by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Listen to audio evidence here
For the past two nights, Jim and I have been staying at Captain Whidbey Inn on Washington State’s lovely Whidbey Island.
The main part of the Inn was built in 1907. It sits facing Penn Cove – home of world famous Penn Cove mussels – with a salt water lagoon nestled directly behind it.
The entire property itself, while equipped with comfy new pillow top beds, harkens to days gone by. The outside of the building is 100 year old logs – likely cut from the property. Inside the main building, ceilings are low and floors slant off in one direction or another as you meander through the cozy, antique-filled common areas of the hotel.
The main building is rumored to be haunted. Inn keeper, Lloyd Moore, was kind enough to talk with me about the Inn’s history. Some of the stories, he says, he knows where they got started and who started them. After meeting with me and my friend, Bill Robards, Lloyd handed us off to Ross, a long-time maintenance man on the property.
Ross is a former police officer. He’s investigated many murder scenes and been around dead bodies. He is not a guy who is easily spooked.
While Jim sat in the lobby and used my lovely hot pink Mac book (gotta admire a guy who is secure enough with his manhood to do that), Ross took Bill and me on a tour of the hotel, showing us known places where interesting things have happened.
For instance, up in the attic space – which is a typical attic space – although surprisingly level given the settling that has gone on in the all-wood structure of the main lodge over the past 100 years – Ross found a Nerf ball that he put in a box. He went down the attic stairs and came right back up. The ball was back where it had started. Bill played with the ball a bit. It is flat. Even set on a shelf, it doesn’t roll.
As Ross was telling us of recurrent butt prints in the brand-new pillow top beds, I peeked into an empty room that had been freshly made up. There was a definite butt – and body – print in the bed. It was as if someone had laid with their head on the pillow and their feet up on the bed. As we walked in, the hair on the back of my arms rose. Ross experienced the same thing, however, Bill experienced nothing. Could have been a temperature change. Bill straightened out the bed. When we went to check back – no hair on my arms and no butt print.
Solid evidence of a haunting? Not really. It is easy to see why people might believe that Captain Whidbey Inn is haunted. The coziness, the antiques, even the subtle slant to the floors can all serve to throw you off balance. Jim and I stayed in the “haunted” room – the one that employees seemed to feel had most of the activity. We had none – although I have a whisper on a digital voice recorder that I will listen to later.
I wouldn’t stay away if you had heard Captain Whidbey is haunted. It is a great place filled with wonderful history. If you don’t want to stay in one of the rooms in the main lodge, there are large private cabins and huge rooms on the lagoon. All mixing equal parts rustic charm and comfort. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the grounds are like a retreat. Its a great place to get away from it all.
Captain Whidbey Inn fits right in with the larger history of Whidbey Island. With Bill acting as our tour guide, we headed out and took a look at other parts of this gorgeous island.
Whidbey Island is perhaps best known for the Naval Air Station that sits at the north end of the 62 mile long island that can be reached by bridge at Deception Pass (a must see for anyone visiting Western Washington).
South of Captain Whidbey Inn sits the lovely town of Coupeville. Filled with small galleries and funky shops, Coupeville is a throwback to a bygone era, with turn of the century housing that has been lovingly maintained.
On the west side of the island sits Fort Casey. The fort sits on Admiralty Inlet, and is one of three forts used to form a triangle of protection leading into the Inlet. Today the fort exists as a park, and visitors can go through the bunkers and gunmounts that remain. It is said that ghosts haunt Fort Casey. I spent a lot of time there as a child. I don’t think I ever saw a ghost, but once again it is easy to see why people would suspect haunting. The bunkers are dank and they echo. Sound carries forever throughout the bunkers. The lighthouse at Admiralty Inlet is also rumored to be haunted. But then, aren’t lighthouses always rumored to be haunted?
Also of note on Whidbey Island is Ebey’s landing. Colonel Isaac Ebey was the first permanent resident of Whidbey Island. Ebey arrived on the island in 1850 and built a home for his family, who soon followed him. His house still stands. While on the island, Ebey recruited volunteers to help fight the natives from the mainland.
One August night in 1857, a group of Haida Indians from Vancouver BC (no complicated border crossings back then) knocked on Ebey’s door looking for a Dr. Kellogg. When Ebey couldn’t produce hm, he was shot dead and scalped. Rumors of hauntings are attached to Ebey’s home, which is now a National Historic preserve. Not surprising given the suddenness and brutality of Ebey’s death.
I don’t know if you’ll find ghosts on Whidbey Island. But you’ll find history. Lots of it. It is well worth a visit. And if you decide to stop and stay a spell at Captain Whidbey Inn, tell them Karen from Paranormal Underground sent you.