'The Shining's Unused Prop That Solves All Of The Movie's Mysteries

The Overlook Hotel’s scrapbook is full of (fake) facts.
'The Shining's Unused Prop That Solves All Of The Movie's Mysteries

Cinematic classic/wacky conspiracy theory generator The Shining leaves a lot of questions unanswered by the end of the movie – hence why many of us have devoted our lives to ceaselessly pouring over the film’s details at the expense of things like friends, family, or joy. Well, it turns out that some of these mysteries may have been cleared up by a storyline that was deleted from the final cut. And no, it’s not an end credits scene where a sweat-drenched Joker wakes up after a crazy nightmare.

In Stephen King’s original novel, Jack Torrence doesn’t just go crazy at the drop of an old-timey party hat; he first stumbles on a scrapbook full of many of the Overlook Hotel’s historical horror stories. You can tell it’s an important part of the novel because Chapter 18 is literally called “The Scrapbook.”

Simon & Schuster

The scrapbook was going to be in the movie too; they even filmed scenes of Jack reading through the book after it mysteriously appears on his desk.

Warner Bros.

In the script, he then shows Wendy that someone has collaged a number of newspaper clippings chronicling the hotel’s murders (and apparently castrations).

Warner Bros.

Despite the fact that this key part of the novel was ultimately cut – a decision Stanley Kubrick’s co-writer Diane Johnson called “unfortunate” – the scrapbook still appears in the final film: you can see it prominently placed on Jack’s desk in one scene.

The actual prop book still exists, and according to a deep dive by Senses of Cinema, it’s full of some genuinely intriguing information concerning some of the film’s lingering puzzles. For starters, it turns out that the creepy Grady twins have actual first names, Rose and Molly, as evidenced by an article about their murder. And a clipping with the headline “CLERK SLAIN IN HOTEL, FRIEND HELD BY POLICE” makes reference to the death of an Overlook staffer named Tony P. Stead – which could explain the identity of “Tony,” Danny’s invisible friend.

Most importantly, the scrapbook may clear up the mystery of the nude bathtub ghost woman from that scene you always fast forward through when watching with your parents. While she gets a backstory in the novel, the movie never gives us any explanation as to what happened in room 237. The scrapbook, however, contains a number of clippings (beginning on page 237, incidentally) about several legit, real-life incidents from the 1940s in which women were found dead in bathtubs. Those deaths were eventually attributed to serial killer Joseph Dunbar Medley – who, apparently, may have murdered this fictional hotel guest as well.  

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Top Image: Warner Bros.


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