by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Seattle is pretty in the summer time. Everyone who visits our fair-minded city comments on that. Seattle also gets its fair share of rain. Everyone who lives here comments on that. But what some people know - a handful of people that have experienced things they say are unexplainable by any conventional terms - is that Seattle and greater Washington state, is also haunted.
This Halloween, Seattle Gay News has decided to let you - perhaps the faint of heart or maybe the type of person looking for a spot to hold your next Halloween séance - know where people have reported seeing the walking dead, ghostly apparitions, and more. And while there is no way we can vouch for the validity of such stories, we can say that it was an eye-opener at just how many local spots we found that are said to be haunted. Enjoy!
Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub
Kells is widely considered the most famously haunted spot in town. Featured on more than one ghost hunting television show, Kells is located in the basement of the old Butterworth Building - which used to be the city's first mortuary. The building is believed to have been the source of corruption and other dirty dealings in the early days of the City.
Kells owners and staff say they've experienced (to name a few) moving objects, strange feelings like they are being watched, and even the brief appearance of ghosts, like a young girl who tries to lure other children to come play with her.
Location: 1916 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101 (Pike Place Market)
Spooked in Seattle Ghost Tour
Since 2004, Spooked in Seattle Tours have been telling what they claim are 'real' stories of haunted Seattle by 'taking you inside and presenting evidence collected on actual paranormal investigations!'
From the Spooked in Seattle Ghost Tour website www.SpookedinSeattle.com:
Join real ghost hunters for an evening of spirited tales within Seattle's unique neighborhoods, as they take you on a guided tour of some of the cities most haunted sites, including our very own section of Seattle's famous underground.
These 90-minute tours include information about ghosts and offer some of the evidence collected during investigations. Each tour explores the past of some of the oldest buildings in Seattle and will, perhaps, give you the opportunity to encounter some residents whose earthly forms may have departed, but whose spirits, of course, never left.
Spooked in Seattle Tours offers walking tours, pub tours, trolley tours, and public ghost hunts, 7 days a week. Admission prices range from $12- $30, depending on which tour or ghost hunt is booked. Private Group Tours are available for 10 or more. Deposit required. All walking tours must be booked at least 2 hours in advance and are subject to availability. There must be a minimum number of four (4) reservations for any walking tour or pub tour to take place. If the required minimum is not met, tours may be canceled and rescheduled, or a full refund given. Minimum requirements differ for Trolley, Private and Specialty tours and Public Ghost Hunts.
For more information contact Spooked in Seattle Ghost Tours at (425) 954-7701, or by email at Information@SpookedInSeattle.com and Reservations@SpookedInSeattle.com.
The Georgetown Morgue
The Georgetown Morgue of Seattle is a facility for tragic stories of death. The morgue has a history of thousands of funeral preparations, cremations, and the processing of animal carcasses.
The morgue holds what is considered to be the most horrifying unsolved crime in Seattle history. Nine of their staff were forced into the crematorium chamber. There were no surviving witnesses, nor were suspects ever identified.
This year the landlord has allowed the producers of what is known as 'Seattle's Best Haunted House' to open up the portion of the morgue the public has not seen in decades - the area containing the body lockers.
From the website www.SeattleHaunts.com:
Upon delving deeper into the bowels of the Georgetown Morgue earlier this year, we unearthed a terrifying secret buried far beneath the blood splattered floorboards. Come take a tour and see what our Janitor's Rigger and Mortis have been hiding all these years. Wander below at your own risk to see if you can escape the body strewn sewers and private janitorial quarters of the KUBE 93 Haunted House.
The good news is the Haunted House tours are so popular they continue into November for one-week. For more information, including ticket prices and a lengthy FAQ, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206)762-2067.
Location: 5000 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, WA 98134
Pike Place Market
That's right - these days a person can't even go shopping without running into a ghost in Seattle! But according to the number of 'witnessed or reported ghost sightings' Pike Place Market is one of the most haunted places in Seattle.
