I hate scary movies. If I watch them I dwell on them and will have nightmares about them for years to come.
But something about visiting The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado fascinated me.
So on a cold, moonless evening in September, Don and I drove though the pouring rain to make a visit to see if we could catch a glimpse of the ghosts that haunt the Stanley Hotel
We walked through the infamous hedge maze, but the scariest thing we found were a few puddles that we had to jump over.
I felt like we were in a scene from “This is Spinal Tap” as the hedges were only 2 feet tall, they came to our knees but to the children running through them they must have seemed like a dark scary forest.
At the statue of F. O. Stanley, he stood before us smiling with his violin in hand, no spooky glares or words of warning before we entered the hotel.
We walked up the steps to the beautiful lobby where the antique piano sat silently waiting to be played.
We wondered if spirits gathered around late at night and played mystical melodies while dancing by the firelight in the dimly lit lobby.
Behind the front desk stood a nice young man who was the keeper of the keys.
Skeleton keys! Was his smile deceiving us, once the guests the guests were in their rooms would guest never be heard from again?
Especially those staying in room 237 (or maybe it was 217)!
The beautiful staircase stood empty with pictures of past owners but no twin girls standing in the hallway beckoning us to join them.
In the basement stood an empty dollhouse, there was no activity to be seen on this night, but one could only imagine lights moving inside the windows and the doors creaking opening slowly.
If you had any doubts about the paranormal activity you could make an appointment with the resident psychic Madame Vera who keeps her office in the basement.
Outside and inside there stood parked vintage cars waiting to take the hotels spirits on adventures to exciting places.
From the windows you could almost imagine Stephen King sitting at a desk and conjuring up his next story.
Though I have never seen The Shining movie nor mini series, the story has such recognizable scenes and characters that even a person like me,who shies away from scary stories knows the history.
Though Stephen King wrote The Shining based on this hotel, Stanley Kubrick took creative license and chose not to use it as the set of the movie.
In later years, as though they were hoping to erase the haunting stigma of the Stanley, the film makers of Dumb and Dumber used it as one of its locations.
As we drive away from Estes on a dark, stormy night, I am feeling as though I can more relate to the title of the later film. For how dumb could I be to go see a hotel that I know will give me nightmares just at the thought of it for months to come.
No more knives for Don for fear I will come home one day to see him with a scary look on his face saying “Here’s Donny…..nah..?