It’s been almost 40 years since Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining hit the silver screens of America. The movie, starring Jack Nicholson, is based on a 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name and was tremendous hit for Nicholson, Kubrick, and King when it hit theaters in the summer of 1980.
Many people know that much, but what you may not know is that King wrote his novel based on a paranormal experience he had while staying at The Staley Hotel in Estes Park, CO in 1974.
The story goes that after writing Carrie and Salem’s Lot, two blockbuster horror novels both set in small towns in King’s home state of Maine, the author wanted a different setting for his next book.
“I wanted to spend a year away from Maine so that my next novel would have a different sort of background.” King opened an atlas of the US on the kitchen table and randomly pointed to a location, which turned out to be Boulder, Colorado.
On October 30, 1974, King and his wife Tabitha checked into The Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park, Colorado. They were the only two guests in the hotel that night.
“When we arrived, they were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place — with all those long, empty corridors”. They checked into room 217 which was said to be haunted. This is where room 217 comes from in the book.
Ten years earlier, King had read Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” and was inspired to someday write a story about a person whose dreams would become real. In 1972, King started a novel entitled Darkshine, which was to be about a psychic boy in a psychic amusement park, but the idea never came to fruition and he abandoned the book. During the night at the Stanley, this story came back to him.
King and his wife had dinner that evening in the grand dining room, totally alone. They were offered one choice for dinner, the only meal still available. Taped orchestral music played in the room and theirs was the only table set for dining.
“Except for our table all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things. And by the time I went to bed that night, I had the whole book in my mind”.
After dinner, his wife decided to turn in, but King took a walk around the empty hotel. He ended up in the bar and was served drinks by a bartender named Grady.
“That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose.
I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”
Fast forward to 2018 when John Mausling and his wife Jessica are also at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park taking a ‘spirit tour’ of the hotel. As the tour paused to listen to the tour guide, John snapped a picture of the group as it loitered along one of the stairways.
At the time, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but when they got home, the Mauslings noticed something truly bizarre. The picture showed what appeared to be the ghost of a little girl!
This is especially peculiar because one of the iconic scenes in The Shining is the appearance of two twin girl ghosts, the murdered Grady daughters.
During the time of taking the picture we didn’t see any little girl, especially one dressed the way this one was. It wasn’t until we got home that I spotted something on the stairs.
I did verify with the entire group that was with us that night and nobody saw her. One thing that keeps being left out in all the stories on the internet is that I also called the Stanley to check with tour guide as well, she also did not see her.
The only kids that were on the tour were my friend’s two sons and they were both 12 and 14. The spirit tour does not allow kids under 10 years old after 7:30pm on the tour.
What do you think? Did this couple actually capture a real life — or, umm.. real “after-life” ghost?