As someone who creates technology all day for a living, more and more these days, I cant help but to feel a growing sense that there is some sort of huge, metaphysical void in all of it. It feels like there is no magic or mystery anymore.
Technology used to be the things of wizards, witches and mad scientists written in blood in some dusty, old, leather bound books, not in some data center in Oregon that watches you pee and knows which brand of toilet paper you prefer.
Whenever I feel discouraged or overwhelmed with technology, I have to keep reminding myself that there is still a whole dimension of experience out there, far and beyond anything we have yet to understand. Admittedly, there is some part of me that hopes that things stay mysterious, but part of me also hopes that some day we crack open the doors and some really crazy shit starts to get real!
The following story is an account of a real life experience that always reminds me that we haven’t even begun to figure things out yet and there is still plenty of mystery in life and beyond to be discovered.
The Georgetown Castle – A Paranormal Investigation
In honor of Halloween and all things spooky, I thought I would share this account of my first paranormal investigation of the infamous Georgetown Castle in Seattle Washington. The investigation was conducted in 2004 and was done prior to the house’s most recent remodel by the current owners (who did a beautiful job btw!) so the photos depict the home in it’s previous un-remodeled state.
A brief history:
The Georgetown “Castle” is located in the old, industrial area of Seattle, WA, a former Red Light district, now called Georgetown. This large 3 story, turn of the century, Victorian style home, was reportedly built in 1903 by Peter Gessner, who was a gambler and blackjack dealer at the famous Central Tavern in Seattle’s Pioneer Square District. Having trouble with the local authorities for running “questionable” gambling and prostitution activities, he decided to move his operations farther out of town, to avoid too much unwanted attention, turning the home into an infamous brothel and gambling parlor. He died a gruesome death one year later, committing suicide in the house reportedly by drinking carbolic acid.
The home was then purchased around 1912 by Dr. Willis H. Corson who was a former superintendent and head coroner of the King County Hospital, located close by. This hospital and it’s grounds, which at the time surrounded the house, served as the county poor house and tent city for tuberculoses patients, as well as a crematorium that was used to burn the bodies.
The house has a long history of paranormal activity and unexplained accounts. Numerous violent and supernatural events surround the home. A prostitute was reportedly murdered with a shotgun by her john “Manny” on the second floor. There are reports of a ghostly apparition of a woman in black, with burning coal for eyes grasping at her throat, waking tenants from their sleep on the top floor. She is believed to be the ghost of a “Spanish woman,” a previous resident who possibly killed her unborn babies and buried them under the stairs surrounding the home.
Countless reports of strange sights, sounds, mysterious voices and hidden rooms make this definitely one of Seattle’s most haunted places.
This was to be my first paranormal investigation and my findings convinced me that the world of the paranormal was indeed real. There was definitely something strange about this house…
We received the call around 11PM that the house was available for an investigation, so we quickly grabbed our equipment. Some friends of friends were moving out of the property so this might be our last chance to view the place before the new owners renovated it. The team included myself, Jessica Ruse-Harding & Matthew Lorenz.
Having never been on an actual investigation, we quickly grabbed what little equipment we had. A camcorder, a digital camera, a couple flashlights, a TriField EMF meter and a digital minidisc recorder with an external stereo mic. Having not being ready for the call, we scrambled to find as many flashlight batteries we could grab and took about 20 minutes to charge up the cameras. Boy Scout motto…”always be prepared…”
Having heard stories about the infamous Georgetown Castle, yet never actually seeing it, I was surprise to find that it was nothing close to a castle. Just a large 3 story Victorian that sat just off the street in a somewhat run down residential neighborhood of south Seattle.
The view of the house was skewed by trees and unkempt vegetation. The only thing you could see from the street was the large dark tower looming from out of the trees. In a poor state of disrepair, the house was covered with nearly a century’s worth of peeling and cracked pink paint and loose paneling. Beyond a short, rusty, chain link fence, the front porch leaned slightly to one side.
Our first gut impressions were: Yep… this place is totally haunted!
We met the current residents on the porch. They had “prepared” the house for us, by turning out all the lights and lighting some candles. Excellent….
The first half hour was spent having a smoke, readying our equipment and getting the short rundown on the history of the house.
Including the residents, there were seven people total. Everyone was outside talking and the house felt calm, but even though we were all outside, I had the sense that there were still people (possibly other residents) walking around inside. Not that you could hear them or see them, but just sensed a presence. Not a paranormal presence, just that maybe there were other people there, maybe in the back of the house, packing or making dinner, just normal activities.
I asked if there were anyone else inside, but there were none. Ok… weird… I didn’t voice this feeling at first. Just took a mental note.
We decided the first thing to do was take an EMF reading from inside the front entranceway. Entering the dark hallway you could see a large wooden stairway leading up and turning to the right into the darkness.
I immediately had the sensation of being watched from beyond the stairs. Not sure if this is just normal paranoia and instinct when faced with the unknown darkness, but I think it’s important on and investigation to open up your mind to first impression. We set up the meter, turned up the alarm volume and stepped back outside to wait. The meter screeched and squawked right away. Not sure if it was picking up us or if we had set it up wrong, but it definitely was picking up something.
