Tuesday, June 28, 2016

HGB Ep. 133 - McMenamins Edgefield

Moment in Oddity - The Crooked Forest of Poland

There is a forest in Poland that looks like something straight out of a Brian Froud illustration. One look at Poland's Crooked Forest and a person could believe that faeries are real and flitting about between the trees. The trees of this forest are not only weirdly bent, hence the name "Crooked," but they all bend in the same direction and the bend in their trunk is very low to the ground. There are around 400 trees here and they were all planted around 1930. Even more peculiar is the fact that this forest of trees is surrounded by a bigger forest of trees with perfectly straight trunks. It is believed that the trees were purposefully grown this way, perhaps to be used in boat making. But the outbreak of World War II has left whoecver was tending the grove and the purpose they had for the trees a mystery. But is this really something man-made? Could something paranormal have bent these trees this way? Perhaps some kind of energy field?We know Occum's Razor should cause us to lean to the man-made explanation, but isn't it more fun to believe that Faeries and gods got in a fight and this crooked forest was the result? So the forest might have been man-made, but even so, the Crooked Forest certainly is odd!

This Day in History - WWI Begins and Ends Five Years Apart
By: April Rogers-Krick

On this day, June 28th, in 1914, World War I began and on this day June 28th, in 1919, World War I came to end. Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sofia, were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist. It happened as the royal couple rode through the streets of Sarajevo in an open touring car. Seven young radicals from an obscure Serbian-Bosnian nationalist group, called the Black Hand, lay in wait. An initial assassination attempt failed, but a wrong turn brought the car near Gavrilo Princip, who fired two shots at point-blank range into the Austrian Archduke and his wife. Within minutes, both were dead. Princip was arrested, but political tensions were so high between Austria-Hungary and Serbia that war broke out as a result. International alliances brought one country after another into the conflict. This is the event that triggered World War I. Five years of pure hell ensued. Many different forms of fighting and weapons were used in battle. World War I was the first major war in which airplanes were used as a significant part of the military. Trench warfare was one of the most harsh ways of fighting used in the battle.  Trenches were muddy, cold, and full of water. Soldiers were exposed to the elements. In the winter, temperatures in the trenches would fall below zero causing frostbite and the loss of toes and fingers. Soldiers were also exposed to diseases and sickness mostly carried by black and brown rats, but lice and other rodents contributed to the decline of health of soldiers. Along with illness, there was a limited amount of food and daily necessities. The harsh ways of trench warfare resulted in thousands of casualties. Besides firearms and grenades, chemicals were used. Chemical warfare was a major component of the first global war and first war of the twentieth century. Those chemicals included tear gas and the horrendous mustard gas. On June 28, 1919 the Treaty of Versailles, a peace treaty between Germany and the Allied Powers, was signed effectively ending the war exactly five years to the day that it began.

McMenamins Edgefield (Suggested by listener Jonathan Fishleder, Research Assistant Lynsey Smith)

McMenamins Edgefield is located in Troutdale, Oregon and it is an historic hotel that features a little bit of everything from fine dining to concerts to a movie theater to a distillery and brewery to a spa and golf.  The spot once housed the county poor farm and as we know from prior experience with other podcasts, these locations sometimes leave an essence of negativity that lead to hauntings. There are several spirits here and some of them seem to be hitchhiking ghosts like our infamous friends at the Haunted Mansion. We are joined on today's episode by our listener Jonathan Fishleder as he shares his visit to the location, the creepy feelings and experience that he had while there and how one of those entities decided to follow him home and what he did to get rid of it! Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of McMenamins Edgefield!

The area that would become the city of Troutdale, Oregon is located at the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia Rivers. Lt. Broughton and his crew discovered this spot in 1792. The first settlers would not lay stakes here until 1850 and one of those men was founder David F. Buxton. Former sea captain John Harlow planned out the town and built a trout farm. He called his farm Troutdale anf eventually the town would take that name. Harlow convinced the railroad to build a line near his farm, so he could ship his fish and that really established the town. His wife platted out the town after his death in 1883. The city really started building up in 1890. The city was incorporated in 1907. *Fun Fact: In the 1920s, Troutdale was known as the Celery Capital of the World.

