This past weekend, my wife and I vacationed in Colorado. We stayed in Denver for a night, then headed up to Estes Park by way of the Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountain National Park. For those of you that have been to Estes Park, you know that the main attraction there is the historic Stanley Hotel, built in 1909 by F.O. Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining after he stayed in one the hotel’s many notoriously haunted hotspots.
On Sunday night, we participated in a five-hour paranormal investigation (not the be confused with the many ghost tours given throughout the evening) through a few of these hotspots. Just as a brief aside, our tour guide was professional paranormal investigator Karl Pfeiffer, one of the resident paranormal guides at the Stanley Hotel. He won Ghost Hunters Academy Season 1 and went on to briefly work with Ghost Hunters International investigating the Halls of Justice in Nottingham, England. Karl’s the real deal when it comes to ghost hunting and has an indescribable passion, interest, and knowledge of the paranormal.
The first spot we visited was room 1302 in the Stanley Hotel’s lodge. (For those of you that watch Ghost Hunters and specifically watched the Stanley Hotel episode, it was the room where the table and chair jumped.) It’s supposedly haunted by Lord Dunraven, the man who sold the land the hotel would later sit on to F.O. Stanley. After nearly an hour in there, the only really convincing thing in that room was one knock on the ceiling (despite there being no room above it) and several instances of a Maglite going on and off in no intelligible fashion.
Our second hour-long spot of the night were the tunnels below the Stanley Hotel. The tunnels contain loads of unshielded wire, the McGregor ballroom is directly upstairs, machines kick on and off every so often, and the employee break room is merely yards away. So, needless to say, pretty much any evidence of noises, voices, and high EMF readings here are easily debunked. The only thing that was interesting was our ghost box session. There are really only two stations that pick up well in Estes Park, so there isn’t much in the way of actual stations to pick up on the ghost box itself. However, when Karl was counting down to ask any spirits to use the device, he was clearly met with a assertive “two” just before he did in the count. Ghost? Maybe. Weird? Definitely. I’ll reach out and see if Karl could shoot that raw audio file for me to post here, if possible.
The next spot of the night was the concert hall where several spirits are said to frequent. We visited two spots there, one for about an hour and a half and and one just briefly before ending our investigation. The first location in the concert hall was dubbed Lucy’s room, named for a girl who was supposedly kicked out of her makeshift home in an abandoned building on the property and froze to death during the cold Estes Park winter and frequently revisits the hotel nowadays. This, my friends, is where things started to get a bit weird. After about an hour of of nothing, my wife experienced the feeling of someone running fingers through her hair, then a feeling of chills, pressure on her chest, and just a general anxious feeling. A few other women in the room and another gentleman felt this as well. I, being probably the biggest skeptic of the bunch, laughed their experience off. However, just minutes later, I also felt chills run down my shoulders and arms, a pressure on my chest, and a feeling as if I couldn’t really move or catch my breathe for about 20 seconds. It was by far one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. I couldn’t explain what it was even if I tried.
The Concert Hall
With Lucy’s room being in the lower basement level of the building, we then briefly headed up the main stairs to the actual concert hall at just before 1AM. For the most part, this area didn’t give much in the way of evidence to the group. However, standing at the other end of the hall near the stage, I personally thought that I kept hearing keys jingling down the main staircase. It turns out that one of the other spirits purported to haunt the concert hall is named Paul, a maintenance man who died while shoveling snow and often appears near that same staircase after 11PM when he seems to get irritated by the fact that people are still in the building. Definitely weird and not really anyone else seemed to hear it. However, by and large, the most interesting event of the night for me personally was when we were all standing in front of the stage. Off stage-left, there is a back staircase leading down to the area we were at earlier in the evening. Myself and several others heard a quick bang, like someone knocking hard on wall, down towards the bottom of the staircase. I then started snapping a few photos. On my very first attempt, I captured an extremely weird mist, pictured to the right. Now, I know you’re probably saying “It’s your fingertip!” but I made it a point to not have my finger anywhere near where it could obstruct the lens by holding my camera like this. So…no, it wasn’t my finger. You then may be saying “Well, it was a reflection!” I thought that too, so I stood there and took about 5 more photos from several of the same and different angles, none capturing a phenomenon such as that. Also, as most of you know, I dabble in photography a bit and I can assure you it was no reflection or lens flare like anything I’ve ever seen. It was most definitely a great finish to a great night of ghost hunting.
Weird and unexplainable occurrences throughout the night? Definitely. Paranormal experiences? The jury is still out for me. In all, it was a great experience and I’d love to do something similar in other places (and probably even there) again. All in all, it was a unique and amazing experience.
If you’re ever swinging through Estes Park, splurge for the investigation (not just the tour) and report back what you see. The Stanley Paranormal Investigation Team has recently set up a Facebook Page and are on Twitter at @StanleyParaTeam. Check them out.