I quickly snapped a few pictures and walked in alone. Again the sense that there were other people in there, just doing normal things. Because of this feeling, I felt comfortable walking around the first floor in the darkness, through the hall, through the living room, then to the back where the kitchen was. There was nobody there.
The others finally had the courage to enter and we walked around the first floor some more. As the others talked I took a minute to walk back outside and around the house. Following the porch around to the left, the side of the house had a long rickety stairway leading to the second floor. Was this the stairs where the woman buried the babies? Not sure.
Around the back of the house, there was a large yard and a tall bare wall of the back of the house that went all the way to the third floor. I looked up at the top floor and snapped another picture. It was starting to rain, so in the picture there appears to be an orb near the window, but it was probably a raindrop. A dirty cellar door led down to the basement, but the stairway leading down was so covered with spider webs, we decided not to go down there. I hate spiders… At this point I had the sensation again of being watched from the windows of the upper floors. The back yard was creepy, but just a normal dark back yard sort of creepy.
The upstairs of the house had an entirely different sort of feeling. “That’s where I need to go”, I thought, even though part of me wanted nothing more to do with it.
The house had definitely seen many remodels. The walls were decorated in some rooms with multiple layers of thick paint, some rooms in old newspaper, some rooms had strange boarded up walls that appeared to at one time maybe be connected to others, or perhaps to conceal hidden rooms. The second and third floors were large in volume, yet the rooms and hallways offered little access to so much space. There was a lot of space behind the walls in many places, so I’m pretty convinced that it held a secret passage or two. Having been a gambling den and brothel during the Prohibition Era, I’m sure there was some questionable remodeling going on to conceal some questionable items.
On the second floor there is a large red room that used to be the cabaret stage. A ticket booth with a coat check was located at the room’s entrance. The second we all walked in, the door of a desk on the other side of the room flew open. Not sure if it was because of the vibrations of everyone walking in on the old floor all at once, or what… but still the timing was interesting. Snapped another picture.
Around the back of the second floor, there was another narrower stairway leading up and a heavy door that lead to a blue colored room. This room is supposedly where a prostitute named Magdalena was murdered. The door to this room, unlike other doors in the house would not stay open. If you held it open, it would almost pull out of your hands and slam shut. I’ll admit it was a heavy door, but the sensation was more than just the gravitational pull of itself. It was almost like it was being pulled shut.
We stood in the room for some time and listened to one of the residents dictate the story of the murder. When I played back the audio of this, an interesting thing can be heard. As she says “a prostitute was murdered in this room with a shotgun…” you could hear what could be the sound of a man on tape shouting “NO!” after the word room While corroborating this with everyone who was in the house later, everyone denied saying it. Could this be my first EVP?
We decided then that the others should go back outside so I could get some clear audio. I started to approach the stairway alone and up beyond the stairs somewhere I could hear the sound of someone stumbling around. It sounded like someone who was wearing shoes that don’t fit right or maybe too large and awkward. A woman in high heels or boots perhaps? I thought maybe one of the residents had gone up there to change clothes or something. A perfectly natural sound so I at first ignored it.
Unfortunately the audio was off at this point. Deciding not to take on the upstairs on my own, I asked Matt to come along. We proceeded up the narrow old stairs, which were difficult to manage without holding on to the railing. Upstairs there was a smaller hallway with 2 or 3 small rooms, leading into a very large room they call the gambling room. Next to it was a small bar and surrounding it were openings to the other parts of the house. No doors, just larger open areas. Now, Matt and I were both wearing heavy boots with rubber soles. On the audio, our slow careful footsteps, when we walk are dull heavy thumps. When playing back the audio later, I heard another interesting thing.
(For audio, refer to the Sound Cloud file Above)
As I approached the gambling room, I say “Third floor, gambling room” and right after that, you can hear what appears to be 5 or 6 quick footsteps in the same room walking away from us. Light, clicking footsteps that sound like women’s heels. At the time we were both standing still right next to each other. The others were, at this point, back downstairs on the front porch. There were no other people in the house, no other people on the third floor accept us, and something else walking around in the same room!
It retrospect, I wish I had heard the footsteps while standing there, not just on the playback, or I would have spent more quiet time on the third floor. Again, the ambience in the place seemed so natural, it was difficult get a sense of something out of the ordinary. I think the fact that there were so many people there made it difficult to concentrate and the fact that the residents were in the process of moving out that night, we had limited time to spend investigating, or I am sure we would have come up with more evidence.
I am sure that if I spent a night alone in the house, things would have made themselves known. Even with the place full of people, you can sense activity there.
As far as a quick run through on our first investigation, I felt satisfied with our findings and observations. Because of the time, we made no attempt to contact anything there directly, however I would love to return some day and do a further investigation, perhaps with more video cameras and equipment, as well as some psychic minded people to attempt contact.
Following our visit, the house was sold and completely renovated. I’m glad to see such a beautiful old landmark preserved instead of torn down, however I am totally jealous of the owners because it must have been a real thrill tearing out those walls and discovering what secrets they concealed.
Regarding this article
This article was previously posted on my old paranormal blog called “The Midnight News” which has since been taken down. As a result, there appears to be a few copies of this post scattered around the web on various paranormal sites, however this is the original account and I am the original writer and copyright owner of all of the related content, photos and audio. If you happen to be the owner of a site containing one of these reposts, I would like to thank you for preserving the original article and encourage you to please link back to to this one.