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A guest at the hotel that inspired The Shining shares a ghostly photo

The Shining, an all-time classic in the horror genre — both literature and film — was inspired by author Stephen King’s stay at Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, a hotel some patrons and staff members still insist is haunted.

If you believe such things, then the photo that Henry Yau snapped of the hotel’s famous grand stairwell might be enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Taken early last week during his stay at the hotel, Yau’s picture appears to show a ghostly figure at the top of the first flight of stairs — despite his insistence that there was no one else there at the time it was captured.

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By golly! I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel. #EstesPark

A photo posted by Henry Yau (@ares415) on

Sure, the circled portion of this picture could be any number of things and in the era of Photoshop. It’s always smart to take these with an industrial-sized grain of salt … it’s just much less fun that way.

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Since the photo was released, says the Oregonian, plenty have offered their opinions, including a paranormal investigator that claims there are actually two ghosts in the photo, a woman and a child immediately to her left.

Said the photographer behind this paranormal kerfuffle “When I took it, I didn’t notice anything.” But upon further inspection, he posted the above image on Instagram with the caption “By golly! I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel. #EstesPark.”

This is by no means the first alleged ghost sighting at Stanley Hotel, as guests have been seeing and hearing strange things there for years. In fact, this kind of thing has become so common that the hotel’s website has a special section for its “haunted history.”

Here’s what King had to say on his website about his stay at the Stanley and how he dreamed up The Shining:

“In late September of 1974, Tabby and I spent a night at a grand old hotel in Estes Park, the Stanley.  We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter. Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect — maybe the archetypical — setting for a ghost story.  That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”

Hmm … if you scare easily, you might want to steer clear of this place during your next trip to the Rockies.