Washington Ghost Stories

As a Washington based company we are always curious about local stories and history. This time, we take a look at some of Washington’s most legendary ghost stories!

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Central Washington University, “Kamola Hall” (1940). CWU Building Photographs. 290.

Lola in Kamola — Ellensburg, WA

A student named Lola, attended Central Washington University during World War II and was rumored to have committed suicide in the Kamola resident’s hall after discovering the love of her life was killed in action. Students over the years have reported ‘sightings’ of Lola, including noises, cold gusts of wind, and apparitions. CWU’s photographer Richard Villacres says he dealt with Lola personally during a photo shoot in 2002, prior to the Kamola hall remodel. During the photo shoot things seemed fine. Then he developed his film.

“I shot three rolls of film inside Kamola of my model, and the three rolls of film that I shot inside — two of them came out black, nothing — which has never, ever happened to me,” Villacres said.

Getting angered by the apparent camera malfunction, Villacres was surprised to see the third roll of film developed — but not into something that he took.

“The one roll that came out had all kinds of bizarre fogging and weird marks on it,” Villacres said. “Especially one that was taken in the hallway inside. There is this ghostly figure in the background — all this weird effect is on there. I had no explanation for that.”

Puzzled, and thoroughly creeped out, Villacres had the film sent back to Polaroid to see if there was anything wrong. They said there was nothing. He developed other photos he had taken that day outside the building. They turned out fine. He took his camera out on another shoot, and again, everything was working perfectly. Just not in Kamola’s attic.

 

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Image courtesy of Google Maps

Hotel Andra Seattle, WA

The 119-room Hotel Andra, located in the heart of Seattle, is a 10-story building that opened in 1926 as the Claremont Hotel. It has been remodeled several times and is still a functioning hotel. Renamed the Hotel Andra in 2004, it’s “one of the premier luxury hotels in downtown Seattle,” according to the Andra’s website. Andra officials said the hotel provided efficiency apartments when it first opened, and acted as a transfer station for members of the Women’s Army Corps from 1945 to 1947. It was transformed into a small boutique hotel in the 1970s before opening as the Hotel Andra in 2004.

Staffers and guests have reported apparitions in the building, and are said to have witnessed objects moving on their own. One of the more common stories from guests involves the apparition of a woman who appears in guests’ rooms wearing 1930s-style clothing. Hotel patrons have reported hearing jazz music and parties on the ninth floor, only for staffers to check and find nothing.

 

800px-WANSHPC1940sThe Northern State Mental Hospital — Burlington, WA

The Northern State Mental Hospital, was a self-sustaining hospital complex, once the state’s largest facility for the mentally insane, or not so insane. It sits on 1,100 acres and was operational from 1912 to 1973.

The complex was designed as a “self-sustaining and therapeutic colony for the mentally ill,”. The site boasted patient and staff quarters, a lumber mill, a quarry, a greenhouse, a laundry, canning facilities and more. There was also a 700-acre farm, and the site had a cemetery where thousands of people have been buried. The hospital closed in 1976, but some of its buildings are still in use as a drug rehab center and for job corps projects.

According to some reports, patients died at the facility from all kinds of experimental treatments, including electroshock therapy, sterilizations and botched transorbital lobotomies. The eerie remains of Washington State’s Northern State Mental Hospital is rumored to be haunted with apparitions and unexplained screams reported by unsuspecting visitors. Investigators of paranormal activity have said the ghostly remains of the Northern State Mental Hospital are haunted.

 

Seattle_1921_First_Avenue_03Kell’s Pub — Seattle, WA

Kell’s Pub is in the Butterworth Building, a mortuary, the entire building was used to store the dead. Kell’s Pub was an entrance for delivering bodies. Workers would put the bodies into an elevator and take them to the third floor to process them for burial.

There are two ghosts that are known to regularly manifest at Kell’s. The first is a little girl with long red hair. She’s known to play pranks on the guests, but really she wants to play with other kids. During the day, you can have children in the pub, so that’s when she’s most active. It is said that this ghost girl can manipulate physical things and has made toys for children, like rag dolls, who visit the bar. No one knows the girl’s identity: She may have been one of the many children who died in the 1918 influenza outbreak.

The second ghost is named Charlie. He manifests in the Guinness mirror, then disappears. Charlie does it quite often on nights when a band plays. You’ll know it’s him because he’s an older gentleman wearing a derby hat.

 

Miller Creek Ghost — Burien, WA

Around 1915, a railway man’s little girl got washed away when Miller Creek overflowed its banks during a horrible storm. It’s rumored that, that little girl now haunts the creek near Ambaum Boulevard and 163rd Place in Burien, Washington.

