Mr. King... you'll be staying in room 217 tonight.
A few years back, my sister and I flew to Denver, Colorado to visit our mom. While there, we visited a beautiful, old hotel at the foothills of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. On your way there, just when you think you'll see nothing but rock wall for the rest of your life, the mountains suddenly give way to a gorgeous green valley. At the heart of that valley is a sprawling white hotel topped with a russet-colored roof and a majestic spire.
And that building is the very one that planted the seed in Stephen King's head for his masterpiece, The Shining.
Living in Boulder at the time, Stephen and his wife Tabitha stayed as guests at The Stanley on a break from King's job as a teacher. It's obvious that the hotel's history of hauntings and ghostly visitors made quite an impression on him. The infamous room 217 was actually where the Kings stayed and where one of the best horror stories known to man was conceived (better than any stupid baby, if you ask me).
When you walk through the door, the history in the air is palpable. You can sense that very mysterious things have occurred there since it's doors opened in 1909 and the artifacts, stories and photos proudly displayed throughout the building prove this. The Stanley Hotel embraces their supernatural history through ghost tours, a resident psychic and simply providing their visitors all the facts regarding the weird and wonderful occurrences that have taken place within it's walls.
The copy of The Shining I'm reading right now was actually purchased in the very hotel that inspired it's inception. Because of this, reading a paperback as opposed to Aldeux doesn't bother me as much as it normally does. It feels... special, somehow. As I read, I can actually smell what Jack, Wendy and Danny experienced when they walked into the lobby of The Overlook Hotel for the first time. I can feel the slightly heavy air that surrounded them as Mr. Ullman gave them a tour through the place they would be isolated in for the next few months of their lives. It adds such an incredible reality to the story I am reading... I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it. Although, this wonderful "real-ness" probably isn't such a great thing at the moment, as I'm home alone and just got back from seeing The Woman in Black. If I sleep with the lights on tonight, don't judge me too harshly... okay? I guess if it gets bad enough, I can always throw my copy in the freezer. That's wisdom straight from Joey Tribiani, folks!