When your shoreline is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, and your towns have some of the oldest hotels in Washington, it’s understandable that the fog between us and the afterlife can become a little hazy. Our history is rich with poltergeists with personality. Mischievous ghosts like to poke and pester our sleeping guests. Other specters can be spotted forlornly wandering shipwrecked beaches, searching for their long-lost loves. In the spirit of our spirits, join us as we take you to some of the most haunted spots in Pacific County.
Built in 1885 on Shoalwater Tribe land, this historic inn is the oldest hotel in Washington State. With more than a century of living under its roof, it stands to reason that wisps of the dead cling like cobwebs to its corners. It is casually possessed by non-threatening spirits, solidifying its place as one of the most haunted spots in Pacific County.
If you spend a little time chatting with workers, you’ll hear spooktacular stories of specters walking past doorways, flashes of unexplained light, and footsteps on floorboards when nobody is there. Guest accounts have included seeing legless spirits in period clothing staring down the hall. Some have told of spying Charlie, the ghost of a Chinese immigrant who died in the hotel in the 1930s. Lore states that he hid in the firewood closet near the fireplace. Hiding from smugglers, he became trapped, eventually dying of smoke inhalation. The most common phantom encounters seem to be with a friendly ghost cat. Visitors have experienced the feeling of a cat jumping on their bed, pawing at their feet, and curling up with them for the night.
If you’re feeling particularly daring, request room 7. It is the room with the most paranormal activity. Guests have seen dark shadows in the corners or over their beds. They’ve reported night terrors, troubled sleep, and unexplained knocking on the walls.
As Washington’s oldest continuously operating hotel, it’s safe to assume that both guests and ghosts are cohabitating under its roof. Shelburne Hotel has a cast of four departed characters still calling the hotel home. With so many spirits gracing its hallways, it’s easy to see why it is one of the most haunted spots in Pacific County. By most reports, the ghosts are friendly, and each has their own personality.
Annie May is a resident ghost who splits her afterlife between room 16 and the ground’s gardens. She is reportedly very protective over the happenings in the yard and has strong connections to the tree where most weddings occur. Rumors say she will protect unions held under her tree and cover them with positive light and energy for their lifetime.
In room 6, you’ll likely encounter Nina. She stayed in that room with her mother and apparently still haunts its hallways. Nina is a bit of a prankster who likes to play tricks on visitors. She’s known to poke or tap guests on their shoulders as they move throughout the hotel. If you feel one of these taps in an empty hallway, you can bet it is Nina near your shoulder.
The grumpiest of the ghosts is ol’ George. George’s cranky spirit lives in the maintenance closet on the second floor. Despite his curmudgeonly ways, he’s stayed on the spiritual staff to keep a watchful eye on the maintenance of the property. He prefers not to be bothered, so staying out of his way is recommended.
And finally, there’s sweet Georginna. Not much is known of her history, but she hovers around the second-floor staircase. She seems to have deep roots in the property but tends to keep to herself.
In addition to the long-term, long-departed ghostly residents, guests have encountered a handful of unexplained events. Lights have turned on and off without a human hand touching them. Jewelry pops up in strange and unexpected places. And visions of phantom people standing at the bedside have been reported.
Stop at the front desk to pick up the bios of the ghosts dwelling in the hotel. You can enter your own personal paranormal accounts in the guest diary they keep on hand.
Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort
The beautiful Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort has been a place to rest your bones by the seaside for 70 years. With charming cottages that face the ocean, it offers a welcome respite for those looking for a quintessential coastal spell. But its paranormal peculiarities make it one of the most haunted spots in Pacific County.
Rumored experiences have included rocking chairs that rock all by themselves. TVs randomly turn on and off. The furniture slides around and rearranges itself. Visitors have reported doors opening and closing without the slightest breath of wind. And in some cases, guests have heard soft voices whispering in their ears while they try to sleep.
Cottages 101 and 105 have the most apparition activity. Those who have encountered friendly spirits are encouraged to capture their experiences in the hotel journals.
North Head Lighthouse
On the windy cliffs of Cape Disappointment sits the weather-beaten tower of the North Head Lighthouse. Perched almost 200 feet above the tempestuous sea, this lighthouse has had a raven’s eye view of the hundreds of tragic shipwrecks along the Graveyard of the Pacific. It also stands squarely in the howl of some of the heaviest winds in the nation. The location is known as one of the windiest lighthouses in the U.S., bracing itself against winds that can top 120 mph. And those gales may have blown it onto the list of most haunted spots in Pacific County.
Rumors say the banshee gusts drove the first keeper’s wife over the cliffs. She could no longer “bear the howling winds” and plunged to her death in 1923. Her spirit still wanders the lightkeeper’s house today, braving the winds to revisit the living.
Knappton Cove Heritage Center/Columbia River Quarantine Station
The Knappton Cove Heritage Center/Columbia River Quarantine Station was once Columbia River’s “Ellis Island. It was a federal quarantine station from 1899 to 1938. Thousands of immigrants passed through this port of entry to find their slice of the American dream.
Several unexplained occurrences have unfolded near the white clapboard building. A crying woman in Victorian clothing, possibly mourning her lost sailor husband, was seen wandering the shoreline. A visiting driver once proclaimed seeing a “fiery thing” on the sandy beach.
The rumors were enough to encourage paranormal investigators to visit the haunted spot in Pacific County. During their time, they encountered a caffeine-crazed spirit. An investigator left their coffee cup on a table while attempting to capture ghostly recordings. Returning to it moments later, they noticed significantly less in the mug. When they listened to the tapes, they heard a haunting whisper crying, “Coffee…coffee…”
It’s hard to know what to believe when rereading some of our spine-tingling folklore. Our melancholy beaches, dense forests, and historic buildings are covered with footsteps and fingerprints of days long gone. But one visit here, and it’ll be easy to see how, even in the afterlife, people just don’t want to leave our little slice of heaven.
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.