Ghostly apparitions. Flickering lights. Unexplained voices. Moving objects and other spine-tingling events. Whether or not you believe in ghost stories, many of Oregon’s historic buildings have been rumored to be haunted spots, with lingering spirits from a bygone era.
Such is the case at the Historic Wolf Creek Inn in Southern Oregon, which has a long history of eerie tales from visitors and past owners. The unexplained activity has continued into 2018, when the 135-year-old building reopened after a major renovation. “I’ve heard a young lady’s voice when obviously there’s no one else in the building,” says Andrew Shroyer, the new property manager. “You always think it’s a little kid singing, kind of playing around. People see her in the window.”
Shroyer — a general contractor by trade who calls himself a lifelong ghost skeptic — says recent visitors and staff at the nine-room inn have also reported everything from doors slamming and the sound of piano playing when there’s no one around, to chairs seemingly moving on their own and objects disappearing from tabletops. In the kitchen, Shroyer says, staff have allegedly seen a particular baking pan fly across the floor on multiple occasions.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wolf Creek Inn was originally a refuge for early Oregon stagecoach pioneers heading north on the Applegate Trail. Men and women could rest and socialize in the inn’s two parlors, which remain furnished as authentically as possible — original flooring and bricks (with actual bullet holes) included.
John Dougall, the inn’s owner from 1922-1935, regularly prepared chicken dinners in the upstairs ballroom, where today’s guests can also enjoy a square meal before retiring to their quarters. Today the inn is a convenient stop for fishers, hikers and others looking for a quick stop off Interstate 5 just north of Grants Pass, nearby Roseburg and the Rogue Valley.
The haunted tales have caught the attention of amateur ghost hunters as well as paranormal experts at the famed 1913 Pioneer Saloon in Nevada. Shroyer allowed the saloon to send two of its mediums to the Wolf Creek Inn with their equipment, who came to the same conclusion as Shroyer: there was something “really heavy” going on in throughout the building, especially room eight, where most of the ghostly vibes have been reported. The mediums told him the spirits were highly active because they’re happy the building is being reactivated.
Shroyer has gotten used to it by now. While past reports have put an evil spin on the haunted happenings, Shroyer and others interpret the shadowy phenomenon as friendly acts of mischief. “I get goosebumps, but I don’t feel anything negative,” Shroyer says. “I always talk to the building; I say ‘Good morning, Wolf Creek.’ I’m never surprised when something [ghostly] brushes up against me.”
If you go
Ghosts: This fall (Oct. 25, Oct. 26, Oct. 31 and Nov. 10, 2018) the Historic Wolf Creek Inn will host an all-inclusive ghost-hunters’ experience, when visitors can learn about the history of the site by hanging out with a paranormal expert (professional ghost-hunting equipment included). Shuttle transportation from the Ashland area, food and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the four-hour after-hours session. Book in advance before it fills up.
Fishing: The inn also just added a fishing package. A shuttle van from Portland to Wolf Creek (included in the cost) makes the four-hour trip easy. Once you get there, experienced guides will provide equipment and show you the ropes on the river. Call the inn for details.
Guided history tours: Join in a daily 50-minute tour of the inn’s history (free and open to the public) led by Oregon State Parks Ranger Tony Silva — who dresses in an 1880s-era costume to best get into the spirit. Sign up for a tour in advance on the inn’s website.
Eat: Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner at the inn’s tavern, which includes updated comfort food classics with seasonal ingredients like horseradish-crusted Columbia River steelhead, roasted chicken, burgers, cobbler and pie, omelettes and a Jack London breakfast scramble, with slow-smoked barbecue brisket, caramelized onions and Tillamook sharp cheese.
Experience more of the Rogue Valley: Sip the region’s world-class wines on a wine tasting excursion. Go skiing, golfing, snowmobiling or ziplining on a winter getaway. Explore the history, culture and booming downtown for the holidays in Grants Pass.