Poor houses cropped up in many cities as a place to house the less desirables in a city. Portland had built Hillside Farm in their West Hills to house the disabled, ill and poor. Over time, the place had deteriorated and after an inspection in 1910, it was decided that a new place needed to be built. Multnomah County Commissioners chose Troutdale for the new poor house and they planned to make it a place that was more progressive. Their goal was to help the poor become more self-sufficient by running a farm. The farm would cover 345 acres and was opened in 1911. Originally, there was a main building with several outbuildings. There was also a pig farm and dairy.

The first people to move onto the farm were called inmates and there were 211 of them. Later, the term resident would be used, rather than inmates. The residents were divided into two groups. The group that worked in the fields would be rewarded with meat three times a day. Those that did not work only got meat at one meal. The Multnomah County Poor Farm was a huge success. Within three years there were 225 chickens, 100 Duroc hogs, a large herd of Holstein dairy cows, 420 Plymouth Rock hens, lots of crops, eggs, fruit, grain and twenty-seven acres of potatoes. The farm was able to feed all of its residents, patients at the county hospital, inmates at the jail and surplus was sold to markets.

The Great Depression brought the population at the poor farm to 600. It was overpopulated and to compensate, closets were turned into rooms and three or more people were put in each room. Many talented people were here and they turned the basement into a bazaar of sorts where they could sell their handiwork and people from all over Portland came to buy. World War II and President Roosevelt's New Deal would pull many of the workers from the farm and soon the only people left were the disabled and sick.

Some of the land was laid aside in 1959 and a county jail was built and the inmates were unwilling to work in the fields. The animals had to be sold and the farmland was leased out. The grand farm was falling into disrepair. In 1964, the main building was transformed into a nursing home and the name officially became Edgefield. In 1982, the nursing home was closed and everything was left abandoned. In its seven decades, all types of people had passed through the doors and each of them just needed extra help to make it in life. Two of those personalities were Frankie of "Frankie and Johnny" notoriety and the nephew of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. He turned 100 while living at Edgefield.

Edgefield did not do well while it was abandoned. Vandals would break in and spray paint graffiti on the walls and steal whatever they could get their hands on, basically wreaking havoc on the property. As the buildings fell apart, they became dangerous and this was a huge liability for the county. They decided that the best decision would be to demolish the buildings. But the Troutdale Historical Society stepped in and they fought to stop the demolition. It took five years, but they saved the decrepit site. Now they had to find somebody who would want to buy the property. Microbrew pioneer brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin wanted to dip their toes in the hotel business and they saw the poor farm as a great place to start their business. People, mainly bankers, were a bit confused because McMenamins was associated with neighborhood pubs, not hotels.

The brothers got financing and they started with a winery, which was completed in 1990. In 1991, they added the brewery, a movie theater, Power Station Pub and eight rooms. Early success helped the brothers to renovate the main lodge and it was reopened with many more hotel rooms, a spa, a fine dining establishment and specialty bars. Later came artisan shops, gardens, a golf course and an area for concerts. What makes McMenamins unique is the fact that artists were set loose on the place. Every surface now has an artistic flourish celebrating the rich past of the site. Something more from that rich past lingers though. Based on the countless experiences we are going to share with you on this episode, it is clear that this is a very haunted and very actively haunted place. We'll share the experiences of guests and employees and then our listener Johnathan will join us to give you a first hand journey into the creepy and supernatural side of McMenamins Edgefield.

