Some people claim ghosts haunt certain old hotels, such as The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where Stephen King first brainstormed The Shining. Another supposedly haunted hotel in Colorado is the House of Mirrors in Denver, which was once the parlor of a famous madam. Then there’s stories of Frank Sinatra’s ghost partying with the Rat Pack at an old Vegas hotel and casino, The Riviera, which is sadly no more.

I’ve visited all three of these hotels, and taken ghost tours at two of them, but unfortunately never saw a spirit or ghostly goings-on. However, there were plenty of stories about people who have, starting with…

The Stanley Hotel

I’ve taken the ghost tour at The Stanley Hotel three times. Not because I keep thinking a ghost will pop up, but because it’s a fun thing to do with guests when they visit. The ghost-tour hosts tell fantastic stories of scary ghouls and spooky sightings, but unfortunately none of the spirits dropped by to frighten those taking the tour.

The Stanley Hotel’s ghost tours now include a Night Ghost Tour, a 90-minute tour that explains the different paranormal activities and experiences that have occurred at the hotel. No children under 10, no dogs, and no alcohol are allowed on this tour.

Ghost image on staircase (image is in public domain)

A Spirit Dropped Off a Photo?

A friend of mine visited The Stanley Hotel a few years ago for a night stay-over with her pal. She didn’t take any of their ghost tours, and wasn’t interested in the stories of spooky goings-on. The next day when she went out to her car, she found it unlocked…which surprised her as she was certain she’d locked it the night before. In the backseat was a blanket she’d brought to the mountains, neatly folded, exactly where she’d left it (she’d brought it in case it got too cold in the mountains, but didn’t need to use it).

When she got home, she gathered her things from the car. When she lifted the blanket, she found a vintage photo of a woman. My friend looked at it, wondering how and why it was in her car. The photo appeared to be taken a long time ago, perhaps in the 1930s based on how the woman was dressed and the style of her hair. No one else had been in her car for weeks, and the blanket had been washed before she’d put it into her car, so it wasn’t as if the photo might have fallen out of the blanket.

My friend decided a ghostly visitor who haunts The Stanley Hotel had placed it there for some reason. She has since framed the photo and hangs it in her business.

I love the story…would love it even more if someone had seen the phantom drop-off.

A Ghostly Madam Who Continues to Haunt Her Brothel?

Several years ago, I visited a hundred-year-old-plus building in downtown Denver, formerly a brothel run by Denver’s infamous madam, Mattie Silks. I wrote about that visit in my book Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye, part of which is excerpted below.

Nearly a decade ago, I was writing a novel that featured a ghost character (Sweet Talking Guy in The Spirits Are Willing series). My fictional ghost lived during the late nineteenth-century silver-boom days of Colorado, and in my research I read where a famous madam, Mattie Silks, from that era was supposedly still haunting her old living quarters, called the House of Mirrors.

Mattie Silks: Denver's most famous madam

Mattie Silks: Denver’s most famous madam (image is in public domain)

She also ran other successful brothels, but the most famous was her House of Mirrors. A quote from Mattie on being a businesswoman:

“I went into the sporting life for business reasons and for no other. It was a way for a woman in those days to make money, and I made it. I considered myself then and I do now-as a businesswoman. I operated the best houses in town and I had as my clients the most important men in the West.”

One spring afternoon, I visited the House of Mirrors, which had morphed into a bar/restaurant:

The place was closed, but a friendly bartender let me in to walk around and look at spots where the madam’s ghost had supposedly been seen and possibly heard (whisperings and giggling on a certain staircase was one of the more popular). Did I see or hear any ghostly goings-on? Sorry to say, no.

But the bartender wanted to share his personal stories with me. Claimed that late at night, when he was alone cleaning up, sometimes the elevator would suddenly start working, its doors opening…and no one would be inside.  And then there was the night when, alone again, an entire shelf suddenly fell off the wall.

I wish I could imagine ghosts in those happenings, but it seemed to me that both the shelf and elevator were in serious need of repair.

Some Claim Frank Sinatra Haunted The Riviera Hotel in Vegas

Sadly, the iconic Riviera hotel and casino in Las Vegas is in the process of being torn down. Before its demise, some people, including guests, claimed Frank Sinatra haunted the penthouse suite where he had stayed for years, and which was also named after him (before the hotel closed,  you could rent the Frank Sinatra penthouse for $200+ a night). There were guests who also claimed they heard the faint sounds of a cocktail party and laughter in the large living  room and dining area, where in fact Sinatra and the Rat Pack were known to have thrown parties.

Ghostly Links

For your ghoulish enjoyment:

Old-Time Radio: Inner Sanctum Mysteries

Vince Neal Scares Off the Ghost of Frank Sinatra Metal Insider

Happy Halloween!