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This is the largest park in Ashland and was created to rid of the city of dilapidated industrial site.
The entrance of the park used to be flour mill built by some of the first pioneers in the area. It was also the first building built in Ashland – it was called Ashland Mills at the time (1852). By the beginning of the 20th century the mill site was almost completely abandoned except for a few livestock.
In 1908 the Women’s Civic Improvement Club petitioned City Council to create a park in the area. They created a city charter establishing a parks commission and setting aside all city owned property along the Ashland Creek as a park.
Over the decades the parks commission created many more parks in Ashland but Lithia Park itself began to suffer from neglect. In 1974 flooding dealt what could have been a death blow to the park had the citizens not voted for the funds to clean the park up.
In 1997 the park was flooded again and again the residents voted to save it.
Today, many improvements have been made to the Ashland Creek so it no longer floods out the park or the downtown core.
In 2014 the park was named one of 10 Great Public Spaces in America.
The haunting is said to be due to a girl being raped and murdered here in the 19th century when the land was a partially abandoned industrial wasteland.
A blue, described as eerie, light is said to cover the duck pond that is said to be her spirit still lingering in the area. The light often begins to flicker faster and faster until suddenly disappearing as suddenly as it appeared.
Orbs of blue light have also been seen floating over the pond and seemingly interacting with one another.
Completed in 1921 this hotel was built by Simon Benson who was also part of the creation of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. This hotel was created to be a cap on the highway for travelers to stay at once they drove the scenic road.
It was built on the site of a former hotel that had been demolished.
The hotel has had numerous famous guests including Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt and movie stars Shirley Temple and Burt Reynolds.
In 1952 it was closed and converted into a retirement home. In 1979 it opened again after a massive renovation as a hotel again.
In 2009 it was sold again – this time due to a foreclosure – by the bank to a hospitality company. This time 4 million dollars were spent and the existing hotel opened in 2012.
Apparently, the hotel staff are very open to the paranormal activity and will help you book a haunted room when asked. Ghost tours may also be available.
Reports from mediums who have visited the hotel say that there is a large amount of energy present that no one sensitive could miss. The ghosts in the hotel are also reported to be friendly and willing to speak with the living if treated respectfully. They are also said to be curious.
There are 4 apparitions in this hotel:
A woman in white who is said to have jumped off one of the balconies to her death who is seen throughout the building.
A young woman in Room 330. This also may be Room 340 which is reported to be the most haunted by staff. Numerous people have recorded unexplained noises in this room including scratching and knocking.
Room 310 is also listed as being quite active. It is, however, an exception to the rest of the hotel and inhabited by something that malevolent or not that seems to delight to terrifying guests. The energy in the room has been describing so negative it drives sensitive people out immediately.
A child who sticks to the ground floor where the pool used to be.
A man wearing a frock coat and top hat.
Phantom cigar smoke is sometimes smelt. It’s reported to be a man who passed away here when the building was being used as a retirement home.
Furniture has been piled up against the door of an empty room although it is unclear what room number this was. Based on the reports above its probably safe to assume it was a room on the 3rd floor.
North Edison Street & Pittsburg Avenue
Status: Natural Wonder; Municipal Park
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The area the park now occupies has a long history.
Previous to European exploration and colonization the Indigenous Peoples of the area used this area for both camping and fishing. It is thought to be one of the landing spots of the Lewis and Clark expedition – William Clark and 8 other men camped here in April of 1806.
In 1931 the St Johns Bridge was built over the Willamette River and the site where the park is now. The city of St Johns – now part of Portland - acquired the land in the late 1960’s and the then-mayor began a fund-raising project to clean up the area and change it into a park.
In May of 1980 the park was opened in a public ceremony. It got its name from the cathedral like arches holding up the bridge above.
On August 5, 1949 Thelma Taylor – a 15 year old high school student – was kidnapped while waiting for a bus in St Johns by a 22 year old ex-con Morris Leland. He took her to a secluded place under the St Johns Bridge. He attempted to rape her but was unable to after discovering she was a virgin.
