There are no ghosts at the Overlook.The book is far more ambiguous about the Overlook Hotel and its ghosts than is immediately apparent (and far more subtle than most of King's books). The overwhelming majority of the events are passive, and it is trivial to chalk these events up to hallucinations or a child's runaway imagination. Firstly, Danny starts to have his 'visions' once he is aware of the hotel, and before he is anywhere near it. This is an example of his precognition at work, but Dr. Edmonds points out that their family, and Danny in particular, has gone through a lot of trauma and upheaval that this small, intelligent boy is having a hard time coping with. As time goes on, Danny sees violent and disturbing visions that start to occur with greater frequency and higher intensity. This understandably makes him scared and upset, and his inability to cope with this isolation and the increasing tension between family members only worsens Danny's situation. Convinced that there really is something spooky and dangerous happening, he finally snaps and chokes himself almost to death while in the midst of a panic attack. Wendy has been somewhat more perceptive of Danny's state, and though skeptical at first, fear for her child makes her take Danny too seriously, to the point where she starts to believe in Danny's imaginative delusions of evil ghosts. This is also exacerbated by the fact that Jack has been coping with sobriety and always aware of the failures in his life that have placed him in this situation. Once his son's hallucinations become disruptive and his wife starts to buy into it, all of Jack's problems become powerfully exacerbated by his fear that his family will be doomed if they abandon the hotel. It is this struggle, and not ghosts, which eventually drive him over the edge and become homicidal.
- There is one serious issue with this theory: Grady letting Jack out of the pantry. Wendy or Danny certainly didn't do it, they were nowhere near at the time and have no reason to let him out anyways, and the door is locked from the outside. This is more or less the only thing that cannot be explained away as hallucination or imagination, and instead does imply supernatural interference.
In the novel, the picture window never breaks.The window that has all the Faux Shadowing towards being broken survives the boiler explosion. It is shielded from shattering by a miraculous confluence of events and a heavily faulty frame, and the pane itself ends up slicing into a dense snow drift some ways away completely undamaged.
The Overlook Hotel is an entity like 1408...... only all grown up.
- It probably started as just room 217, but as it grew older and more powerful it took over the entire hotel. Likewise, the 1408 creature could eventually take over the entire Hotel Dolphin. The original room would remain the hub of the creature's consciousness, but as it grew it would get smarter and use subtler tricks to claim its victims so that people don't realize the whole structure is now evil instead of just the one haunted room.
Ulman and Watson knew the Overlook was haunted.The way they talked to Jack about it was like they were hiding something. Scandals are one thing, but they seemed frightened by what they are hiding.
Ulman not only knows about the hauntings, he has made a deal with the entity and all it's ghostly representations.He feeds it souls and psychic energy and they don't bother his guests for the summer season, save for a few glimpses. Why else would the hotel be somewhat normal in the summer, but piss your pants scary in the winter?
- That might also explain why the Overlook did not become profitable until after Ulman took over as the manager, despite already having been around for decades at that point.
- Or, the hauntings only made themselves known to certain people, especially those who has a family member that has the Shining.
The Overlook is the nesting site of a powerful Bane spirit.The "burial ground" explanation was a mistranslation by the white settlers. Unfortunately when the hotel was built, the native protesters who were killed included the Uktena Bane Tender who was keeping the... thing sleeping under the earth.
The Overlook was built by the True KnotThey wanted to make a conduit that could harvest as much Shining Steam as possible. However, somewhere along the line the energy from the Shining somehow gave the Overlook a mind of its own. Not that it mattered to the True Knot. However after the boiler blew, they had to find other means of harvesting it.
- This would help explain the hotel's intense interest in Danny, who presumably had some very strong steam.
Redrum could have a literal supernatural meaning apart from just being "Murder" spelled backwards.It could mean "Red Rum", rum meaning alcohol; as in the bloodshed of at least two winter caretakers who went insane under Cabin Fever and several hotel guests over the years somehow fuels and/or 'intoxicates' the massive paranormal force of the hotel.
- I think the symbolism is really much simpler then that. Red rum. Blood.
One of the earliest guests of the Overlook was Randall FlaggWhen the Overlook was first opened one Randall Flagg, perhaps under a different name, stayed at the hotel. Whether it was by his design or his simple presence there, he left a scar on the hotel which took up a life of its own and eventually became the enitity that tormented the Torrance family.
In the film, Danny is not Jack's son.In the movie, Jack's lack of warmth toward Danny, rare displays of awkward affection, and seeming contempt are due to his jealousy that Danny - a child from Wendy's previous marriage - gets over him from Wendy.
Jack is subconsciously racist as a carryover from his previous lifeI know it's kind of a minor one, but every time that he looks at Dick Hallorann it's either extremely brief (split-second) or he looks like he's pissed at the guy for a reason that even he doesn't realize. And then, of course, there's his encounter with Grady, and the bit of dialogue that he repeats regarding Dick.