A housekeeper reported, "I was doing housekeeping about a month ago and I was standing at the foot of the bed when suddenly I felt ‘something' firmly grab my ankle and not let go until I jumped away. I looked under the bed and there was nothing. Freaked me out a little." Another housekeeper entered a room she had cleaned earlier and found the pillows tossed around. Earlier, the guest in that room had told the front desk that she awoke to find someone standing over her bed. Alison, a wine server, said “I have seen a nurse in the hallway upstairs (from the winery) and it was 11 o’clock in the morning. I was just walking with a bucket and I saw this 60s (styled woman), I could tell she had a little hat on. I could tell she had pantyhose on, that’s how clear she was.  And she was just walking and you couldn’t see keys but it looked like she was holding keys and she was coming this way and she kinda turned and she looked like she was going to open a door and then just vanished,” Berliner said about the full apparition she described as “obviously a nurse.” She also had the following experience: “I was walking on the west end, in between the second and third floor. I had had a couple of glasses of wine, I’ll admit that. It was my birthday. I was walking in where the mural of them handing the residents their sheets and stuff is, and I was really deep in thought about what these people must have gone through and how they felt, and right as I was thinking that, I didn’t see anything, but this energy went right through my chest. Took my breath completely away. I actually started hyperventilating. I was like ‘Oh my God, did it leave me?’ and I started shaking my hands and was like ‘Oh God, please let it be out of my body.’ I couldn’t tell."

Another guest reported to the staff that they were awakened by something tapping on her chest in the middle of the night and another guest wrote, "I felt a quick breeze and the strongest sweet scent came over me. It smelled like flowers, kind of perfume-like. . . . I lay in bed for an hour and saw shadows dancing on the walls, the ceiling and the window. Spirits were flying around the room - it was a great encounter." Another guest had a very unwanted encounter while taking a shower. She reported, "I was taking a shower then all of a sudden I felt a hand grab my butt. I screamed and grabbed my towel to dry off and get my clothes on. Right as I spotted my shirt, it flew up in the air!" Robin had the following encounter:  "My husband and I were married at Edgefield in August '09. As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, I wanted to take a picture of the inscription on the wall about the who the room was dedicated for. I lifted my camera, and before I put my finger on the shutter, the camera took a picture. Thankfully, my husband witnessed it happen, so I know I wasn't losing it! Awesome ending to an incredible event!"

AlexSandra McNabb reported, "My husband and I frequently go to Edgefield to just look around and catch a movie after dinner. One time when we were just wandering around the place we got in the elevator. This was before we were married, and as soon as the doors closed he started kissing me passionately. During the kiss, I felt someone grab a bunch of hair and pull! It was NOT my husband (his hands were nowhere near my head!). I sensed an older woman who was displeased with such a graphic display of private moments in a "public" place. Freaked me out at the time, but laugh about it now." Teresa S. wrote, "I was at Edgefield before you bought it. We had a company party there. I had no idea it was haunted at that time. I left the ballroom to find the ladies room and ended up looking at a wonderful mural of the history of the place (I hope its still there) I turned to find a janitor with an old rag mop in the hall and it smelled like someone was burning matches. I asked for the ladies room and he looked at me and pointed down the hall. I went where he directed me and it was really cold and no bathroom anywhere. I went back where I came from and he wasn't around so I went back to the ballroom and asked one of the hostess and she pointed me in the "right" direction and I told her about the Janitor and she said that was not a real janitor, and this place was haunted...I have not been able to come back no matter how curious I am about your renovations....Maybe one day."

Denise wrote after staying at Edgefield, "Just last weekend, 10-7-11, we spent the night at Edgefield. In the middle of the night while I was asleep a old man was standing over my bed wanting to shake my hand and I kept asking him what he wanted and he had to go (in my dream) and he just wanted to shake myhand, I finally shook his hand he smiled and I woke up...I am convinced I was visited by a spirit that lived there." Jennifer took pictures when visiting Edgefield and she was shocked to find the pictures erased. She said, "Summer of 2009 my bf and I spent the day enjoying the city taking pictures and visiting historical sites like the Edgefield. Upon reviewing the day's pictures at the end of the night, every single picture that we had taken inside the hotel had been erased while all the other pictures from the day remained. Nobody but myself had access to the camera, weird."

