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Rose Red

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Rose Red was a very successful television miniseries scripted by Stephen King. The series was first broadcast in the United States on ABC in 2002. The story centers around a enormous haunted mansion in the heart of Seattle named Rose Red which is said to kill males and is responsible for females vanishing forever, ultimately giving itself a "Roach Motel" reputation. Many check in, but few check out! Due to its long history of mysterious deaths and disappearances from the past, the house is investigated by parapsychologist Dr. Joyce Reardon and a team of truly gifted psychics. It is up to Joyce and her teammates to find out the deadly secrets of Rose Red and reveal the mysterious and evil forces inhabiting the legendary house, or die trying. 

Rose Red is also a companion to the best selling novel titled: "The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red" by Ridley Pearson, published in 2001.

Timeline of Rose RedEdit

"Every House Has a Story to tell...This One Will Kill You!"

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Rose Red in it's Hay-day.

Some Houses Are Born Bad...

  • Pre- 1906- Native American burial ground for the dead has been chosen as the site of where Rose Red will stand.
  • 1906-Construction begins on Rose Red as a gift from Omnicron Oil founder John P Rimbauer, to his fiancee, Ellen Gilchrist, on Spring Street and 7th avenue, Seattle, Washington, on 40 acres of land. While building, the spirits of the Ancient Indian burial ground are awaken from their rest and wreck havoc among the workers.
  • 1906-1909- Construction workers die on site: Teamster Harry Corbin shoots Foreman, One worker decapitated by falling glass, one choked on a piece of apple, one falls off scaffolding and breaks his neck.
  • May 11th 1907- Willaimson, is shot by Corbin. (Other sources list his name as O'Riley). Ellen is proposed to by John. Ellen names the house Rose Red. The spirits of the Native American burial site have by now possessed the house and live within its walls; watching and waiting.
  • November 12th 1907- John and Ellen Gilchrist marry.
  • 1907-1909- Ellen and John honeymoon across the Pacific Atolls, Africa, then Europe. They acquire many of the furnishings in the home during the trip. Ellen contracts an STD from John and is nursed to health by an exotic tribeswoman named Sukeena, who accompanies the Rimbauers back to America to be Ellen's companion and to also work at Rose Red.
  • January 15th 1909- John and Ellen arrive at Rose Red.
  • March 13th 1909- Rose Red claims its first victim to feed of their life force: Connie Fauxmanter vanishes while admiring a globe in the west wing library. She is never seen again despite numerous searches.
  • Autumn 1909- Adam Rimbauer is born.
  • September 23rd 1909- Laura the housemaid vanishes and is never seen again.
  • April 1911- April Rimbauer is born with a withered left arm, which Ellen blames on her African illness.
  • May 21st 1911- Delora vanishes and is never seen again.
  • 1911 or 1912- Another housemaid, Gale, vanishes and is never seen again.
  • August 1914- Medium "Madame Stravinsky" (aka Cora Frye) tells Ellen that she would never die if she continued to build Rose Red.
  • August 1914, one week after the seance- The Perspective Hallway is designed by Sukeena and built, becoming Ellen's first major addition. John fires his business partner, Douglas Posey in November.
  • 1915- As revenge, Douglas Posey hangs himself in a suicide in front of the Rimbauer children in the downstairs parlor. Soon after April stops speaking and Adam is sent off to boarding school.
  • February 17th 1917- Rose Red grows jealous of Ellen's relationships with her young daughter April Rimbauer. The child vanishes in the kitchen and is never seen again. Over 50 search men raid the house without finding any clues. Sukeena was babysitting April when the girl went missing and is brought in to the police station for questioning in regards to April's mysterious disappearance.
  • February 19th 1917- Sukeena convinces the authorities that she is innocent. She returns home days later, charges dismissed with a black eye, broken wrist, broken nose and three missing teeth.
  • March 9th 1918- John's drinking buddy, George Meader dies from an allergic reaction to a bee sting in the Solarium.
  • April 1st 1921- On April's birthday, the Tower Folly is added on to the house with a large stain glass window representing a red rose. Ellen insists that Rose Red told her to build it for April, promising a brief reunion with her daughter who will live there in spirit.
  • October 29th 1921-at midnight Ellen goes to the Tower and sees the stain glass window alter itself from a red rose to a living picture of her daughter April's face. April cries out "mamma", before the stain glass morphs back into its original image.
  • 1923- John is pushed from the tower by Ellen and Sukeena who make it look like a Suicide.
  • February 19th 1928- Rose grows jealous of Ellen's relationship with Sukeena. The woman vanishes in the Solarium and is never seen again.
  • Noted Phenomena: Ellen orders the plants in the Solarium to be ripped out only to later find them growing back more lush and beautiful than ever. Insist she hears the house laughing at her and mocking her.
  • January 15th 1946- Rose Red feels threatened by the Glamorous movie star and good friend of Ellen, Deanna Petrie. The woman vanishes in the Billiards Room during one of Ellen's yearly January 15th parties. The only thing found of Deanna is one of her earrings. After her disappearance the January 15th parties are canceled for good.
  • January 15th 1950- Rose Red finally claims its most desired victim. Ellen herself vanishes while in the Perspective Hallway. Last seen by maid, who wished her good evening.
  • 1950s-1960s- Servants continue to live in Rose Red but eventually leave one by one out of fear. Adam Rimbauer inherits the house and resides their with his wife. He soon notices rooms change and grow on their own. He also sees the ghost of his long lost sister April frequently. After his death his widowed wife suffers financially when the Omnicron Oil is sold and opens house to tours conducted by the "Seattle Historical Society" for income.
