A photograph was taken at the Colorado hotel that helped to inspire Stephen King’s bestselling novel “The Shining” shows what appears to be two “ghosts.”
The Mausling family of Aurora, Colorado, participated in a “spirit tour” at the 108-year-old Stanley Hotel in Estes Park last month. After returning home, they noticed a photo taken by John “Jay” Mausling that seemed to show a young girl walking down the stairs.
John Mausling and his wife, Jessica Martinez-Mausling, told HuffPost via email that there were no young girls in their 11-member party or on the tour.
“At first we tried to be logical and think we somehow missed her so we asked our kids, their girlfriends and our friend if they remembered seeing a little girl,” they wrote. “Nobody did. We do not remember seeing anything on the stairs when we took the picture.”
Here’s a close up of the mysterious figure on the stairs:
Ben Hansen, former FBI agent and host of “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files,” said a careful analysis of the photo turned up no obvious signs of trickery.
“I really like this photo,” Hansen said. “Assuming that it’s not doctored, it ranks up there as one of the best photos of possible paranormal evidence I’ve seen. If it is faked, I’ve got to hand it to them for their level of detail and creativity because there’s usually enough easy signs to suggest hoaxing.”
While the ghostly girl stood out the most, the photo may also feature the second apparition.
The Mauslings said that at the time the photo was taken, there were just two people on the stairs: the tour guide and someone else on the tour with a cellphone. However, the image shows what could be a third figure, who appears to be walking up the stairs and away from the tour group:
Hansen said he assumed this figure was just another person walking up the stairs with the same motion blur seen around some of the other people in the image. Then he noticed something else.
“Through the stair railing posts you should see the lower half of this person like you do the tour guide and the shoes of the person on the stairs… but I can’t make out any lower half,” he said.
Hansen added there was no litmus test for a ghost photo so it’s impossible to know for sure just what was in the picture. The Mauslings, for their part, said they don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but were “open-minded” and didn’t discount that they could exist.
While the Stanley Hotel is a top destination for people who want to visit nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s also a hot spot for those hoping to have a more otherworldly experience. Last year, a photo of a supposed ghost at the hotel made headlines around the world. That photo was snapped in what appeared to be the same location:
After a 1974 stay at the hotel, King called it “the perfect ― may be the archetypical ― setting for a ghost story.” King wrote on his official website that he and his wife, author Tabitha King, were the only guests when the hotel was about to close for the winter.
“That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”
That dream became King’s third book, 1977′s “The Shining,” which was set at the haunted Overlook Hotel. In 2014, the book was named King’s third-best novel of all time in a Rolling Stone poll.