They should make shirts for this sort of thing… that’s what I was thinking when I woke up this morning after five night sleeping alone in room 414 at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
Since I wrote last, two more nights have passed. For the last week, eighteen students, myself included, participated in the first ever Advanced Horror Writing Class held at the Stanley Hotel. While the class isn’t over yet, the residency piece is. And it was well worth it. It’s an experience unique to horror fans, because I’m sure some who read this post are already like, you did what? You voluntarily did this to yourself? And I can tell you, it’s probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. And apparently I’m one tough chick, according to a former grave digger who also happens to be one of the other writers who subjected himself to the experience.
My previous blog posts, here, here, here, and here cover the class from the beginning, including the first few days at the hotel, where I almost jumped out of my skin at the bumps in the night. This blog post I’m typing now picks up where the others left off…
We watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe in the music room. You’d think that’s what caused my fear later that night, but no. The film actually didn’t scare me. What did scare me, is the following series of events.
As mentioned in the last post, I’d been waking up every night all night long beginning around 2:30 AM. From that point on, every night past 2:30 AM, I’d wake up about every 10-15 minutes for several hours until it was finally time to get up. Wednesday started out following the same pattern with the exception of a rotten smell in my room at 5:00 AM. It smelled a little like sulfur, or rotten eggs, mixed with the scent of rotten fruit. Or like rotten trash. Or just rotting flesh, if you really want to know. But I don’t know what that really smells like, so… but the scent was strong enough to wake me up. I started getting scared. I had the lights on, and the TV, but was too scared to turn the channel from the main menu which kept playing the Stanley Hotel advertisements on a loop. I grabbed my phone to see if I could capture anything on video, and about two minutes in, there was a loud crack/creak in the corner of the room.
You can check out the video here.
I didn’t sleep after that. And I mean, basically for the rest of the trip…
A view from the peephole of room 414:
Thursday morning we took a poll in class and all but two people staying on the fourth floor had experienced the same waking patterns at about the same time of night. One girl experienced a similar thing to me, except she also felt something touch her leg.
That evening, I played around with the EMF detector. Not much going on there, but I did get the smallest little blip I couldn’t explain. I had my phone set to airplane mode so there wouldn’t be any weird spikes, and had canvased the room several times without any activity.
Then I asked if I should turn it off, and got this.
That night, we watched Train to Busan on the billiard room.
Afterward, I kept myself awake as long as possible with the TV and lamp on, and propped myself up in bed. Somehow laying down made me feel vulnerable. I was so tired I eventually passed around 4:00 AM, and slept in 5-10 minute intervals until 6:00 AM when the patter of what sounded like little children running in the hall outside my door woke me up. Interestingly, I was so tired I just registered the event and went back to sleep, sleeping for about 40 minutes uninterrupted. And when I heard the sounds of others waking up in the rooms around me, I said a silent and victorious, I <expletive> did it! It’s over! I get to go home!
Friday. We finished workshopping the final three stories, took a class picture, and checked out. I went into town for the first time since it wasn’t snowing for a change, and bought a souvenir for Brixton.
Cut to this moment: I’m so, so tired. And I have withdrawal from the experience. The lobby is so amazing there… I never felt scared in any other part of the hotel. Just the third floor up. I’ve got several more books to read for class along with a 5-page paper, all due by the end of the month.
Isn’t this just the best?:
The people I met this week are awesome. Truly amazing folks with some great writing, analytical, and creative skills, and I hope to stay in touch with several, and hopefully get involved in an online critique group with them.
I’m in NO HURRY to stay there again, though. In fact if I never sleep there again, that would be great. I felt like I was in a downward spiral in that room after the midnight hour hit every night, and the lack of sleep made me feel the stress even more. So, do I think the hotel is haunted? Absolutely, I do. Now where’s my badge of honor, my shirt that says “I stayed five nights alone in a haunted hotel and lived to tell about it?”