Haunted Washington

After first reading the Black Diamond Cemetery (BD) entry and noting his warning about visiting that cemetery, I looked for other ‘warnings’ or negative feedback from the author and found none. Just the one from BD. 

“Our advice: Consider staying away from the Black Diamond Cemetery, unless you are really determined to see something strange.”

Ghost books aren’t usually included on this site for a very simple reason. This blog focuses on the history of and/or the interesting carvings found around various cemeteries. Not hauntings.

However, after receiving an email from an historian friend who had read Adam Woog’s latest book, Haunted Washington: Uncanny Tales and Spooky Spots from the Upper Left-Hand Corner of the United States, and had lived in one of the supposedly haunted locales, and knew the Pike’s Place Market night watchman, I decided this was a worthwhile exception.

Enjoy the review and if you do end up buying the book, let me know what you think.

The Author: Lives in Seattle. Has written books on mummies; movie monsters, vampires, poltergeists, strange museums, zombies, and illusionists. He writes a monthly column for the Seattle Times on crime and mystery fiction. His books are written for adults, teens and children. Mr. Woog states in the book, “Writing Haunted Washington was way too much fun, but it was not without its frustrations.”

Chapter sections include: Native American Legends, Seattle, The Puget Sound Islands, King and Snohomish Counties, Tacoma, The Kitsap Peninsula and Olympia, the State Capital, Olympic Peninsula: From Twilight to Real Crime and Back, Bellingham, The San Juan Islands, Southwest Washington, Central Washington and the Cascade Mountains, and Eastern and Southeastern Washington.

Introduction by the author: He questions the spooky eerie tales of the State of Washington, considering that they may be contributed to the dark rainforests, sparsely populated islands up in the northern parts, logging towns, rolling hills, the vastness of ranchlands, remote mountains of the Olympics and Cascades, and rich heritage of American Tribes. He contends that people just like a good story, “especially one that has the potential to scare them out of their socks.” His checklist for including a story was, “needing to be mentioned in at least one book or article from a reputable media source and/or involve a well established legend.”

The Stories and the ghosts, unusual unexplained events continue: The Georgetown Castle, Seattle’s Chinatown where some won’t work in or near some established old buildings, stories from the islands are legends, Issaquah’s Rolling Log tavern, the special steps at Maltby that were covered up but the voices and happenings returned, Tacoma’s theatre The Pantages is one of many theaters with the unexplained. Native Americans took about a year of planning a cleansing at Lakewood, but after the events came back said, “We don’t want anything changed here. Whatever energy is here, we want it just the way it is.”

At the top of the list of the strangest is in Starvation Heights in Olalla. In Port Gamble is the most densely haunted place, and the Evergreen State College in Olympia where, in 1997, the Governor and his family moved out of the Mansion due to bats, and at Tenino with their wooden money, the ghosts have remained.

The Olympic Peninsula From Twilight to Real Crime and Back says it all. The military man in a WW 11 wool army uniform faded away before their eyes, and like Monika in Touched by an Angel, the woman is back every night, seated at the same table, dressed in her 1940s outfit–always a heartwarming ending. They were married a week, he went to serve his country and didn’t come home, but he’s there at the table with her. They’ve seen it but don’t talk much about it.

The islands, where, even after they’ve passed on in life, the ghosts still hang around.

Gonzaga University and the Davenport Hotel in Spokane are also included in this book–both with a nice, long write up. In Yakima, “(Ghosts) bring in a good business,” says one restaurant owner in the old depot, “with even more down the block a pace or two.”

You never know where or when you’ll see these unexplained events, from old depots, public buildings, old mortuaries turned into housing, hotels, taverns, colleges and certainly, cemeteries. No area seems to be without its haunted past.

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10 most scenic cemeteries

Prague Cemetery

Just in time for Halloween, here’s a link to a CNN article about 10 of the most scenic cemeteries in the world. Enjoy!

10 most scenic cemeteries…


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Newcastle Cemetery update

Many of you have read my earlier posts on the Newcastle coal miner’s cemetery located just outside of Seattle. Here’s a link to a news video highlighting the site and the $9,500 grant given to help clean and restore the broken headstones. Congratulations, Newcastle!

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Liebster Award!


How cool is this for ending up a week of hard work?

Joan Reginaldo, the sassy and fabulous author of  Work in Progress, decided I needed a Liebster Award nomination. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I also live in the Bay Area. Although I would like to point out creativity does runs high here, what with all the entrepreneurs/geeks/engineers in the area.

So what’s a Liebster Award?

A Liebster is a nod from fellow bloggers (thanks, Joan!) that they like something you’re doing. It’s also a way of spreading the word about up and coming blogs and bloggers. Does it get any better than getting a pat on the back from your peers?

No, it does not.

Award rules:

  1. Post a Liebster Award image on your blog. There are several varieties. Google them and find the one you like the most.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/people who nominated you.
  4. Make up 11 questions for those to be nominated.
  5. Nominate 11 people to receive the award. They should have fewer than 200 followers on their blog.
  6. If you’re nominated, your name and/or link will appear at the bottom of this post. Just follow the same format and voila! you’re a recipient

So without further ado, Part I: 11 random facts about me.

