Salem, Oregon is often overlooked when it comes to the paranormal. After all, it has none of the drama that the witch hunts caused in its namesake in Massachusetts during the 1760s. However, that does not mean that this Salem does not have a rich history of its own, not to mention some very creepy ghost stories to tell.
Let’s learn more about some of the most haunted places in Salem Oregon:
1. HomeTown Buffet
If you happen to pay a visit to Home Town Buffet for dinner, you might just get a little bit more than you bargained for, because this is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Salem Oregon.
Some of the strange occurrences that have been reported include doors that slam by themselves, running footsteps in the women’s restroom when there is nobody there, and the ghost of a lady in a white dress who is believed to be the wife of a former owner.
She was actually murdered in the building by that owner.
2. Oregon State Capitol
There is certainly no shortage of ghostly tales at Oregon State Capitol, in fact, one board member – Sandra Allen – has even written a book about them called ‘Ghosts in the Capitol’.
Some of the witnesses who have experienced paranormal activity here have described hearing phantom footsteps on the marble floors, seeing doors slammed shut by some unseen force, and even hearing soft disembodied voices in empty rooms.
There have also been a handful of reports of an apparition who is a dead ringer for a representative who passed away in 1978.
3. Mission Mill Museum
The Mission Mill Museum is made up of a small group of historic buildings that includes a church, several residences, and a mill. According to witnesses, the ghost of a former miller named Wright Mentzer is still lingering in the mill and he has been seen on a number of different occasions.
There have also been many sightings of a second apparition at the museum, this time a woman who is seen running across a bridge near the mill. The woman has yet to be identified, but she certainly makes regular appearances so she is obviously tied to the mill in some way.
4. Bush House Museum
The Bush House Museum is an Italianate-style mansion built here in Salem in the 1870s by Asahel Bush II. It is also considered to be one of the most haunted houses in Salem, Oregon.
Locals say that it is Asahel’s youngest daughter Eugenia who haunts the property and that she is merely keeping a watchful eye over the family home.
Her apparition has been seen in various spots around the house and she is often blamed for messing with the controls of the air conditioning system.
There have also been reports of strange shadows, unexplained cold spots, and disembodied female voices!
It is believed that there are several other spirits that reside here with Eugenia, but she is certainly the most dominant one and likes to make her presence here known.
5. Elsinore Theatre
According to local legend, the reason why Elsinore Theatre is one of the most haunted places in Salem Oregon is that there was a boy murdered in the men’s bathroom.
This certainly makes sense because witnesses claim to have looked in the mirror and seen blood splatters in the reflection.
Of course, when they turn around there is no blood to be seen in the room. However, this was not the only tragedy here.
The owner’s daughter also died in the theatre after falling from the balcony.
She is also said to haunt the area and a female apparition is regularly reported on the balcony.
Fairview was a state facility for people with developmental disabilities which was established in 1907. It remained in operation up until 2000. All of the buildings including the former school have now been demolished. The development is now under private ownership, so be warned any trespassers will be prosecuted!
There had been frequent reports of a female apparition wandering the grounds of Fairview at night. She usually appears near one of the cottages on the grounds where the school once stood.
There had also been reports of a male figure passing through the kitchen of Holderness Cottage (now demolished.) This was the part of Fairview that was used to house the most aggressive residents, but those who have seen the apparition say he is not in the least bit threatening.
In fact, he didn’t even seem to notice the living are even there! Another hot spot at Fairview is Withycombe Cottage (now demolished), or more accurately the old cistern near it!
This was the site of a terrible tragedy in 1923 when one of Fairview’s students, Hollie Pollock, went missing and it was assumed he had run away. However, around 3 weeks later pieces of hair and skin started to come through the water pipes and his body was discovered in the cistern having drowned.
[PLEASE NOTE:] As stated, all buildings on the former Fairview site have been demolished, and the property is under private ownership. Any trespassers will be prosecuted.
7. Croisan Creek Road
It seems like most towns across the United States have at least one road that the locals know they should be wary of and in Salem, Oregon that road is Croisan Creek Road.
Legend states that a little girl was killed by a speeding vehicle when she was crossing the road and ever since the tragic accident there have been multiple sightings of a little girl and a little boy on the road.
It is not known who the boy would be, but some have suggested he too could have been a victim of a road accident much earlier than the one everyone knows about.
Drivers have frequently reported seeing a ball rolling across the road just past a notoriously bad bend.
The ball is chased by the apparition of a little girl and there is often a boy at the other side waving them to slow down, but when they look back he is never there.
8. The Hanging Grounds
Now, if anywhere in Salem, OR was to be haunted then surely it would have to be the hanging grounds! This area on lower church street served as the town hanging ground in the 1800s.
There were at least 4 executions carried out here, one in 1851, another in 1859, and two in 1865, and of the local tales are to be believed, not all of them were justified!
The first known hanging here in 1851 was one surrounded by some controversy. William Kendall was executed after a very questionable trial and some believe that his spirit is still roaming the area in search of his vengeance, or perhaps just looking for the opportunity to clear his name!
At present, the site is occupied by a covered parking lot where there has been a handful of reports detailing some strange activity happening after dark!
9. Oregon State Prison
The North guard tower of Oregon State Prison has long had a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in Salem Oregon.
One former prison guard states that he was told way back in 1956 when he first started working at the prison that tower 4 had a history of strange things happening in it!
He says that whenever he was on the graveyard shift he did not feel as though he was alone there.
This could be due to the fact that the tower was built on top f the former prison graveyard!
The graveyard was abandoned in 1917 before being paved over in 1923 to serve as a recreation yard.
10. Oregon State Hospital
Topping the list of the most haunted places in Salem Oregon is, of course, Oregon State Hospital. Built in the late 1800s, the hospital was originally intended to serve all patients, but due to overcrowding issues, it soon became a more specialized facility for the insane and the mentally handicapped.
However, as was the case with so many of these old-fashioned asylums, the patients were subjected to some very dubious medical practices and were routinely abused and tortured both by staff and other patients.
There must have been hundreds if not thousands of tortured souls who died in this building over the years. Is it really a surprise that this has left its mark?
The hospital also boasts a creepy underground tunnel that was allegedly used for transporting dangerous patients between buildings.
However, there is evidence to suggest that it was used as a depraved laboratory for conducting unethical and barbaric experiments in a place so deep underground that the screams of the patients would not be overheard.
Those who have been brave enough to explore what remains of the hospital say that they have felt an overwhelming sense of evil here and that they have heard phantom footsteps, seen doors opening and closing on their own, and heard a range of cries and screams from former patients.
This one is certainly not for the faint of heart!