It’s that time of year! The weather is turning colder, the days are getting shorter, and things are getting…creepier.
Pumpkin spiced lattes, flannel, and ghosts abound!
As we head toward the end of the month and the scariest holiday of the year, we thought we’d put together a roundup of the creepiest spots in Oregon for you thrill-seekers.
Without further ado, here are the most haunted places in Oregon so that you can get your spook on!
Table of Contents
25 Creepiest and Most Haunted Places in Oregon
1. Shanghai Tunnels, Portland
First up on our list is the Portland Shanghai Tunnels.
Portland used to be known as one of the most dangerous ports in the world due to the practice of “Shanghaiing,” or the kidnapping of unsuspecting men to work on ships often bound for Shanghai.
Men and women were grabbed off the streets, drugged in saloons and other establishments and carried out or dropped through trapdoors into the underground. Victims were held captive in brick, wood, or tin holding cells in the underground until sold to a sea captain at $50 to $55 a person. It’s estimated that a minimum of 1500 people a year were Shanghaied out of Portland during the height of the practice, which lasted from the 1850s to World War II.
As you can imagine, the tunnels are riddled with stories of ghosts, spirits, and unusual occurrences. Visitors can take many tours of the tunnels, including paranormal tours and Halloween ghost tours. With so many atrocities committed in these tunnels, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most haunted places in Oregon.
2. Oregon State Hospital, Salem
The Oregon State Hospital is famous for several reasons. It is the setting of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the filming location for the Academy Award-winning film of the same name starring Jack Nickolson.
It served as an insane asylum/mental hospital for over 100 years and still functions as the state’s only psychiatric hospital.
Built in 1883 and located in the state capital of Salem, the original mental hospital now serves as a museum where visitors can tour the facility and learn about the patients who lived there and how they were treated.
And let’s just say, the conditions and treatment were often like something out of a horror story.
The hospital has garnered controversy over the years for subpar care of patients and stories abound of horrifying incidents. The most notorious was the death of 47 people and hundreds more taken ill when sodium fluoride (an insecticide) was used instead of flour, and staff and patients were fed poisoned scrambled eggs.
Today, most of the original hospital has been converted to a museum or has fallen into disrepair. Visitors can even tour the underground tunnels that connect the various buildings.
3. The Geiser Grand Hotel, Baker City
Google haunted places in Oregon and the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City will be at the top of most lists.
Opening in 1889 following the gold rush that built Baker City, the Geiser Grand was the finest hotel between Portland and Salt Lake City during its heyday.
It’s also one of the most haunted.
And there doesn’t appear to be just one ghost, but an entire squad of them that like to get rowdy after midnight on the third floor. Employees have heard laughing, glasses clinking, and conversations but cannot find the source when investigating.
It is also said that the Lady in Blue haunts Room 302, where she once lived, and can get a bit frisky with men sitting at her bar stool in the saloon.
Luckily, the ghosts that haunt the Geiser Grand seem to be friendly and more into having a good time than scaring anyone.
4. Sackett Catacombs, Oregon State University
Every year around Halloween, the inhabitants of the Sackett Residence Hall open the catacombs for haunted house-style tours.
Built in 1948, Sackett Hall has been linked to two murders, and it’s said the ghosts of the victims have never left. One victim is Roberta Kathleen Parks, who left her Sackett dorm room in 1974 and was never seen alive again. One of the numerous victims of serial killer Ted Bundy, lore states that Bundy lured her into the catacombs and killed her there. Residents report hearing screams and furniture moving around the basement.
According to campus lore, the other crime was the murder of a girl in her Sackett room in the 1950s by a drunk frat boy. This ghost, known as Becky, has been seen sitting in dorm rooms and as spectral lights.
But believe it or not, Sackett Hall isn’t the only haunted building on the Oregon State Campus.
5. Waldo Hall, Oregon State University
Another spirit is said to haunt the second floor of Waldo Hall, although this one is far more benign and has a less tragic backstory.
Numerous students and faculty have reported feeling the presence of another, and some have said they’ve seen a woman disappear. The chief suspect for this ghost is Ida Kidder, the school’s first librarian and a beloved member of the OSU community. Kidder lived in Waldo Hall from 1908 until she died in 1920 when it was a woman’s dormitory.
