Portland November 04, 2016
Most People Don’t Know The Story Behind These Breathtaking Portland Ruins
Breathtaking because of the haunting stories associated with it, the Witches Castle in Forest Park may not be quite what you thought it was. While many people believe that a witch lived there, from which the tales of hauntings originated, the actual truth is much more mundane than most would like to believe.
Deep in the woods, near Balch Creek at the junction of the Wildwood and Lower Macleay Park Trails, sits the iconic Witches Castle.
The story that haunts Portlanders is the one of the Balch family, a family that lived in the same area in the 1800s.
Danford Balch, his wife and nine children moved the area in 1850, after he filed a claim on a parcel of land here. Because of the thick forest, he enlisted the help of transient worker Mortimer Stump to clear the land.
As young love would have it, Stump fell in love with Balch's 15-year-old daughter. He asked for her hand in marriage, which was quickly denied by Balch and his wife. The two ran off and eloped in Vancouver across the border.
The next time he saw Stump, Balch shot him dead. He would later claim that his wife bewitched him, and that was why he killed Stump. Either way, it is thought by many that Balch's wife, Mary Jane Balch, still haunts the property today.
In the end, Balch was sent to jail and later escaped. He was recaptured and sentenced to hang, subsequently going down in history as the first (legal) hanging in Oregon.
Over the years, many stories have emerged about the haunting at these iconic Portland ruins.
However, the truth is, that the structure you see here was built in the 1950s as a ranger station and bathroom. It holds little link to the actual Balch family other than that it was built in close proximity to where the family lived. However, if you are brave enough to go at dusk, you might just run into a widow that would scare you to believe otherwise.
Have you visited these iconic ruins in Portland?
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