The Stanley Hotel
Whether you were frightened by the book, the movie, or the miniseries, you are probably familiar with Stephen King’s spooky tale, The Shining. While this is one of King’s best works, many people don’t realize that he conceived the story’s plot while staying in this real haunted hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Stanley Hotel was built by Freelan O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, and has been open for business since 1909. The hotel was constructed near the Rocky Mountain National Park and was a favorite resort spot for the rich and famous.
Over the years, its popularity waned, but the hotel attained renewed fame after the release of both the book and the movie. While inspired by King’s stay at the Stanley Hotel, its story is entirely unrelated to the actual hotel. However, there are reportedly some very real ghosts still inhabiting the Stanley Hotel today.
According to employees and guests, one ghost is thought to be that of F.O. Stanley himself and is often seen walking through the lobby, bar, and billiard room. His wife Flora was fond of playing the piano and still seems to enjoy this activity today. Music is often heard coming from the empty music room and some claim to have seen the piano keys moving on their own.
The fourth floor is said to be the center of other ghostly activities. Children are heard running down the hallway, even when none are staying at the hotel. Room 407 is said to be haunted by Lord Dunraven, the original landowner, regularly being seen near the bathroom while turning the lights on and off. And room 418 is active with ghostly apparitions, moving furniture, and strange sounds.
Stephen King and his wife stayed for one night in room 217 (changed to 237 for the movie at the hotel’s request). According to King, he had a particularly frightening nightmare of his 3-year-old son screaming and running down the hotel hallways, supposedly being chased by a fire-hose. They were the only guests, as the hotel was about to close for the winter, and after waking from the nightmare covered in sweat, he sat up and formulated the story of what would become his third published novel.
The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary, one of the most luxurious ships to ever sail the Atlantic Ocean, has been enjoying a well-deserved retirement as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California since December 11, 1967. However, it is said that the Queen Mary still plays host to many of its former passengers as it’s considered the most haunted ship in the world.
On December 1, 1930, the Cunard Line began construction on its two new transatlantic super-liners, the King George V and the Queen Mary. On May 27, 1936, the day after Her Royal Majesty’s 69th birthday, the Queen Mary made its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
The ship was an instant success and sailed continuously until World War II intervened. On August 30, 1939, the Queen Mary departed for New York carrying 2,552 passengers, including Bob Hope. Unfortunately, Hitler invaded Poland the next day, forcing the ship to zigzag its way across the ocean, dodging enemy submarines and blacking out its 2000 portholes to avoid detection. Upon safe arrival, she was sent to Australia and converted into a troopship. From 1940 to 1945, the Queen Mary was used to ferry 15,000 troops at a time across the Atlantic, including Winston Churchill. After the war ended, the ship returned to passenger status and remained in active service until the City of Long Beach took ownership in 1967.
Since then, the Queen Mary has been converted into a popular tourist attraction, hotel, and museum. However, today you might meet up with a few of its former residents who still hang around, including crewman John Pedder who haunts the engine room where he was crushed to death by watertight door Number 13.
In the first-class indoor swimming pool, women in 1930’s bathing suits are seen diving into a pool that has been dry for over 40 years. The second-class swimming pool is also haunted by Jackie, a little girl who drowned there.
Ghostly guests haunt the many staterooms, including a beautiful lady in white who is seen floating down the hallway or dancing in the first-class lounge. The staff embrace and celebrate the ghosts of the Queen Mary, where they host regular paranormal tours, ghost hunts, and dinners with the spirits.
Lizzie Borden House
Did Lizzie do it? This is the question that many people have asked for more than a hundred years about one of the most famous murders in American history. While there are those who believe in her innocence, and those in her guilt, the murders in this quaint Fall River, Massachusetts town remain unsolved.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, it’s alleged that Lizzie Borden murdered her 64-year-old stepmother, Abby, while making the beds on the second floor by hitting her 19 times in the head with an ax. So vicious was the attack that a hole five inches wide was carved into her skull. Afterward, Lizzie calmly washed up and finished chores until her father came home an hour later.
When her 70-year-old father Andrew arrived, Lizzie convinced him to take a nap on the sitting room sofa. As he slept, Lizzie used the same ax to kill her father by hitting him ten times in the face, nearly cutting it in two and spattering blood everywhere. Her deadly deeds done, Lizzie bathed, changed clothes, and called for the police.
During her trial, Lizzie claimed that Abby was murdered while Lizzie was busy doing chores downstairs and Andrew was killed while she was in the barn looking for fishing lures. In the end, Lizzie was acquitted because jurors simply couldn’t believe a wealthy, God-fearing woman such as herself would be capable of committing such gruesome murders.
Today, the Lizzie Borden House is a bed and breakfast where you can stay the night in the very room poor Abby was hacked to death, or have a cup of tea in the exact spot where Andrew met his grisly fate. Restored to its original beauty, the proprietors happily give tours and will even perform a séance if you have the nerve.
Are you twisted enough to stay overnight in one of these gruesome haunts? Let us know if you do and share your ghostly experiences!