Snowy days and sleepless nights

12 Feb

Sepia'ed Stanley

Last weekend Stephen and I took a little mini-vacay to Denver and The Stanley Hotel, aka The Overlook Hotel, aka The-Hotel-That-Stephen-King-Based-The-Hotel-From-The-Shining-On-But-No-The-Movie-Wasn’t-Filmed-There-But-The-Miniseries-Was-And-The-Miniseries-Is-Surprisingly-Good-So-You-Should-Watch-It. Last weekend was also the weekend that Colorado got a record February blizzard! So, basically I had a weekend of getting no sleep (BECAUSE OF GHOSTS) and seeing lots of pretty snow. It was simultaneously a not relaxing (GHOSTS!) and very relaxing (aw, Winter Wonderland let’s watch snow fall for an hour!) vacation.

This was before the record snowfall

It’s an amazing hotel, and one that we would never be able to normally afford, but there was a Groupon deal for over half off rooms, plus a history/ghost tour, and since Stephen is the world’s biggest Stephen King fan and I am a fan of anything creepy, we snatched that shit up. And I’m so glad we did, because it was fantastic!

Denver Museum

Before we got to the Overlook–er, Stanley Hotel, we spent the afternoon bopping around Denver. Mostly at their Museum of Nature and Science, which was satisfactorily nature-y and science-y. It’s kind of fun to be an adult at a more kids-oriented museum, because there’s no pressure to learn anything, since I KNOW IT ALREADY DUMB KIDS (are all museums kids-oriented, is that totally redundant? Maybe not the Museum of Sex in NYC . . . but otherwise?). I could just enjoy the dead animal dioramas, which never fail to make me sad and happy for the same reason: Animals are just so nifty and crazy!

Stephen giving the wolves a talking to

me petting the poor taxidermied manatees

And then we beat the snow to The Stanley! And it was a beautiful drive, and a beautiful hotel, and I was only scared of ghosts about 60% of the time (during the day. Nighttime, it was all terror).

They of course have a resident psychic, so I of course had my tarot cards read. It was pretty obviously cold reading, but it also was kind of fun just having someone totally unbiased listen to me whine and complain and pretend there was more to life than my own decisions. It was fun to let go of being in charge of my own life for a half an hour, and tell the fates to have their way. There were some pretty intense LIFE DECISIONS I was rending garments over that weekend (that are not really bloggable . . .YET), and heavy thinking about them was one of the reasons I wanted my tarot read in the first place. It was something I’d always been curious about, but I probably would’ve waited  till next time, like I’ve always done in the past when the opportunity arose. And it was strangely invigorating. Like, I was totally energized afterwards. Spirits! But mostly it made me just wonder about people who do that for a living. Do they know it’s bullshit? Do they really believe it and are just really good at cold reading and therefore think it’s real? Is it some mixture of the two? She did have a few really creepy on-point things (that I have a small dog who I adore [“probably because you were wearing something covered in dog fur’–my mom, the skeptic], some details regarding LIFE DECISIONS, little things like that). If I have a house by a river and a baby girl in two years, as she predicted, then I will change my tune on the legitimacy. But for entertainment purposes, it served.

Wanna know about the creepy stuff? YEAH YOU DO.

The fourth floor, also known as the haunted floor, also the floor we stayed on

We went on an awesome ghost tour with Scary Mary, who I will confidently proclaim is the best hotel ghost tour guide ever, even though I have not been on a hotel ghost tour before. She was sassy and cheesy-funny (the perfect humor for a ghost tour) and spooky. She summoned the kid ghosts on the fourth floor (where all the kids were sent while their parents partied, and hence where a lot of kids died of diphtheria and dysentery and such), and both Stephen and I can attest to the legit-ness of feeling cold spots around her (where she said she could feel the dead kids’ presence).

Scary Mary (it said that on her nametag even) encouraging us to put our hands close to her, where the ghost kids were running amok. And Damn if there weren't cold spots.

At one point she said the kids were playing with this dude’s shoelace; he was right next to me so I knelt down to look better and I swear I saw that shoelace move in an unnatural way. And yes, maybe the dude shifted his foot unconsciously or something, but much more likely: GHOSTS.

There were other fun/creepy things that happened on the ghost tour, but I won’t bore you with all the details since they aren’t as impressive if you don’t experience them yourself. Let me just say it was awesome and while all of it could be explained with Science (maybe Scary Mary chose that location to summon the ghost kids because she knows there are lots of drafts in that spot . . .), I think when one is staying in a haunted historic hotel, it’s just bad form to not give ghost props where ghost props are due. So I will stand by my assertion of Ghosts trumping Science.

Flora Stanley, the lady for whom the hotel was built, who also supposedly haunts the music room. Don't mess with her.

On Thursday night I couldn’t sleep much, but nothing spooky happened, so I was excited for Friday night when I figured I would sleep great, since ghosts were obviously not interested in me. And Friday night I couldn’t sleep at all. I am a falling asleep CHAMP, especially when exhausted, but I was totally creeped out and lay awake for a good two hours or so. I kept thinking I felt the bottom of the bed shake a little, which I probably did, from the non-ghost-Stephen moving. I heard water running at one point, kind of the sound a running toilet makes,  and a very creepy and awesome owl hooting (which I woke Stephen up for, just to confirm it was an owl). About two hours into being too freaked out to sleep–I was on the bed-side close to the closet door and bathroom door, and for some reason that made me sure something was going to touch me, and then the moving bed, and the sound of water, and the owl, it was too much–I made Stephen switch sides with me.  And that totally clicked my sleepy on and I finally zonked.

Our room from the outside; the top window in the red turret was ours. We could tell because ours was the only open window on that floor (our room was super hot for some reason)

When we woke up, we noticed two things. One, that the bathroom door was ajar. This was noteworthy only in that Stephen had been VERY meticulous about keeping all the doors closed shut, because the ghosty-stuff we read about the Stanley had specifically said that the spooks liked messing with doors. I wasn’t as good about the doors, but we know Stephen was the last one in the bathroom, because the toilet seat was still up (BOYS). After that, I told Stephen about the running water noise I had heard, and he correctly pointed out that we had never heard any pipe noises before (we’d actually remarked upon the quietness of the hotel) and that NO bathroom was adjacent to ours, because we were in a little lofty space. So I don’t know how pipes work, but  it seems unlikely there would’ve been any for me to hear. I had Stephen run the faucet a bit to see if it sounded like the noise I heard, and with the bathroom door closed, it was just about right, or as much as I could remember using my sleepy-brain memory.


So, again: mmmaayyyybeee Stephen didn’t shut the door and we both just didn’t notice. Maaayyybeeee I heard a neighbor’s pipes at three in the morning. Or mmaaayyybeeeee (say it with me): GHOSTS.

I don’t officially believe in ghosts. I think it’s fun to believe, and fun to be scared by the unknown, and I have a healthy respect for the dark, but no matter how many Ghost Hunters shows I watch, until I see a real-life ghost myself, I won’t ever believe in them [Note to any ghosts reading this: That is not a challenge. Please do not apparate near me.]. Even if I did see one, I would be all Scrooge about it and not trust my senses, more of gravy than of grave, etc.

But all that said, I am currently googling Idaho Ghost Hunters to see if maybe there’s some group I could join for fun. Totally ironic, of course. Tooootally . . . ironic . . .


door to the belltower


2 Responses to “Snowy days and sleepless nights”

  1. Karen February 13, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    This is the MOST AWESOME TRIP EVAH. I so, so am putting something like this on my Bucket List. I’m totally jealous!!

  2. vivren February 13, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Maybe your little girl WILL LOOK LIKE THIS:

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