Nine years ago today, I crossed something off my bucket list. As a lifelong Stephen King fan, I have always wanted to stay at the hotel that inspired The Shining. Not just that, though. As a giant lover of all things paranormal, I have a bucket list goal of staying in as many haunted hotels as I can, so when I found a Groupon to stay at the Stanley Hotel, I jumped on it. Two goals for the price of one? How could I possibly pass that up?
This was pre-Jeff, so I packed my things, rented an SUV, and headed west with my trusted travel companion, my little brother Allen. We were two dorks on the road, and we were ready for adventure. We spent a night in Boulder, but that was a teaser. In addition to staying at the hotel, we had purchased tickets for their ghost tour. One way or another, we were going to be scared.
We arrived at the hotel and checked in. When they told me the room number, I nearly died. We were staying in 218. Wait a minute, I thought, the haunted room is 217. We were going to be next door to ghosts! Turns out, their room number system doesn’t work that way. We were on the other side of the hotel, but for a second, it was nice to dream.
Not long after we arrived, Allen and I headed to the basement for our tour. We got lucky. Our tour guide knew her stuff, and she loved telling us all the various ghostly legends tied to the hotel.
One of the first things she mentioned was that guests would sometimes smell the perfume of Mrs. Stanley, the wife of the man who built the hotel. Of course, I have to be clear that she never mentioned what type of perfume Mrs. Stanley wore. It was interesting that the tour guide mentioned that, because a while later, as we were standing outside of room 217 listening to the story of how Stephen King came up with the idea for The Shining, the odor of roses descended upon us. How interesting, I thought. While I was thinking it could be a haunting, I wanted to be sure to approach the situation from a rational point of view. I didn’t say a word to anyone, but I moved over by the stairwell as our tour group prepared to move upstairs to our next haunted spot. As the members of the group passed me, I paid attention to the smells of their perfumes and colognes to see if anyone wore a rose-scented perfume, but no one did.
I didn’t say a word about it until the end of the tour. At that point, I said I smelled perfume and had a guess of what type of perfume Mrs. Stanley wore. She asked me what the smell was, and when I said roses, she grinned. At that point, Allen and a few other members of the crowd mentioned that they smelled rose perfume as well.
Spooky? Not really. Cool? Definitely.
The rest of the evening was fun. We met up with my friend Shao and her brother and tried some BrewDog beer. It was great and memorable, even all these years later.
Of course, at one point, the evening came to a close, and Allen and I returned to our room. This is when things get spooky. I was lying in bed with my back turned to the outside of the bed when I felt someone spoon against me. I knew it wasn’t Allen (we’re not those kind of siblings, thank you), mainly because there was no bed behind me. I was lying on the edge of the bed. Whatever spooned me was floating in midair.
As soon as I felt it, I whisper-shouted, “ALLEN! Something spooned me!”
Saying the words broke the spell, and whatever wrapped itself around me disappeared. Thank god.
What does getting spooned by a ghost feel like? Well, like getting spooned by a human…just a little more spectral. It was weird, that’s for darn sure.
I wish I could say that, that’s all that happened, but soon after, Allen called out, “Mindy! Something tucked me in!”
At least the ghosts were friendly.