[WA] Port Townsend – Fort Worden – the man in blue

One of Hollow Hill’s most popular real ghost photos was taken near the Guard House at Fort Worden, in Port Townsend, Washington, near Seattle on the night of April 4th, 2003.

When this photo was taken, colorful orbs and sparkles appeared all around me. Most of them were to my right and left, and I did not see them through the viewfinder of my camera.

I knew that I was getting some great photos that night in April 2003, but until I saw this print, I had no idea that I’d captured something this startling.Man in blue - Fort Worden ghosts, Port Townsend, Seattle, Washington

According to local legends, Port Townsend (near Seattle) is one of America’s most haunted towns. With Fort Worden–a former military base–plus the town’s colorful pirate history, you can expect ghosts… and plenty of them.

This real ghost photo was taken at Fort Worden’s haunted Guard House. Local stories claim that a soldier was assigned to the Guard House, but the loneliness of the work began to bother him. Whether it was carelessness or something else, the despondent soldier accidentally shot and killed himself at the Guard House.

His ghost lingers there today, and manifests often.

In two investigations, we found him to be a shy and sometimes angry ghost. This is our only clear photograph of him, taken during our 2003 investigation with artist, ‘Zanne B.

Read the full story of that investigation, with additional photos, in a two-part report starting at Fort Worden ghosts, part one

Fort Worden is a lovely park and conference center in Port Townsend, Washington State, about an hour from Seattle. Fort Worden is an ideal place to vacation, with a hostel and a campground on the property. Other haunted areas of the park include the Schoolhouse, the bunkers, and–maybe–the wooded area next to the cemetery.

[WA] Port Townsend – Fort Worden ghosts, pt 2

The story so far:

In April 2003, I was at a conference at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, not far from Seattle, Washington. I’d heard the Fort Worden was haunted, and took this opportunity to investigate its ghosts. On the previous page of this report, I describe Fort Worden’s cemetery, a nearby wooded area, and the history of the haunted Guard House.

To read that report, see Fort Worden ghosts – part one.

My report continues here:

I took several rolls of film that night, in addition to some digital photos. Many of these photographs had extraordinarily large orbs in them:Fort Worden ghost photo
Multiple ghost orbs at the Fort Worden Guard House

While we would usually discount any photo with car lights in it, we have dozens of other photos taken at the same time from the same angle with the same car lights… and no orbs. These orbs are not caused by a “lens flare” or other reflection.

In one photo, a clear, brilliant blue ghostly figure was standing in front of me just outside the Guard House. I did not see this figure–or any other–when I took the photographs. I only knew that the “sparkles” were exceptional, and I was probably photographing other anomalies. As I expected, this ghost showed up on the negative and in the print. It is my only clear photograph of him.Fort Worden ghost photo - Man in blue
Blue figure outside the Fort Worden Guard HouseRead more about this photo at Fort Worden – the man in blue

The anomalies were so vivid, I looked for someone else to witness what was going on. Another conference guest, an artist named Z’anne, accompanied me back to the Guard House.

At first, there were no “sparkles” and nothing of note. Then, on impulse, Z’anne began talking to the ghost, encouraging him to appear. As if acting on command, the anomalies resumed.

Note:  Many ghost researchers believe that direct communication with the ghosts produces the best results.

Because the manifestations responded to our voices, we consider this an active haunting. That is, there is some entity–probably what most people would call a “ghost”–reacting to visitors. There may also be some residual energy at the Guard House as well.

It’s hard to explain how we can get bored with steady anomalies. However, it was a cold, windy night. After about ten minutes, we were eager to see what other phenomena we could find at this former military base.


Our next stop was the parade ground. Again, there was little activity at first, and then Z’anne addressed the ghosts and we saw very good sparkles. The Fort Worden parade ground doesn’t have the high energy of the Guard House, but still notably haunted. It’s probably residual energy, not an active haunting.
Routine “ghost orbs” at the parade ground


Finally, we paused at a dormitory that was being restored. In a couple of photos, we detected small, faint orbs. Like the parade ground, this is probably the result of residual energy, not an active haunting.Haunted Fort Worden dorm - ghost photos
A few normal “ghost orbs” in both photos

Note: Fort Worden is the location of a campsite, hostel and conference center near Seattle, Washington State. The park has specific hours when it is open, and you should not trespass on this property at night without specific permission of the Park Manager.

