Friday, February 17, 2017

The Haunted Vacation Behind Hidden Bloodlines

The location of Hidden Bloodlines originated from a haunted vacation at the historic Stanley Hotel, registered at the time as the second most haunted hotel in the country. Located in Estes Park, Colorado, the Stanley Hotel touts itself as a hotel “7500 feet above ordinary.” As new Colorado residents, we chose the Stanley to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Little did I know, it was the start of something much bigger… a seed was planted and a story grew.

To say it was a unique experience is an understatement that started the moment we checked in. The registration desk was crowded with an excited group of people carrying unusual equipment. They belonged to a club of “ghost busters,” and they planned to use the tools of their trade to detect ghosts they felt certain resided in the hotel.

We went all out and took the Ghost Tour which was the precursor of what was to come. A few of the stops included Room 418, the most haunted room in the hotel, the infamous Room 217 where Stephen King and many dignitaries (including four presidents) stayed, as well as the staircase on the fourth floor that went to the bell tower where numerous photographic sightings of a male ghost were made. Clearly we were in for a long night. Our room was next to the fourth floor staircase and was a popular “haunt” for ghost busters. The excited whispers, clanging of equipment, and creaks kept us up long into the night.

Our bleary eyes and fatigue were short lived — the excitement of these special hotel guests was contagious. Once again, we met at the registration desk as we checked out. Although these ghost busters did not detect any ghostly residents, they were planning their next trip … certain of their success.

One year later, on our anniversary, we stayed in the most popular room in the hotel, Room 217 where the ghost of Mrs. Wilson is supposed to be a permanent visitor. She was the chief chambermaid in 1911. On the day the hotel opened for the season, the hydroelectric plant went down. Mrs. Wilson was lighting the gas lamps when she was almost killed. Acetylene was pumped into the rooms, and in 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. Although Mrs. Wilson is supposed to fold and put away your clothes, she must have taken a vacation the night we stayed. In spite of the fact that we have stayed many times since, we have not seen any ghosts… yet.

What is your most memorable vacation?

Karen Van Den Heuvel


Dena Netherton said...

Karen, we took the ghost tour and even though we ourselves didn't see anything ghostly, our friends saw a mean looking male ghost in their room! I'm looking forward to reading Hidden Bloodlines. You're a fine author.

Amanda Cabot said...

Isn't it fun when a vacation inspires a book? I have to say, though, that I'd prefer not to stay in a haunted hotel, even if it resulted in a book as exciting as Hidden Bloodlines. Thinking about your story still sends chills down my spine -- the hallmark of excellent suspense.

marilyn leach said...

Karen, my favorite vacation is hard to pin down, except to say, I love visiting England, and try to go as funds allow. My last trip was to attend my friend's daughter's wedding in Reynoldston, Wales. Amazing. The Gower Peninsula is remote and stunning with moors, dales, and salt marshes. There was lots of excitement but no unearthly beings. Cheers.