We Cleaned Up That Stanley Hotel Ghost Photo to Get a Clearer Look.

A recent photo taken by guest Henry Yau at the Stanley Hotel has gone viral – in part because the Stanley Hotel is famous as the inspiration behind Stephen King’s, “The Shining,” and in part because it really does kind of look like a ghost at the top of the grand stairwell. It doesn’t hurt that the Stanley also has a long history of being haunted.

The photo was taken on Yau’s cell phone using the panoramic feature and was uploaded to his social media accounts with the caption, “By golly! I think I may have captured a #ghost at #StanleyHotel.”

It wasn’t long before the media came calling, and soon armchair internet ghost detectives across the country were weighing in. Some noted that it appeared to be a female figure wearing an Edwardian-area style gown. A paranormal team team ran the photo through some tests and filters and said there appeared to be two figures in the photo – that of a woman and a child behind her. Still others suggested it could be a mannequin, although Mr. Yau says he saw nothing and no one at the top of the stairs at the time he took the photo. “When I took it I didn’t notice anything,” he told KPRC2.

As with most purported ghost photographs, Yau’s photo is rather  dark and grainy… and the figure at the top of the stairs is hard to see.

We decided to get in there ourselves and try to clean up the photo a bit to see if we could make any determinations or discover something new in the photo…

Using photo-editing software Adobe Lightroom, we lightened the photo, reduced some of the graininess or “noise,” and we increased the clarity, sharpness and contrast… Here’s the result:


Ultimately, it doesn’t look that different – but it also doesn’t do anything to ‘de-bunk’ the photo per se. Additionally, we’d argue that rather than there appearing to be two ghosts in the photo, it kind of looks like just one female figure – but with wings… kind of like an angel? Here’s a close-up of the clean-up:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.25.51 PM

As far as compelling ghost photos go, we’d consider this to be one of the more compelling in recent memory. However, the dark/grainy nature of the photo, the fact that the figure is in the distance, and the fact that the picture was taken in panoramic mode (which has been known to create some pretty strange images), all leave a question as whether or not there’s something truly paranormal going on.

But then again – most good ghost photographs do.

In a KPRC2 poll, 60% of respondents had voted that they believe the photo does show a ghost.

Interesting to note that Mr. Yau had posted a different photo of the grand stairwell shortly before posting the ghostly picture. For reasons unclear, the photo he posted first is much lighter and clearer – and shows no sign of any figures or mannequins at the top of the stairwell.


So what do you guys think? Did this guest of the Stanley Hotel capture a ghost on camera or not? What do you see in the photos?

6 thoughts on “We Cleaned Up That Stanley Hotel Ghost Photo to Get a Clearer Look.

  1. We worked on the photo as well. If you look just to the left of the image there seems to be something more. Our findings are that the image is that of a cleaning cart. What appears to be the head in the image appears to be a duster sticking out of the cart. The thing that got our attention is the fact that the image is reflecting light, as we know spirit energy is light and therefore would not reflect light.


  2. I do believe there is a ghost in this photo, and to explain why the first picture was bright and the second was dark, the guest at the hotel probably just turned the flash off I would venture to guess. It just so happens that the ghost appeared only in the second photo after the flash was off. The lights were so bright with the added camera flash, he thought he’d probably try it without and boo – ghost👻


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