In our first article, 11 Scariest Haunted Places in Oregon, we found some terrifying locations. Now we’ve added 11 more. Oregon is filled with the strange and unusual; it only makes sense that it would also be filled with some of the scariest haunted places in the United States. We have compiled a comprehensive list of the top haunts in Oregon—often listed as one of the top ten most haunted states—to help you eliminate the bogus and focus on the truly terrifying.
You can expect to see more then just a movie when you visit the Bagdad Theatre in Portland. Currently owned and operated by Mike and Brian McMenamin (these guys seem to have a thing for haunted locations), the Bagdad opened in 1927 and has had a history of eccentricity; it hosted the world premiere of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1975. Built with bohemian style architecture, the original female wait staff wore outfits with an Arabian feel to match the unique decor and finery. With such a colorful past—at one point it evolved into a 70’s art house and hippie hangout—it should come as no surprise that spirits have found the environment a welcoming place to spend the rest of their days. The gorgeous curves within the movie house are a perfect location for hiding. Just take a trip down into the basement to use the restroom and see if you don’t feel a chill and a slight twinge as if someone is watching you. Reports made by workers of an eerie feeling in the theater at night could possibly be the spirit of a stagehand who took his own life behind the movie screen. Kitchen staff tell stories of a feeling of being watched through the swinging doors as they go about their duties. Could it be an old employee who took too much pride in their job and wishes to continue making sure the food is still served hot and delicious? Whatever may be lingering within the movie house walls, it’s a wonderful location to visit and get your chill on.
Don’t be surprised if, while you’re making a late night deposit, you see someone appear out of nowhere and chase you from the building. No, the bank hasn’t hired a late night security guard; it’s one of the many apparitions citizens of Roseburg have reported seeing at the Umpqua Bank. Located on SE Main St, the street and location have no documented history of the traditional deaths, suicides, witch burnings, or satanic rituals you would expect in a location so littered with paranormal reports. The list is quite diverse. Night workers tell stories of hearing people running and talking, doors opening and closing, lights turning back on, and even dogs barking inside the bank. A woman wearing 1920’s clothing is often seen in the bathroom flushing toilets and turning the faucets on and off. An eerie red light glows in the bottom of the elevator, and don’t be surprised if you get stuck between floors. If those instances aren’t creepy enough for you, nearly every night after the lights have all been turned off and the doors are securely locked, a light in a top floor office comes on and a gentleman can be seen staring out the window. If you’re looking to make a deposit, you may want to think twice about using this bank—you may end up depositing in your pants instead of in your account.
Here come the McMenamin brothers again! These guys are like magnets for the paranormal. In our first article, 11 Scariest Haunted Places in Oregon, we touched on two other locations owned and operated by this family: the Multnomah county poor house (now McMenamin’s, Edgefield) and McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. Now, after the Bagdad Theater above, here comes a fourth spook hideout. The White Eagle first took flight in 1905. With the original nickname of “Bucket of Blood,” it’s no wonder the location still evokes chills in those who dare to cross the threshold of the front doors. Owned and operated by two Polish immigrants, Barney Soboleski and William Hryszko, the once saloon sat in the armpit of the waterfront neighborhood of Albina. Serving as a stopping spot for other Polish workers after a hard day, Soboleski and Hryszko made sure hardworking men had their fill of recreation by offering a brothel upstairs, an opium den downstairs, and poker, cigars and liquor in the middle. Morphing through the years, the establishment managed to maintain a constant flow of parishioners—including those unseen— right into current times. A waitress reported being half carried, half pushed down a flight of stairs by an unseen force. Psychics who have visited the establishment report a feeling of extreme sadness and violence in the basement. Could these be the spirits of those who were shanghaied in the hidden basement tunnels? Murdered by a jealous lover, a prostitute named Rose is said to still linger in the upstairs hallways. Reports of moans, sobbing, and crying when nobody is there are common. Some even claim to have seen a woman’s figure in the upstairs windows. If you’re looking for a drink and a fright this could be the best place to stop to quench your thirst for both.
