Oregon’s Haunted Spots
Ghost stories, old legends live on
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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