As history would show, before the market was built the land was home to the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes for several thousand years. It wasn't until the mid-19th century that the Treaty of Point Elliot was signed, forcing all natives off of the land. Years later, the market was built over the top of an old Indian burial ground (NEVER a good idea!) and according to hundreds - not a handful, but literally hundreds - of eyewitness accounts, inexplicable things have been occurring at the Market ever since. Allegedly, apparitions have been seen on a steady basis in the Lower Market for decades now.
Location: 85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery
In 1895, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established the GAR Cemetery in Seattle (along with several others in the region). It lies on Capitol Hill, adjacent to Lakeview Cemetery. After several decades of maintenance by the GAR, the upkeep of the cemetery fell to the City of Seattle. Decades then ran together as the cemetery fell into disrepair due to ambiguity concerning the land deed. According to local ghost hunters, it was during this period that the cemetery became particularly active. With more than 500 gravesites at the 110-year-old graveyard, rumor has it that at night you can hear the bloodied cries and the shouts of Civil War soldiers as they march to battle.
Location: 1200 E. Howe St., Seattle, WA 98102
West Seattle High School
Over the years West Seattle High School teachers have heard all the excuses: 'The dog ate my homework,' 'I left the assignment answers at home,' etc. And now, if local ghost lore is true, they may have even heard, 'The ghost stole my homework.'
In 1924, former student Rose Higginbotham hung herself at West Seattle High. She is said to haunt the school grounds to this day.
Also, running next to the school is an old park that has deep connections with West Seattle High. Legend has it that on particularly foggy days, or at sunrise and sunset, Higginbotham along with several other students of the era, can be seen and heard in the park.
Location: 3000 California Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116
The Cadillac Hotel
Built at the height of the Gold Rush in 1889, the Cadillac Hotel has been through its share of rough times. The hotel was built right after the Great Fire (which leveled most of the neighborhood). The Cadillac Hotel played a temporary home for Seattle's early loggers, miners, and disorderly young men that frequently had 'female visitors of ill repute.'
In 1970 the hotel was declared not up to code when an arson at another hotel forced city officials to pass new laws about fire safety. At the time the upper half of the building was simply shuttered. It was during that time when the top floors were closed that passersby reported seeing apparitions in the windows.
The three-story Victorian brick building was then further damaged in the 2001 earthquake, which prompted Historic Seattle to move in to save the building.
It has since been retrofitted and remodeled and turned into the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. Some believe that the remodel may have chased away any ghosts who were previously tethered to the building. However, more than one staff member of the museum has reported ghostly sightings since the museum opened its doors for business.
Location: 319 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
The Moore Theatre
Staffers at one of Seattle's most well-known live music venues claim to have seen flickering lights, apparitions and moving objects.
The oldest operating theater in Seattle, the Moore's upper balconies of its auditorium are certainly haunted by unpleasant memories. For a time, it was segregated. For decades, attendees of color were only permitted to sit in the steep, crowded nosebleed seats. And although there weren't any deaths or anything of the like associated with said balconies, the energy that such situations create is said to manifest itself into some of the so-called hauntings the theater staff say occurs present day.
A visit from SyFy's 'Ghost Hunters' team made the Moore's rumored haunting famous nationwide a few years ago.
Location: 932 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
The Sorrento Hotel
The 1909 hotel on First Hill is rumored to be haunted by one famous neighborhood figure who, hotel staff say, still wanders the halls.
Alice B. Toklas, a marijuana activist and one-time Seattleite, at one point lived on the same block at the Sorrento while attending the University of Washington. Now, as legend has it, visitors and hotel employees swear she still wanders the fourth floor (though it's unclear whether or not she actually ever stayed in the hotel.)
Still, the Sorrento's Facebook page calls Toklas 'a friendly ghost.' And, in her honor, every year on Halloween a special dinner menu at their restaurant, The Hunt Club, is served.
Location: 900 Madison St., Seattle, WA 98104
Did we miss something? We're almost certain we did with the number of local places we found during our research for this story! Write a letter to the editor and tell us about your experience with a ghostly sighting or paranormal activity in and around Seattle and we'll print it in next week's edition of Seattle Gay News.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
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