Stories of unexplained occurrences at the Hotel Leo, Horseshoe Cafe, Sycamore Square and North Garden Street are common to hear around this time of year. Some locals will shrug off these strange incidents while others blame the various spirits that haunt the streets of Bellingham.
Paranormal activity seems to thrive in the Fairhaven neighborhood – particularly at the Sycamore Square building. Tales of the “Lady in Green” haunting dishwashers at the Black Cat are so common that a sign about these sightings is posted next to the elevator on the first floor.
Kolby LaBree is co-owner of the Good Time Girls, a walking tour company based in Bellingham. LaBree has had some of her own experiences with the “Lady in Green” while working at the Black Cat.
“You'd come in to open the restaurant and like the chairs would be turned to the windows and just things would be moved around, and so that was always attributed to the green woman ghost that she must like to look out the windows,” LaBree said.
Emmy Gregg, an employee at Shirlee Bird Cafe, located inside Sycamore Square, has an experience of her own. Gregg recounts the first time she closed the cafe, she turned off the grill and double-checked that it was in fact turned off. After finishing other tasks Gregg looked back at the grill and the burners had turned back on. Gregg said this was extremely odd because the burners were set to a different temperature than they normally are.
Chuck Crooks, an avid ghost hunter in the Bellingham area, agrees that Sycamore Square has always had a lot of paranormal activity. Crooks has done multiple investigations in this building, but these encounters seem to be on the friendly side.
“I even have a recording of a voice saying, ‘this is fun, this is fun, this is fun.’ And there's kind of like a weird breath thing, but it ends with ‘very clearly he's a weirdo,’” Crooks said.
The Good Time Girls hosts a “Gore and Lore” tour this time of year that takes tourists through various haunted locations in Bellingham, including Sycamore Square and the Fairhaven waterfront.
LaBree said the waterfront was the location of Deadman's Point cemetery in the 1860s. Deadman’s Point closed after Bayview cemetery opened and all the bodies that were once buried at Deadman’s Point were relocated to Bayview.
Hotel Leo in downtown Bellingham is another site for bizarre phenomena. Stories of a ghost named Bathroom Bob, sounds of children playing coming from an empty ballroom, and lights flashing make the Hotel Leo another hot spot of ghostly activities.
Peter Frazier, co-owner of the Hotel Leo, shared a story about an odd experience that happened in 2019. One night the second floor of the hotel started to flood. Frazier and Keith Malley, the building manager of the hotel, ran up to the second floor to try and stop the flooding when they discovered that a brass cap to a sprinkler standpipe was floating in the water.
There was no damage to the cap; it couldn’t have blown off the pipe, and no human could have taken the cap off by themselves.
“I’m not saying that a ghost took that cap off,” Frazier said.
“But it wasn’t humanly possible,” Malley added.
Crooks said if someone is interested in getting into ghost hunting, they should be open and inquisitive. If people go into it with their goal in mind, spirits will start showing up, Crooks said.
For more stories about ghostly encounters in Bellingham, Crooks and others recommend people read “Haunted Fairhaven” by Taimi Dunn Gorman.
Tallie Johnson (she/her) is the opinions and DIO editor for The Front this quarter. She is majoring in journalism with a public relations focus. Tallie enjoys covering arts and entertainment, bringing attention to nonprofits, and sharing her opinion on everything and anything. In her free time she spends time with friends, family, and her many animals.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.