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Ghosts in Oregon Hotels

Geiser Grand Hotel, Baker City

It’s Halloween weekend. Are you ready for some creepy stories?

From Baker City to Portland, from the Oregon Coast to the Oregon Caves, stories of haunted hotels are rife at this time of year.

Considered the finest lodging in the Northwest when it was built in 1889, Baker City’s Geiser Grand Hotel (http://www.geisergrand.com) reopened in 1997 after a three-decade closure. During an extensive renovation — before the reopening — new owners Barbara and Dwight Sidway were awakened several times in the early-morning hours by the sounds of a party.

“I heard the conversation, the laughter, the clinking of glasses, the soft music,” Barbara told me. “I know a party when I hear one. I put my ear to the wall and I could feel the vibration of the music.

“Later, I heard reports of the same thing from guests, employees, even bartenders who worked here in the years before the closures.”

The most frequently reported sighting is of a woman with long dark hair and wearing a long blue gown. Management calls her “the Lady in Blue.”

Heceta Head Lighthouse

“The Lady in Gray,” by contrast, lives near Yachats at the Heceta Head Lighthouse (www. hecetalighthouse.com).

According to innkeeper Steve Bursey, the lady’s real name was Rue, and she was the wife of an assistant light keeper in the 1890s. When her young daughter drowned while playing on the beach below the lighthouse, she killed herself in despair.

Today Rue haunts the light and the adjacent caretakers’ cottage, now a bed-and-breakfast inn. Every keeper since the 1950s, and many guests, have reported friendly encounters with Rue on the grounds and the stairs. She is often seen looking out the attic window with a sad expression on her face. Objects are moved or missing; lost tools reappear in strange places.

On one occasion in the 1970s, Bursey said, a laborer cleaning attic windows noticed a strange reflection in the glass. He turned to see a lady with silver hair, in a gray dress, floating above the floor. Fleeing terrified, he refused to return to the attic.

Months later, the worker accidentally broke an attic window from outside the building, but refused to climb the stairs to clean up the glass. That night, the couple who lived in the keepers’ house heard scraping sounds from upstairs … and the next morning found shards of glass swept into a neat pile in the corner of the attic.

Oregon Caves Chateau

Another distraught woman haunts the Oregon Caves Chateau (www. oregoncaveschateau.com) in southwestern Oregon. In 1937, a young couple celebrated their honeymoon at the caves and stayed in room 310 at the chateau. They had barely arrived when the wife, whose name was Elizabeth, caught her unfaithful husband in a tryst with a chambermaid. Devastated, she took her own life, probably by hanging herself from the heating pipe. But she’s still around.

Today guests in room 310 report unpacking their luggage and leaving the room, only to find everything packed up again when they return. Cold breezes blow through the room when the windows are closed; objects fly off shelves; doors open and close on their own; loud sobs are heard from a linen closet across the hall. And the baby grand piano in the chateau lobby has been known to play by itself.

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