The name alone sends a chill up your spine: “The Witch’s Castle.” The location carries a sordid past to match. First purchased in 1850 by a family with the last name of Balch, the land was meant to be a sanctuary, but quickly turned into a prison of sorts. The Balch family hired a man named Mortimer Stump who quickly fell in love with one of the Balch daughters, Anna. Denied the privilege of marriage the lovers ran away and eloped. Anna’s father, Danford Balch, vowed to kill Stump, which sparked a feud between the two families. Through an accidental encounter while procuring supplies, the two men met and Danford held true to his threat, shooting Stump with a shotgun and killing him. Danford later claimed his wife had bewitched him with a spell forcing him to commit the heinous crime. Regardless, Danford was finally caught and hanged for the crime, the first legal hanging in the newly established Portland territory. As for Anna, she was taken back to what is now Forest Park to live out the rest of her life in the same surroundings that had taken both her lover and her father. The property was passed through several hands until finally landing with the City of Portland and becoming the park we know today. As for the actual building, it’s not actually the home of the forbidden lovers, but does that really matter? Many photos have been taken in the area in the late evening hours, revealing floating orbs which can’t be explained. Some individuals report seeing ghostly figures in the midnight hours that appear to be fighting. Could these be the tortured souls of the Balch and Stump families?
Built in 1934, the Oregon Caves Chateau still maintains the rustic feel that the original architects intended. Weathered and nestled between the steep banks of a creek bed, the chateau sits on the curves of a narrow mountain road, and visitors report feeling jittery from the moment they set eyes on the building. Inside, you find yourself surrounded by exposed wooden beams, providing an outdoor feeling, but as you begin to climb the narrow staircase to the sixth floor you encounter an eerie feeling. Upon stepping into the claustrophobia-inducing hallway, expect to feel watched as you meander under the strange window that looks into nothing more than a deserted attic—maybe that’s where Elizabeth hides during the daylight hours.
Elizabeth was a young woman betrayed by her newlywed husband on their wedding night in room 310 of the chateau. When she found her husband in the arms of a chambermaid Elizabeth ran back to their room and either jumped or was pushed to her death from the window. Regardless, she never left. People staying in the hotel report hearing footsteps above them even when they are staying on the top floor. Still others speak of dresser drawers opening and closing in the night, strange creaks as if someone is pacing the floors, and even cries and moans emanating from the third floor linen closet. Kitchen staff have had pots dropped on their heads as Elizabeth displays her displeasure with those still working for the establishment that took her life and her love. Spend a night in these halls and expect no sleep, but a whole lot of creepy tales to spin around the campfire in days to come.
Jake and Harry Warshauer originally opened the Geiser Grand Hotel in 1889 under the name “Warshauer Hotel” as a response to the growing community surrounding them. Though the brothers tried diligently to make something of the establishment, as time marched on so did the individuals who wished to stay within the rooms of the once majestic hotel. Passing from one owner to another, the hotel eventually closed its doors in 1968. Then the building sat vacant for over 20 years, until it was saved by John Berg of Westcor Properties with the intentions of renovating its dilapidated remains. For whatever reasons the developer bugged out, and the hotel wouldn’t see fresh paint until 1993, when once again someone would behold value in its sad face.
Dwight and Barbara Sidway began the tedious task of removing the structure’s cobwebs, but they couldn’t remove the spirits who remained after so many years of solitude. While staying at what has been labeled the most haunted location in Baker City, Geiser Grand hotel guests can expect a lack of sleep, at the very least. Perhaps a few partiers from the hotel’s heydays have decided to stay on for an eternal party—reports of hearing a constant soireé on the third floor, complete with laughter, dancing, and music, are common. Diners say they have seen flapper-style girls peering over the railings into the dining hall, torsos hovering without lower limbs to support them. The most infamous of the apparitions is the Lady in Blue, often seen ascending the staircase only to disappear into a wall. Kitchen workers tell tales of a mischievous spirit who moves utensils and cooking ware, often in plain sight of astonished eyes. Perhaps it was the same spirit who tormented workers on the final restoration of the hotel by moving tools and construction equipment. There even seems to be a spirit lingering behind the bar who attempts to pour him orherself a drink by pulling the tap handles. Are these entities the stuck souls of previous visitors, lingering workers, or tormented owners? Whomever they are, you are sure to enjoy their company if you decide to stay within these historic walls.