He held her overnight in the overgrown area but she started yelling for help the next day to nearby rail workers. Leland hit in her in the head multiple times with a steel bar and stabbed her resulting the girl’s tragic death. He then threw the murder weapons in the river, cleaned up the crime scene and buried Thelma under some driftwood.
Leland was arrested a few days later for car theft and confessed to the murder. He was executed on January 9, 1953 by gas chamber.
The disembodied screams of Thelma are still heard in what is now Cathedral Park. These screams are heard more often in the summer months although, this is probably due to the park being used by more people at this time rather than anything to do with the paranormal activity.
The police have actually been called multiple times to the park by people hearing the screams coming from the park.
(Old Portland Underground)
120 Northwest 3rd Avenue
Status: Underground Tunnels; Only Accessible Through Tours
These tunnels were constructed in the early 19th century for the purpose of moving goods between the downtown businesses and the ships on the Willamette River. So goes the official story anyway.
Legend says the tunnels were actually used not only to move goods – legal and otherwise; but also for the practice of “shanghaiing” – kidnapping drunks from bars, imprisoning them and then forcing them to crew the ships in harbor. Trap doors would open under the feet of drunks dropping them into the tunnels. Ship captains would pay a pretty penny for such crew.
Historians official view is yes, the tunnels exist; yes, shanghaiing did happen in Portland as in other harbor cities but there is no evidence these tunnels were used for such a purpose.
The most frequently seen ghost is “Sam”; an Asian man who is often seen walking through the tunnels. Sam is said to be a positive spirit who will turn the lights on and off in the basement of the bars still accessible to the tunnels, moving objects right at the moment the living happen to be looking at it and moving quickly through the shadows that collect in the tunnels. He is also thought to be the ghost who rests his hand on the shoulder of the living from behind.
One tour guide heard the name “Sam” said over and over again echoing through the tunnels.
Another famous ghost in the tunnels is that of Nina; an Indigenous sex worker who was kidnapped and forced into work as a sex slave. Legend says she was about to give the name of her owner when she was tossed down the elevator shaft in the Merchant Hotel to her death.
She frequently stands on the balcony of the hotel either in a white or black dress and frequently waves to the people below. Her apparition is often seen in the hotel kitchen – where there are still stairs down to a now blocked entrance to the tunnels – and in the tunnels. Her ghost is said to be as solid as you and I and is often mistaken for someone alive.
In the tunnels near the water the entire shanghaied crew of a ship – on the anniversary of their deaths – will rush up the tunnels in a group. Those few who have witnessed this event happen say it is absolutely terrifying.
Most of the ghosts in the tunnels seem to be good natured and are most known for playing games with visitors such as pulling lightly on your clothes or your hair. Some of entities here, though, are not so friendly people have been pushed to the ground and have reported strong feelings of being unwelcome and not being wanted.
Shadow figures with glowing red eyes that give off a powerful feeling of evil are seen in the tunnels. They are thought to be the spirits of a rather nasty criminal gang that used to operate in the tunnels called the Crimps.
The original Insane Asylum in Oregon was built in East Portland in 1862. Construction of the Salem asylum began 1881 and it was opened October 23, 1883.
By 1891 the number of patients had increased to the point that 2 new wings had to be built. The asylum was converted from gas to electric lighting at the same time.
At the end of the 19th century, the most common causes for being sent to the asylum were epilepsy, alcoholism, masturbation and religious paranoia. At this time another 2 blocks of women’s housing and 4 blocks of men’s housing were built.
In the early 20th century, the most common reasons for asylum admittance were alcoholism, drug addiction and venereal disease. In 1923 the asylum began a program of sterilizing the patients in an attempt to stop mental illness from spreading.
And people thought only the Nazis played with eugenics.
By the 1940’s treatments, now considered barbaric, were common place in the hospital like lobotomies, electroshock therapy, convulsive shock therapy and insulin shock therapy. In 1947 there was a mass poisoning event in which 467 patients got ill and 47 died. Apparently, someone mistook roach poison for powered milk when making scrambled eggs.
