Category Archives: Stanley Hotel

Aiden Sinclair Photoshoot




Aiden-For-Web-4I met Aiden Sinclair in April of 2014 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado during a Strange Escapes event. Aiden was not only the kind of guy that I instantly wanted to make friends with, but he was the kind of guy I immediately wanted to photograph as well.

Even while he took over the lobby of the hotel for a twenty minute demonstration of his paranormal illusions act, it was his manner and style that struck me as much as the quality of his act. He was dressed in a black vest with red tie, crucifix chain hanging from a button, with round glasses, and his act was a compelling mixture of illusion and allusion — drawing on the history of the hotel, spiritualism, and spirits themselves — in a way I’d never seen before. As someone intensely interested in the play between ghosts, entertainment, performance, and the suspension of an audience’s disbelief, I was quickly curious to get to know this stranger and see what he was all about.

He made many fans that day, as well as significant connections. He returned the following year to the Strange Escapes event as an official entertainer for those groups on their off-nights, and he’s established a recurring show at the Stanley each month called “Illusions of the Passed.” Turns out that, during his second stint at the Stanley, he was also in-between rounds on America’s Got Talent, where he wowed judges and the audience with his not only his act, but also his story.

After a few good conversations over beers that second year at the Stanley,  I began to pester him regularly for a photoshoot, knowing his style and mine would be a match I’d wanted to shoot for my whole career to that point. We finally managed to make time this October for him to visit my home studio in Loveland to make a few portraits.

This is the behind the scenes video:

The images were shot on a Canon 6D with both the 24mm 1.4L and the 50mm 1.8 (still working up to that Sigma Art!) with an Einstein E640, a 47″ Paul C. Buff Octobox, and a Canon 430EX II speedlite with a MagMod kit in front of a black fabric backdrop.

We were going for a variety of shots, from headshot portraits to images with a few of his more iconic props, and a handful of composites. The composite backgrounds are plates of various locations around Germany that I had the opportunity to shoot back in January while traveling with my brother.

October was a crazy month for me, running from photoshoot to photoshoot around both the state of Colorado and the country itself. Early November was crunch time to get these shoots edited, and Aiden’s name was high on the list! A few of my favorite images can be seen below.


Aiden-For-Web-21It was truly a blast to work with Aiden, and I’m happy to call him a friend. He’s a class act and has very big things in his future. I’m excited to watch them come together for him as smoothly as these images came together for me!


Karl Pfeiffer is a novelist, photographer, and ghost hunter. He’s the author of the novel Hallowtide, the short story collection Into a Sky Below, Forever, and the forthcoming Amarricages. He won the first season of Ghost Hunters Academy, went on to work with the GHI team, and now lectures across America and leads the weekend ghost hunts at the Stanley Hotel. He’s also a portrait photographer and conceputal artist based in Northern Colorado. Follow him on Twitter: @KarlPfeiffer

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John Tenney Talks Patience. And Fishing.

New Vlog this week! Today we’re featuring paranormal researcher John EL Tenney, who’s amassed nearly thirty years experience in the field, documenting and studying everything from conspiracies to PSI. Staying consistent with the vlog’s theme toward misconceptions and new ways of thinking about ghost hunting, today we’re angling at patience. And fishing.

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New Blog! Another Intro

As I disappear and return again to talk some paranormal issues that…really need talked about.

But here it’s mostly to fill you in on the last six months.


FAQ! That’s not a clever way of writing a curse word. It’s an acronym.

This is the blog where I take your questions, and this time they’re answering the most common questions my blog gets from Google searches. Boom here we go:

The Devil Inside Spoiler:

It’s a possession movie. Lots of people die and levitate and scream and stuff and its thematically a giant letdown. If that doesn’t help you look more like a tough BAMF for your girlfriend you prolly should find a chick who likes romcoms instead.

What’s the symbol in paranormal activity 3? 

Probably just bastardized occult symbols that people can now connote with Satanism more than they already did. This website seems to do them pretty good justice. Now that you know, when you put them on your roommate’s wall, be sure to use dark crimson paint, not any cheap fire-engine red crap. And if the portals to Hell open, just play dumb.

Meaning of Paranormal Activity 3

Life sucks and then you die.

And also sometimes negative paranormal occurrences are hereditary. And apparently zombie possessions too.

What happens on night 13 of Paranormal Activity 3?

Ghost stuff.

What is Hallowtide?

Hallowtide is the title of my first novel, which I’m trying for a release this fall.

