Editor's Note: Everyone loves a ghost story. Whether told during a long, dark winter power outage or while hunkered around a camp fire on the beach, ghost stories are sure to hold the attention of all - believers and skeptics, young listeners and old, dreamers and realists. The more familiar the people and places involved, the more intriguing the stories seem. In this series, Sydney Stevens shares some of the ghost stories of our area - stories that may even have been told at your own fireside.
When a visiting psychic asked David Campiche if he would like the ghost to leave the Shelburne Inn, there was no hesitation on his part. "Yes," he said. "That was awhile back and it seems to have worked. The man upstairs is gone."
David, who has owned the Shelburne since 1977 had put up with that ghost almost from day one of his proprietorship. "I think he made himself known within the first week that we had the Inn," he remembers. "We were doing some major renovations and repairs. Workmen were coming in and out and we were all busy in the dining room area when we heard someone going up the stairs.
"My first reaction was a feeling of annoyance. I thought that a visitor or curiosity-seeker could at least have had the courtesy to ask permission to look around. Then we heard 'him' walking quite loudly above us, way up on the third floor, so I went up to have a look. There was no one there -- no evidence that anyone had been up there at all. It was our first inkling that perhaps we had a ghost."
In the years that followed, that inkling grew to an absolute certainty. Although neither David nor his wife Laurie Andersen ever saw the ghost themselves, many an overnight guest did. David recalls one woman who said that she had met an elderly gentleman in the upstairs hall who requested that she sit at Table 9 in the dining room so that he could stand at the top of the stairs and watch her eat.
"She complied," says David, "and we assumed he was watching her though he did not show himself to any of us or, for that matter, to her."
David's own 'encounters' with the ghost were never visual. Most often he would be aware of an icy, dense patch of air in the upstairs hallway that joins the two buildings that make up the Inn.
"That's also the area where we frequently heard noises that we could not explain," he continues, "both in the hallway and on the upper floors of the northern-most building. That's the older of the two buildings so, in a way, it made sense."
Built in 1896That first portion of the Inn, a two and one-half story wood frame structure, was built in 1896 as a hotel and boarding house. It was located toward the south end of the parking lot on the block where Sid's Market now stands, and was built with lumber milled in South Bend, barged to Nahcotta, and transported to Seaview by the Ilwaco Railroad.
The building had 14 rooms for permanent and summer boarders and, in addition, was spacious enough to accommodate builder Charles L. Beaver's family which included his wife, Inez, and their two children - Harold, born in 1892 and Faye, born in 1894. Charles named the hotel the 'Shelburne' after a grand hotel in Dublin, Ireland, and he put his wife in charge of running it.
In later years, Faye often spoke of her memories of life at the hotel, particularly of her mother's wonderful meals that kept guests coming back to Seaview year after year to stay for the summer. Inez Beaver's "home cooking" was centered on the seasonal fowl and game of the area as well as the clams, crab, oysters, fish and wild blackberries.
"My mother prepared all of the meals from scratch in a kitchen without benefit of refrigeration, not even an ice box, and, of course, on a wood-burning range," Faye remembered.
While Mrs. Beaver was running the hotel, her husband was busy with his own career. Educated as an attorney in Meadville, Pa., Charles had come to Seaview in 1889 and was admitted to the bar in Washington the next year. However, after a year of practicing law, he decided that a more lucrative career would be the contracting and building business. Many of the historic cottages of the Seaview area were built for summer visitors from Portland under the direction of Charles Beaver.
In those years around the turn of the twentieth century, many families came to 'the beach' from Portland and other inland communities in an effort to get away from the summer heat. They often brought the family cow for their milk supply, their horses and, perhaps, a buggy for transportation, and whatever other amenities might be needed for a season at the beach.
Except for a week or two of vacation, the menfolk usually remained at work in the city during the week and joined their families on the weekends. The journey from Portland was via the sternwheelers, such as the T.J. Potter that plied the waters of the Columbia River between Portland and Astoria.
From Astoria, a launch took travelers to Megler, where they would catch the narrow gauge railroad train for the journey to Seaview or other communities on the North Beach Peninsula. Because weekend trains were mostly filled to capacity with men traveling to and from the beach, they were dubbed the "Papa Trains" or, sometimes, the "Daddy Trains."
