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Last minute Northwest haunts to celebrate the spooky season

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Halloween, or as the Celtic people called it, Samhain, originated as a Gaelic festival during which it was believed that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world would break down. While this may or may not be true, the fascination with the supernatural is still genuine, so I'm sharing three of my favorite haunted spots in northwest Washington to visit during this spooky time.

When and if you go to these places, please remember to be respectful of those who lost their lives there.

Mason Block (Sycamore Square) — Photo courtesy of Fairhaven History  

Sycamore Square in Bellingham
Sycamore Square is a large, four-story building located in the historic Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham. Originally called Mason Block, it was completed in 1890 and has always been home to small businesses — and at one point, "the Lady in Green."

Sometime during the turn of the 20th century, apartments began to be rented on the upper floor. "The Lady in Green," or Flora Blakely, lived in one of these fourth-floor units, where it is believed by Bellingham historians and the Good Time Girls (a group that offers guided historical tours) that she took her own life due to being mentally distraught over the death of her child. Her funeral was also held in Sycamore Square.

There is a framed story displayed in Sycamore Square titled "Sycamore Square Ghost Story: 'Lady in Green.'" The author is not listed. Here is a chilling excerpt:

"I was painting an office on the second floor. At the time, there was no air conditioning on that floor, and the temperature must have been even hotter on my ladder near the ceiling. All evening, I had an uneasy feeling that someone was right behind me, but the room remained quiet and empty... Suddenly I stepped into a cold spot... A chill ran up my spine, and the hair rose on the back of my neck. I was absolutely certain I was not alone — when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young woman wearing a long, green velvet dress, the type that women wore at the start of the 20th century... I turned to see who was there, but the apparition vanished as quickly as it appeared."

The ghost has also been known by tenants to turn chairs toward the window facing Bellingham Bay. The view is great, so I don't blame her.

If you're ever up there but don't encounter a ghost, you're guaranteed to find a fantastic grilled cheese at the Black Cat restaurant.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse — Photo courtesy of WA Digital Archive  

Admiralty Head Lighthouse in Coupeville
Admiralty Head Lighthouse is in the northern part of Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island. The park itself is creepy because it's an old, concrete military base that was created to stop invaders from coming through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Some of the old guns are still in place for children to play on too.

While this Spanish-style lighthouse hasn't been active since 1922, there is another active entity on the premises: a woman who can be seen from the top of the building.

In episode 170 of the podcast History Goes Bump, accounts of her hauntings are detailed: "Some people claim to have seen the figure of a woman leaning over the top railing. The things that people report experiencing at Fort Casey are weird noises and weird drawings on the walls. Something like claws is heard scratching on the walls. A disembodied female voice is heard screaming and apparitions have been seen."

One listener who wrote into the podcast claimed that when they saw her, she appeared to be a 19—20-year-old woman with a flapper-style haircut and a calf-length dress.

Ghost or no ghost, this chilling reminder of war-torn history has turned into a gorgeous park with spectacular views of the Salish Sea.

Northern State Hospital — Photo courtesy of WA Digital Archive  

Northern State Hospital in Sedro-Wooley
Last but certainly not least is my favorite haunted place: Northern State Hospital, a mental hospital that was operational from 1913 through 1972.

It was seen as a revolutionary type of treatment facility at the time because, on top of conducting new treatments, the patients there operated an entire farm as a form of occupational therapy. The town of Sedro-Wooley benefited from the relationship, as it provided a lot of food and jobs to the townspeople.

The new treatments conducted at Northern State were questionable, however, to say the least. According to a Seattle Times project on the asylum, some of these included the removal of thyroid glands, appendixes, and tonsils; deliberately infecting patients with malaria; hours-long baths in hot water; comas induced by insulin injections; sterilization; and lobotomies.

Many people who were sent to the hospital also died and were subsequently buried on the grounds, but the graveyard is haphazardly marked and mostly covered in a layer of dirt and grass.

The area has since been turned into a massive park, with the rotting buildings standing front and center as a reminder of the tragic past of the land.

If you really want to be freaked out, I recommend going to the building on the very northern end of the park, on the tree line. Something about that place makes me want to jump out of my skin.

Happy haunting!