Debunking the Ghostly “Energy” of Colorado's Stanley Hotel

Debunking the Ghostly “Energy” of Colorado’s Stanley Hotel

In an episode of the Sci-Fi channel’s flagship series ‘Ghost Hunters’, Jason Hawes of TAPS stated that the hauntings regularly occurring at the Stanley Hotel, the same hotel made famous by Steven King for influencing him to write “The Shining”, were simply caused by “deposits of limestone and quartz upon which the hotel is built.” This caused a heck of a lot of ruckus in the paranormal community, but only one group took it upon themselves to uncover the truth about The Stanley Hotel : The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society.

Did Jason Hawes know what he was talking about? Was there really a geological explanation for the residual hauntings occurring at The Stanley? The RMPRS grab their shovels and head to Estes Park, Colorado to find out:

A Look into the Geology of the Stanley Hotel

Because of the current claims of paranormal activity at the Hotel having a natural cause due to the geological makeup of the property, we decided to study the location and see what the facts were behind the claims. The initial research into the mineralogical content of the property was done by looking at reports of other paranormal research groups. This research uncovered many different stories about the rich mineral content of the ground beneath The Stanley. Many different types of electric and magnetic mineral deposits are rumored to be at the location. However, when we contacted the different groups making these claims, it turned out that nobody seemed to know where the original information about the mineral content had come from. Several sources said that they had gotten the information from other paranormal groups while others claimed they had looked up the data on-line.


To find the truth behind the stories of odd mineral content at The Stanley we turned to the internet to see if any type of geological or soil survey had been completed. This effort seemed to be much more difficult than we had expected. The on-line maps and studies seemed to show nothing. The many different divisions of the Government that are involved in this type of research seemed to have worked around the location. At this point we decided to contact the agencies directly to see if we could get the data directly from the source.

Taking Paranormal Research to a New Level

We contacted the U.S.D.A. and they were a great help. The initial contact was something new for the soil scientists.

“Apparently, ghost hunters are interested in our data now. It is the most unique and interesting request I have received in my 30 year career! ”

This request was followed up by the recommendation that we look at the data for a satellite survey of magnetic fields that are influenced by geographic components. When we discussed the situation with the scientists the conclusion was “I reviewed the Aeromagnetic data for Colorado. Aeromagnetic surveys detect changes in the earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field is strengthened by the presence of metallic components in bedrock and more so by the presence of minerals with magnetic properties such as magnetite. There is nothing unusual about the aeromagnetic data in the area of Estes Park as compared to that general area of the Rockies. I hope this helps. So at this point it looks like the magnetite (or anything magnetic) in nature is slowly getting ruled out, but I will continue working.”

At this point we started working with the scientists to see if a soil survey had been conduced at The Stanley. After working with several different divisions of the Government we discovered that the property of the hotel has never had a survey conducted.

The known details to the area were basic but provided some good initial data about the area: “Granitic Rocks of 1,400 M.Y. Age Group – Biotitic Gneiss & Schist, Granite bedrock at approximately 20 inches deep & Water table within 37 inches. Elevation 7,500-8,700 feet. Mean annual precipitation 16-22 inches, Mean annual air temperature 42-46 degrees, frost free period 70-100 days. Vegetative classification – Ponderosa pine/Antelope bitter-brush.”

Working with the Scientists

After the initial inquiry about past surveys we started communications between the Government soil scientists and The Stanley Hotel. This communication was an effort to complete a soil survey at the location and get the hard data to determine the reality of the mineral contents of the Stanley

After getting approval from the owners of The Stanley, we scheduled a time for the soil survey to be completed. The soil survey would include several different modes of study and needed to be scheduled a few months in advance due to the need to have scientists flown in from another state.

The date for the survey was decided and scheduled with The Stanley. The team was being assembled and we would meet them at the Hotel on July 30th to start a 2 day study into the geology of the property.

The Soil Survey

The first day of the survey started with a general mapping of the land using GPS Mapping and continued by collecting soil samples at several different locations on the property.

The first of the digging allowed the team to determine the average depth of the bedrock as well (27 inches). The first day also included the use of electromagnetic induction. This technique determines the salinity of the soil as well as the electromagnetic properties of the soils.

The studies were conducted on the main property of The Stanley as well as the area near the old “Ice pond”, a pet cemetery and a ranch located on the other side of the mountain. This allowed for the data to include a baseline for adjacent areas.

The following day the team continued with the previous studies as well as adding Ground Penetrating Radar. The Ground Penetrating Radar allows the team to look for underground objects as well as measure the distance to bedrock in large areas. The team conducted the study for two days and then completed with a Ghost Tour of the building. The tour did have an unusual moment when the team entered the tunnel. When most of the Ghost Tours enter the tunnel area, the stories of ghosts and the history of the hotel are common. However because of the interests of the soil scientists, the conversation went directly to the rock that the tunnel had been carved into. Rocky Mountain Paranormal would like to thank all of the soil scientists that helped conduct this soil survey. It will help to rule out some of the different theories behind the reported paranormal activity at the Stanley Hotel.

The final written report from the Soil scientists is several months away, although we know the basics of the findings. We will update this report when the final written reports become available.

The Results of the Study

The conclusions of the soil survey team were consistent with the data collected from the rest of the Estes Park region. The soil is primarily crumbled Schist, a rock formed by dynamic high-temperature, high-pressure metamorphism that involves a lot of strain. The high strain aligns the flat or elongated grains of mica, hornblende, and other minerals into thin layers, or foliation. At least 50 percent of the mineral grains in schist are aligned this way (less than 50 percent makes it gneiss). However the content of any one specific mineral is not noted.

The distance to bedrock in the area ranges from surface level to approximately 27 inches. The rumors of large deposits of Quartz and Magnetite have been confirmed as false, so the reported paranormal activity needs to be looked at again without the inclusion of this claim.


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