guests in the entire hotel (sound familiar?). They checked into room 217, the Presidential Suite.
That night, King had a nightmare that his son was being chased throughout the hotel by an evil spirit inside the hotel's walls. After abruptly waking up shaken, he went outside to smoke a cigarette. It was during that smoke that his mind laid the groundwork for his first best-selling novel, The Shining. The 1977 novel and 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson really helped boost tourism at the historic hotel. In fact, they even have the film playing nonstop on one of their tv channels.
But the hotel had a reputation for the paranormal before King and his wife came to visit. It was founded in 1909 by an inventor, F.O. Stanley. After he passed away in 1940, guests reported seeing Stanley's ghost at the front desk during check-in or hearing the musical talents of his deceased wife, Flora Stanley, coming from an empty room. Unlike other haunted buildings, there were no horrific crimes that took place at the Stanley. But nonetheless, the flickering lights, moving objects, shadows and unidentified laughter have made the hotel a hot spot for paranormal investigators. Guests can even choose the "ghost adventurer" package to stay on the infamous 4th floor. They will receive a mug that says "Redrum" (murder spelled backward for The Shining fans), an electromagnetic field reader, and other tools you'll need for your ghost hunting adventure.
The most requested room by far is 217, the room that inspired Stephen King that fateful night. Apparently, when Jim Carrey was onsite filming his 1994 comedy film Dumb and Dumber, he stayed in 217. Something spooked him so bad he ran from the room in the middle of the night and refused to return.
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When it came time to find the perfect location to represent the fictional Overlook Hotel in the film, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area in Mount Hood National Forest seemed to be the ideal setting. Built back in the 1930s during the Great Depression, it is believed that the ski resort is haunted by skiers who never made it off Mt. Hood. Though these days the U.S. Forest Service has worked hard to make sure that skiers and climbers are safe on the mountain. Located just over an hour outside of Portland, Oregon in Government Camp, The Lodge's exterior will definitely look familiar to fans of Stanley Kubrick's classic film.
Though the novel's haunted room is 217, The Lodge requested to change that for the film so that guests felt safe overnight. So room 237 was used in the film, because the hotel actually doesn't have a guestroom with that number. Regardless, guests still request 217, because why not? The hotel staff loves the fame that comes from The Shining. There's even an axe marked "here's Johnny" displayed inside the hotel. They hosted the inaugural year of The Overlook Film Festival for horror films, which has since moved to New Orleans. Their gift shop even has a "The Shining and Overlook Hotel Collection."
In 1977, the hotel was named a National Historic Landmark and draws in millions of visitors each year for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ghost hunting and more. Though the hotel is surrounded by the Mt. Hood National Forest, there is no onsite hedge maze like what was featured in the film. (That was shot in England.) Most of the paranormal activity has been known to take place in the older section of the hotel, so if you really want to see a ghost during your stay, ask the concierge if any rooms in that area are available.
Despite its position up in the mountains, the hotel has everything you could possibly need. In the summer it has a bike park for all of the mountain biking you could dream of, an outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness center and numerous on-site restaurants including the Ram's Head Bar, Cascade Dining Room and the Blue Ox Bar.