[WA] Port Townsend – Fort Worden ghosts, pt 1

Ghost Investigation: Friday evening, April 4th, 2003


Fort Worden military cemeteryFort Worden Military Cemetery

There are a few ghost stories associated with Fort Worden’s cemetery. I arrived for this investigation hopeful, but the reality was disappointing. I saw rows of tidy white markers, each of them identical in size, but the cemetery didn’t feel particularly haunted. My photos and EMF readings showed nothing unusual.


Woods next to Fort Worden Cemetery

The wooded area next to the cemetery felt odd. But, nothing unusual appeared in those photos either. Next time I’m at Fort Worden, I will spend more time there. I’d be willing to bet that those woods witnessed something unfortunate, and–perhaps on the anniversary of it–those woods may be the most haunted spot at Fort Worden. My “gut feeling” is usually right, and I feel that there is some connection between those woods and the haunting at the Guard House.


My next stop was the Guard House. According to legend, when Fort Worden was active, a soldier accidentally shot & killed himself in the Guard House, and he has haunted the building ever since. It’s a great story, but a little too quirky.

I did not expect the Guard House to be haunted. However, I tried a few photos with my now-famous “sparkles” camera.

I have never seen such bright and colorful sparkles. They were vivid, crayon box colors. They were large; the smallest was the size of a baseball, and many others were as large as beachballs. Most people would probably describe them as orbs.

Generally when I go ghost hunting, these lights and orbs are at least 20 feet away. At Fort Worden, they were next to me. Some were probably close enough to touch, but I was taking photos too quickly to pause and investigate.

(These “sparkles” never show up in the photos. They are simply an indication of when we are likely to get anomalies on film, as well.)

Most of the Guard House photos looked perfectly normal, with nothing of note in them. We discount faint orbs because of reflective glass windows, etc. At least 80% of my photos looked like the lower of these two:

Top photo: Some orbs in photos at Fort Worden’s Guard House
A few photos had dim orbs in them. These were not bits of dust; the evening was too humid for dust. And, the wind was fierce, so any bugs, pollen, droplets or particles would have appeared as streaks, not orbs.

Analyzing these photos, we’d ordinarily discount any orbs due to some car lights in the nearby parking lot. However, this is the advantage of having many photos to work with: If the lights had caused orbs, we’d have orbs in most of the photos. We don’t.

On the next page, The Man in Blue, see more dramatic orbs and one of our most startling photos, ever: A ghostly blue figure standing just outside the Guard House.

[CA] The Ghost Wore Boots – Part 1

[as reported in Fate magazine, in an article titled ‘Boots’]

I lived in a haunted house in California for five years, and this is my story:

Twenty-five years ago, I still believed that you could wish anything to happen and it would.

So, when I wished for a house in northern California, I was not surprised by the bargain that appeared.

Even in the mid-1970’s, two-story Victorian homes with expansive corner lots did not sell for $15,000, but that was the asking price on this house.

Admittedly, it was a funky house with an odd history. Perhaps I should have wondered why the first realtor refused to show me the house.

The house seemed to call to me, so I persisted.

I contacted another realtor, and he agreed to get the keys.

The house was what they call “carpenter gothic,” with strange attempts at gingerbread trim, and a front porch that tilted in an alarming manner. Inside, the house floorplan was filled with strange twists and turns.

I thought it was charming. My husband’s father made an offer, since he was purchasing the house for us. The deal closed immediately. There were no other offers, and the house had been empty for too long.

I’d heard about the sad, perhaps mad, previous owner. Neighbors speculated that the man had experienced terrible things in Vietnam.

Whatever the reason, he’d slowly added things like spotlights and an alarm system to the house. By the time he and his wife abandoned the property, he’d spent too many nights patrolling the property with a rifle.

Why did he do that? It was a corner property in a very nice neighborhood, on a fairly busy street. A policeman lived next door. The town was safe, upscale and fairly rural.

Why would anyone be frightened enough to install spotlights to illuminate the entire yard, and then patrol the property from dusk until dawn?