In the 1950’s the hospital reached its maximum population – 3,545 patients. A geriatric ward for constructed and 2 more hospitals opened elsewhere in the State to alleviate the massive overpopulation issue.
In the early 1980’s lobotomies were stopped as well as the Eugenics program – no more patients were sterilized. By the early 1990’s, though, overcrowding was an issue again with people sleeping in the hallways.
In 2004 a senator touring the institution found over 5,000 metal cannisters filled with human cremation remains in a building. Many of the cannisters were degraded due to reactions with moisture. The hospital was given permission to release the names of the remains in hopes to finding family to claim them.
In 2011 Building 60 was converted into a memorial for the unclaimed remains but in 2014 it discovered over 1500 remains had been misplaced.
From 2009 – 2011 a new hospital was built after part of the old main building was demolished. This modern 620 bed facility would replace the old hospital completely. A smaller satellite hospital was opened in 2013 in Junction City.
The remains of the old main building have now been converted into a museum of mental health.
Reports of paranormal activity date back to when the old hospital was still operating.
Apparitions of patients, doctors and nurses in period clothing still walking the halls and rooms of numerous buildings. Many of which have since been demolished.
Unexplained sounds and noises of all sort including bangs, whispers, voices, laughter, screams and crying.
Poltergeist activity including objects moving on their own and doors and windows opening and closing on their own. Touches, tugs and pulls by unseen presences.
Shadow figures roaming the old grounds.
Warm and cold spots. Unexplained winds and breezes. Unexplained mists some of which move against the wind.
Feelings of being watched and not being alone.
(Multnomah County Poor Farm)
2126 SW Halsey Street
Status: Former Poor House; Former Nursing Home; Hotel and Entertainment Complex
In 1854 the Oregon Territorial Government put the responsibility of caring for the poor and other sections of the population unable to take care of themselves on the Counties. The first facility was built near Canyon Road in Portland’s West Hills – the area is now part of Washington Park – and was called Hillside Farm.
Early in the 20th century Hillside Farm was closed down due to the occupants living in what was called “deplorable conditions”. The Multnomah County Poor Farm was built as a replacement and opened in 1911.
By 1934 an infirmary was built and in 1935 the site reached its maximum population of 614 and area of 345 acres. By the late 1950’s all farming operations had stopped and the name was changed to Edgefield Manor.
By the mid-1960’s the main lodge had become a nursing home and the outbuildings were used for housing developmentally challenged children. As the 1970’s ended the County was looking at plans to close down the facility and in 1983 the last 3 patients were moved to another site.
During the 1980’s the County decided to demolish all the buildings except the jail but ended up in a court battle with a historical society. In 1990 the entire complex was purchased by McMenamins and turned into an entertainment complex.
It is rumored that the McMenamins had a spiritual cleansing done when they bought the property. It is said to have cleaned out some of the nastier ghostly residents.
The hotel neither denies nor confirms the paranormal activity. Their official stance seems to be its up to each individual whether they believe or not.
Hundreds of the less fortunate came to the poor farm over the decades but not all of them left the farm while still alive. There are rumors of an unmarked burial site somewhere on the property; which is entirely possible as most of the guests who died had no family to collect their remains. Although the majority of them were cremated on site.
The apparition of a mother and her young child who died of smallpox shortly after moving into the farm are seen. The woman has been heard on the upper floors comforting her child. She is reported to sing her child nursery rhymes every night at midnight.
Guests going up or down the stairs hear whispers behind them but there is no one there.
A small boy races up and down the halls late at night. When confronted or asked where his parents are he fades away into a mist.
The ghost of a female nurse has been seen walking the halls of the hotel.
One guest complained to management that she was feeling uncomfortable in her room as she felt someone was watching her. A manager went into her room to check with her. Both the guest and the manager clearly heard someone say, “get out”. Needless to say, the guest got a new room.
An elderly lady haunts room 215. She wakes guests up at night by touching their shoulders and is known by the smell of flowery perfume. She is normally a pleasant ghost but has been known to throw guest’s clothes around the room if they are untidy.
Both staff and guests report being touched by unseen presences through the building.