The Beavers operated the hotel for 10 years and then moved to Portland, selling the business to Timothy and Julia Hoare. The Hoares were restaurateurs and, for the first five years that they owned the Shelburne, they remained in Portland, leasing out their hotel on the North Beach Peninsula. In 1911 they gave up their Portland interests, moved to Seaview and became full-time hotel proprietors.
Crossing the StreetSoon, the hotel was enlarged, though not in the usual manner. Joanne Risley, granddaughter of Julia and Timothy says, "Across the street from the Shelburne was a piece of property with two houses on it and with room on the lot for a third. Grandpa Hoare bought the property and hired a team of horses to pull the hotel across the street and place it to the north and in line with the other two buildings. A covered passageway was built between each of the buildings, joining them together and resulting in a much larger hotel."
Mr. Hoare, a canny businessman, also made arrangements with the railroad company to have the Shelburne serve as one of the stops along the line. Today, the original Shelburne is still adjoined to the house directly to its south and several additions have been made to that part of the Inn. The third building is no longer there, though no one seems to remember just what happened to it.
Timothy Hoare died in 1921 and from that point, until her death in 1939, Julia managed the hotel on her own. Hers was Room 8 which was just above the front door. From that vantage point, she could keep an eye on the comings and goings of her guests and her hired help.
It is Room 8, according to David, in which one of the strangest of the ghostly happenings occurred. "There was a man, a wine maker from California, staying in that room and he got locked out. In addition to the lock which required a key (and which he had) there was a dead bolt lock on the door which could only be locked or unlocked from the inside. This man locked his room from the outside with the key, left the hotel for awhile, and when he returned found that, although his key worked fine, the room remained locked from the inside. Someone had thrown the dead bolt!"
In order to open the door, David had to crawl out the window of the room next door, inch his way along the porch roof, jimmy open Room 8's window and crawl inside to unlock the dead bolt.
"What made it even stranger was that this same man had recently had a really ghastly experience with a ghost in California. I don't remember all the details now, but it involved bloody scratch marks appearing on the walls and moving from ceiling to floor. Needless to say, the experience at the Shelburne, though mild by comparison, shook him up a little. We gave him another room and all was well. Not long after that we changed the dead bolt lock situation."
The Psychic ArrivesOver the years, the mysterious noises, the cold air in the hallway, and occasional unexplained occurrences continued periodically. Then a psychic from Canada checked into the hotel with a group of her "disciples" as David refers to them.
"They stayed for several days," he says, "and had a number of meetings or get-togethers in one another's rooms. Perhaps they were holding séances - I'm not sure. Before they left the psychic came to me and said, 'I know who your ghost is.'
"I was intrigued, as we had not discussed the ghost at all. I didn't realize she knew anything about it. 'He is Charles Beaver,' she said. 'Do you want him to go away?' "Yes!" I told her. I didn't hesitate in the least."
Four or five days after the psychic and her entourage had left, David got a phone call. "He's gone," she said. "I saw him leave with two angels." Since that time, which David thinks was 10 or so years ago, all manifestations of the ghost have ceased.
"If it was Charles Beaver, maybe he was upset that his hotel had been moved across the street. Or maybe he didn't like that it was joined to another house," speculates David. "It is interesting that it was Julia Hoare's room that he locked. Was he locking her out?"
One other ghost, quite different from Charles Beaver, has revealed itself in the Shelburne as well. In Room 5 on the third floor there was an old settle - a wooden bench, with arms and a high back. David remembers a guest - "a big, strong looking man" - who came down to the lobby, ashen-faced, to report a little girl in a white pinafore sitting on the settle swinging her legs.
His was the second report about the little girl so David, who dislikes having anyone in the hotel, guests or staff, feel uncomfortable, removed the settle. The little girl has not been seen since, although two of the Shelburne employees have had another sort of experience in that particular room.
As part of their duties, Jenelle Berry and Sharon Miller sometimes ready rooms for check-in - placing the plate of complimentary cookies on the dressers and giving the rooms a last minute look-over. There is a crib in Room 5 with a teddy bear in it and, on separate occasions each woman has found the bear on the floor even though, to their knowledge, no one had been in that part of the Inn.
Co-worker Angela Pierce, a fairly recent employee of the Shelburne says, "I'm not susceptible to paranormal phenomena like some people are, but I wish I were. I'm sorry David told the psychic to get Charles Beaver to leave. I would love knowing that he was still around and that I might possibly have an opportunity to meet him!"