  1. I think cemeteries are the best place for finding good mystery plots – no pun intended.
  2. I adore well done hash browns.
  3. I’m a Peets coffee fan.
  4. However, I do drink Yorkshire Gold English tea, but just in the mornings. Afternoons are reserved for Glengettie Welsh tea.
  5. Funkiest place I’ve ever visited: St. Gegard Monastery in Armenia.
  6. Favorite city: London.
  7. Writing office = modern, sleek, and with NO mess.
  8. I currently have two monitors and wish I had room for a third. One to display my draft, one to display the revision draft I’m currently reworking, and one for google research.
  9. Cat or dog? Right now, a cat that thinks he’s a dog
  10. Best editing project ever done: Editing music lyrics for Delusion Squared albums I and II.
  11. Best part about writing? Listening to people tell their stories.

Part II: 11 questions from Joan:

  1. What makes you cry? Sad movies like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
  2. What is your deepest fear –  a fear you haven’t told anyone because you don’t want to appear foolish? Not being taken seriously in my work.
  3. Han or Luke? Luke’s an immature twit and Han’s an egotistical chauvinist so I gotta go with Chewy.
  4. How do you deal with criticism? Pretty good, actually. I try to take the useful while discarding the useless.
  5. What’s the best suggestion you have for new writers? Keep learning but also take a few things with a grain of salt.
  6. Plotter or Pantser? Planster. :)
  7. What short story has influenced your life (not necessarily writing life) the most? I can’t think of a short story but definitely, Women Who Run With the Wolves made quite an impact. The book is so marked up and dog-eared it’s almost unbelievable. And guys, don’t let the title scare you – it’s quite good.
  8. What current world event has made you disappointed in humanity? The brutal gang rape in India. And now the defendants are pleading not guilty.
  9. What current world event has made your proud of humanity? Too many to choose from. Here’s a list.
  10. Which of your bad writing habits do you wish you could break? Procrastination! Takes me too long to get started.
  11. What do you like best about your current project? My novel where I solve the mystery of a pit full of bones belonging to several young girls who died almost 100 years ago.

Part III: My 11 questions to my nominees:

  1. Cat or dog?
  2. Most remote place in the world you’ve ever been?
  3. Hardest thing about your job?
  4. Best thing about your job?
  5. What’s the one job you’d never like to do?
  6. What gives you peace?
  7. What makes you angry?
  8. What’s your favorite swear word?
  9. Carnivore or vegetarian?
  10. What’s one thing you regret not doing with your life?
  11. What are you doing about it?

Part IV: My nominees (Most of my faves already have tons of followers but I’m determined to find some more treasures out there).

Sabine Ludwig – world traveler extraordinaire

Issa Mas – single mom and smartass writer extraordinaire

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Wow, I leave for a bit and look what happens…

I can’t believe it’s only been a year since I decided to stop posting. There  have been some great questions and helpful comments–keep ‘em coming!

I’m so glad I decided to keep the blog live because I had no idea how useful it was. Many thanks to all my 16,000 + visitors in 2011 and yes, I will be around to answer questions if you have them.

And who knows? I might even get inspired to start posting again.

Happy New Year!


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The end of the line

After almost three years of writing about historic cemeteries, interesting anecdotes, and funky headstone symbols, Beyond The Ghosts… is closing its doors to any new posts. However, the blog will remain as a static site for those looking to do research and yes, if you leave a comment, I will still respond.   

There are several reasons why but time is probably the biggest. Multiple new projects keep pushing me into various directions, severely limiting the time needed to research interesting new angles.  

Good stories take a while to discover and develop.  

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m a believer in quality, not quantity. Far too many blogs and content sites seem more concerned with putting something out there, just anything, in order to keep the search engine spiders hitting. That’s not my style and I won’t insult readers by doing so.  

General interest runs a close second.  

Like most bloggers, I keep an eye on the stats to find out about the audience. Unfortunately, the past several months have attracted far more spammers than readers. I’m not sure whether this means spammers think cemeteries are the new hot thing or whether it simply proves their complete lack of awareness. 

Regardless, the combination of the two has made me realize that this very interesting ride has finally come to an end.  

What a privilege it’s been.  

I’ve traveled to unique places like the early Christian catacombs and an old western ghost town, accessed one of the most fascinating research places in the world (Westminster Abbey), and had the good fortune of meeting dedicated volunteers whose work in these historic sites all too often, goes unnoticed.  

My sincerest appreciation goes out to all those who supported the Beyond The Ghosts… efforts over these past three years—4Culture, the Newcastle Historical Society, Ruth Pickering, Karen Bouton, The Seattle Public Library genealogy experts, and many others who took time out of their busy day to point me in the right direction.  

Last, but not least, thank you to all those who stopped by to read an article (or two) and offered their encouragement.  I’ll still be around to respond if the muse moves you to comment on particular post.

It really has been quite a fun ride.  Many thanks to you all.


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Teddy’s Story: Decoding the kanji stones

This week’s guest post comes from Kristy Lommen whose website serves as a tribute to the Auburn area’s Japanese communities, both past and present. Over the past year, Ms. Lommen worked with Yoshiko Kato to decode as many of kanji stones as possible before they faded away. Here is one of their discoveries:

Photo courtesy Kristy Lommen

When Yoshiko Kato visited the cemetery to translate the kanji stones, I was particularly excited when she reached the fourth marker in the first row. Although the family surnames had been previously translated from most of the stones, this particular stone was marked on our transcript with only a mysterious, black question mark. We had, at that time, not even the least idea who might be buried in that grave.

Yoshiko kneeled in front of the marker, leaning forward and backward alternately in order to make sense of the nearly illegible marks. She resorted to using a finger to attempt to trace the kanji, gleaning by feel information that proved to be too faint to read by eye.

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