(The Gessner Mansion)

6420 Carleton Avenue South, Seattle, WA

Status: Former Gambling Saloon; Former Brothel; Former Boarding House; Private Property


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This article contains stories of self-harm as well as of harm to children. Reader discretion is advised.


This 3-storey mansion was built by a blackjack dealer named Peter Gessner in 1902.

Gessner set up the house as a gambling saloon and a brothel and moved onto the second floor. He didn’t get to enjoy his castle for very long though; in 1903 he killed himself on the second floor. He did this by drinking carbolic acid which would have been extremely painful burning his face and lips and then disintegrating his internal organs. When he was found, he had begun to dissolve completely.

At least it was ruled as a suicide and all suggestions of murder were swept under the carpet. You see Gessner’s wife – Lizzie – had just left him for a chicken farmer of all people.

There are multiple stories of murder, rape and infanticide surrounding this house.

The mansion was left abandoned for almost 2 decades after Gessner’s death. By the 1920’s it was running as a brothel again. Some time in the 1950’s -60’s it was converted into a boarding house; this is when the stories of the house being haunted began to surface.

By the 1970’s it was abandoned again and began to fall into disrepair.

It was briefly used as a business called Georgetown Catering in the 1980’s

The house is now privately owned – since 2004 for the current owners - although its unclear if anyone actually lives in the house. The current owners have restored the mansion back to it’s former glory.


Paranormal Activity

Gessner, himself, haunts the second floor of the mansion. By all accounts he is not a happy ghost and all reported accounts of meeting him are terrifying and more than a little unsettling. With no public access to the house, he is most often now reported in the windows of the second storey glaring out at the world.

A former owner found a secret room in the house which it is thought was used for running illegal card games. The room is inexplicitly much colder than the rest of the house; this is thought to be the ghost of Gessner making himself known.

The second ghost in the mansion is Mary Christian who is said to be a former employee (prostitute) who was either strangled by a magician (?) or shot by a pimp. She’s been seen dressed in a white gown with long thick red hair. Despite her violent end Mary is said to give off an air of tranquil energy and is quite pleasant to encounter.

There is also a legend of an unwed mother – who may have been Gessner’s niece – who was imprisoned in the home’s tower and separated from her baby. Her baby is said to have been murdered – possibly by a pimp but some say by Gessner himself – and buried on the property.

The phantom sounds of the baby crying are heard from underneath the house’s porch at night. The ghost of the baby’s mother is seen as a woman dressed all in black with coal black hair, pale skin and black sunken eyes.

The woman’s ghost has been named Sarah and is described as quite insane as she surely became before her death. Occasionally, her unearthly wails will be heard coming from the house.

Other Activity: disembodied voices; phantom footsteps; light anomalies; unexplained mists; shadow figures and feelings of being watched and not being wanted.