We moved in and began to redecorate immediately. I loved the stairs at one bedroom door, that went up and then down again, for no apparent reason. That room had two very odd-shaped closets.

The closet in another bedroom extended within the walls of a third bedroom.

There were clearly sealed-up areas within the bedrooms’ walls, which reminded me of the bad witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel. I could imagine delighted children playing hide-and-seek in those rooms and closets. It seemed wonderful, and I was very happy to live there.

But then, the footsteps started.

Before we remodeled the house, my husband and I slept in the master bedroom on the first floor. The second floor was primarily for storage, and I used one room as my art studio because it was bright and cheery during the day.

Since I needed daylight for my painting, I rarely went upstairs after dark. When my husband and I started hearing unexplained footsteps up there, we became a little nervous about the noises.

However, the house was still a tremendous bargain, and we looked forward to tearing out walls, totally redesigning the interior.

In a way, it annoyed me to be such a “chicken” about the noises.

I decided to be brave, and deliberately used the upstairs at night when I was cutting out sewing patterns. After all, there were three full bedrooms upstairs, and plenty of floor space to lay out the fabric.

Next: Part two of this four-part story

[CA] The Ghost Wore Boots – Part 2

At first, I merely felt uneasy.

I blamed it on the black skies outside the windows in my “studio.” In that rural town, there were few city lights to brighten the sky. When we’d first moved there, I’d loved that: I could see the stars as I never had, when we’d lived in Los Angeles.

I bought window shades and cheery curtains, to make the room feel cozier at night. It helped a little, but I still felt as if someone was watching me. Further, I felt that one of these watchers did not like me.

That made no sense. I didn’t actually hear anything unusual when I was upstairs. It was a warm house, with lovely honey-colored hardwood floors, and cheerful floral wallpaper from the 1940’s in cozy upstairs bedrooms. I should have felt at home.

Then the pattern pieces started fluttering across the floor when I was working.

“They’re light,” I reminded myself. “It’s just a breeze.”

But the problem increased. After a couple of weeks, pattern pieces pinned to fabric started drifting just past my fingertips, where the pieces would halt and not move again.

Then I’d move closer, but the paper and fabric would start dancing across the floor again.

I went to the hardware store and bought draft-proofing supplies. I put masking tape around the window frames. I even insulated the outlets and light switches.

The problem continued. I checked for air currents, using a lit candle. It didn’t flicker, no matter how long I waited.

Then I’d start working and — predictably — the pattern pieces began their nightly waltz just beyond my fingertips.

This continued for another couple of weeks.

“You win,” I finally announced to the walls.

And, after that, I worked on my sewing downstairs. I used the upstairs studio during daytime hours only, for my oil painting.

On sunny and bright days, the upstairs felt fine. But on dark days, or as dusk approached, I again sensed someone in the rooms.

One night, I don’t recall whether my husband or I had gone upstairs to get something out of the storage boxes we kept up there. One of us forgot to turn the upstairs hall light out. I didn’t realize it until the next evening, when I noticed light reflected at the top of the stairs.

I turned the light out, and I swear I heard a funny hissing noise, like someone was angry.

The next day when I went upstairs, I noticed that my paintbrushes were our of their storage container, and wedged so they were sticking out of the studio window.

When I opened the window — which I never opened¬† — my brushes tumbled out. All of them had been snapped neatly across the ferrule, the silver metal band that attaches the bristles to the handle.

To line them up and snap each of them exactly in the middle… well, that could not be an “accident.”

I was furious. Those were expensive brushes and the damage was deliberate. I was certain that it was retaliation for having left the lights on, that one night. I felt a little crazy thinking that, but in my anger, it made sense.

“Okay,” I raged at the empty room, “See how you like this!”

And I went through the upstairs, turning on every light. And I left them on, with my husband’s nervous agreement.

Two weeks later, feeling that I’d made my point, I turned the lights back off again.

During the time when the lights had been on, we’d heard no noises from the upstairs. The animosity we felt emanating from the top of the stairs was probably just our imaginations.

Nevertheless, my husband–who was 6’3″ and very muscular–was reluctant to go upstairs again.

After I turned the lights off, the upstairs remained blissfully quiet for several days.

But then our ghostly problems resumed dramatically, and not just at night.

Next: Part three of this story