It is only fitting that the King of Horror would be born right before fall’s official start date of September 22nd. Many of King’s novels are set in places he lived, and these places certainly contributed to the atmosphere of his spookiest tales. To celebrate Stephen King’s 74th birthday, let’s take a look at some of the IRL places you can visit to actually become a part of King’s thrilling stories.
The Stanley Hotel
During King’s short period of time in Colorado, he wrote one of his most famous books, The Shining. Even if you haven’t read a King novel, chances are you already know that classic lines like “redrum” and “Here’s Johnny!” are from this specific novel. The hotel has been a longtime hotspot for King fans, and your life wouldn’t be complete until you stayed in this hotel. Perhaps you could even stay in the infamous Room 217?
The Screaming Tunnel
If you’re up for an adventure that takes you outside of this US, why not visit the spooky Screaming Tunnel near Niagra Falls on the Canadian side? This short, but horrifying tunnel is featured in King’s 1979 novel, The Dead Zone. Not only is the tunnel associated with a horror story, but it is also reported to be genuinely haunted. Legend has it that the tunnel still houses the scream of a girl who was murdered there. The only way you can know for sure if this is true is to find out for yourself.
The Ohio State Reformatory
Just the fact that this destination has the word “reformatory” in it creeps us the hell out. The Ohio State Reformatory is famous not only for its association with King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption but also because of its own bloody and gruesome history. Many would even agree that this is one of the most haunted places in America. If you ever find yourself in the midwest, you may just want to pop in for one of the reformatory’s thrilling tours.
McCloud River Railroad Bridge
Stephen King’s novella, The Body, is one of his lesser-known works, but the movie based on the story—Stand By Me—is a 1980s classic. The iconic railway scenes in the film were shot on the McCloud River Railroad Bridge in Burney Falls State Park in California. While you can’t walk across the bridge, visitors often pull to the side of the road to get pictures of the famous film site. I guess you also just wait until a train comes by and pretend that you’re running from the train, too.
The IT Sewer
Our final destination takes us back to King’s famous place of residence: Maine. King spent a lot of his life in Bangor Maine, which lead to many of his books taking place in the secluded northeast state. And while you can indeed visit one of Stephen King’s homes, we at Bookstr want to respect his privacy. Instead, we give you the storm drain that inspired King’s most famous novel of all time, IT. Although this visitation spot is small with not much else to see, its impact is exciting and immense. Who knew a simple piece of infrastructure would create an entire universe? Perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of one of the children who found themselves lost in the sewer tunnels.
Thanks for joining Bookstr on this tour of famous places from Stephen King’s novels. And happy birthday to the man himself who created the most legendary horror books of all time.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA NPR