Gettin’ My Shining On at Congress Hall

I’m a big fan of haunted house stories. The Shining, in particular, is both my favorite book and movie of the genre, and when I’m in an old building I like walking around and looking for creepy photo ops that might evoke some of my favorite Shining moments. During my recent visit to Cape May I took the opportunity to meander the halls of the most recognizable hotel in town, the historic Congress Hall.

A regular stop on one of Cape May’s ghosts tours, the hotel even has an Overlook-ish history. Built in 1816, destroyed by fire in 1878, and rebuilt the following year, the hotel fell into disrepair and closed for over a dozen years in the early 1900’s before reopening in the 20’s. Famous guests at Congress Hall have included U.S. presidents and famed band leader John Philip Sousa, so it would seem to be a ripe place for shining-like activity. I don’t necessarily believe in that stuff (though ask me again in the middle of the night when it’s dark and I’m alone), but I still enjoy letting my imagination run wild.

Here are some of the photos I took during a couple of brief visits (one during the day and one at night). You can click on any image for a larger version.

Just waiting for blood to spill out of the doors.

I like the lonely image of an empty chair at the end of the hall bathed in stark window light, but I can’t believe I missed an opportunity while I was on this floor to get a shot of room 217 (from the book; 237 in the film).

“You have always been the caretaker.”
Shining aficionados (of the book) will also notice that the sign all the way to the left mentions the boiler room.

Might there be a set of ghostly twins around the corner?

Perhaps when strolling through this room at midnight you might hear echoes
of an old Big Band standard emanating from an ethereal orchestra.

I thought this long row of empty chairs evoked a bit of eerieness.
What if they all started rocking?

Something creepy about this room.
The decoration hanging in the window looks like some sort of ritual doll.

More empty chairs occupied by spirits of the hotel’s past?

The triangular silhouettes of the closed umbrellas reminded me of the evil topiary creatures from the book.

Some additional stairwells, perhaps stalked by a specter brandishing a roque mallet.

And one final photo without comment (I ran out of Shining references :-)).

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Writer, traveler, photographer, hiker, film/TV addict, amateur chef, casual gamer, and occasional tennis & saxophone player . . . in real life I do web design.

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