Book your time in this famous location at least three months out. Named one of the top ten most haunted locations in the U.S., Heceta House is a ghost hunter’s dream come true. Nearly every visitor since the 1950s has reported some type of paranormal encounter—the majority involving the ghostly Rue, also called the “Grey Lady.” Located near the Heceta Head Lighthouse, which was lit for the first time in March 1894, the Heceta House is one of the few remaining “lightkeeper’s cottages” in the nation. From the moment this bed and breakfast was established, strange occurrences have been a consistent part of the experience. One of the most curious finds of the location was the grisly grave of an infant girl. With no official records of a child being born on or near the location, speculations as to the child’s origins run the gamut. The most common belief is that the child belonged to Rue, tying the apparition to the location in an eternal state of mourning.
The majority of encounters reported with the Gray Lady have been pleasant, with a few reporting a mischievous side. When a work crew had to stay at the location while completing some painting they were repeatedly woken by the fire alarm going off, even though no fire was located. When they grew tired of the malfunctioning device, they decided to remove the batteries, but even this wouldn’t stop the spirits from sounding their alarm at the changes being made; the alarm continued all throughout the night. The most widely known encounter involved a workman who came face to face with Rue in the attic. Scared beyond control, the man fled the house and refused to step foot back inside. Later, while working on the outside of the home, he accidentally broke an attic window. Still refusing to go inside, he repaired the window from the safety of a ladder, leaving the broken glass scattered across the attic floor. That night, workers told of scraping noises in the attic, and the next morning they found the broken window shards neatly swept into a pile for them to discard. The Grey Lady appears as a smokey apparition and has been known to move items, open and close cabinet doors, and even play peek-a-boo from the attic window. The lighthouse near the house was meant to protect seamen from the rocky shores; nobody ever said the light would protect those already safely on land.
The last encounter with an actual wolf at Wolf Creek Inn was in 1956, but visitors have seen plenty of other terrifying entities since then. Constructed in 1883 as a stagecoach stop, the first owner, Henry Smith, built a lasting reputation for the location by strategically building right along the historic Applegate Trail. Travelers moving from San Francisco to Portland stayed at the inn, as well as local miners and stage travelers going from Roseburg and Redding. As the property moved through various owners, it became a favorite destination of the rich and famous—including Clark Gable, Orson Wells, and John Wayne. The state of Oregon rescued the property from disrepair in 1975, and today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its reputation hasn’t diminished, even regarding less notable guests who have passed on. Jack London, author of “White Fang” and “Call of the Wild,” once loved to spend time sleeping in the beautiful surroundings of the inn and wandering the nearby woods. London’s spirit is said to be one of the two identified entities still lingering; he has been seen wandering the room named after him, and has even been heard in the same location. A female stage coach driver has also been identified. She posed as a man when she was alive in order to be able to drive the coaches. She is said to spend time in the living room, possibly waiting for the next coach to come in. On a grislier note, there is an apparition with a more sinister personality. Although not a wolf, a creature with fangs inside a bloody mouth wanders the property. A report that it had bitten a guest—like something from a vampire film—was unauthenticated. For all intents and purposes, it tends to be well behaved and only scares guests in appearance. If you’re into celebrity hauntings, vampire stories, or both, the Wolf Creek Inn is a logical location to bed down for a night.
