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Here’s Smokey: Bear Crashes The Stanley Hotel, Which Inspired “The Shining”

A bear was filmed wandering around the Colorado hotel that inspired Stephen King’s classic horror tale The Shining.

Reed Rowley, vice president of The Stanley Hotel, reported that an estimated 300 guests were staying at the hotel when the bear managed to open the lobby door and climb over the furniture. The hotel, which opened in 1909 in Estes Park, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

King was motivated to write The Shining after he and his wife stayed at The Stanley in 1974, though the 1980 horror film was not filmed there.

Late night Stanley visitor...

Late night visitor from the wildside visits our hotel lobby. We'll make an exception to the rule about jumping on the furniture.

Posted by Stanley Hotel on Thursday, August 23, 2018

Guests at the hotel occasionally report seeing ghosts, yet bear sightings on the premises are new. The video, shot by the front desk supervisor, who was the only person in the lobby in the early hours of the morning, saw the bear waltz into the lobby, inspect a sofa, stand on a table and leave. The accommodations were apparently not up to his standards.

"Late night visitor from the wild side visits our hotel lobby," the supervisor wrote on Facebook. "We'll make an exception to the rule about jumping on the furniture."

The Stanley Hotel, a 142-room Colonial Revival hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is roughly five miles from the Rocky Mountain National entrance and offers panoramic views of Lake Estes, the Rockies, and Long's Peak. Built by Freelan Oscar Stanley, owner of Stanley Motor Carriage Company, an American steam-engine vehicle manufacturer, the hotel opened on July 4, 1909. The residence catered to upper-class travelers.

After King visited the hotel in the mid-1970s, he used the building as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, featured in his 1977 bestseller The Shining. When the author stayed at the hotel with his wife, they were the only overnight guests.

"They were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place — with all those long, empty corridors," King said. The couple had a meal in the empty dining room with canned orchestral music as entertainment. "Except for our table, all the chairs were up on the tables. So the music is echoing down the hall, and, I mean, it was like God had put me there to hear that and see those things."

That night, according to King, "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."

“Any big hotels have got scandals," King wrote in the novel. "Just like every big hotel has got a ghost. Why? Hell, people come and go. Sometimes one of ‘em will pop off in his room, heart attack or stroke or something like that. Hotels are superstitious places.”

The hotel has since monetized its appearance in The Shining. Room 217, which is featured in the novel and was the room where King spent the night at the Stanley, is the hotel's most requested accommodation.

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Also, the front of the hotel, originally a driveway, has been replaced by a hedge maze, one of the novel's most symbolic settings. Also, the front lawn has been adorned with topiary animals as in the book. The design was selected from a worldwide competition with the winning submission designed by New York architect Mairim Dallaryan Standing.

Undoubtedly, the hotel now lives up to its spooky reputation. It even manages to scare off bears.

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