Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories- page 5 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. (Kevin Fleming / Corbis)

Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories

Discover old haunts that inspired thrills and chills in fiction and film

The Shining, Stephen King

The Stanley Hotel
(Stock Connection Distribution / Alamy)

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo.

One fall night in 1974, King and his wife stayed in Room 217 of this rambling clapboard hotel in the Rockies. En route to the room, King said later, he saw ghostly children in the halls.

That encounter became a pivotal scene in his novel about a hotel caretaker who becomes possessed by the lodge’s evil spirits and in the 1980 film, starring Jack Nicholson. The Stanley didn’t make it into the movie, however; director Stanley Kubrick used Oregon’s Timberline Lodge, a spooky looking manse of stone and wood.

The Stanley embraces its notoriety just the same. Built in 1909 by automaker F.O. Stanley, the 138-room lodge offers ghost tours that include stops in the Kings’ room and the eerie long corridors. Guides also mention the ghosts King didn’t meet, such as a long-dead housekeeper who folks clothes still and a spirit who does not like anyone touching the hotel’s antique Steinway piano.

Not scary enough? Turn on any TV then and watch “The Shining,” which plays continuously on the in-house channel.

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