The Hallowtide are the days surrounding the Halloween holiday. ‘Tide” being ‘time’ (like ‘yuletide). And to be hallowed is to be honored as holy. In the Catholic Church, All Hallow’s Day is November first, All Saint’s Day. All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of the Saint’s Day. These two are followed by All Souls Day. Collectively the holiday has mixed differently folkloric and religious traditions into a celebration that now studies, reveres, and fears those passed before us, and is now debated between being an evil holiday and a set of holy days.

Lucy Stanley Hotel

Lucy is the name of one of the Stanley’s more famous and recent spirits. After Mr. Stanley died in 1940, the hotel was passed down from owner to owner, who struggled to sustain the hotel against mounting costs. By 1977, the Concert Hall had fallen to a state of such disrepair that it was condemned and would have been bulldozed except that they couldn’t afford even a bulldozer. When the hotel landed on the National Register of Historic Places, the workers went into the Concert Hall to see what renovations they could do to keep it on the list, and there they found a young woman living there. She was in her late teens or early twenties, had a fight with her parents, ran away from home and now was living out of the concert hall. Of course, they couldn’t let her stay, and she later died from exposure in the town of Estes Park. We think she’s still at the hotel because that was where she was safe, warm, and to some extent, happy. She’s now one of our sweetest and most friendly spirits. More blog posts about the Stanley Hotel and its strange stories, and evidence can be found here.

Who was Paul Stanley Hotel

Paul is the spirit of a maintenance man who worked at the hotel from 1995 to 2005. When shoveling snow in 2005 he started to have a heart attack and tried to drive himself to the hospital and didn’t make it. In his fifties or so, he’s a grumpy spirit with a sense of humor who makes sure things are still running as well as possible, mostly in the Concert Hall.

Is Grave Encounters Real? 

Yep. Just like all found footage movies.

Grave Encounters and Ghost Adventures

The movie Grave Encounters was a found footage style horror film that told the story of a group of paranormal investigators filming a TV Show whose case goes all to hell. It’s based loosely on styles of and often nods to the popular paranormal shows out there, including Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and Paranormal State. Beyond that, if a House of Leaves style hallway ever actually appeared IRL, Travel Channel is going to have a heyday. And no, GA nor Zak had nothing to do with the show except in inspiration.

Is Madame Vera at the Stanley Hotel real?

I hope so. I’ve seen her. Oh, like a real psychic? She’s blown the minds of many people I’ve known at the hotel. Vera is the resident psychic at the hotel, and gives readings to guests out of her small office in the lower level of the main building. Often, I hear stories of uncanny knowledge about things unconfessed almost immediately during readings. More on Vera here.

karl pfieffer

Pfeiffer. It’s ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’… and apparently ‘f’s if you’re a young writerly ghost hunting freshly out of college type. In German tho, as far as I can tell, the “EI” sound makes the long “eye” sound, and “IE” makes the long “eee” sound. That said, there’s every version under the sun these days. But most importantly, even if google doesn’t correct you, I think you wound up in the right place anyway, and welcome. I’m Karl Pfeiffer. I write. I hunt ghosts.


A Crocotta is a dog-like creature of folklore that likely stems from stories of hyenas. Said to lurk at the edges of farmer’s fields and mimic human voices and cries for help, it lures farmers and citizens to their deaths, where it consumes them. It’s also the name of the short film that AJ Street made for his senior project in college that follows my short story, Dreamland Crocotta (found here). The film will be released online in the fall.

Pig Man Stanley Hotel

See this.

Pig bear thing, Shining movie.

See this.

Telepathy Art. 

I don’t know anything about this… BUT NOW I MUST

Weeks that make me feel EPIC

Quick update in a non-vloggity way about the coming week. Tonight, this Friday night, I’ll be interviewed on’s Show 3000 Celebration at 9PM Eastern time. So if you have an hour to kill and want to listen in, I’d highly encourage it.

Next Friday night I’ll be at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, Colorado to give a reading along with a number of other brilliant writerly types who will be reading all sorts of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Also I think there will be live music. More about the event here.

Following that Friday I’ll be in Estes Park for the public Stanley Hotel investigation on Saturday (also there’s a hunt on Friday night, but I obviously will not be in two places at once!), which runs from eight to one in the morning. You can check out tickets for that over at the Stanley’s lovely website under tours or tickets or purchase or some possibly slightly misleading but logical in hindsight tab.

This weekend I’ll be investigating in Georgetown on Saturday night and creeping about in the mountains until a Denver investigation on Thursday night before the reading. In between, much as I should be researching, I have a couple chapters that need writing, a novel that’s two days over deadline already that needs another half of it fully revised to send off to a few editors and beta readers, and an article due in a week for the Paramagazine. So it will likely be coffeeshops and libraries and probably some genuine car living during that week.

