Novel The Shining Stephen King (1979)
Often referred to as one of the most terrifying novels ever written, The Shining tells the story of the Overlook, a hotel haunted by an evil force, and a family whose father soon falls prey to a most deadly madness. A story born within the walls of the Stanley Hotel.
Stanley Hotel
Stanley Hotel - James M on flickr

“Every hotel has its ghost? The Overlook had a whole coven of them.”

The narrator

It all started with a seemingly ordinary vacation. We are in October 1974. Stephen King is then a writer full of promise. When he arrives at the Stanley Hotel, accompanied by his wife Tabitha, the novelist is surprised to find that there are no other guests. At this time, just before winter closing and after the summer season, the facility has a reputation for being quiet. They then move into room 217, the only one still functional, without knowing that it has the reputation of being haunted.

The night is difficult. Anxious, the writer can’t sleep and decides to go to the bar. He meets Lloyd Grady, the bartender. While he sips his drink, Stephen King talks with Lloyd Grady about the scary stories attached to the Stanley Hotel. Two hours later, a little drunk, the novelist goes back to bed and sinks into a sleep full of nightmares. When he wakes up, Stephen King thinks of the endless corridors of the Stanley Hotel and imagines his young son Joe running through this maze, chased by a fire hose. Dismayed, he soon investigated the place and discovered that it was in room 217 that a terrible accident involving a gas leak had occurred on June 25, 1911, involving Elizabeth Wilson.

The young woman had entered the room with a lighted lamp, causing a terrible explosion. However, she recovered from her injuries before returning to her position. She died years later, but apparently still stays at the Stanley Hotel. The building as a whole would also be inhabited by different spirits, more or less teasing. Elizabeth Wilson, for example, is said to have made a habit of putting away clients’ things when their backs are turned. Or obviously to disturb their sleep, as was the case with Stephen King.

Upon his return to Bangor, Maine, the novelist, also inspired by the lyrics ofInstant Karma! by John Lennon, wrote a first version of The Shining. The Stanley Hotel became the Overlook, a vast and luxurious establishment perched in the mountains.

In the book, room 217 also has a special place. Behind the door of this room hides a perfidious demon that young Danny will not take long to attract by the only force of this gift called the Shining. His father is gradually overcome by a supernatural insanity favored by his alcoholism and his inability to write the book he has in mind. Perfect theater of fear, the Overlook remains very close to the Stanley Hotel.


Stephen King wrote a sequel to The Shining. Entitled Doctor Sleep, it was published in 2013.

The Stanley Hotel

A majestic Rocky Mountain resort located in Estes Park, the Stanley Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Stanley Hotel took two years to complete. Opened in 1909, it offers luxury to nature lovers while its location near trails and hiking paths ensures a steady stream of visitors in summer and winter. The Stanley Hotel has been the subject of many legends, but most of all it has a reputation for being haunted. Room 217, in particular, is said to house the ghost of a certain Elizabeth Wilson, while the ghost of a little boy lives in room 418. Several investigations have been conducted over the years to try to capture images of these supposed ghosts.

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, May 23, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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