Oregon Hiking, Nature July 30, 2018
This Hike Leads You To The Creepiest Stone Ruins In Oregon
There’s nothing like a good ghost story, and if it’s accompanied by creepy stone ruins, all the better! There’s an easily-accessible place right near Portland that’s supposedly haunted, and it definitely lives up to its reputation. Take a look:
Forest Park encompasses 5,100 acres and includes beautiful second and old-growth forest, clear creeks, lush greenery, and more than 70 miles of trails. It's also home to some old stone ruins with a creepy past.
You can reach the ruins from either the Upper Macleay or Lower Macleay Trail. The ruins are just a half mile from the trailhead on the Upper Macleay or three-quarters of a mile from the Lower Macleay trailhead.
This vast park is a perfect place to spend an afternoon, and on weekdays when it's less crowded, it's easy to feel as though you're far from the city. Enjoy the cool, clear water, the sound of the birds in the trees (more than 112 species live here), and the occasional rustle of a squirrel, rabbit, or even deer. This place feels like a fairytale forest.
Not far down the trail, you'll come to a little clearing, where you'll see what appears to be the stone ruins of a little house. These ruins are commonly known as Witch's Castle.
The structure is surrounded by overgrown vegetation, and this place definitely has a sinister feeling. There's a fascinating history here - one that will certainly send chills up your spine.
In the mid-1800s, a man named Danford Balch lived in this area with his wife, Mary Jane, and their children. He hired a man named Mortimer Stump to work on his homestead, but things did not turn out well.
Anna Balch, Danford's 15-year-old daughter, fell in love with Mortimer Stump, and the two announced their intention to marry. Mr. Balch was not pleased and told the couple that he would kill Mortimer with his own two hands if he didn't leave immediately. Mortimer Stump did leave... with Anna in tow. The two ran away and got married.
Anna's mother was heartbroken and Danford went looking for Mortimer. When the angry father found his son-in-law in Portland, he shot him in the head. When he was arrested, Danford claimed that his wife Mary Jane was a witch and had put a spell on him that caused him to commit murder. Danford was found guilty of his crime and later hanged in 1859.
Mary Jane spent the rest of her life living on the homestead. It's said that her ghost, as well of the ghosts of her husband, her daughter, and the murdered Mortimer Stump all still inhabit the property.
The piece of land where the Balch homestead sat was gifted to the city of Portland in 1897. In the 1950s, this stone structure was built to serve as a restroom for the park.
Just a few years later, the structure was damaged, and it was deemed too expensive to fix, so it quickly fell into disrepair. The stone ruins still sit in Forest Park, and visitors report hearing and seeing strange things or feeling a sense of disquiet.
Take the short hike through Forest Park to find the Witch's House, and see if you think that the ghost stories are true.
If beautiful trails with a creepy history are your thing (and why wouldn’t they be?), here’s another
trail that has a gruesome history that most Oregonians don’t know.