While Las Vegas is gearing up for all the spooks and thrills of Halloween just like any other town, I can’t help but reminisce on the romantic and eery vibe the Pacific Northwest can get around this time of year. While there are many historical buildings in and around Seattle that are considered haunted, I want to share my own spin on spooky landmarks to visit in and around where I grew up.
1) Fremont Troll, Seattle
My first sighting of the Fremont Troll was when I was in the passenger seat driving down N. 36th Street when we passed by Troll Avenue. I must have just moved to Seattle and hadn’t explored the Fremont neighborhood, which I would soon call home during my college years. It was dark, my friends and I were driving to a house party when I saw this dark shadowy mass outside the window. It looked extra freaky, because the eyeball is made of some sort of ceramic or glass and reflected off the headlights, making this giant Troll look even more ominous. We would always joke about painting the Volkswagen slug bug a cool color (which the Troll is holding in his massive hand), but we never got enough liquid courage to do so. And, obviously its someone else’s artwork. To this day, I love going back and visiting the famous Troll under the Aurora bridge: legend has it that trolls hide under bridges to escape traffic and man-made development. I say, stay down there buddy because this city got whole lot more crowded. Get extra creeped out and go at night.
2) Fort Casey State Park, Whidbey Island
Photo: Seattle Times
This fort was essential in the defense of the Puget Sound in the 1890s. The three forts: Fort Casey, situated on Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island and Fort Wordon in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula made up the “triangle of fire” as a means to thwart marine attacks. I remember going here as kid and calling it “the guns” because of the huge canons perched atop of the fort bunkers pointing out at the Sound. Even in the day time this place has an eery vibe about it that grows deeper into the fort’s underground tunnels. You can explore dungeon cells, cavernous sheds and look through the barrel of the canon. Some visitors have even claimed to have had encounters with spirits in some of these dark tunnels. It’s a pretty cool piece of military history in the middle of Whidbey Island.
3) Lake Crescent, Olympic Peninsula
The “Lady of the Lake” mystery still lurks these deep waters of one of coldest and deepest lakes in Washington State. I remember gazing out the car window as we drove along the Lake Crescent shoreline on our annual camping excursion. It was so still and clear, like being in a water taxi. Other days, the water would be choppy and stormy as if there was a wrathful presence. The eery tale of the “Lady of Lake” dates back to the 1940s when a body arose to the surface of the lake. Two boaters found the body had been wrapped in blankets and later discovered the whole body had been preserved and had a soapy-like feel. The near freezing temperature of the glacial lake, had produced a chemical process called saponification, where minerals from the lake had transformed the flesh into something like Ivory soap, which caused the once tied down mass to float to the surface. Though her face was unrecognizable, the woman was identified as Hallie Illingworth by her dental history. A Kentucky woman, a new life in the Pacific Northwest, she falls into a turbulent relationship with Lake Crescent Tavern patron Monty… who would later be prosecuted for her murder. How’s that for a campfire ghost story?
4) Creepy Filming Locations in the PNW: The Ring
Photo: The Spokeman-Review
Remember when this phenomenon hit the media? I sure do. I wasn’t even allowed to watch this even at age thirteen! For one thing, it was partly filmed in Seattle and landmark areas of Whidbey Island, which my parent’s said: would make it all too real to my young, spooked self. Eventually, I would watch The Ring 2 and the original The Ring in reverse order. Regardless, both were freaky as F, the first having a lot of thriller vibes and the second being me jumping out of my seat. When Rachel Keller is on the search “Moesko Island Lighthouse”, she drives across Deception Pass bridge on the north end of Whidbey Island. When that crazed computer generated horse leaps off the ferry? That’s the Whidbey Island/Mukilteo ferry I used to take to and from the mainland. There are many spots shot on the Oregon coast and the “Morgan Horse Ranch” is Emerald Glen Farm in Monroe, Washington. So, needless to say when this movie came out… it had all of Washington spooked.
5) Creepy Filming Locations in the PNW: Twin Peaks
Photo: Welcome To Twin Peaks
Last, but certainly not least… is the infamous fictional logger town of Twin Peaks. In real life, the areas of interest are Snoqualmie and North Bend in the Cascades. My family used to go up to snowy Snoqaulmie Pass every winter to ski and stay with friends and other Washington Alpine Club members. Since the Twin Peaks fandom has come anew, cementing its lore into our pop culture lives with Twin Peaks: The Return, I thought it proper to share some areas of interest that I have never been to… yet. First, book a stay at Salish Lodge & Spa, or respectively known as “The Great Northern.” Next, have a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee “black as midnight on a moonless night” at Twede’s Cafe, aka “The Double R Diner.” Have a beer, probably Rainier, at “The Bang Bang Bar,” or how locals say: “The Roadhouse” inside the quaint and maybe haunted Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn in Fall City, Snoqualmie. Lurk around the woods there to really get spooked on your search for the other realm to The Black Lodge.
P.S. I discovered there is bar in Vancouver, B.C. called The Black Lodge with Twin Peaks cocktails, comfort food, pie and vegan options! This shot (above) is my semi-annual visit to Seattle to have breakfast or late night at the 24/7 spot Lost Lake Cafe. The bathroom is basically The Red Room. Not too far, is Linda’s Tavern an unapologetically rustic, hole-in-the-wall, sandwiched between Capitol Hill condos. They have a drink named after Laura Palmer and her senior class photo framed behind the bar.
Happy Halloween Month!