Tacoma's most haunted
Published: Friday, October 29, 2010
Updated: Friday, October 29, 2010 04:10
When we think of the word ‘haunted' it is generally associated with the word ‘house' or ‘cemetery,' but ghosts can haunt just about anything. Some spirits prefer more traditional haunts while some can be found in the most unassuming places for their own reasons, linked more to territory than buildings. In celebration of Halloween, the Ledger takes a look at some of the most haunted places in Tacoma.
1617 Lafayette St., Steilacoom WA
Built in 1895, this drugstore which is now a museum run by the Steilacoom Historical Society and a restaurant, is supposedly haunted by the man who owned it in life. W.L. Bair, known as Cub, was a perfectionist. The drugstore also sold hardware and after Cub's death was converted into a café where things weren't so perfect. Things would fly off shelves, appliances would malfunction, and the lights would swing. The conversion back to a hardware museum has seemed to keep the ghost at bay.
Western State Hospital & Cemetary
9601 Steilacoom Boulevard, Lakewood
The Western State Hospital was established in 1870. It is also believed to be the former site of a TB clinic. Patients who died there, until 1952, were buried in graves marked only with a stone engraved with a number. Few of the graves actually have names. There are many unmarked graves as well. Some of the spirits wandering around the graveyard don't even realize they're dead, which might be part of the insanity beyond the grave. Almost all the staff have seen some form of ghost activity. Shadows drift along well-lit hallways and the sound of water running can be heard at times. One former security guard who worked the night shift said that, "The hospital has a really creepy vibe to it. Elevators open and close on their own and there is also the ghost of a receptionist named Mable who now haunts the hallways."
Alexander Pantages, a Vaudevillian, opened the Pantages as part of a chain of Vaudeville houses. The theater has been partially reconstructed to look like it originally did when its doors first opened in 1918. At the Pantages Theater, guests who arrive late for a performance have been assisted to their seats by a ghostly presence. They are stopped at the exact row they are to be seated by a gust of overwhelmingly frigid air. There is also a carved face, that's been a part of the theater since its early Vaudeville days, that peers out at the isles of seating from above the stage, believed to be the likeness of Alexander Pantages himself. If you watch the face unflinchingly the expression is said to change depending upon how well the performances went on stage.
Emerald Queen Casino
5700 Pacific Highway East, Fife
This popular hotel and casino was built on the site of an old hospital where so many tuberculosis patients died that they had to install a crematorium in the basement to dispose of all the infected corpses. When the hospital closed the site was turned into administrative offices for the Puyallup Tribe. The original structure that housed the hospital and the administrative offices was five stories, but the hotel that sits in its place is only four. The fifth floor of the original structure was the most active, but now unsettling noises can be found on the fourth floor of the hotel. There have been reports of objects in rooms disappearing, then mysteriously reappearing, electrical devices switching on and off on their own, voices of children and a woman crying out for her husband, but the basement of the hotel is presumed to be the most haunted of all, where the crematorium used to sit.
8601 North Thorne Lane Southwest, Lakewood
Thornewood Castle is the location where Stephen King‘s "Rose Red" was filmed. Chester Thorne was the founder of the National Bank of Tacoma and the port of Tacoma. In 1908, he bought a hundred acres of waterfront on American Lake. Thorne then purchased a four-hundred year old gothic style Tudor which was then dismantled and shipped to the site. The mansion is 24-27,000 sq ft and has 54 rooms. Thorne's daughter Anita and her family also took up residence at Thornewood. There are stories of a child drowning in one of the ponds on the grounds and Chester is said to have died in an upstairs room of the house in 1927. Now a Bed and Breakfast, the Castle has seen a lot of ghostly activity by both the owners and the guests. The owner is said to have overheard the noises of a cocktail party while sitting alone reading in one of the rooms. There have also been sightings of a vortex opening up in the Great Hall with several spirits coming out of it. Guests also catch whiffs of old leather and occasionally see a man dressed in leather and a woman in an empire waist dress lingering on the staircase. A man without legs meeting Chester's description is said to be haunting several rooms in the house.
The County Courthouse (Now the County City Building)
930 Tacoma Ave. So., Tacoma WA
The new County City building was built on the site of where the old courthouse used to be. The County City building is the eternal home to two men who were hung in the original structure for murder. In 1900 a man by the name of Albert Michaud was hung from the gallows in the courthouse for killing his wife. It is believed that by the time of his hanging Michaud's hair, which was black when he was convicted had gone snow white from fear of his death. The other ghost is Eben Boyce who shot his wife at the restaurant where she worked. Boyce was the only other person to be hung in the court house.