Known as Mother Kidder around campus, it’s thought that Kidder so loved OSU that she decided to stick around when she died.
6. Pittock Mansion, Portland
The second of our haunted locations in Portland is the Pittock Mansion in Portland’s West Hills. The mansion was completed in 1914 and built by Henry and Georgiana Pittock, who came over on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. Henry later took over ownership of The Oregonian and transformed it into the paper it is today.
While no malevolent spirits are residing at the mansion, visitors have reported strange occurrences. These include opening and locking windows and doors and the sound of furniture being moved. Visitors can tour the mansion daily except in January and on some holidays.
7. Lithia Park, Ashland
Lithia Park is known as the crown jewel of Ashland, a quaint little town in Southern Oregon. Encompassing 100 acres and miles of trails, Lithia Park is a picturesque and serene place to spend the day.
Just make sure you don’t go alone. Lithia Park is said to be haunted by three ghosts. The first is a young girl reportedly killed there over 100 years ago. The second is described as a dog-faced boy living near there in the 1920s and mysteriously disappearing. And the last is the ghost of a logger who was killed by a fallen tree.
Visitors have reported seeing apparitions and hearing faint whistling.
8. McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale
McMenamins Edgefield is a favorite gathering place for concerts, golf, spirits, and weekend getaways. But, while the 74-acre site is now a place of celebration, its origins are far less jovial.
Built in 1911, Edgefield was originally the Multnomah County Poor Farm, which housed a mix of people needing a “leg up.” The residents, or inmates as they were called, supplied the labor for the farm, laundry, hospital, and jail.
By the 1950s, the facility began taking in children with mental health struggles and the elderly and infirm. However, the Poor Farm eventually fell into disrepair until bought by the McMenamins brothers in the early 1990s.
With thousands of individuals coming and going across the decades, it’s difficult to say how many died there. However, it’s said there are unmarked graves around the property, and paranormal activity began being reported upon McMenamins taking over.
In particular, room 215 seems to be an epicenter for paranormal activity, so much so that the hotel keeps a book where guests can log their experiences.
9. The Witch’s Castle, Forest Park, Portland
The Witch’s Castle, better known as the Macleay Park Shelter or Stone House, is a two-story structure located in Forest Park in Portland.
The land in this area was initially owned by Danford Balch beginning in the 1850s. Balch hired Mortimer Stump to help clear land, and Stump lived with Balch’s family. Eventually, Stump and Balch’s daughter Anna fell in love and eloped when Balch refused permission. Balch then killed Stump and was subsequently hanged in 1859, the first in the new state of Oregon.
The property changed hands and was eventually bequeathed to the City of Portland, where in 1929, the Bureau of Parks commissioned the Stone House to be built near the site of the Balch homestead. The structure served as a ranger station and restroom for hikers but was abandoned after being damaged in 1962.
Today, the Witch’s Castle serves as a creepy reminder of the storied past of the land that makes up Forest Park and is said to be haunted by Anna, Stump, and Balch.
10. Wolf Creek Inn, Wolf Creek
The historic Wolf Creek Inn in southern Oregon was originally a stop for stagecoach travelers heading north to Portland. The inn is also famous for hosting celebrities like Clark Gable, John Wayne, and Jack London, who is said to have finished the novel Valley of the Moon while there. Today, it serves as a nine-room inn and a hotbed of paranormal activity.
Guests and staff have reported unexplained voices, moving objects, doors slamming, a piano playing, and apparitions of a woman in a window. This woman is thought to be the ghost of a female stagecoach driver who died there known as One-Eyed Charlie, who turned out to be Charlotte upon her death.
Guests and paranormal researchers have even claimed to have seen the ghost of Jack London in a room where he stayed, as well as his disembodied voice.
Numerous paranormal activities have even caught the attention of amateur ghost hunters, and the inn sometimes holds ghost-hunters experiences where visitors can learn about the history of the site.
11. Heceta Head Lighthouse, Florence
Another staple of lists of haunted places in Oregon, Heceta Head Lighthouse near Florence, is a bed and breakfast where visitors can stay in the old lighthouse keeper’s quarters. It remains a working lighthouse and is thus one of the more unique places to stay in Oregon.