When the drowning happened, Burien went by a different name, Sunnydale, and it was nothing more than a few houses. It was hard to reach and people used trails through a dense, wet forest to get there. The girl, an alleged descendent of Mike Kelly, lived in a small house by the creek. In the early spring of 1915, a terrible storm came off the Pacific Ocean and pounded the Burien area. High up in the Cascades, the storm water collected until it burst through a lake made by log jams. The wall of water crashed through the wilderness and flowed into Miller Creek, causing it to grow to four-times its normal level.

Downstream, the girl played with a few friends, none of them heard the stream roar with rage until it was too late. Two children drowned.

Today, locals tell her tale, but refrain from looking for ghostly activities at Miller Creek. The girl, who still has no name attached to her legend, is said to manifest on very rare sunny days after storms roll through. There has been reports of giggling, rustling of leaves, and moths fluttering around you.

 

A.B.H.S Facility — Spokane Valley, WA

The former nursing home was notorious for its criminal mistreatment of patients. The corpses of patients were stored in the basement, enabling staff to perform social security scams. The macabre history of the basement has carried through to present day, effecting the staff and patients of the behavioral health facility. Staff members have been known to refuse to enter the basement, convinced that malevolent spirits lurk in the shadows. Patients have claimed white orbs and shadowy figures appear throughout the building, contributing to the facility’s haunting atmosphere.

 

2008-1018-023-DavenportHotel-int1The Davenport Hotel — Spokane, WA

Since the Davenport reopened in 2002, one story has been told more than others. “A woman walks through the mezzanine in vintage 1920s dress,” Most people didn’t pay much attention to the story until they found an article from the 1920s in the Spokesman-Review. It reported that a woman walked through some doors, out unto the lobby skylight and fell to her death.

An official spokesperson of the hotel believes Louis Davenport’s “legacy of supreme hospitality” is what really haunts the building, but he holds open the possibility that something supernatural is also at work. “The law of physics says energy is neither created nor destroyed,” he says. “If you believe that, where does all this human energy go? Maybe it’s still alive, in this same physical space that has all this human history.”

 

Manresa_HallManresa Castle — Port Townsend, WA

The century-old Manresa Castle was designed to resemble a medieval castle. Completed in 1892, it was used as a vacation home and a training college.

Two ghosts are said to haunt Manresa Castle. The first is a young woman named Kate who is said to have leapt to her death from her room (306) in despair after her lover either failed to show up, or was killed. The other is the ghost of a monk that legend claims hanged himself in the tower above room 302. So if you are looking for a haunted night’s stay, pick one of those two rooms.

 

oxford

Image courtesy of Google Maps

The Oxford Saloon — Snohomish, WA

Over the years, the Oxford Saloon was often the scene of violence, especially around the basement, a men’s card room and the bar. One well-documented killing was that of a policeman, named Henry. He was a regular at the Oxford and may have moonlighted as a bouncer. One night there was a fight, and when Henry attempted to break it up, he was knifed and died.

Henry seems to have stuck around, and has been sighted hanging out around the stairs leading to the basement and in the ladies’ restroom. Seen and felt, as many women report being pinched by him.

The second floor of the Oxford is now rented out as offices, but at least three ghosts seem to remain from the Oxford’s darker days. One is a man in a bowler hat, and the others are two women. Some people believe one is Kathleen, who eventually lived upstairs. The other woman is Amelia, one of Kathleen’s girls, who had been forced into prostitution. Her dead body was found curled up in her closet, and no one was sure whether she committed suicide, or was murdered.


This post is apart of our 13 days of Halloween series. Checkout our other spooky posts:

  1. Washington Ghost Stories
  2. Out of Place Artifacts
  3. Henry Rathbone
  4. Charon and the Journey to Hades
  5. Post-Mortem Photography
  6. All Hallows Eve Divination Games
  7. Saved By The Bell and other Idioms
  8. Halloween Coins
  9. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. Coins Connecting You to the Spirit World
  11. Ancient Egyptian Alien Coins
  12. Superstitions Around the World
  13. A Brief History of Halloween
  1. A Brief History of Halloween

Gold, Ghosts, and Spooky Stories

 

It’s the season for spooky stories; what better time to talk about ghosts and coins?