  • 1960s- Team of scientists investigate Rose red. Conclude that hauntings and screams are caused by water running through old drainage pipes. Head investigator, Max Bernstein goes missing, never to be seen again.
  • Noted phenomena; a moving statue of Ellen Rimbauer in the garden. Faint screams, loud breathing, and fleeting glimpses of figures in the house are reported.
  • 1972- Liza Albert vanishes after straying from her tour group and is never seen again. The only trace of her is her handbag, ripped to bloody shreads. Tours immediately stop and Adam's widowed wife moves away for good. Never to return.
  • 1972-2001- House falls into a deep disrepair and remains abandoned.
  • 1995-1996- House is rumored to have fallen dormant.
  • May 24th 2001- Parapsychologist Dr. Joyce Reardon conducts experiment with psychics at Rose Red. Kevin Bollinger is sent by Dr. carl Miller- Joyce's department head, who hates her- to spy on them and take embarrassing photos of them investigating. Kevin visits Rose Red all alone and is lured inside by Sukeena who he doesn't realize is a ghost. He explores the house and makes his way into the Solarium where he vanishes, leaving only his camera behind.
  • Noted phenomena: Phantom drafts, spectral lights, demonic faces in the flames of the fire place, rooms and hallways changing themselves again.
  • May 24th-May 25th 2001- The teammates of Joyce encounter ghost. Later that night Pam Asbury, a psychometric, is lured to the garden by a ghost in disguise and at the pond she presumably is drowned by the evil spirits of Rose Red. Emery Waterman, a post-cognate is visited in bed by the corpse like ghost of Deanna the missing movie star who attempts to seduce him but is unsuccessful. Cathy Kramer, a automatic writer sees something moving under the rug of one of the rooms she is sleeping in. It movies up the side of her bed and up her covers, but vanishes when finally reaching her. Rachael and Annie wheaton are visited by the ghost of April Rimbauer who attempts to lure Annie, a fifteen year old autistic, telekinetic telepath into the bedroom closet by singng to her while Rachael is asleep.
  • May 25th 2001- The plants in the solarium began to blossom again. Music playing out of a lilly. Victor Kandinsky, precognitive, is lured by the ghost of Pam who is now under the control of Rose Red. He is taken to the garden pond. Suddenly he sees Pam's decomposing body floating in the water and attempts to pull her out. When he reaches Pam, she vanishes and Victor is left only clutching her night dress. Victor then witnesses a statue of Ellen move and he becomes so frightened he dies of a heart attack before being able to get back inside the house. Rose Red finally closes up on the remaining guests, tapping into the powers of telekinetic, telepathic, and psychokinetic. Joyce and her teammates are unable to leave. Patricia Waterman comes to the house to pick up her son, Emery and retrocognative Dr. Carl Miller comes to the house after hearing news about Kevin Bollinger missing. When Patricia arrives she is knocked unconscious by the bloated corpse of Bollinger. When Carl Miller arrives the ghost of Sukeena leads him into the overgrown gardens and he becomes lost. The spirits of Rose Red cause him to go insane and he wanders the property aimlessly, and dies when Bollinger also finds him. Emery makes a break for it but is confronted by the ghost of Deanna and Pam who urge him to stay and live at Rose Red forever. When he rejects the offer Emery's fingers are severed after the front door closes on his hand. The spirits of Rose Red then make Bollinger's death look like a Suicide by hanging his body in the mirrored libary. Cathy goes to get iced tea in the kitchen and is attacked by Patricia who apparently had been lead into the house and driven insane. Cathy is rescued by Nick Hardaway, a telepathic and remote viewer. They tie Patricia up and leave her in kitchen until they can decide what to do with her. When Patricia is left alone, she is soon killed by the rotting corpse of Sukeena who pulls her into the darkness and dissapers in the kitchen pantry. Meanwhile Nick and Cathy are chased by mysterious phantoms and are separated. Nick is killed and Cathy ends up in the attic tower of Rose Red where she is nearly murdered by the now full grown decomposing corpse of April Rimbauer. Steve and Rachel save Cathy in time and the corpse falls lifeless to the floor. A bright light exits April's mouth and her dead body vanishes. The three conclude that the spirits of Rose Red possessed the carcasse of April who must have been living in a state of limbo, but in the part of the house where ordinary people can't see or find. Soon Cathy and Annie join forces and open the house together. On their way out Emery is attacked by his dead mother who jumps out of a looking glass and attempts to pull him into the spirit realm, luckily he escapes. Steve Rimbauer is then confronted by the rotting corpse of his great grandmother Ellen Rimbauer who offers him a hammer to help her keep building Rose Red. He rejects her offer and Annie destroys the house by causing a shower of boulders from the atmosphere to fall on the property. Annie, Rachel, Steve, Emery, and Cathy successfully escape. But Joyce refuses to leave and is killed by the ghosts of Rose Red who close in on her to seal her doom.
  • Noted phenomena: Psychic powers of Cathy, automatically writing and Annie destroying the home, dessicated corpse-like ghosts of those who vanished in the house terrorizing the group. Joyce refuses to leave with the rest of the survivors and becomes trapped. She is then killed by the ghost of Rose Red and her soul becomes trapped there just like all the others.
  • September 2001- Ellen Rimbauer's Diary is published to the public. The House is due to be demolished. The survivors pay their respects to the dead, and leave to all start a new life.
  • 2002- Tech-Star Condominiums are built on the former site of Rose Red. It is unkown if the Condominiums will be cursed by evil spirits or not.


