Post Alley in Pike Place Market is known for its hauntings. Photo courtesy of Pike Place PDA
Post Alley in Pike Place Market is known for its hauntings. Photo courtesy of Pike Place PDA

Filmmaker Jim Kanter had two bizarre destinations in mind after he settled into his apartment on Capitol Hill: He wanted to visit the gravesites of Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix.

The newcomer went to the Lake View Cemetery just a few blocks from his house, where the martial arts legend is laid to rest in a tranquil setting next to his son, Brandon. Kanter blamed his excitement for the unusual energy he felt radiate through his body as he approached the memorial. 

The rotunda at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, where the musician is buried, was more of a “Hendrix experience.” Kanter could see the domed memorial from across the memorial park, but he could also hear the undeniable sounds of the rock legend’s guitar licks as he approached the grave.

“I thought, ‘That’s kind of nice,’ and wondered if there was an electronic sensor that detects visitors as they approach the grave that started the music,” Kanter remembered. 

When Kanter went to the office to ask about the music, the groundskeeper could only smile. He told the visitor the music he heard was either in his head or from a ghost.

“Either way,” Kanter said. “I got the hell out of that cemetery. I had enough of dead people for one day.”

Seattle is not often mentioned in the same sentence as cities like New Orleans when it comes to creepy legends or experiences with the supernatural. However, the city has created its own set of urban myths based on tales about deceased citizens from the city’s colorful history.

 

Pike Place Market

The spookiest place in Seattle, according to Trip Advisor, is the city’s most popular tourist destination: the Pike Place Market. The market itself is built on top of land that that had been the tribal burial grounds for the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes for thousands of years. Native Americans lost the sacred grounds as part of the Treaty of Port Elliott signed in 1855. According to merchants in the market, ghostly images of tribal elders are regular visitors to lower levels of the market.

Mercedes Yeager has owned and operated Market Ghost Tours in Post Alley for more than a dozen years. Her tour is focused on the “quirky” personalities who still live within the walls of shops and market stalls.

Her favorite ghostly legend revolves around a woman who was a fixture at the market for many years. The woman would walk between vendors offering to relieve them so the merchants could use the bathroom or go to the bank. Nobody really knew her name, but she was referred to as “Mae West,” based on her outrageous purple outfits and her raunchy sense of humor.

One day, Yeager remembered, the merchants at the market received a phone call from Harborview hospital about a woman named Lois Brown, who had been severely burned while cooking in her apartment above the market. Brown turned out to be “Mae West.”

According to her last wishes, Brown’s ashes were spread throughout the market, and her remains were buried in a tin can on a nearby hillside.

According to Yeager, there is often a purple mist over the gravesite at sunset, and a large white plum tree near the grave suddenly began producing fruit in in prolific quantities.

 

Georgetown Castle

The Georgetown Castle (6420 Carleton Ave. S.) was the hub of the red light district that catered to sailors and loggers during the Gold Rush in Alaska. The castle was a three-story structure that housed a gambling hall, a rowdy tavern and women of “ill repute.”

The owner of the castle was a gambler and brothel owner named Peter Gessner. The proprietor was reportedly found dead in one of the rooms of his hotel from an apparent suicide. The new owner was a Dr. Willis H. Corson, who was the chief of the Seattle’s coroner’s office at the time. The good doctor took possession of the castle in 1912. 

There have been numerous reports over the years of a woman who wakes guests in the house while she hovers over them as they sleep. Other guests said a woman awakened them by trying to grab their throat and that children’s voices could be heard from the third floor.

The castle is now a private residence.

 

Pacific Medical building

The large complex of buildings on Beacon Hill that once served as the headquarters for Amazon.com was originally built as a Navy hospital, with a cauldron of supernatural activity. Many of the incidents have occurred on the sixth floor, which once served as the mental ward for the hospital. 

Janitors reportedly walked away from their posts at Amazon after witnessing items elevate off desks. 

There are also stories told about a dead nurse who roams the hallways. People said they could smell the perfume the nurse used to wear, but nobody would comment on how anybody knew the nurse’s scent of choice.

In a separate part of the building, passengers in stalled freight elevators have described people laughing and calling out their names while they were trapped between floors.

 

GAR Cemetery

The small Civil War cemetery (1200 E. Howe St.) in Capitol Hill, adjacent to the Lake View Cemetery, contains more than 500 gravesites and is ostensibly haunted by fallen Confederate soldiers. 

The cemetery was established in 1895 and became known as GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Cemetery. 

According to stories that have been told for more than 100 years, the blood-curdling cries and shouts of fallen soldiers can still be heard at night as they march into a battle they never won.

 

Harvard Exit Theatre

The vintage movie house (807 E. Roy St.) in Capitol Hill closed earlier this year. 

The three-story brick building was constructed in 1925 as a meeting place for The Woman’s Century Club. 

According to former employees of the theater, echoes of laughter and apparitions of women dressed in early 1900s-style clothing were encountered by ushers working on the third floor. 

Patrons reported some sort of shadow person or persons haunting the lobby. 

 

West Seattle High School

Former student Rose Higginbotham, who hung herself at West Seattle High School in 1924, continues to haunt her alma mater. Higginbotham and several other students of the era have reportedly been seen and heard in the park adjacent to the high school on particularly foggy mornings.

 

Martha Washington School for Girls

Martha Washington Park (6612 57th Ave. S.) in the Brighton neighborhood along Lake Washington was originally the site of a boarding school for delinquent girls known as The Martha Washington School for Insane Girls. 

Rumors of violence committed by both the students and the staff haunted the school, including multiple suicides and murders. 

Complaints by neighbors eventually closed the school in the early 1970s, and the abandoned buildings were taken over by a satanic group. 

After more than a decade of vandalism, animal sacrifices and other strange goings-on, the Seattle City Council finally voted to demolish the historic buildings and turn the site into a park. 

However, that did not halt the paranormal events at the park, especially around the old trees planted by some of the original residents of the school. 

 

University of Washington

Huskies are apparently not immune to ghosts. Students and faculty have experienced unexplained phenomena through the years in the Ceramics and Metal Arts Building, including water faucets that turn on and pottery wheels that start spinning for no reason. 

Even creepier, students reported that they feel as if they are continually being watched while they are working in the studios.

Campus security guards have reported that students walking through the gardens on campus looking for some romance have been scared away by strange noises and bushes that shake violently.

A spokesperson for Washington State University denied that any Cougars were responsible for the paranormal activities on the Montlake campus.

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