the stanley hotel inspired the shining

Stay At A Real Haunted Hotel For A Creepy Halloween — Or Any Time

If you want to get some real scares this Halloween — or any time — book a night or two at these real live haunted hotels that may make you run screaming from your bed in the middle of the night.

The Real Overlook Hotel

One of the most famous fictional haunted hotels was The Overlook in Stephen King’s classic novel, The Shining. The story may be fiction, but was based on a real life haunted hotel, The Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado. The Stanley offers five hour ghost tours and paranormal investigations for adults only, as this haunted hotel has been featured on many ghost hunting shows for its high level paranormal activity.

The Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel in winter, the inspiration for the setting for Stephen King’s The Shining. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons public domain.

The Stanley Hotel ghost and paranormal tours run the entire open season for the hotel and they plan to open a horror museum, but they really roll out out the (bloody) red carpet at Halloween with their special Stanley Hotel Halloween weekend events. In the past, the Stanley Halloween events have sold out quickly, so this year this legendary haunted hotel has moved their featured masquerade party, called “The Shining Ball,” to their larger and more haunted Historic Concert Hall to accommodate more guests.

America's 10 Most Haunted Hotels

Watch for the ghosts of F.O. Stanley and his wife, the namesake of the hotel and founder of Stanley Steamer, who are often seen in the lobby or playing piano in the music room. On the fourth floor, guests claim to have heard children giggling and and some very dedicated employees reportedly linger around room 217. If you aren’t “lucky” enough to spot any ghosts, Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining plays on eternal loop on one of the channels. (Also check out the 1996 ABC mini-series directed by Mick Garris before you go.)

the myrtles plantation
The Myrtles Plantation is allegedly one of the most haunted homes of the south

A Little Southern Gothic Ghost Hunting

Most people have heard of The Stanley Hotel and its haunted reputation, but you can also get some southern gothic creeps at The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana. This sprawling antebellum mansion is now a haunted bed and breakfast, drawing travelers seeking some southern charm and a little ghost hunting. This location has been featured in many paranormal shows as well as The Stanley Hotel.

The legend of The Myrtles Plantation goes back to before the home was even built, as the story says the grounds were an ancient Native American burial ground. While there have been a whopping 10 murders on the property, one of the most famous ghost stories at this haunted hotel is the tale of slave girl, Chloe, hanged by the other slaves after she poisoned the lady of the house and her two children. Another famous murder and haunting tells the tale of William Drew Winter, who allegedly haunts the grounds after being shot on the porch and dragging himself up 17 steps before giving up the ghost, so to speak.

In addition to those two ghosts, this haunted hotel boasts 10 others, including a Native American woman, a woman with curly hair, a girl who comes before thunderstorms, and children who play on the porch and leave hand prints around the mansion.

She Gave Her Father 41

For true crime aficionados as well as ghost hunters, the infamous Lizzie Borden house near Boston offers haunted accommodations and tours. Even though she was acquitted at trial, Lizzie Borden allegedly murdered her stepmother and father in a rather gruesome fashion with an axe back in 1892. You’ve heard the gory nursery rhyme, right?

“Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”

This haunted hotel is a magnet for ghost hunting and paranormal shows, including a very uncomfortable moment for Ghost Hunters host Zak Bagans with the property manager who didn’t want to give up her axe.

So if you are looking for some spooky fun (and perhaps a sleepless night), try one of these haunted hotels this Halloween, or any time of the year. The spirits haunting them are just dying for you to visit.

[Photo from The Shining courtesy of Warner Bros.]
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