In 2000, two years before the miniseries aired, the producers contracted with author Ridley Pearson to write a tie-in novel, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red, under the pseudonym "Dr. Joyce Reardon" (one of the main characters of the miniseries). The novel presented itself as nonfiction, and claimed to be the actual diary of Ellen Rimbauer (wife of the builder of Rose Red). The work was originally intended to be an architectural book featuring photos and drawings of the fictional Rose Red house with the supernatural elements subtly woven into the text and photos, but Pearson (building on several references to a diary in King's script) wrote it as Ellen Rimbauer's diary instead. King came up with the idea of presenting the novel as real by having "Dr. Joyce Reardon" edit the "diary". King also inserted a reference into the book's forward that a "best-selling author had found the journal in Maine", so that fans would be misled into concluding that King had written the work. The ruse worked. Fans and the press speculated for some time that Stephen King or his wife Tabitha King had written the book until Pearson was revealed to be the novel's author. Intended to be a promotional item rather than a stand-alone work, its popularity spawned a 2003 prequel television miniseries to Rose Red, titled The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer. The novel tie-in idea was repeated on Stephen King's next project, the miniseries Kingdom Hospital. Richard Dooling, King's collaborator on Kingdom Hospital and writer of several episodes in the miniseries, published a fictional diary, The Journals of Eleanor Druse, in 2004. Eleanor Druse is a key character in Kingdom Hospital, much as Dr. Joyce Readon and Ellen Rimbauer are key characters in Rose Red.

A fictional Web site for "Beaumont University" (where Dr. Joyce Reardon, one of the main characters in the miniseries, taught parapsychology) was established. The site (still active as of May 2009) provided information on the history of Rose Red, background on the Rimbauer family, and limited information on various disappearances at the mansion. (

The marketing campaign was considered highly successful. Many readers came to believe that The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer was real. The fake Beaumont University site was bombarded with emails from fans who were convinced that Dr. Joyce Reardon, Beaumont University, and Rose Red were real.


The miniseries originally aired on the ABC broadcast television network in the United States on three nights, from January 27-29, 2001.

A DVD running 4 hours and 14 minutes was released in 2007.

Links to other King novelsEdit

The character of Annie Wheaton is similar to another Stephen King character, Carrie White—the main character from Stephen King's first published novel, Carrie. As a young girl, Carrie White telekinetically dropped stones on her house, and Annie does the same thing at both the beginning and end of Rose Red.

The story has connections to at least four other King books as well. In both The Shining and Rose Red, young people with telepathic/empathic abilities are wanted by a haunted building for its own uses. Rose Red is referred to in King's Black House as one of the places where "slippage" occurs. King's short story "The Langoliers" (which appeared in his collection of four novellas, Four Past Midnight) features a mysterious British citizen named Nick H who is often assumed to be the character Nick Hardaway from Rose Red "Beaumont University," the college of at which Dr. Joyce Reardon is a faculty member, shares its name with Thad Beaumont, the protagonist from King's novel The Dark Half. The Beaumont name is common in King's works, as one of his favorite authors is speculative fiction author Charles Beaumont.

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