Oregon State University grew from a meager school building in 1856. Originally called Corvallis College, the school has a rich history of intellect, as well as a rich paranormal history. The most well known ghoul on the campus was the school’s very first librarian, Ida Kidder. Kidder was appointed at OSU in 1908 and worked diligently to build the one-room library in Benton Hall into the massive establishment now located in Fairbanks Hall. As a librarian she could be quite strict, but found a lighter side outside the walls of her library. She was well-liked by the student body, even occasionally dancing with some students at events. Kidder lived in Waldo Hall until she passed away in her bed in 1920. It seems contradictory that a woman who spent the majority of her life trying to quiet others would be making such a ruckus in death, but students and faculty report unexplained noises that sound like furniture being moved on the fourth floor of Waldo, even though the fourth floor was closed for a number of years beginning in 1960. Security often receives calls of a woman seen standing in one of the fourth floor windows, appearing to watch over those coming and going around campus. It seems Kidder can’t bring herself to leave her duties even in death.
Waldo Hall isn’t the only location on the OSU campus with ghoulish stories. Sackett Hall has a more disturbing history. Rumor floats about that Ted Bundy murdered a young woman in the catacombs below the dormitory. Unexplained sounds like low moans and stifled screams are often spoken about. In the late 50s, a young woman named Brandy was said to come to a terrifying end in Sackett Hall. Brandy’s legend states she was murdered in her dorm room by a drunk man. Today she spends her time floating about in the form of a spectral light or appearing as a little girl sitting on the end of beds. She also has an affection for fire and is reported to start random small fires throughout the building. Don’t be surprised if something is unexpectedly tossed your way—Brandy has a mischievous side. Most people come to OSU in search of a degree. They may just leave with a higher education in paranormal activity too.
A dead volcano, Malheuer Butte stands overlooking Ontario on the Oregon border of Idaho. A favorite outdoor location for Peakbaggers, campers and geocachers, the terrain has seen its share of other interesting adventurers. Tales are told of witches who once used this area to perform rituals in secret. Maybe they were drawn by the Snake River, which runs close by. The Snake River is one of only two rivers in the United States that runs south to north. It’s also rumored that Wiccan ceremonies are still held near the butte because of the power the river offers. The Snake River also runs through Hells Canyon. Could the river be picking up hellish creatures as it climbs to its ocean end? Reports have emerged of shadowy creatures the size of dogs chasing people near the butte and in the surrounding areas at night. One woman was chased all the way to her car, terrified by the guttural noises the beast was making. Are these creatures conjured by the witches and left behind to protect the secrets of the area—to keep the butte quiet? Whatever the spectral creatures are, there is no doubting the eerie feeling encountered when you begin to ascend the butte. Is the volcano really dead after all?
The dead don’t require a building in order to make their presence known. In our first article, we ended with the haunting of Highway 101, and we decided to continue the tradition. Located just to the right of Highway 6, a two-way dead end road called Agaard Road is nearly surrounded by Gales Creek, Finger Creek and Coffee Creek. History shows that water acts like a conduit for paranormal activity, so it’s no surprise this location is overflowing with reports of apparitions. If you take an early morning drive between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m., you may just see a flannel shirted man the locals call Lazlo dipping his line where Coffee Creek runs under the highway. He’s not alone, either. His wife, Helen, often stands watch from across the street, hands on her hips, impatiently waiting for dinner. Their home can be seen close by, and even though nobody has lived there since the ’90s, the lights will flicker on and smoke often floats from the chimney. A third spook in the figure of a young boy wearing shorts and a striped shirt spends his time standing as water drips from his clothing. His frail voice is heard calling for his “Mommy and Daddy.” If good Samaritans approach to help, he runs, leaving no trace of his existence—not even a drop of water on the ground where he seemed to stand.
The self-appointed land of the weird, Oregon has proven to be one of the most accepting locations for individuals trying to find their own identity. It would seem the dead have also discovered it and begun to move in, if the increasing reports of paranormal activity are any proof. Maybe soon enough we will see signs begging the dead to stay out, just the way we see the same signs beseeching living individuals to choose another home to make their future in.