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Frightful Fridays: The Shining

Well it is coming up to Halloween so I thought I would finally brush the dust of an old series idea of mine called Frightful Fridays where I look at the real life horror stories behind our favourite horror novels. The whole world is on a Stephen King kick right now so we are going to start things off with The Shining.

The Overlook Hotel that is setting for The Shining was inspired by the real life Stanley Hotel in Colorado that opened in 1909. It has its fair share of ghost stories, many of which are very similar to the ghostly happenings in the novel.

In The Stanley Hotel most of the haunting is focused on the ballroom. Many members of hotel staff and guests have heard noises coming from the ballroom late at night as though a party were taking place in the empty room. Many times staff have received complaints from guests about the noise coming from the ballroom and when they have gone down to investigate they have found it completely empty. The piano in the ballroom has been known to play on its own and people believe that it is haunted by a ghost called Flora, the woman who was married to the hotel’s original owner. She was a pianist and was the inspiration behind her husband building such a large ballroom in the hotel. The ghost of her husband has also been spotted wandering around parts of the building.

The ballroom is not the only haunted spot in The Stanley Hotel. Various guest rooms have their own resident ghost. In one room guests have frequently awoken to find a man standing over their bed staring at them. He watches them for a few moments before running into the closet and disappearing. In the same room guests have witnessed the same closet door unlocking and opening on its own. Things have also been known to go missing in this room such as watches or entire sets of luggage. In other rooms guests have seen figures standing in the middle of their room at night that simply vanish. Phantom children have been seen and heard playing in the hallways of the hotel and some rooms even have ghostly housekeepers with beds that turn down themselves at night and luggage unpacking itself.

Stephen King spent one night in The Stanley Hotel and says that it was the inspiration behind the novel The Shining. It also served as the filming location for both the film and the television miniseries based on the book. During his stay at The Stanley Hotel Stephen King said that he had a nightmare that was the main inspiration behind the novel: “I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of The Shining firmly set in my mind.”

So what did you think of the first in this series? I have tons more ideas for these so maybe I will do more of these posts as it gets closer to Halloween. I never have a shortage of horror stories to share.

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