Debbie Wilson reported, "I have been going out to edgefield since I was 15 years old, and the house that used to be a boys home back in the1980s has always been creepy... and I know that its old land, and alot went on there before then, but my boyfriend, and I were walking around one night a while back it wasnt summer yet we snapped pictures all over thats what I always do hoping to get something, anything an orb, or a face,mist perhaps, but we were leaving the parking lot, and i was bummed not to get a thing. so I turned one last time to snap the house I was parked by, just one last shot i said, and looked at it and saw fog and a face of some kind in the middle of it, it freaked me out I just knew there would be nothing there again, and there it was everyone could see it that I showed it to, and then I lost the disk from my camera but if i ever find it i will post it its freaky!!!! and i will be out there again snapping away!!! I am waiting to get a pic of those old rocking chairs on the old creepy porches lol I will I'm sure lol!!!"

Renee wrote, "In 2010, My husband and i were staying at the Edgefield on the third floor in a corner room. After a night of dinner and fun we returned to the room to sleep. the next morning my husband asked why i had to get up last night and where i had went. i told him that i did not leave all night. he said that he thought it was me pushing off the bed, putting on the white robe and leaving. my husband told me that he could feel the pressure of weight in the middle of the king size bed, he thought it was me that had gotten up and layed back down. IT WASN'T ME! We have been back to the Edgefield on two other occassions. What fun..." and Cindy reported, "The second time that I stayed, I was in the shower and it felt like finger gently stroked my front shoulder blade. It wasn't a scary or mean presence. In October 2011, the last time that my husband and I stayed, we were both sleeping and at about 2 in the morning it sounded as though a large block of wood landed on the floor in our room. Neither of us realized that the other had heard it. When we talked about it in the morning, we noticed that there was a large carpet and couch on the floor where we heard the sound (we both heard it in the same location. We can't wait to go back in April!!!!! We LOVE this place and it definitely has spirits!!!"

An Anonymous person wrote, "I was at the Edgefield yesterday with my family to attend a wedding, and after the ceremony when the wedding guests were about to enjoy the wedding feast, I suddenly felt very groggy and fell out of my chair. {Good thing hardly anyone noticed when it happened.} Maybe whatever is haunting the Edgefield wanted to crash the wedding by pushing a guest out of his or her reception seat. {lol} Later, when my sister & I checked out the Edgefield's gift shop, I needed to use the bathroom, but had to hurry on out of there because I felt like I was being watched. It was creepy!" Justin stayed in the 90s and wrote, "Stayed at Edgefield one night back in late 90s during a company christmas party. Did not know the place was reputed to be haunted, and didn't believe in such things anyways. However as my wife and I were gettting ready to go to bed, I distinctly recall the strong presence of an elderly lady sitting in the room with us. I never get weird feelings like that (and never have again to this day). It was so strong I hesitated to disrobe for bed, and I even examined the room, wondering why my mind was insisting something was there when it wasn't. My wife remarked that she felt like we were being watched, which is an unusual statement from her. Oddly enough, it was a friendly, almost grandmotherly feeling, and I felt no fear or creepiness at all. Years later when I found out about the reputation and past of the hotel, it rattled me. Still does. Don't remember the room number, but it was on the ground floor and looking out the window, facing west, you can see the main entry way staircase."

