Haunted Road Trip: The Stanley Hotel of Estes Park, Colorado

Stanley Hotel

Previously: The Winchester Mystery House.

If you’re a Stephen King fan, you probably already know that the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado served as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in his 1977 novel, The Shining. The idea came to King in 1973; staying the night in room 217 of an almost-empty hotel right before it closes for an extended period of time is bound to get the imagination of a horror writer going. But although the fictional Delbert Grady and his unfortunate wife and children have never been seen walking the halls of the Stanley Hotel, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a few stories of its own.

Freelan Oscar Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, first arrived in Estes Park with his wife, Flora, in 1903. The reason for the move was health-related; Stanley suffered from tuberculosis, so at the suggestion of his doctor, he and Flora took up residence in a cabin in the area for the summer. Struck both by the beauty of the place and by Stanley’s rapid improvement, the couple decided to stay in Estes Park, and after purchasing land and a hunting lodge from the British Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, began construction in 1907 on what would soon become the Stanley Hotel.

Built in the Georgian architectural style and equipped with such newfangled conveniences as indoor plumbing, electricity, and telephones, the resort was a sight to behold; indeed, it changed the face of tourism in Estes Park when it opened in 1909. Furthermore, by the time of his death in 1940, Stanley would completely revitalize the entire town: In addition to the hotel and the cabin a half mile west of it in which he and Flora lived, Stanley developed a sewer, power, and water company, established Estes Park’s first bank, and promoted the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park. Now in its 105th year of operation, business is booming and the hotel remains as grand as ever.

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Unresolved: The Strange Disappearance of the Beaumont Children

Previously: The Lead Masks Case on Vientem Hill.

Jim and Nancy Beaumont thought nothing of it when their three children, Jane, Arnna, and Grant, took the bus from their home in Somerton Park, Australia to the beach on January 26, 1966. It was Australia Day, so of course the children would want to celebrate; and with the beachside resort Glenelg so close to their home, where better to spend the hot summer holiday splashing around in the surf? Jane, the eldest at nine years old, took charge of the younger two, herding them towards the bus for the five-minute ride to the beach. They left home at 10 o’clock in the morning, with instructions to return at noon.

But by three o’clock, they hadn’t made it home.

The Beaumont children would never make it home again.

With the children at the beach and her husband, a linen goods salesman, off to Snowtown to meet with potential clients, Nancy Beaumont had spent the morning visiting a friend. She arrived home before the noon bus Jane, Arnna, and Grant were meant to be did; but when it pulled up, the children failed to depart. Unconcerned, Mrs. Beaumont assumed they had either decided to walk home—something they’d done before—or had missed the bus and would return on the 2pm one instead. But they weren’t waiting for her at home; neither did they return on the later bus. Slightly worried at this point, Nancy continued to wait at home. But the three o’clock bus, too, came and went without the reappearance of the children, throwing their mother into a frenzy of worry. After Jim arrived home, the two frantic parents headed to the beach to search for their children themselves—but after failing to find them, they finally reported Jane, Arnna, and Grant missing to the police at 7:30 at night. Jim Beaumont continued to search through the night; his search turned up no sign of his children, though, and they were declared officially missing the morning of January 27, 1966.

Despite the investigation that would follow, the Beaumont children were never seen again.

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Scare Yourself Silly: Why We Play Those Games We Shouldn’t Play  

broken mirrorPreviously: A Tourist’s Guide to 200 Phenomena in the City of Calgary.

By now, we’ve taken a look at rather a lot of games we would be wiser not to play. But have you stopped to wonder why it is that we play them in the first place? The latest edition of “Scare Yourself Silly” takes a look at exactly that. Science goes a long way towards explaining both what we see in the mirrors so many of these games use, as well as why we feel compelled to look into the mirror at allThe piece is excerpted here; read the whole thing over at The Toast.

You’ll notice that many of the ritual-type games involve mirrors. The idea is usually that by peering into the depths of its reflective surface, the mirror will somehow become a window, promising to show us ghouls, ghosts, or sometimes even glimpses of the future. Here’s the crazy thing: It’s not total bullshit. We do see things in the mirror when we play these sorts of games… just maybe not for the reasons those games would like us to think.

In 1804, a Swiss physician, politician, and philosopher by the name of Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler discovered that if you stare at a single point for even a short period of time, other stimuli within proximity to that point will look to you like they’ve disappeared. This phenomenon is called Troxler’s fading or the Troxler Effect, and it’s incredibly easy to see in action. Try this: Focus your gaze on the black cross in the middle of the GIF seen below and stare at it for about 30 seconds.

