The Stanley’s Infamous Room 217 and the Ghost of Mrs. Wilson

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Room 217, side view of Stanley Hotel
Stanley Hotel Outside Room 217, Estes Park, CO

The Stanley Hotel’s Room 217 is one of the most popular rooms in the hotel, after all, the ghost of Mrs. Wilson will keep your clothes nice and tidy. Four presidents and Stephen King were among the many prominent guests who stayed in that room. Although Stephen King did not pen The Shining there, his stay did inspire it.

Mrs. Wilson
Stanley Hotel, Room 217, Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel Room 217

Who is Mrs. Wilson? She was the chief chambermaid in 1911. On the day the hotel opened for the season, the hydroelectric plant went down. By the way, this hotel was the first hotel to have electricity. Mrs. Wilson was lighting the gas lamps when she was almost killed. Acetylene was pumped into the rooms, and in

Room 217, Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Room 217 – Stanley Hotel Estes Park, CO

Room 217 there happened to be a gas leak. When Mrs. Wilson went into the bathroom, it blew out the front of the hotel. She was blown through the floor into the MacGregor Room and survived. Almost forty years to the day, she died of a heart attack in that room. According to the tour guide, Mrs. Wilson is a permanent visitor here who will fold and put away your clothes.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Room 217, Bear-Clawed Tub
The Stanley Hotel
Room 217 Bear-Clawed Tub

My husband and I had the opportunity to stay in that room. Except for the bear-clawed tub and the view, it struck me as an ordinary room with an extraordinary history. Shortly after arriving, we had a few visitors just wanting to see it and take photos. We took a few photos of our own. One visitor who was clearly absent was Mrs. Wilson. I had to fold my own clothes and keep them nice and tidy.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

You may find some similarities between Room 217 and the honeymoon suite described in my book, Hidden Bloodlines. Check out Chapter 2 of the book and let me know what you think!


(C) 2016 Karen  Van Den Heuvel Fischer

The Mysterious Stanley Hotel – Above Ordinary

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

The mysterious  Stanley Hotel touts itself as a hotel “7500 feet above ordinary.” Listed on the Historic Registry and featured as one of the most haunted hotels in America, I definitely agree. My husband and I had the pleasure of staying there on a number of occasions.

With Interesting:
  • guests including frequent visitors from various “ghost buster” groups,
  • ghost tours,
  • museum pieces, and

    The Stanley Hotel, museum pieces.
    The Stanley Hotel — Museum Pieces
  • the fact that it inspired the setting for movies, a television series, and Stephen King’s book The Shining, as well as my own — Hidden Bloodlines, it’s a fun place to visit.

They even offer a Ghost Adventure Package. What would F.O. Stanley think? I wonder…

The Stanley Hotel, Steamer, Estes Park
The Stanley Hotel —

F.O. Stanley, famous for his Steamer among other things, moved west because of his health. He suffered from symptoms of consumption and found reprieve after he arrived in Estes Park, Colorado, the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park. Excited about his health benefits, he wanted to build a hotel replete with all the eastern amenities he found the area lacking. He bought 160 acres from Lord Dunraven (more on him later) and initially built the main building of the Stanley Hotel. When it opened in 1909, it was the first hotel in the area to

Otis Elevator, Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel’s Otis Elevator 1909

offer posh amenities like electricity, telephones, bathrooms en suite, and automobiles. It attracted visitors from all over, especially those who searched for a similar reprieve for their health.

Stanley, in some form or another, helped develop the town. By 1917, the municipality was official with civic organizations, a power plant, and water works. Together with his wife Flora, he worked to create the Rocky Mountain National Park, probably his most lasting legacy. His efforts went a long way toward his friendship with

portrait F.O. Stanley, Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Portrait of F.O. Stanley
The Stanley Hotel

Kyle Mills, a renowned naturalist.

By the 1970’s, this grand hotel was no longer grand. Faded by the wear and tear of time, it earned the reputation of being haunted. But for Stephen King’s stay which inspired his best-selling novel, The Shining, the hotel might have ceased to exist. In the next post on the Stanley Hotel, we’ll explore one of the most popular rooms in the hotel — the one frequented by many prominent guests and the ghost of Mrs. Wilson.

What historic hotels have you visited?

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

The Supernatural — Fact or Fiction?

guardian angel, the supernatural, spirits
Guardian Angel – A Supernatural Phenomenon

Is the supernatural fact or fiction? Angels, demons, ghosts/spirits, the Force, God…anything that cannot be explained by science or the laws of nature. Don’t we all in one way or another believe in the supernatural? Books, movies, and stories abound. How many of you remember sharing ghost stories around the camp fire?

camp fire, stories, fun, laughter
Around the Camp Fire

Just look at some of the most popular television shows, both past and present — Touched by an Angel, Poltergeist, Game of Thrones … the list can go on and on. Prior to the political campaigns, the news was fraught with stories of successful exorcisms and exorcisms gone bad. Numerous reports of hauntings and sightings by ghost busters made headlines. It makes for great marketing potential. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, featured as one of the most haunted hotels in the country, inspired the setting for my book, Hidden Bloodlines.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel
Our Wedding

It started with a weekend adventure at the Stanley Hotel for our wedding anniversary and we were definitely in for a treat. At the registration desk, a group of ghost busters, replete with the necessary equipment joined us. Their excitement was contagious as they discussed what ghosts they hoped to detect as well as when and where it would all start. We were even invited to join them. Although we declined their kind invitation, we heard them in the halls outside of our room trying to detect a spirit seen on a ladder going to the roof. Although they shared their disappointment with us the next day, it did not stop them from planning their next visit. They just knew the next visit would be THE visit.

supernatural, fog, night
The Supernatural – Fact or Fiction? Night Fog …

Solicitations for stories on miracles, angels, and other unexplainable happenings occur on a regular basis. I have received such solicitations more times than I can count. Many have either personally experienced miracles or know someone who has. I have. This is the first in a series featuring the Stanley Hotel and the supernatural.

