Tourist captures ghostly image at 'The Shining' hotel

Story highlights

  • A tourist took an eerie picture at the hotel
  • Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining" after staying there

(CNN)Is the hotel that inspired "The Shining" actually home to ghosts?

Tourist Henry Yau recently took a picture at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which appears to show two ghostly apparitions standing on a staircase. In the photo, a woman can be seen at the top of the stairs in a period outfit with a child beside her.
"By golly," Yau wrote in the caption. "I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel. #EstesPark."

    By golly! I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel. #EstesPark

    A photo posted by Henry Yau (@ares415) on

    Author Stephen King said he was inspired to write "The Shining" after he and his wife spent a night at the Stanley in September of 1974.
    "We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter," King wrote. "Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect -- maybe the archetypical -- setting for a ghost story."
    The 1977 novel tells the story of an aspiring writer who, along with his wife and child, agrees to take a job as a caretaker at a large hotel in the Colorado Rockies, which will be shut down and isolated over the winter. The book was adapted into the now legendary 1980 film of the same name, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson.
    It's actually the Timberline Lodge in Oregon that you see in the opening scene of the film and for the exterior shots of the fictional Overlook Hotel. And while the interior shots were done on a sound stage in England, the Stanley has played up its place in horror history with a "Ghost Adventure" package.
    Yau told KPRC2 that he was visiting the area and wanted to see the hotel that inspired the story in "The Shining." He says he purposely waited for the staircase at the Stanley to be empty so he could get a good shot of it.
    "When I took it, I didn't notice anything," Yau, the director of public relations and promotions for the Children's Museum of Houston, said about the eerie apparitions in the photo.
    The image of the "photobombing ghosts" stirred debate on social media about whether it was real or a hoax.
    The Stanley, which opened in 1909, has long been believed to be haunted.
    "More recently, the Stanley's paranormal past has been fully embraced," the hotel's website says. "After a century of collecting spirits, the hotel has become renowned by specialists and experts in the field of paranormal investigation as one of the nation's most active sites."