Guests at the lighthouse have a chance to encounter Rue, originally known as “The Gray Lady,” and the wife of one of the lighthouse keepers from the 1800s. This woman’s child died while at the lighthouse, and an Ouija Board revealed the name Rue, but it’s unknown whether the name is that of the woman or the child.
Residents and guests have reported mysterious occurrences since the 1950s, including items moved or missing, the sudden scent of flowers or perfume, and seeing imprints on beds.
12. Battery Russell, Fort Stevens, Warrenton
Battery Russel was built within Fort Stevens during the Civil War, which stood guard over the nearby mouth of the Columbia River. However, the installment didn’t see much action until World War II, when a Japanese submarine fired on and damaged it.
Although casualty reports are unclear, visitors to the current Fort Stevens State Park have reported seeing the ghost of a soldier wandering the grounds. However, it’s unclear from what era this soldier hails from.
13. The Benson Hotel, Portland
Opened in 1913 and named after Simon Benson, the Benson Hotel still serves as one of Portland’s finest hotels.
It is also home to several ghosts, the main one being its namesake, Simon Benson. Benson is said to haunt the 7th, 9th, and 12th floors of the hotel and is described as either well-groomed and wearing a formal suit or lumberjack attire.
Guests have reported seeing Benson descending the main staircase and walking through the common areas of the hotel and bar. He’s even reportedly knocked drinks out of guests’ hands. He’ll also take bottles, upturn bottles, and tap people on the shoulder.
In addition to Benson, a little boy has also been sighted who is assumed to be one of Benson’s sons. This mischievous ghost will hide beside bedside tables and jump out at guests, and the staff often leave out candy and toys for him.
Other ghosts seen at the Benson include a helpful porter, the Lady in White, and the Lady in Blue. Luckily, all spirits are benevolent and seem just to want to make their presence known.
14. McMenamins Grand Lodge, Forest Grove
Built in the early 1900s as a Masonic Home for elderly or sick Master Masons and their families, the McMenamins Grand Lodge is now a unique hotel in Forest Grove. And it appears that some of its former residents never left.
There have been numerous sightings of an older woman in a dress and slippers walking down the hallways and across the grounds. This apparition is referred to as the Lavender Lady. Another common sighting is that of a child-like ghost standing on a balcony. However, when the child is approached, they mysteriously disappear.
15. The Hot Lake Hotel, La Grande
The healing powers of the hot springs that feed Hot Lake were used for centuries by Native Americans before white settlers came to the area and built on the land.
Built in 1864, the Hot Lake Hotel was named for the thermal lakes on the property. The Hot Lake was a luxury resort and sanitorium throughout much of its life, with the alleged medicinal properties of the water attracting visitors from around the world. Now, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a hotel, museum, and spa.
Over the years, the hotel has garnered a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Oregon. Guests and others have reported ghostly figures walking the grounds at night, hearing strange voices, as well as footsteps.
One of the more mysterious happenings are the reports of haunting piano music throughout the halls even though there is no longer a piano on the grounds.
16. Liberty Theater, Astoria
Opening in 1925 after the Astoria fire of 1922, the Liberty Theater is a vaudeville theater and cinema near the mouth of the Columbia in Astoria.
It’s said that a ghost named Handsome Paul walks the halls of the theater wearing a white tuxedo but otherwise isn’t a bother to visitors.
17. Oregon Caves Chateau, Cave Junction
The Oregon Caves Chateau is a unique building in a unique place in Oregon. Opened in 1934 and located near the Oregon Caves National Monument in southern Oregon, the Chateau stands six stories high and is built into the side of a ravine.
The site is also home to an unusual haunting. The ghost Elizabeth is thought to be the spirit of a woman who jumped from the window of Room 301 after being betrayed by her husband on their honeymoon.
But, while the tragedy surrounding her death isn’t unusual, her style of haunting is. Rather than haunt Room 301 where she died, instead Elizabeth leaves the room when someone checks in. She walks the halls, opens and closes doors, and sometimes can be heard making noise in the kitchen. Guests have also reported the sound of breaking glass and a woman’s scream.
18. Bush House Museum, Salem
Built in 1878, the Bush House was the home of Asahel Bush and his family. Bush was the founding editor of the Oregon Statesman newspaper along with the Ladd & Bush Bank.
