Seeing a ghost when you’re actually hoping to see one is infinitely better than seeing one when you’re unprepared… and on the flipside, it’s probably a little disappointing to go on a glorified ghost hunt and not have a paranormal experience. Washington is home to quite a few buildings that are allegedly haunted. But if you want to spot a spirit for yourself, these places are your best bets.
1. Oxford Saloon, Snohomish
This building has been a saloon (and some say a bordello) since 1910. Paranormal activity has been reported for years, including the ghost of a man named Henry who was stabbed to death while breaking up a bar fight. Spirits have even been spotted on the second floor of the building, which is now offices. Paranormal investigations have been conducted at Oxford Saloon, and apparently there’s audio and video evidence to back up the claims.
2. Hotel de Haro, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island
Guests and employees of this hotel, which dates back to 1886, have seen a female apparition walking the halls.
3. Rancho Viejo Sports Bar & Grill, Battle Ground
The paranormal activity at Rancho Viejo is mostly pranks from a poltergeist—drawers flying open on their own, change moves itself inside the register and guests report feeling cold spots. But the manager has seen a ghostly woman in blue, and the surveillance cameras have picked up an apparition on more than one occasion.
4. Thornewood Castle, Lakewood
Thornewood Castle is an incredible place, and it’s always been rumored to be haunted by its original (friendly) residents., Anna and Chester Thorne. Brides who are getting ready for their wedding have looked in the full length mirror in Anna’s Suite only to see the ghost of Anna Thorne herself looking at them. Lots of guests at the castle have smelled lavender in the suite, which was Anna’s signature scent.
5. Lewis County Historical Museum, Chehalis
Visitors and employees of the museum have seen the ghosts of two different men and a Native American woman walking around the building. In 2010, the Paranormal Investigators of Historic America did an investigation and were able to pick up recorded voices responding to their questions.
6. Hotel Sorrento, Seattle
This charming Seattle hotel is apparently haunted by Alice B. Toklas, the inventor of pot brownies. She’s been spotted roaming the halls of the hotel and seems particularly drawn to the 4th floor (Room 408, not 420).
7. Rucker Mansion, Everett
The ghost of Mrs. Rucker has been spotted in the mansion, and her spirit has been heard playing the piano on numerous occasions. The Rucker family helped establish the city of Everett, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to leave.
8. Tokeland Hotel, Tokeland
The Tokeland Hotel is haunted by Charley, a Chinese immigrant from the 1930s who accidentally suffocated and died there. His ghost has been seen wandering the halls. The hotel even has a paranormal log for guests to write down their experiences.
9. The Depot, Yakima
Patrons and employees of The Depot Restaurant in Yakima have reported hearing children playing and lively organ music coming from the attic. Faucets have apparently turned off by themselves and doors have also closed themselves. But the real ghostly evidence is the “lady in white,” a woman dressed in a long white apron, who has been spotted on the staircase leading to the attic. Quite a few people have seen her, including a bartender’s three-year-old daughter.
10. Northern State Mental Hospital, Sedro-Woolley
Nearly 2,000 patients once lived at this clinic, and unfortunately some were murdered from electroshock therapy, sterilization and intense physical labor. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, there are many unmarked graves behind the old gymnasium full of patients who died here. Needless to say, there have been many ghost sightings here, including a nurse pushing a man in a wheelchair.
11. The Davenport Hotel and Tower, Spokane
In 1920, a woman named Ellen McNamara fell through a skylight at The Davenport and died. A woman wearing 1920s apparel has been seen walking along the mezzanine, looking out over the railing toward the lobby. Perhaps Ellen never really left.