[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.