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The Most Dangerous Games: The Mirror Box

mirror distortionPreviously: Elevator to Another World.

Mirrors are often employed in these rituals and games we really shouldn’t be playing; I’ll be exploring why that is in an upcoming edition of “Scare Yourself Silly,” but until then, suffice it to say that they sometimes reflect the world back at you… and sometimes represent a window or a doorway into another world entirely. As such, you can see why stepping into a Mirror Box and surrounding yourself on all sides with them isn’t exactly recommended. But if you must… play at your own risk.

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Abandoned: North Brother Island and Riverside Hospital (Photos)


Previously: Hashima Island’s Ghostly Remains.

You don’t have to leave the state to escape the crowds of New York. You don’t even have to leave the city. All you have to do is get your hands on a boat and steer it to a little island about ten minutes off the coast of the Bronx. It’s called North Brother Island, and it’s been abandoned for decades.

In 1885, Riverside Hospital moved from Blackwell’s Island—now known as Roosevelt Island—to North Brother Island, marking the first time the island saw habitation. Originally founded in the 1850s to treat smallpox, Riverside eventually expand to other quarantineable diseases as well. The hospital saw a great deal of history during the time it was located on the island; in addition to being the site of “Typhoid Mary” Mallon’s quarantine from 1907 to 1910 and again from 1915 to her death in 1938, it also witnessed the wreck of the steamship General Slocum. On June 15, 1904, over 1,000 people either burned to death in the fire aboard or drowned before reaching the shore.

Little wonder that North Brother island feels like it’s full of ghosts.

Following the closure of Riverside Hospital, the island alternately housed World War II veterans and treated adolescent drug addicts. The veterans have perhaps the happiest story of North Brother Island’s inhabitants; once the nationwide housing shortage abated, the program was no longer needed. The rehabilitation center for drug addicted teens that opened in the ‘50s, however, met with a sorrier fate: Many of its patients believed they were being held there against their will, and widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced it to close its doors by the early 1960s.

But all is not lost for North Brother Island. It may be abandoned, and it may be off limits to the public, but there are many more living things than dead ones inhabiting it now. Amidst the collapsing buildings overgrown with forest greenery are birds of all kinds: Black-crowned Night Herons, Glossy Ibis, and Great Egrets find their homes there, making the once-sordid place a bird sanctuary of great beauty. In recent years, the winged population has sadly declined—but it has by no means vanished. All you have to do is look up to the trees to see it.

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Creepypasta of the Week: “1999”

static vintage tvPreviously: “Anansi’s Goatman Story”

One of the biggest subgenres of the “let’s fuck up everyone’s childhood”-type creepypastas are the ones that focus on children’s television. A lot of these stories describe lost episodes of well-known shows like Spongebob Squarepants (“Squidward’s Suicide”), weird cartoon shorts starring characters like Mickey Mouse (“Suicide Mouse”), and so on — but I would argue the more effective tales are the ones about shows that didn’t actually exist… or did they?

“1999” is one of these such tales. It’s a long read, but stick with it—it’s worth it. Just, y’know… don’t try to hunt down channel 21 yourself. Especially if you happen to live around Ontario.

“The year is nineteen-ninety-nine.”

That sentence brings me back to my senior kindergarten class when I was five years old, where we used to read out the date on the blackboard every single day. The year 1999 exists as a stain in mind however, as a memory that will not go away no matter how I try to forget it. 1999 marked the year I lost my first tooth, my first time on a plane, and unfortunately the early loss of my childhood innocence.

That one memory that refuses to be wiped, it all started with that new (or old) TV. At that time Pokémon was the latest fad to hit the school. Pokémon cards, games, stickers, and the most popular, the TV show. So of course every time I came home from school, I would stay glued to the TV until Pokémon came on at five. The only problem was that my dad watched the news at 5:30, and Pokémon episodes were back-to-back, which meant I had to miss an episode everyday, something I whined on and on about. My dad got tired of hearing me complain everyday, that must be why he went and bought another TV.

My dad put the TV he bought in my room, unfortunately it was just an old, small boob tube, with rabbit ears even. It also only had 20 channels available; not including the channel Pokémon was on. I recall I didn’t care though, I was just thrilled I had my own TV in my room. After surfing through the channels, I came to the conclusion that only channel 2 (TVO kids) was worth watching so I watched that for a while. It wasn’t for another few months until I discovered channel 21. One day in April, I was flipping through the channels, trying to see if Pokémon was on. I pressed channel 21 into the remote, hoping there were more channels, and to my delight there was. My dad was surprised too, but he let me watch it because it seemed to have kids programs on. The channel was call

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