So I’m busy as hell and loving that. Except for the still not having a home part. That’d be a nice addition to things. But I’m not complaining.

There’s also been some recurring chatter about possible exciting other things I can’t really talk about but think would be sweet if they happened type stuff too. (Vague enough for you?)

As I alluded up above, I’m working desperately under deadline for Hallowtide. I’ll elaborate more on that in the coming weeks after I get a bit of feedback. But right now I’m trying to polish this draft and get some feedback on whether I should greenlight a fall release for the novel. But keep that under wraps until I can lock down more solid information. Winks. Which is half the reason I’m not getting a real job for the summer, as the work that would go into publishing that will consume my time. That and the America’s Haunted Road Trip book.

I’ll also be posted a few blogs as Hallowtide develops about the indie publication process, my release plan, and why I think it’s actually a good idea despite every traditional writer/publisher scowling at the taboo (also read as: why I might be a little bit crazy in the head).

After all, this is the “develop your own compass and trust it, take risks, dare to fail” college commencement address part of my life.

And we’ll see how it goes.

Stanley Update and More!

After six months away, I thought I’d shoot you guys an update to let you all know that I am returning to do many of the public ghost hunts this summer at the Stanley Hotel!

The weekend public ghost hunts usually fall on Friday or Saturday evenings for five hours and we’ll take you around the concert hall and sometimes some of the other more haunted room while we investigate and look for activity. The hotel of course is one of the most active haunts in Colorado, if not the nation. I’ve been there many, many many times and hope to continue to have some great experiences. It’s a great time and I’d love to see you guys out there this summer! (Great excuse for a vacation. Cough).

This will be running alongside my other massive summer project which I’ll be posting about toward the end of this week or early next week!

Also, I’ve been making tweaks and revisions to my website,, so definitely check it out if you’ve got some time. Anything you don’t care for, let me know and I can see about making it smoother. There’s a bunch of little easter eggs and hints about projects that I haven’t made too public yet, so have some fun!

And further as well, if you didn’t catch the tweet and you’ll find yourself in Fort Collins on June 8th, myself and a good handful of Fort Collins fantastic young writers and poets will be reading at Avogadro’s Number that evening. More information about the event here; It’s free and I’d love the support!

Hope to see some of you out my way this summer!

On Leaving the Stanley Hotel

If you listen close enough, you, like me, might hear the raspy sound a page makes as it turns.

I’m not going to be so trite that I’ll say I’m turning over a new leaf but certainly, everything is changing.

I did want to keep you guys abreast of things, and I wanted to let you know I’m no longer working at the Stanley Hotel. While there’s always more to a story, ultimately this one boils down to my discontent the past few weeks with the job; discontent, not in any way with the wonders of the magnificent hotel, or with our resident spirits, or the ghost hunts in general, but with where I stand both in life, as well as in the paranormal community as a whole. And it just isn’t where I need to be anymore. You know the way that the cogs clog when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing? Here it seems they stalled. But for the best I think.

I will still be up at the hotel for various events that I’ll be attending, including (if I might shamelessly plug) one in February with (at this point) Dustin Pari, Austin Porter, KJ McCormick and Alexandra Holzer, and it should be magical. Info here if you’re interested in joining some very wonderful people for a snowy and spooky evening.

The ghost hunts should still be up and running with the charming Callea Sherrill through the winter season, and information on those can be found here.

It’s been one of the greater learning experiences of my life, but it would be a lie to say I’m not excited to see what’s next. And, while quite literally many doors closed during my time at the Stanley (see; Lucy’s room), I’m excited to see which doors will now open! (see what I did there?)

And of course, as always, thank you guys for your constant support. You likely will never know how much it means to me.

Fist bump. Onto the next.

Oddities, Scares, and Sprites.

Promised you guys a blog post over a week ago documenting my latest Stanley encounters. Got busy, but as promised (only late);

What set my senses off first was Lucy’s room during the public investigation. Perhaps it was because Callea had stayed for the investigation when it was originally set for only fifteen and just me leading it that night, but it was the first time since January that had both of us in the same room leading only fifteen people on a hunt. It was like old times you could say. While I think this likely might have had an effect on the energies in the room, I’m not as convinced (though can never rule out) the psychological impact. Callea and I had spent plenty of time investigating the room together since January, but that night was the only night with a group of fifteen for both of us.

“It feels like it used to,” I said. How it used to feel was a sense of presence, that there was something to even the very walls themselves; space to hide, a darkness more pressing. The last few months, even with the newer spirits coming and going and the nature spirits, the room had taken on a more hollow feel. The way a normal room is supposed to feel; the kind of feel that had me wondering if in fact anything had changed or if I had closed myself off to the spirits after six months once again. Or if there was even anything to begin with.