 

forest-66291_960_720.jpgClinton Road, New Jersey, is not only reported to be one of the spookiest roads in the country, but is also the home of a ghost obsessed with coins. There are many legends about the Ghost Boy, and not all of them agree about his origins or the proper method for summoning him. In some, he was challenged to stand on a bridge as a dare, from when he fell into the water and drowned. In others, he was trying to retrieve a fallen ball, or was hit by a car when picking up a coin from the ground. To summon the ghost, one generally drops a coin into the water under the ghost’s bridge to get a glimpse of a child’s reflection in the rippling water. In some versions, the child is never seen, but will take coins dropped in the water and place them on the roadway overnight. In one account, a person who was discussing the ghost’s story was startled by the sound of the coin hitting their windshield.

 

money-1477064_960_720In Labrador, Canada, a story is told about Sam Croucher, a salmon fisherman who distrusted banks and always insisted on having his money in gold coins. Fearful that someone would break in and steal his wealth, or that a fire would melt it, Croucher hid the gold on an island. He took his almost-blind son with him to the island, but did not show him where the gold was buried, only remarking that it was well-marked. He refused to tell his wife and daughter where the coins were, lest someone force them to reveal the location. When Croucher died suddenly, no one knew where to find his treasure. Years later, after her marriage, Croucher’s daughter dreamed that her father’s ghost appeared to her and told her the specific location of the treasure. She was told to take her brother with her, and to share the wealth with him. When she arrived at the island, she went inland to find the gold, but came back empty-handed, stating that nothing could make her go back to find her father’s gold. She never told anyone what she saw on the island.

 

hag.PNGThe Bell Island Hag is not known as a ghost who is fond of coins, but she has been commemorated on a coin from the Royal Canadian Mint. Some say she is the spirit of an old woman lured into a bog by the pixies; the townspeople, fearing for their own lives, ignored her cries. She initially takes the form of a beautiful young woman, but turns into a fearsome hag as she approaches. Men have stumbled out of the marshes after days, unable to remember anything but the sight of the hag, and a putrid stench as she forced them to the ground. The coin from the Canadian Mint takes advantage of lenticular technology: tilt the coin to see the hag transform.

 

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Another Canadian ghost is the Fairmont Banff Springs Bride. The story goes that a young bride, posing for a photograph on the stairs, tripped on her dress and fell, breaking her neck. Some have claimed to see her still on the staircase, while others have seen her in the ballroom, mourning for the first dance with her groom that she never had. As with the Bell Island Hag, the coin featuring the bride changes as it is tilted.

 

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to verify any of these stories. But as the days get shorter and colder, it’s fun to recount a few spine-tingling stories!

 

Ghosts and Lost Treasures: Spooky Stories of Cursed Coins

 

With the new Ghostbusters film coming to theaters this weekend, everyone is trading ghost stories and tales of the supernatural. Coin collectors should be listening. After all, stories of lost treasures and paranormal activity go back centuries. Almost every legend of buried coins comes with the requisite guardian specter or curse, put in place to prevent any upstart from stealing the wealth. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Captain Kidd’s treasure on Charles Island, Connecticut
1280px-CharlesislandCharles Island is a small spot of land just off the shore of Connecticut, near the town of Milford. It’s been said to have been “thrice-cursed.” The first curse was set by the local Paugussett nation who believed it to be the home of sacred spirits; when European settlers defeated them, the chief proclaimed that any shelter built on the island would crumble (and indeed, no building has lasted long on its soil.) The legendary pirate, Captain Kidd, also cursed the spot during his final voyage in 1699 when he reportedly buried treasure there, insisting that anyone who disturbed the gold would die. The final curse is supposed to be from the Mexican Emperor Guatmozin, whose treasure was allegedly hidden on the island by sailors in 1721.
skull-476740_960_720Officially, no treasure has been found on Charles Island to date. But there are stories that say otherwise. Local tales recount the story of two treasure hunters who found an iron chest buried on the island in 1850. When they began to open the chest, a screaming, fiery skeleton descended from the sky, and a shower of blue flames erupted from the treasure pit. Naturally, the treasure hunters fled in terror; when they returned to the spot by day, their tools and the treasure pit had vanished. In some versions of the story, the two men spend their final days in an insane asylum; in others, they are beheaded by the spirits of the Paugussett nation. Whether any of it is true is a matter for conjecture, but even in the present day, visitors to the island report sightings of ghosts in the trees and disembodied voices.