Deanzie wrote, "I have also been haunted when I unwittingly stayed in a room on the third floor at the Edgefield in Troutdale (McMennamin's). When we got our room, I tried opening the closet door for extra pillows, but the door was locked. I then realized that there was a standing wardrobe in the room that had these items. Later that night, as my husband and I went to sleep, my head was on my pillow, and I heard an "unlocking" sound very loudly in my ear, like my ear was right up against a door. Shortly afterward, I heard creaky footsteps circling the bed. At the time, I was dismissive, and thought it was someone walking above our room. Even my husband woke up with a start, because the sound of the footsteps were so immediate. We both managed to sleep, but the next morning, we realized that there were no rooms above us, and no rooms were immediately next to ours. We were at the South end of the main hallway on the third floor. I think it was #304.
When I went back to work, I mentioned the event to my boss, who is familiar with The Edgefield (lots of interesting history to the place), and he described the shape of the slanted locked closet in the room, which I confirmed, and he said that that room was haunted. He reminded me of one of the paintings in the building that I clearly remember of one of the guest rooms showing a slanted closet with the door open, and in the blackness, there are a pair of eyes. I wasn't frightened during the event, and even the painting, the eyes themselves didn't look nasty, but that was quite memorable for me," and Kelly said, "I stayed in room #330 last night with two girlfriends. We came to Edgefield to see the FUN concert and stayed the night afterwards. I had a "sleep paralysis" moment in our room at about 2:30 in the morning. I could see something by the door and I was scared but I couldn't move. I yelled out because I was scared and one of my girlfriends woke me up. I've never had a "sleep paralysis" episode before. I also felt something grab my foot but I am not sure if I was dreaming or not. Then later in the night, at about 4:00 or 5:00 am, I heard bees buzzing loudly all over the room but didn't see any bees. I thought it was weird but went back to sleep. When we all woke up I told my friends and when one of them went into the hallway to go use the bathroom she saw that the murals outside of our room had bees everywhere. In one picture a woman is sitting in a rocking chair with a beehive on her head. I thought that was really creepy and I hadn't noticed the mural at all the night before. Fun and scary at the same time! Definitely going back again!"

Arline had an experience in 2010, "On 9/12/2010 - My husband, sister in law and I stayed and wondered the grounds late at night in search of paranormal activity. We took pics all over the place and caught some "mists" in the garden areas that couldn't be explained. We came around the corner of one of the restaurant terraces that sits below balcony's with two stairs cases on each side (don't remember the name) and felt something, so my husband snapped a few photos and caught a very compelling white mist/streak that is very "compelling". I would love to post but this only allows comments? Then I was walking down the hall from the room to the outside glass doors and I saw something small kinda like a white object run past the door on the "outside", it was short. When I walked thru the doors nothing was around? Very Cool place hope to return someday." Tammy wrote, "My husband and I just returned from the New Year's Eve 2014 party at the Edgefield.  We had a fabulous time!  We stayed three nights and had three experiences.  We were in room 203.  Our first night I walked to the bathroom and I saw an old man who was dressed like a janitor - black pants, black shoes, and white shirt like a uniform.  He had large black framed glasses.  He was crouching near the floor in what was a phone nook next to the ladies lounge.  He was in such a strange place and position that I stopped and looked at him kind of waiting to see if he needed help.  I smiled at him and he smiled back so I went into the ladies room.  When I came out just a moment later he was gone without a trace.  The next morning, I realized that the housekeeping staff had no such uniform and was certain he was a spirit.  I was completely blown away when I came home and read other encounters that happened in this same area near the beautiful mural between the second and third floors. We noticed nothing our second night but our third night, my husband and I were playing scrabble in our room and a very loud voice sounded like someone clearing their throat right behind me!  My husband and I both froze and he swore the sound was right behind me.  The rest of the night was pretty quiet, but the next morning I was brushing my teeth in that same bathroom and I swear there was a dog in the room with me!  There is no sound that can duplicate the sound of dog feet on a wood floor and that is what I heard.  I turned around and there was nothing there.  I even reached down to see if I could feel anything, but there was nothing there.  I stood there a moment and then said "you're a good dog aren't you." Then there was more nails clicking on the wood floor in a more excited kind of way.  I was very justified in my experience when I read the stories about a dog haunting the second floor!  Our encounters were friendly and very memorable!"

