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Haunted Places of the Northwest

See 7 locales where you may have a ghostly encounter

While you can get some adrenaline-fueled fun by watching a scary movie or visiting a spooky Halloween production, there’s nothing that can quite replace getting a fright from the real deal: experiencing the haunted places around the Northwest.

All throughout the region are settings to hair-raising stories of paranormal encounters, including buildings creaking with grim histories and plots of land drenched in spine-tingling lore. Here are some of the best places in the area to tempt a ghostly encounter of your own.

Haunted Mt.Baker Theater cob.org
Haunted Mount Baker Theater. Photo by cob.org

Mount Baker Theater, Bellingham

Since it was built in 1927, this independent theater has been the setting for enough unexplained events to land it on our list of haunted places. Stories from guests and employees include accounts of sudden gusts of cold air, inexplicable noises that resemble voices calling people’s names and balls of light in places that defy logic. One of the ghosts is believed to be of a woman named Judy who is said to have lived in a home that was bulldozed to make room for the theater.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

As one of Seattle’s top tourist destinations, Pike Place Market seems like an odd place for a ghostly encounter, especially to anyone who has visited the bustling stalls brimming with fresh fish, colorful flower bouquets and artisan goods. But shop owners over the years have told stories of items falling from walls without being touched and visitors saying they’ve seen apparitions.

Haunted Butterworth Building Kells Irish Pub Municipal Archives
The Butterworth Building (Kells Irish pub). Photo from the municipal archives

Several sightings of what were described as spirits occurred at the nearby Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar, a popular Irish pub on Post Alley. The Butterworth Building that the bar now occupies also has a storied history with the deceased. Prior to serving Guinness and Jameson, the building was a mortuary in the early 1900s. So, it’s no wonder that the bar owners and patrons have witnessed the presence of what they say have become supernatural regulars.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma

A popular path among hikers, bikers and birders, Five Mile Drive in Point Defiance Park wows visitors with its neck-craning giant sequoias and stunning cliffside views of Puget Sound. But some have reported eerie sightings during their forest visit. In the mid-1980s, a Tacoma girl went missing and her body was later found by a group of joggers. Since then, tales of people seeing a girl riding her bike have emerged from the park.

And that’s not the park’s only blood-curdling location. The Pagoda, a well-known building surrounded by Japanese gardens, has reputedly served as the location for several chilling occurrences. First built as a trolley terminal, the Pagoda is thought to be haunted by as many as three ghosts, including a widower who took his own life in 1920. People have reported hearing sounds of footsteps and inexplicable movements.

Haunted McMenamins Edgefield Multnomah Co Poor Farm Wikipedia
McMenamins Edgefield. Photo from Wikipedia

McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale, Oregon

Presently the site of a hotel, restaurant, concert venue and golf course, the 74 acres at McMenamins Edgefield has become a destination for many kinds of excursions — including ghost hunts. Built in 1911, the property was originally the Multnomah County Poor Farm which housed people who were poor, ill or disabled and the property included a barn, hospital wing and jail that have since been refurbished.

Amid the creaky staircases and historic photographs that adorn the walls, guests and employees have accumulated many tales of ghostly encounters including apparitions and disembodied voices. The ghosts who haunt the hallways are believed to be the souls of those buried in unmarked graves on the property.

The Historic Davenport Hotel, Spokane

Originally built as a restaurant in 1914 before it was converted into a hotel, the Historic Davenport Hotel dazzles visitors with its lavish lobby and cozy rooms, featuring delightful period décor. But mystery enthusiasts know the hotel for a different reason: its ghoulish habitants. Some say the ghost of the founder and hotel namesake Louis Davenport can be detected in the suite he died in, No. 1105.

Guests of the room have reported multiple oddities, including untouched items moving. The ghost of Louis Davenport is not the only spirit that people have noticed. In 1920, an out-of-town guest named Ellen McNamara crashed through the skylight and fell to her death. For decades, visitors of the hotel have reported apparitions of a woman in 20s-era attire and some even say you can hear her speaking what are thought to be her last words, “Where did I go?” 

Haunted Geiser Grand Hotel View from Dining Room Alan Flickr
View from the dining room of the Geiser Grand Hotel. Photo by Alan/Flickr

Geiser Grand Hotel, Baker City, Oregon

Its history as a hotel for rich miners in the 1880s may be the reason that today’s guests feel the presence of flappers and hotel employees of the past at Geiser Grand Hotel. Until the building fell into disrepair, luxurious parties filled the ornately decorated rooms and dining areas. Now, after it was restored in 1990, the building’s mahogany molding, crystal chandeliers and intricate stained glass once again shine as they greet guests.

But beware: Apparitions and otherworldly sounds have been reported by guests. For those looking for an extra scare, stay at the hotel and visit the nearby ghost town of Sumpter, a once-bustling gold mining town that now is home to a small population who have repurposed its century-old saloons, churches and opera house. If you visit, you may have the chance to spot one of the town’s oldest lurking residents, the ghost of Old Joe Bush.

Haunted Frozen Spirit Lake in Idaho Gregory Johnston adobestock
Spirit Lake, Idaho. Photo by Gregory Johnston/AdobeStock

Spirit Lake, Idaho

Ghost hunters will appreciate the aptly named Spirit Lake in northern Idaho, a roughly 4-mile lake which gets its name from the Kootenay Indians. The legend goes that the chief’s daughter fell in love with a man but was betrothed to another, and so she and her lover leapt into the lake from Suicide Cliff.

They were never seen again — though visitors to the waters have said they can hear mournful cries and see the moonlit silhouettes of the lovers seeking release from the lake. Adding to the haunting tale is the fact that Spirit Lake is reported to be one of only two lakes in the world with a sealed bottom fitting of a tomb.

—Written by Emily Gillespie

—The top photo is by EV Korobov/AdobeStock.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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