For all of the natural beauty Oregon holds, it sure is home to some pretty terrifying places. We took a look at some of the Beaver State’s most haunted spots, including an insane asylum, a haunted campground, and historic hotel. The following 10 places are sure to send a chill running down your spine.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Oregon State Hospital
Built in 1883, the Oregon State Hospital has an incredibly dark past. Originally an insane asylum, the stories that surround this eerie institution are horrifying. In 1942, 47 people were killed when bug poison was accidentally used in place of flour in the kitchen. Recently, the cremated remains of more than 5,000 former patients were found in an abandoned building next to the mortuary. Dust-covered canisters line the shelves, each holding the ashes of an unclaimed patient.
Siletz Bay Phantom Ship
Located on the Oregon Coast in Lincoln City, the mysterious Siletz Bay is said to be haunted by a phantom ship. According to local legend, an apparition can be seen here on foggy days. It sails across the water, before vanishing completely. As if that isn't intriguing enough, there have also been numerous shipwrecks in the bay over the years. If you're brave enough, you can take the Lincoln City Haunted Tour, and learn more about Siletz Bay.
Geiser Grand Hotel
When it opened in 1889, the Geiser Grand Hotel was one of the finest hotels in the West. It served as a hospital during WWII, and ended up closing its doors in 1968. It was restored and opened again in 1993. This process is believed to have disturbed the many spirits that frequented the hotel in its heyday, and the hotel now has a strong reputation for being haunted. Room 302, right under the clock, and room 203 are rumored to have the most activity. The hotel regularly hosts paranormal investigators and ghost tours.
Despite its serene surface, Crater Lake has a dark history filled with strange phenomena and chilling stories. Legend has it that the lake was a sort of doorway between the darkness of the Below-World, or Hell. Native Klamath tribes also believed that if a person stared too long at the lake's surface, they would be unable to look away. It was thought that the lake had the power to mesmerize and trap people, and even lure them in towards their death. To this day, there are a large number of unexplained deaths and disappearances that have occurred near the lake.
St. Helens, Oregon
The town of St. Helens may look charming, but it is actually reputed to be a hotspot for paranormal activity. Multiple paranormal research teams and ghost hunters have visited the Klondike Restaurant. Nearly every team has reported sensing that an altercation took place somewhere on the second floor. One of the most eerie stories claims that the Klondike is haunted by a female spirit, who is searching for her baby.
Located near Ontario, Oregon, Malheur Butte is dormant volcano steeped in dark magic and terrifying legends. It is said that long ago, the volcano was a place where witches met in secret. In the years since, visitors have reported many unusual events, like encountering hostile, imp-like creatures in the night. According to one account, the creatures were described as looking similar to black dogs, except with long, skinny limbs, oversized heads, and no eyes.
Fort Stevens State Park
Spend the night at Fort Stevens State Park - if you dare - for the campground is said to be haunted by the ghost of a soldier who walks the grounds at night. This abandoned military fort was originally built during the Civil War and was in service until 1947. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Park visitors have reported many eerie occurrences, including hearing disembodied voices and footsteps, and seeing ghosts in full army gear who vanish when approached.
Hot Lake Springs
Over the years, the historic Hot Lake Springs has been a hotel, hospital, a nurse and pilot training facility, a nursing home, and even an asylum. Prior to the colonization that occurred here beginning around 1812, the hot spring was a popular place among Native American communities. Many say that this place is haunted, and there are rumors of long-dead guests roaming the halls, disembodied voices in the sanatorium, and a piano that plays on its own.
Even if you don't believe in ghosts, the history of Portland's Shanghai Tunnels will shock you. This network of underground tunnels was once a hotspot for illegal activity (most notably between 1850-1941), including "shanghaiing": the act of kidnapping people and selling them into slavery as crewmen on departing ships. Today, the tunnels are said to be haunted by the ghosts of the tunnel's many victims.
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Last but not least is the beautiful Tryon Creek State Park. Few people know that this peaceful area has a creepy history. The park was once home to the Oregon Iron Company, which began logging here in 1874, and continued for 25 years. Logging was dangerous work, and it is believed that many loggers lost their lives in this park. Some hikers have reported hearing the pounding hoofbeats of horses coming right at them.