Legend has it that the ghost of a young bride appears at the Oregon Caves Chateau in Cave Junction. (Photo credit: Greg Vaughn)
McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale is said to be haunted by its former residents. (Photo credit: Kathleen Nyberg / McMenamins)
At the Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence, guests can stay at the old lightkeeper’s quarters and potentially encounter the ghost of Rue. (Photo credit: Nickie Bournias)
Heceta Head guests have reported the scent of flowers or rose perfume out of the blue, or seeing an imprint on their bed as if from a moment before. (Photo credit: Susan Seubert)

Thousands of guests have stayed in Room 309/310 at the Oregon Caves Chateau in Cave Junction since the rustic lodge opened in 1934, and most leave with an entirely pleasant stay.

Others over the decades have reported mysterious encounters in that room: feeling a tingling sensation, hearing the shower on, or finding a woman’s clothing in the room.

They may have been sensing the ghostly presence of Elisabeth, a young woman who either jumped to her death — or was pushed — after discovering her that husband had an affair while on their honeymoon. So the legend goes.

“Some folks know about it; most do not,” says Robin Russell, manager of the six-story chateau (which closes for the winter Nov. 6, 2016 and reopens May 4, 2017). “We do get an occasional person who wants to stay in Elisabeth’s room,” Russell adds, noting that they try to grant those requests if the room is available. “But we don’t really play on the scary ghost thing that much.” Regardless, the lodge keeps a “ghost guest book” in the lobby for visitors to report their odd encounters.

The chateau is one of dozens of visitor sites around Oregon with eerie histories that will chill you to the bone. Some have even inspired some of Oregon’s cult-classic film noir, like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” The Shining” and “My Own Private Idaho.” Here’s where to visit some of of Oregon’s creepiest spots … at your own risk:

At the Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence, guests can stay at the old lightkeeper’s quarters, now a quaint bed & breakfast with turn-of-the-century rooms. If you stay here, however, you could meet Rue — the wife of lighthouse keeper Frank DeRoy in the 1890’s. As the story goes, Rue had a daughter who died tragically during her time there. Guests have reported the scent of flowers or rose perfume out of the blue, or seeing an imprint on their bed as if from a moment before. Some call it the one of Oregon’s most haunted spots and one of the most haunted lighthouses in the U.S.; others just call it spirited.

There’s a legendary “cold spot” on stage at the Elsinore Theater in Salem, the 1930’s-era historic landmark that was once considered the finest theater between Portland and San Francisco. In its heyday, the theater attracted stars like Clark Gable, John Philip Sousa and Doc Severinsen, who as a child played trumpet for the Mickey Mouse Club Matinee, which also used the space for auditions. Visitors have long reported feeling the close presence of lost souls and hearing their voices too. Some surmise it could be theater owner George Guthrie or his daughter, who reportedly fell to her death from the balcony. Today the theater is a premier local venue for concerts, shows and other events.

McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon sipping wine or beer, but beware of the old souls that allegedly haunt the place. Built in 1911 as the Multnomah County Poor Farm, the original site housed an eclectic mix of people who worked on site at the farm as well as at the laundry facilities, hospital wing and jail. In the 1950’s, it took in tuberculosis patients, then children with mental health issues, the aging and infirm. When operations shuttered in the 1980’s, the building fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition until the McMenamin brothers bought it and reopened it as Edgefield Winery in 1990, slowly adding the brewery, movie theater, guest rooms, golf course, landscaping and more. But with its storied past, visitors have long felt the eerie presence of those who’ve died there — many of whom are believed to be buried in unmarked graves on the property.

For the low-down on dozens more notorious haunts, check out Southern Oregon author Donna Stewart’s “Ghosthunting Oregon” book and blog for region-by-region lists and visitor information.

about author Jen Anderson

Jen Anderson writes and edits Travel Oregon's e-newsletters and other online content. She loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two young boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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  1. Drenda Bayliss says…

    Hi Travel Oregon:

    My husband Mike and I are the owners of a 110 year Century Farm in Carlton, Oregon – Bayliss Family Farm and Ghost Hill Cellars Winery.

    The property was named after a gold miner in the late 1800’s who was murdered along with his horse (how sad right?) for his stash of gold.

    Mike grew up on the property 70 years ago and there were sightings from a few of the neighbors. We mark the site with a simple white cross on the hill as you enter Bayliss Family Farm and Pinot Noir Vineyards.

    We occasionally do tours if arranged in advance and of course you can taste our wines at our tasting room Friday-Sunday 12-5pm from May to November. We produce white, pink and red Pinot Noirs. We’re told they are quite good by friends, family, customers and the wine experts. More info here if interested: http://www.ghosthillcellars.com

    Written on October 5th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
  2. Sandra Carlton says…

    I like this article and the presentation of the sites on the map. I have received “Travel Oregon” news for a few years, and while I enjoyed reading it, I found most of the info was relative to outdoor activities, which were not for me. A month ago I was in Washington state, but didn’t go to Oregon because I had travelled the coast road before, and didn’t want outdoor events. If I had seen this article before my trip, I would have probably ventured further into Oregon state. Scenery is beautiful there.

    Written on October 6th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
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