Today, the Bush House and what’s left of the former 100-acre homestead is a museum where visitors can travel back in time to life in the late 1800s. It also seems that some members of the Bush family never left.
Bush himself is said to still occupy the house, but his daughter Eugenia really causes a stir. Eugenia’s favorite pastime is to tinker with the heat and air conditioning so that a warm room will suddenly turn cold.
19. Malheur Butte, Malheur County
Malheur Butte is distinctive on this list in that it isn’t a building or site of a former building but a natural formation.
An extinct volcano near the Idaho border, Malheur Butte was rumored to be a place where witches met. Now, rumor has it that shadowy figures appear there at night and chase visitors. These “imps” are said to be about the size of dogs.
20. Cathedral Park, Portland
Cathedral Park is a beautiful spot situated at the base of the St. Johns Bridge in North Portland. Named for the Gothic arches that support the bridge, the park is the site of the 1949 murder of Thelma Taylor.
Taylor was a 15-year-old girl who disappeared while waiting for a ride to work and whose body was found near the bridge a few days later. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of people hearing screams in the park around sunset.
21. Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery, Lafayette
Most think of witchcraft and the persecution of witches as a medieval or colonial practice. While it did wind down by the 1600s, people didn’t necessarily stop labeling people as witches.
The supposed hauntings at Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery are often attributed to the hanging of a witch in the late 1800s. Although a hanging did occur, it was the son of the supposed witch who was executed. Richard Marple was convicted of multiple murders with an ax and hung in the cemetery. Anna, his mother, was accused of being a witch throughout her life, with one of her predictions being that the town would burn down three times. It has since had two significant fires.
While it’s not clear who exactly is haunting the cemetery, locals advise visitors to steer clear of the place due to reports of assaults by unknown entities.
22. Siletz Bay, Lincoln City
We’ve discussed numerous ghost people in this list, but what about a ghost ship?
Siletz Bay is a National Wildlife Refuge on the coast just south of Lincoln City that is said to be haunted by a phantom ship. The Blanco capsized in the bay in 1864 and has allegedly been seen by beach walkers sailing in the bay at night.
Three other ships have also met their end in the bay. They are the Sunbeam, the Uncle John, and the Phoebe Fay.
23. The Bagdad Theater, Portland
The Bagdad Theater is another of the many historic buildings owned by the McMenamins brothers. Built by Universal Studios and originally opened in 1927, the theater hosted the gala premiere of the acclaimed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 (which was filmed in Oregon).
A fantastic place to see a movie or grab a bite to eat, the Bagdad is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a former stagehand who committed suicide. The man has been heard whispering behind the screen, and visitors have reported his apparition on stage. Paranormal activity has also been reported in the woman’s bathroom, so ladies beware!
24. The Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill
Although not exactly haunted, the Oregon Vortex is one of the creepiest places in the state.
Before development in the 1900s, local legend states that Native Americans referred to the site as “the forbidden land,” and travelers passing by would have their horses refuse to enter the area. The site boasts a plethora of strange effects and optical illusions that suggest something strange is going on.
The house built on the land appears to be tilted sideways and at odd angles, yet they can stand upright when visitors enter the house. It’s also possible to stand a broom upright within the home. Additionally, the relative height of two people varies depending on where each stands throughout the property.
25. Dammasch State Hospital, Wilsonville
Although the building known as Dammasch State Hospital was demolished in 2005, the site on which it stood remains a spooky reminder of its notorious past.
Dammasch was a mental hospital opened in 1961 to help ease crowding at the Oregon State Hospital. However, Dammasch was only open for 34 years before being closed in 1995.
During its 34 years, Dammasch developed a reputation for mistreatment of patients, including lobotomies and shock therapy. After it was demolished, a housing development called Villebois was built on the former site, and its rumored construction workers found remains from numerous unmarked graves.
It’s also rumored that those that bought the new homes have reported paranormal activity. Before its demolition, visitors to the site reported disembodied footsteps, voices, and keys jingling.
Wrapping it Up
From the coast to the Idaho border, Portland to Ashland, and everywhere in between, there are many haunted places in Oregon that will give you chills.
Whether it’s ghosts or ghost ships, these haunted locations and their creepy backstories are sure to help even the most stoic of ghost-hunters get their spook on.
Which haunted places in Oregon will you be visiting?