*Originally published in the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader
I never expected to see a ghost.
And, to be fair, “potential paranormal encounter” wasn’t exactly counted among the offerings in the official description of my accommodations.
In fact, there is nary a mention of Manresa Castle’s supposed ghostly residents anywhere on the hotel’s website (though a paragraph in the Guest Services Directory does address the stories, in a somewhat bemused tone).
However, even just a cursory Google search of the historic Port Townsend edifice reveals it to be something of a singular destination for seekers of the supernatural.
Two of the top five results alone confirm it. One is a link to www.travelchannel.com and a collection of photos from the episode of “Ghost Adventures” that saw Zak Bagans and company visit the castle and do their thing, that special (and undeniably fascinating, in it’s own way) bit of performance art that so perfectly combines “Scooby-Doo” and “WrestleMania.”
The other is a booking service, “Haunted Rooms America,” which specializes in helping would-be visitors locate and make reservations for “Ghost Hunts, Haunted Hotels, and Haunted Locations.”
Additionally, the castle was featured prominently in “Most Terrifying Places in America,” a documentary series, also from Travel Channel, which takes viewers on a tour of mysterious, infamous, and supposedly haunted places in every state.
I love ghost stories — fictional, nonfiction, good or cheesy, I can’t get enough.
I saw all the shows.
I read all the stories; even the pages of The Leader have previously recounted the reported haunted happenings at Manresa Castle.
But still, I never expected to see a ghost during my stay.
Though I’m of a Mulder mindset, my heart belongs to Scully.
I do, however, love the hunt. So my expectations were guarded when I checked in just before 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, the day before Halloween in this savage year of our lord 2020; a rare month containing two full moons, one of which actually falls on All Hallow’s Eve itself. Also known as Devil’s Night, in many places an annual orgy of vandalism and arson. A night of tricks. Mischief Night. The 82nd anniversary of the infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre.
But Welles’ tale had only the trappings of journalism, presented as it was in the style of an honest-to-goodness radio news broadcast, and I’m the real thing, thus professionally obligated to write about whatever I might experience during my stay at Port Townsend’s reputedly most haunted hotel.