But that night, that night it felt like anything could happen. There was the tension in the air that suggested that maybe a voice would come from the darkness, maybe a flashlight would flicker on, maybe a K2 or cell censor would go nuts for five minutes.

If indeed Lucy had returned to check in, or if the energies had aligned as they once had, there was little significant activity to speak of in the room. Though for Callea and I the change in feeling was enough.

It was after the guests left that the place got really strange.

Callea and I were sitting in Lucy’s room, hoping for a repeat of the strange feeling from earlier in the night when a sound startled us from out in the hallway. We’d been talking about dreams. It’s been a year now since I started investigating at the Stanley, and the sounds that the concert hall makes, however rare, had become a part of my mental vocabulary. Even the random taps that sound like a drumstick on a bucket, that come once every few months, have been pushed into the mechanical category. The bane of becoming intimately familiar with a location.

This sound was different. From the hallway it sounded as if something had actually been pushed over. I ran to the doorway to see what it might have been, but there was nothing obvious that had made the sound. The stranger part was that as Callea and I tried to recreate the sound, we could pinpoint what wasn’t the sound, but not quite what it was. It was, as we both described it, as if we’d heard the sound in a dream. Looking back on the event felt like trying to recreate the fuzzy memories of a dream state, though we were in full conversation when the sound first came.

This struck me as interesting, if only due to the amount of research I’ve been doing into astral work and meditation, accessing the spiritual plane through the dream state, and how closely the two are linked. How many spiritual encounters are difficult to remember because of a crossing over into our world of a similar realm our brain is untrained to process, as dreams.

While in the hallway, a strange tapping brought our attention to the far end of the hall, where the back staircase winds behind the stairs, and the exit sign casts its red glow.

“I’m not sure what could have made the sound,” I said, turning to Callea when she said,

“Oh my god.” She spun and pressed herself against the wall. “I’m sorry, just all of a sudden I can’t have my back to the hall anymore.”

Almost as she spoke, I flinched, the nerves in my arms constricting almost at the same time as my heart surged in my chest. “Jesus,” I said. It was like her motion had startled me, but there was no thought in my mind to link the two. I’d reacted as if something had scared me, but there was nothing to scare me. Almost as quickly as it came, it was gone. No aftereffects lingered, no pounding heart or quickness of breath the way most amusing non-supernatural scares will leave me. Here it was only a scare and then… nothing.

The surge itself had felt as if something had gone back through me, passed in a split second from Callea to me to… out the exit door? Toward the Carriage House? Or possibly up the back staircase. Had something gone through me? Or was it only a severe presence, in an instant, moving past me? Were it only a mental experience, it was the first of its kind I’ve ever had in three intensive years of ghost hunting.

But the eeriness persisted. When Callea turned to Paul’s room she at once didn’t like it in there. “It’s dark in here. Really dark.” Despite the light that usually pours into the room from the windows at ground level near the ceiling, the room had a foggy feel, as if the dark was tight around us.

I walked a few steps into the room when movement caught my eye. Glancing down, I followed what looked like a large black mass, the shape of a head, run past me at the height of a small child. Immediately I tried to recreate the shape running past my leg, by glancing at the windows, by looking about the room and then looking back to my side again, but without result. Had I just seen an apparition? I’m not willing to call it that. It had barely more form than the shadow people I’ve been seeing intermittently since January, but something about it struck me as real, as tangible, as there one minute and gone another.

A later EVP session and another hour in the basement gave no further results or experiences other than the strange sense of presence the basement brought, fresh from months of quiet. I still wish for something a bit more concrete than the passing sounds, shapes, and sensations, to justify my own experiences in a way trusting myself cannot. But it’s after a year of realizing expectations, getting in touch with myself, and realizing the difference between a room three months cold and one tingling with a strange activity that leaves me scratching my head over what felt like an active evening in the way they used to be.

(Of course this post was not intended to suggest that the Concert Hall at the Stanley has been quiet these last few months, to which they absolutely have not! I only mean to suggest that the night got intense in a way it hadn’t in some weeks, and in a way that felt the way it used to, with the spiritual presences I met on my first night at the hotel. For more information on the latest happenings at the Stanley, feel free to read earlier postings here at my blog)

Conversations with Lord Dunraven?

New Evidence Vlog! Here, I show an odd EVP that I can’t account for in the women’s bathroom that we believe is Lucy, and afterward a conversation through the spirit box with possibly Lord Dunraven, the original landowner for the ground the Stanley Hotel now sits on?