Sara wrote, "I stayed at Edgefield in Dec 2013 and my boyfriend and I went to sleep very early on purpose so that we could wake up in the middle of the night and hopefully catch some ghostly activity. We woke up around 1 am and we had only one lamp one and the said lamp turned off by itself, which at the time was not enough to convince me. We eventually went back to sleep. I then woke up not that long after I had fallen asleep to the sound and sensation of someone tap-tap-tapping on the mattress next to my head. We stayed in room 231, the Kazoo Kats suite, and since I am a devout cat lover, my thoughtful boyfriend took a picture of our door for me but the photo he took was black with dark purple stripes all across it. He was dumbfounded as he had never seen his camera behave that way and it was his father's camera before him and he never had any trouble with the camera either. I am convinced that Edgefield is haunted. I literally cannot wait to go back!" Ginger reported, "Oct 2014: I just stayed in room #310 two nights ago with my guy. I was in a dream state and felt the presence of something laying between us in bed. It was communicating with me and was gray in shape and color, and the energy of a woman. She floated away and woke both of us up at the same time at 3am. We didn't know until now that Edgefield has the reputation of being haunted."

Kristen wrote, "My friends and I started staying at the Edgefield for our cheap time away with just the girls....aka....heated mineral pool and wine. We were staying this past October 17, 2014 in room 39. We decided to use a ghost radar app to see what or who would come through. We received communication from" Warren" saying he was very poor (which makes sense considering what the building use to be). The next morning when we were getting ready to go to breakfast I couldn't find my hair brush. I dumped my purse out on the bed and literally shook it to make sure everything was out of it. I told my friends that they should go ahead of me to the restaurant for breakfast because I wanted to take one more look for my brush. Right after they left I went my purse....my brush was sitting on top of everything in my bag. I hadn't left my purse from the time I dumped it out and my friends were never close to my purse to put it in there. I think Warren was having a little fun or earlier he had messy hair." Sally-Ann said, "Spent a wonderful Christmas at the Edgefield 2014 with my husband.  It is not our first visit here but very excited to have a queen suite in the winery wing.  I have experienced para normal activity before in my life but this has been a first time at the Edgefield.  I am a light sleeper, and was on my left side, I awoke startled by someone peeling back the covers to completely expose my shoulder followed by a puff of icy breeze, I immediately rolled over to find my husband facing the opposite direction and snoring contentedly.  I woke him up and asked if he would stay awake for a while with me as I was freaked out and could not return to sleep. It was most definitely an eerie sensation and awareness that something else was there at that moment."

A family lives on property that was once part of Edgefield and they have been having haunting issues as well. Kimberley B. said, "My 5-year old and my husband were mentioning today, about how the property we live on (which was once part of the Multnomah Co. poor farm and is up the hill from Edgefield), is haunted. My husband said every once in a while, he'll get the sensation of his ankle being grabbed. And then my daughter mentioned how she sometimes feels her hair being tugged, or someone poking her shoulder while she is coloring. I've had moments, where I will walk in my home, feel a poke in the hip (as if I brushed up against an object), but when I look back, nothing is there. It reminded me though, of how my daughter was when she was between the ages of 1 1/2 and 3 1/2. I would always catch her in her room, talking to herself. At the hype of all these ghost shows, I sat down, and asked her a little more about it. She said that she was speaking to the "black guy" and the "white lady". I asked her what they looked like, and she described the black man wearing "dark clothes and dirt on top of his shoes". The white lady wore a white dress and a white hat. After a period of skepticism, I wrote into Edgefield, to ask if there was any information they could provide. (Because what year and a half year old describes a man wearing dirty clothes like that?) I was told that aside from apparations of a nurse, that there was also a black man that had wandered off the property, and when he was found, he had become trapped in a barbed wire fence and had died. I ask my daughter about it now, and she excuses it as an imaginary friend. But with the pokes here and there, you have to wonder."

With all these personal experiences, it's easy to believe that something is going on here. But is this paranormal activity? Could it just be residual energy? Could it be overactive imaginations? Is McMenamins Edgefield haunted? That is for you to decide!

Show Notes:
Oregon Encyclopedia –Poor Farm Edgefield
Poor House History – with links to Gov’t Documents
Mult Co Crops History Walking Guide
Photo Timeline and Official Website

Rm. 215 is the room reported to be most haunted.

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