What do you believe?

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

The Chapel on the Rock for the Perfect Wedding

The Chapel on the Rock - Inside
Inside the Chapel on the Rock

The Chapel on the Rock is the perfect setting for the perfect wedding. My earlier post, The Chapel on the Rock – Perfect Setting introduced you to one of the most photographed sites in the country. This article takes you inside and you won’t be disappointed. It truly is the perfect setting for that perfect, quaint wedding. Just ask the multitude of couples who said, “I do” there or check out the wedding in Hidden Bloodlines.

Imagine a wedding where…
Perfect Roses
Imagine a Wedding with Pink Roses
  • flowers adorn the simple stone sanctuary and wooden pews…

    St. Catherine of Sienna Stained Glass
    Stained Glass
  • the soft glow of candlelight illuminates beautiful stained glass …
  • music fills the air….
    Organ in the Chapel on the Rock

    You get the picture.

    The Rocky Mountain National Park
Lily Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park
Karen at Lily Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park

The chapel sits in the Rocky Mountain National Park. These mountains attract visitors from all over the world, with good cause. If you haven’t visited yet, put it on your bucket list. When I returned to take photos of the chapel’s interior, my husband and I made a Sunday morning of it. We started with the 8:00 a.m. mass at Our Lady of the Mountains, the beautiful church responsible for scheduling the Chapel’s weddings. Father Joseph Cao began with a joke that made us all laugh.

An angel appeared to a 60 year old couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. He granted them each one wish  — anything that their hearts desired. The wife wanted a cruise around the world. The angel gave her two first class tickets. The husband asked that his wife be 30 years younger than he. The angel made him 90. The moral of the story — Be careful what you wish for.

Places to Eat
Inside the Other Side Restaurante
Inside the Other Side Restaurant

After mass we stopped for breakfast. I normally don’t share places where I dine, but this was our first visit to The Other Side Restaurant and I was impressed. Not only was the food good, but the restaurant was spotless. Each table was cleaned with a new bleached towel between guests, the chef was in a hairnet and gloves, and they appeared to follow safe food handling procedures. Sundays they offer brunch, and although it looked yummy, I had a smaller breakfast. You may want to stop by if you’re in the area.

Sunday Brunch
Sunday Brunch at The Other Side Restaurantand

After breakfast we checked out the chapel. Unless there is a wedding, it will be open every day until the middle of August when they replace the roof. Expect it to reopen in the middle of September. Check with Our Lady of the Mountain for further details. Enjoy the peace, tranquility, and beauty the Chapel on the Rock offers…..We did.

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Colorado Rockies
The Chapel on the Rock, set in the Colorado Rockies

The Chapel on the Rock-Perfect Setting

Colorado Rockies
The Chapel on the Rock, set in the Colorado Rockies

The Chapel on the Rock, formally known as St. Catherine of Sienna Chapel, is the perfect setting for an intimate wedding. Situated in the Colorado Rockies, its beauty is revealed in its simplicity.

Pope John Paul II was one of a number of dignitaries who visited

Hidden Bloodlines
Hidden Bloodlines

this chapel and it still attracts visitors both near and far. The Chapel on the Rock is the only real place in my novel, Hidden Bloodlines, which will be released on July, 22, 2016 … just 6 days away. And yes, it is the setting for a wedding.

This chapel, built on a rock is reflective of scripture — “[O]n this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18). And Hell did try to overcome it — twice.

The Perfect Setting
The Chapel on the Rock 2016

The first time was with a fire in 2011 which destroyed the 60,000 square foot St. Malo retreat center. With the exception of an old stone fireplace, there was nothing much left of the lodge and guest wing. The chapel was untouched despite the fact it sits on the same 160 acre property. The second time was with the devastating Colorado flood of 2013. A five-mile landslide started on top of neighboring Mount Meeker causing tons of debris made up of soil, rock, and trees to surge onto this same church property. In some places, the debris was 15 feet deep. Although this landslide destroyed the beautiful, serene Cabin Creek Trail walked on by the Pontiff during his 1993 visit for World Youth Day, the wave of debris ended at the base of the chapel. Miraculously, the Chapel on the Rock was unharmed.

Chapel on the Rock
St. Malo Retreat Center

Prior to the “100 Year Flood” of 2013, plans were in place to rebuild Camp St. Malo. Unfortunately, with estimated costs of $4.4 million to rebuild and a determination that the future sediment and water flow was uncertain, rebuilding St. Malo on that site is indefinitely on hold. However, the untouched Chapel on the Rock is still open to the public.

Built in the 1930’s, Boulder County designated the Chapel on the Rock as an historical landmark. Weddings and masses are still held at this beautiful chapel. For anyone interested in reserving this chapel for a wedding, contact Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church in Estes Park, Colorado. It is available as the perfect setting. This chapel is not to be missed, if not in person, than in Hidden Bloodlines.

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer