"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
If you see a stack of paper beside your husband's typewriter with this typed over and over, we have some advice for you, especially if you and your husband are caretakers of a seasonal hotel in the mountains of Colorado in the dead of winter, and doubly if your husband is trolling around the lobby talking to ghosts and toting an axe. Here's what you should do: Grab your son, set the hotel on fire and go hide in the snowy maze just outside. If you see a door that says "REDRUM," do yourself a favor and avoid it.
This scenario is familiar to anyone who's seen Stanley Kubrick's classic horror film "The Shining." That movie, starring Jack Nicholson as an unraveling novelist and Overlook Hotel caretaker, is based on a book by Stephen King. The book was actually inspired by a real-life haunted hotel in northern Colorado. King bunked in room 217 of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., and got the idea to pen what would become the classic horror novel. The hotel concierge claims that King and his wife dropped their bags in the room and came back 45 minutes later to find the suitcases had been unpacked and stowed in the closet. Could it simply have been an ambitious housekeeper? We'll never know.
Supposedly, The Stanley is haunted by a variety of ghosts, including the hotel's builder and owner, F.O. Stanley. Cleaning crews and guests have reported hearing children playing at night. A cleaning woman finished a room and stepped into the hallway. Her supervisor opened the door moments later to find it in shambles. The windows on the third floor have a tendency to go up and down by themselves. A homeless woman who froze to death in the basement of the concert hall is often seen roaming the stage, warming herself.
"The Shining" TV miniseries from 1997 was actually shot at The Stanley, but Kubrick used exteriors of the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Ore., as his Overlook Hotel. While spending the night in the Timberline may be creepy because of its film history, it's not known to be haunted. Staying in the real Stanley Hotel is sure to test the mettle of any paranormal thrill seeker.
If the Stanley doesn't scare the daylights out of you, then maybe a few of the hotels on our top 10 list will.