A friend of mine and I like riding around the high plains of the Pacific Northwest, specifically eastern Washington exploring old ghost towns and abandoned homesteads. Many, in this part of the country, date back to the mid 1800’s and just by looking at them you know these were hard times. Visiting old cemeteries is proof that life in the high plains of Washington State was not easy. Headstones marking the life and death of families, many of them children that didn’t even make it to the age of one. Many others where entire families died far too young. Medicine was hard to come by, doctors were far and few between and it could take a day or more on horseback to get to the family that needed them. Even if they could get there it was never certain that the doctor could help or even have the right medicine.
In some of these places there would be a marker for one child, age 5, another age 4 then another age 3, then the headstone of the mother of all three children right next to them. The pain of loss must have been too much to bare.
I don’t believe in ghosts. I kind of feel like our spirits move on in other ways but not necessarily moving around us manifested in some visible form.
Until we got to this house. This house was different. Situated on The Waterville plateau in eastern Washington. Home to settlers in the mid to late 1800’s. A large red barn was the first thing you see pulling into the long dirt driveway. Beyond that sat the house. A two story brick house, uncommon for the area and the time. Just past the barn and surrounding the house was a metal wire fence. The gate, broken and unhinged sat directly across from the front door and under several dead trees. That was the first moment George and I stopped and paused while looking at each other as if to say, ‘did you feel that?’. Across the short sidewalk to the front door was overgrown. The front door was partially open and we went in. To the right was the living room. Straight ahead was a flight of stairs. To the left was the kitchen. That’s where things began to take on a slightly different feel altogether. There was a large, very old canvas suspended from the ceiling, over the kitchen sink and in front of a broken window. Presumably to keep the wind out. But who would have put it there? Below the sink the cabinet doors were open and an incredible amount of debris was piled high under the sink then flowing out into the kitchen. It looked as though it had come up out of the ground and flowed into the house. We kicked it around but couldn’t tell what it was. Somewhat like left over debris from a fire but not. It felt weird to be in this house.
We went upstairs next. At the top was a window looking out to the back yard where there was another out-building and a clothesline.
To the right was a closed door and to the left was a partially opened door. We looked inside the room to the left and there, amongst a pile of debris similar to that in the kitchen, sat an old chair directly in front of window that faced the front yard and driveway. Behind the door, on a hook, was an old housecoat. This place just had a different vibe than other places we had been.
George left the room first and went to the room across the hall. The one with the closed door. I was right behind him as he reached for and grabbed the round door knob. As quickly as he grabbed it, he let it go and looked at me in a way that sent a chill up my spine and said, “somethings wrong here, I’m not going in that room, lets leave right now”. And we did. We made our way down the stairs, out the front door, across the lawn through the gate and to the driveway where we were parked. But as we passed through the gate I turned around with my camera and took one more shot of the house. It was a ‘grab’ shot from the hip because I was on the move.
I didn’t look at any of my pictures until we got back. As I was looking at them I saw the last picture I took. The picture below is that picture. I don’t have an explanation for what you see here. Lighting and shadows, motion from being on the move while I took the picture, I don’t know. It could be anything. But to be honest, with the weird vibe we were getting at this place, this picture just creeped me out.
We visit this area a lot. We’ve talked about going back but we’re just not sure if we want to. We’ll see.