 

 

The Treasure of Jean Lafitte
Anonymous_portrait_of_Jean_Lafitte,_early_19th_century,_Rosenberg_Library,_Galveston,_Texas.JPGPirate legends are a treasure trove of stories of headless ghosts and spectral ships; it’s hard to tell which stories are original and which have simply borrowed these common motifs. But one of the most common stories is the ghost of corsair captain Jean Lafitte. Lafitte was legendary for his exploits, and was condemned, pardoned, and condemned again by the United States government. He and his fleet helped save the city of New Orleans from British troops during the War of 1812, and though Lafitte operated as a man without a country, he had great respect for the new country. Lafitte’s ghost is a fairly common sight at his old blacksmith shop, which is now a bar. In many legends, ghosts are fine mists or shadowy shapes, and pirate ghosts are often said to be headless, but Lafitte has always been a full apparition, according to all accounts. He is always seen on the first floor, usually in the shadows, and never interacts with any visitor. When spotted, he looks like a normal human dressed in old sailor’s clothes, until he simply fades into the shadows.
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Also unlike most pirate ghosts, Lafitte has only been seen in his place of business, never near any of his treasure sites. One of the sites commonly thought to hold some of his riches is Fowler’s Bluff, Florida. Lafitte and other pirates were known to frequent the area, especially to bring their ships onto land and clean to hulls. No treasure of Lafitte’s has been recorded here, but stories persist of a man who left the Bluff in 1888 with unexplained riches. Some attempts at using ground-penetrating radar have revealed shapes that could be chests of gold doubloons. Perhaps some treasure chests remain to be found by future treasure hunters.

 

The Cahuenga Pass Treasure

1922_Cahuenga_Pass_HollywoodA large hoard of coins is reportedly buried near the Hollywood Bowl in southern California. This complex story starts in 1864, when four Mexican soldiers were sent to San Francisco with a load of coins and jewels to purchase munitions for the Mexican war (at the time, Mexican silver pesos were one of the most valued trade coins in the world.) One of the soldiers died during the voyage under suspicious circumstances, and his comrades buried their fortune for safe-keeping while they kept a watch for foreign agents.

 

However, the soldiers had been watched not by spies, but by a man named Diego Morena, who took the coins and made his way south to the mountains near Los Angeles, through the Cahuenga Pass. That night, he dreamed that he would die if he took the treasure into the city, so he buried it in the Pass. He went into town the next day, where he fell violently ill. He told a friend, Jesus Martinez, where the treasure was buried, before dying of his illness that night. Martinez and his stepson went to find the coins, but Martinez died of a heart attack as soon as they began to dig. The stepson died in a shootout 10 years later.
Hoard_of_ancient_gold_coinsPart of the treasure was uncovered by a Basque shepherd in 1885. The shepherd sewed the coins into his clothing for safekeeping and set off on a boat for Spain. As he stood looking towards the approaching country, he fell overboard and the weight of the gold in his clothes sunk him to the bottom of the sea.
The legend (and curse?) of the coin hoard continued into the twentieth century. Henry Jones, an oil expert, dug for the treasure in November of 1939, while a film crew documented the dig. Nothing but dirt was ever found, and Jones committed suicide over his failure. The coins have never been recovered.

 

The Folly Island Treasure

 

The ghost of Blackbeard the pirate has been seen out at Folly Island, South Carolina, many times, possibly connected with this spine-tingling tale regarding treasure on the island.

 

Civil_War_Battle_Scene_1887_William_T_Trego.pngDuring the Civil War, Union troops landed on Folly Island while preparing an assault on the nearby town of Charleston. Soldiers were sent around the island to ensure that all civilian residents had vacated the island; one young officer, reportedly named Yokum, came across an old black woman and a child living in a run-down shack. The woman refused to leave the house, as she had grown up in it, and began telling Yokum stories about the area. He wasn’t interested until the old woman mentioned treasure buried nearby.

 

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According to the old woman, pirates had buried six chests full of gold and silver coins (likely doubloons and pieces of eight) between two oak trees. After the chests were lowered into the hole, the pirate captain stabbed one of his crew and tossed the body into the hole. The pirates covered the pit and sailed away. The old woman insisted that the treasure was guarded by the ghost of the pirate buried with the gold.

 

 

moon-1275694_960_720.jpgYokum helped the old woman and the child off the island, then returned with his friend Hatcher to look for the treasure that night. As they dug, the tops of the trees began swaying as if in a high wind; the deeper the dug, the higher the wind rose, until the wind-blown sand began scratching their faces. Flashes of light began to appear, with greater frequency as the hole grew deeper. Finally there came a long flash, that made the night “bright as noon,” and Yokum and Hatcher saw that they were not alone. The dark form of a pirate stood behind them; the two men dropped their tools and escaped across the dunes, swearing never to tell anyone what had happened. The coins have never been found.