McMenamins’ haunting obsession

Local mega-chain loves haunted buildings

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Katie Pearce/PSU Vanguard

For most people, former sights of bloodbaths and turmoil would dissuade them from purchasing a property where they hope to grow their hopes and dreams. However, the McMenamin brothers have shown time and time again that not only are they chill with ghosts, but they also seem to seek out properties known for having a spooky side.

The charm of McMenamins’ historic properties is notorious in the Pacific Northwest. From their roots in the rebirth of the Mission Theater and the mystical Edgefield property, all the way to Bothell, Washington and down to Bend, McMenamins has established itself as  having a fine taste for historic sites and preserving them and injecting a new glory into properties that had previously fallen into disrepair.

White Eagle

“Bucket of blood”

In its early days, the White Eagle Saloon was your run of the mill (get it? “mill”) working class bar that operated on Albina’s Russell Street so workers could drink off their day of hard labor.

The Polish immigrants who started it knew that people wanted a little bit of everything, so in addition to drinks and cigars, a brothel upstairs and an opium den downstairs gave patrons a couple more options in entertainment. The saloon was known as the “Bucket of Blood” because of the frequent violent brawls that took place in and around the bar.

Violence is a surefire path to ghosts. Reports of crying Rose, the ghostly sex worker, are not uncommon. One waitress reported that she was carried and pushed down the stairs by an “unknown force.”

Kennedy School 

“Creepy children”

Do you enjoy creepy stuff? Would you like to get drunk and pass out in an old elementary school? Well, you’ll love staying at McMenamins Kennedy School. Something awful must have occurred at one point because this report is terrifying.

Two older women came running down one of the halls of the Kennedy School one afternoon, both of them looking extra pale, and one of them was crying hysterically. After they calmed down, they told a recently hired employee what they had seen.

They walked into the women’s restroom to find a young boy you could see through, dripping wet and walking around in circles and circles and circles. NOPE! THIS WAS IN THE AFTERNOON!

Grand Lodge

“Don’t pull my hair!”

Visitors have often discussed an old woman’s apparition, saying she appears in a dress and slippers. There is a painting of her. Since this used to be a Masonic location, there is also a painting of a pentagram garden. One guest reported that while wandering around, she began to feel anxious in the basement, and then something began to pull her hair relentlessly upward.

Edgefield

“Aliens?”

A woman who identifies as a medium alleges that while wandering Edgefield, she was able to sniff out the property’s haunted room, 215. She booked the room for a later date, and while leaving, reported feeling like something was watching her. When she went back to stay with her boyfriend, a spirit that she thought more extraterrestrial than human told her to “get out.”

McMenamins reportedly did a spirit cleanse to ward bad spirits away from the property before opening. While renovating the poor old farm into the hotel we know today, people found something interesting in room 215: animal bones in the shape of a pentagram.

It is unclear what rooms the following guests were staying in, but this report is not alone. Several guests have reported feeling taps on their chests in the middle of the night. Others have said they felt like an elderly woman was standing over them. One guest claimed she felt someone grab her butt in the shower only to find no one there. Another reported smelling a floral breeze followed by spirits dancing around the room.

Olympic Club

“The Haunted Club”

Centralia has ties to slavery in the most glorious way possible. No, I’m being serious, it is great. The town was founded by the son of a former slave. The founder was an African American named George Washington. Sometimes knowledge is really great to discover.

Unfortunately, the Olympic Club is totally haunted; fortunately, it’s haunted by seemingly harmless ghosts. There is a man who hangs out by a cast iron stove, creepy music will overpower other sounds occurring at the time, and guests have reported a haunting laugh.

McMenamins knows about all this and they’re cool with it

McMenamins Ghost Log seems to claim their properties are haunted. “Rumors abound that several of our places are haunted. And who’s to say they are or aren’t? We may just be keeping spirits alive through music, artwork and history.”

Whether or not McMenamins properties are haunted, it doesn’t seem bad for business. Any press is good press, and the White Eagle has definitely catapulted the local chain’s name into international infamy, as a place called the “Bucket of Blood” is pretty hard to forget.

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