Behind every good ‘story’ lies, at the very least, a small amount of truth. The movie 1408[, and the Stephen King short story from which it was adapted, follow] horror writer Mike Enslin’s discovery of, and subsequent terrifying stay, within the Dolphin Hotel’s room 1408. The ‘real’ events that inspired Stephen King to pen this masterpiece of horror, occurred within the ‘Hotel Del Coronado’. A luxury beachfront hotel located in the city of Coronado, San Diego County, California.
The Hotel Del Coronado
One of the few surviving examples of the American architectural genre known as ‘the wooden Victorian beach resort’, the Hotel Del Coronado is one of the oldest and largest all-wooden buildings in California and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. When it opened in 1888, it was the largest resort hotel in the world, and was the first to use electrical lighting. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities throughout the years. In addition to one parapsychologist, ‘Christopher Chacon’, and his team. Who using a wide mix of ghost hunting gadgetry, from infrared cameras, through to devices that monitor changes in temperature, magnetic fields, and that can detect electronic emissions. Recorded no less than 37 abnormalities, within room 3502. And it was from the reports of these unusual occurrences within room 3502, of the Hotel Del Coronado, that Stephen King found his inspiration.
The Real Dolphin Hotel
As with the Dolphin Hotel, feelings of unease are said to be experienced long before reaching room 3502 of the Hotel Del Coronado. Where ‘phantoms’ have reportedly been seen lurking the hallways, and spectres have been witnessed climbing, and descending the stairs. Cleaning staff are said to often work in pairs out of fear of what they’ve seen previous, and as withn the movie 1408, the Hotel Del Coronado, has been the setting of a number of suicides. The most notorious of which is the suicide of ‘Kate Morgan’, who in 1892 is said to have been found on the steps of the hotel leading to the ocean. With a gun in her hand, and a bullet in her head. She had been staying in room 3312, another room that is said to experience ‘unusual’ phenomenon.
Room 3502, the room where Christopher Chacon and his team recorded numerous anomalies, is said to have been the private love nest of the Hotel Del Coronado’s builder himself, ‘E. S. Babcock’, and his mistress. But while the ‘haunting’ of room 3312 is attributed to the spirit of Kate Morgan’, nobody really knows why room 3502 is seemingly at the centre of events within the Hotel Del Coronado. And with stories from those who have dared to stay there ranging from flickering lights, and toilets flushing by themselves, through to the electrical equipment of a radio crew that tried to broadcast from within the room failing, the account of a secret service agent who was unable to make it through the night inside 3502, the disappearance of a maid who was never seen again, and the suicide of the hotel builders mistress. Room 3502 certainly lives up to its reputation, as the dark heart of the Hotel Del Coronado. A place where only the brave, and the foolish alike, dare to lay their heads for the night.