Written by Robert Allen
Fort Collins Coloradoan
ESTES PARK, Colo. -- Plans to dig up a pet cemetery at the hotel that inspired Stephen King's horror novel "The Shining" have neighbors feeling aggrieved.
The graves at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park are to be moved to the other side of a small pond, making way for wedding and corporate retreat pavilion.
The project is a stone's throw from about 18 townhomes in the Stanley Historic District. Neighbor Roxanne VanSkiver and others say they're worried about noise, as well as the loss of the historic burial ground for animals.
"Elsie," "Holmes" and "Stanley Blue" I, II and III are among roughly 12 marked graves dating to the 1960s, with stones and a tiny white fence marking the cemetery.
Among King's novels is "Pet Sematary," a book about animals and people who demonically come back to life after internment at an ancient Native American burial site. Hotel staff said the cemetery is sometimes a stop on tours, though it doesn't attract near the attention of the hotel itself.
While nobody expects Holywood-style horror to come from the cemetery's relocation, believers in paranormal activity say the move could come with unintended consequences.
"Stirring up the bones of the dead" could kick a hornet's nest of paranormal unrest, said a local psychic medium. And she's not just talking about ghost dogs.
Construction accidents, delays and burst pipes could plague the project if spirits stuck "between this world and the other world" are disturbed, said Rosemary McArthur, known as "The Celtic Lady," who lives in Estes Park and was featured as a dog psychic on Animal Planet's "Pit Boss." Such troubles could be avoided if a psychic comes to help those animals make the transition, she said.
"They'll pull the owners to them if the owners passed over and are unhappy," McArthur said.
The area has had paranormal instability thanks to amateur ghost hunters who bring equipment and seances "inviting in spirits that shouldn't be invited in," she said.
The Stanley plans to hire people from a local cemetery to appropriately move the graves, and it's uncertain when the project will break ground. The town is reviewing plans.
King's assistant, Marsha DeFilippo, said in an email that "Pet Sematary" was inspired by a pet cemetery in Orrington, Maine, but she confirmed that "The Shining" was inspired by a dream King had at the Stanley Hotel in the 1970s.