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Ghosts Photographed at the Hotel That Inspired ‘The Shining’

There are few adaptations of Stephen King’s horror novels better than The Shining. It’s a well-known fact that King was inspired to write it while staying at the stately Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. As a result, the hotel has become a center for paranormal investigations and ghost sightings. The latest occurred last month when a family that had taken a spirit tour while visiting the Stanley noticed what appears to be two apparitions in one photograph.

John Mausling, his wife Jessica Martinez-Mausling and their children visited the Stanley Hotel, a popular tourist spot near the Rocky Mountain National Park, in September. None remember seeing anything unusual on their spirit tour, a popular guided trip through the hotel highlighting its haunted history, but it wasn’t hard to spot something strange in one of the photographs of their guide on a staircase. Taken from above, the shot shows what appears to be a ghostly apparition of a girl near the guide and a second glowing apparition next to her.

(John Mausling)

Being of sound mind and body, the Mauslings immediately contacted not the Stanley Hotel, not the police, not the Ghostbusters (neither the females nor the males) but the Huffington Post, which reported their account and published the photograph. They commented that no one in their family nor the tour group remembers seeing a young girl, which is what most people who see the photo think the larger shape is.

That includes Ben Hansen, the host of “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files,” who told Huffington Post that he didn’t see anything abnormal, so it could definitely be paranormal.

“I really like this photo. Assuming that it’s not doctored, it ranks up there as one of the best photos of possible paranormal evidence I’ve seen. If it is faked, I’ve got to hand it to them for their level of detail and creativity because there’s usually enough easy signs to suggest hoaxing.”

(John Mausling)

That may be true, but there are some unusual aspects to the photograph. The ‘girl’ apparition is in a direct line of glare from a light on the wall. The window reflects the hanging lights, which are clearly visible, but there is a second reflection of lights below it whose source is not seen. The mirror on the wall shows the back of the man’s head but the rest of the reflection doesn’t seem to match up with the people along the window or in front of him. Then there’s the second apparition. While it looks like it could be a ghostly head and shoulders, no body or legs are seen through the stair railings. If it’s another person walking up the stairs, why aren’t more of the people blurred due to a long exposure?

(John Mausling)

Speaking as someone who is a fan of The Shining and has been to the Stanley Hotel, I’d like to believe the Mauslings captured the image of one or two of the ghosts that many believe to inhabit the Stanley and especially Room 217 where King and his wife stayed on that inspirational night in 1974. However, this photo doesn’t convince me.

What do YOU think?


Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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