PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When it gets darker earlier and a cool crisp wind fills the air, there is nothing better than a ghost story to really set the mood in October.
Oregon is home to its fair share of hauntings, from haunted lighthouses and theaters to parks and, of course, Portland’s famous underground tunnel network.
Every nook and cranny of the Beaver State has stories to be told of haunted happenings and surprising specters.
Here are five haunted places in Oregon, and of course, take these stories with a massive serving of salt, because they very well may not be true.
Famous for transforming old buildings, the Pacific Northwest staple McMenamins can be found in cities across the entire state and even in Washington too. But with old buildings tends to come some residual spiritual energy.
Multiple McMenamins locations have been featured on top haunted spots lists, both locally and nationally, and to say that there have been a few reported paranormal experiences would be a massive understatement.
In a 2017 McMenamins Blog post, the company’s history department (yes they actually have one) addressed the rumors of supposed hauntings across their locations and shared that while there is no proof of ghostly appearances, several of their locations do keep a “ghost log” where patrons who witness the paranormal can write down their experience for company records.
Stories from both guests and employees tell of nightly visitors, rooms being messed up after being cleaned and even a few grabby ghouls.
One housekeeper reported cleaning a room when they suddenly felt their leg being grabbed from under a bed and when they checked there was nothing there.
Another guest shared a “sweet” experience, where they smelled a strong sweet scent and proceeded to envision shadows dancing on walls and spirits flying around their room.
Maybe the ghosts are haunting their former abodes or maybe they’re just hungry for some cajun tots, but there is certainly plenty of spooky happenings at McMenamins hotels and restaurants.
With a name like Devils Like, should we really be surprised about haunted happenings there? Well, this story is a little bit different because it isn’t about ghosts, but instead about an alleged octopus creature living in the lake that grabs people from their boats while on the lake.
Located in Lincoln City, Devils Lake stretches 685 acres. It’s a generally calm lake which the Lincoln CIty website says is perfect for Kayaking. But are you willing to risk possibly getting snatched and pulled beneath the waters?
The Explore Lincoln City website shares the Native American story of a bad spirit that takes on the appearance of an octopus-like creature that lives within Devils Lake.
The stories about the spirit tell of a Chieftan who sent warriors across Devils Lake at night to win the affection of a woman on the other side, however on their journey, the calm water turned violent as tentacles rose and pulled the warriors under.
While the creature hasn’t been sighted any time recently, people still wonder, could the Devils Lake Monster still be lurking, possibly asleep beneath the calm waters, waiting for another victim to come along?
Oregon State University in Corvallis is home to a number of ghost stories, including several related to infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, who abducted a student from the school in 1974.
But one of the school’s halls is actually a subject of spiritual sightings, the unassuming building known as Waldo Hall.
Waldo Hall was built in 1907 and was originally home to the women’s dormitories and many believe it to be haunted by the ghost of Ida Kidder, OSU’s first librarian.
According to VisitCorvallis, Kidder began working at the school in 1908, and during her time she inventoried, organized and modernized the college’s entire book collection, and was integral to the school getting a new library.
Kidder lived in Waldo Hall, which served as a widow’s hall, all the way until her death in 1920, and some say that she never actually left the building.
There have been reports of unseen presences, slamming doors and sounds of moving furniture and high heels walking across the floor.
The building is now home to some faculty offices as well as a few classrooms, but there may also be a ghost who calls the halls home.
(As a brief aside, when I was a freshman at Oregon State, I got permission to go into Waldo Hall after hours with some friends on a ghost hunt. While I didn’t see anything concrete, I did experience weird feelings and saw shifting shadows in several of the darkened classrooms, but that could easily have been my imagination.)
There is a mansion on a hill above Portland, and unlike the Springsteen song of the same name which is lived in (and in Nebraska), this mansion doesn’t have any occupants. At least not any living ones.
Famously built in 1914 by newspaper tycoon Henry Pittock, Pittock Mansion sits on the edge of Forest Park and has a sprawling view of Portland from its hillside perch.
While Henry and his wife Georgiana only got to live in their mansion for part of a decade, it has been said that their spirits may still be lingering in the estate.
While the ghosts are said to not be malevolent, the website Portland Ghosts shares stories from both employees and visitors about spooky smells and a moving painting.
According to the site, the smells tend to happen in the upper floors of the mansion, where people have reported to smell the strong scent of roses even though there are no flowers nearby. Historically, roses were supposed to be Georgiana’s favorite flower.
There have also been multiple reports of a painting of Henry that moves around on the wall by itself. The common theory amongst believers is that the spirits of the house are none other than Henry and Georgiana themselves who never left their home. That is why the paranormal happenings tie so closely to pieces of themselves.
Depending on what you believe there have also been stories told of a full apparition of a woman in a gown haunting the halls of the mansion.
Despite the potential for ghostly activity, the beautiful Pittock Mansion remains a popular tourist attraction in Portland and will likely stay that way for years to come.
Nestled in the Central Oregon city of Bend, Sparrow Bakery is a beautiful building with a long history.
According to the Bend Bulletin, the building was once the business office for the Bend Iron Works, where payroll was once held in the 1920s.
In 2004, the owners of the building, Steve and Jennifer White who have restored several local historic buildings, leased the space to Jennifer Lonergan, owner of Blue Sparrow Baking so she could run her storefront, but the building may have already had someone occupying the space.
The building features a large vault where it is said that payroll would be kept, and it is believed that the Bend Iron Works assayer still remains in the space, protective of the vault.
According to Travel Oregon, the workers have named the ghost ‘Jackson’ and there have been stories of him opening and closing doors, particularly the large vault door if left open, which will close on its own.
Workers have also shared stories of bread loaves disappearing while their backs are turned. Maybe the ghost is just hungry, or maybe they are a bit of a trickster.
The ghost rumors seem tied to the building, but Sparrow Bakery actually has a second location in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood, and only time will tell if the spirits visit there for some bread too.
Oregon’s ghosts thread the line from peaceful to vengeful and humanoid to tentacled, but what they all have in common is that they call this great state home.
If you’re out for a walk on a brisk fall night and you feel the hairs on your neck stick up, think about these local legends, because maybe one of Oregon’s ghosts is paying you a visit seeking to add you to their paranormal entourage.
Or maybe it’s just the wind, but life is more fun with a sense of wonder.