A few years ago, Seattle's Evening Magazine show did a story about one of the families who live on top of the graveyard. The title was "House atop cemetery is haunted ... go figure."
In the movie, Poltergeist, a family finds its house taken over by unfriendly spirits.
But on Seattle's Beacon Hill, the Washington family finds its house taken over by "friendly" ghosts. [...]
“We live with it and we know they're here,” said the home’s owner Beverly Washington.
Washington had her house built on the site 7 years ago, not knowing it was part of the old Comet Lodge Cemetery. But, from day one, they've known they were not alone.
“All the lights went out the day we moved in. They all went out and stayed out and eventually they came back on?” she said.
On several occasions, Beverly turned off the lights in her display case, only to find them on again once she left the room. One night, just to make sure it wasn't one of her kids trying to spook her, she did a test.
“I turned them off again, and then I went back to my bedroom and stood at the door to peek and they came back on again,” she said.
While home alone making dinner one night, Beverly actually saw a ghost.
She said it looked like a clear cloud, swooping past here.
“So, I holler and yell, ‘who's there?’ and nobody says anything.
Beverly then followed the ghost to her bedroom. And she could see it clearly, a full outline of a person as if in a cloud, which then swooped into the bathroom.
A few years ago, a group of local students wrote about the cemetery and the controversy that has long surrounded it.
In 1987, Beacon Hill resident Don Kipper got designs on the property, and proceeded to clear the site. His first community engagement suggested good intentions to restore the place. When Kipper began bulldozing the property, and the graves of the 200 or so individuals buried there, his real plans became vividly clear. Kipper was quirkier than anyone realized. What initially looked like restoration activity was really part of Kipper's life long dream to live on a cemetery. He intended to build his house there.
In addition to being a significant violation of conventional decency, Kipper was in abeyance of the law. Paul Elvig, with Elysian Fields Cemetery, placed a restraining order on Kipper, claiming he was trespassing. The property's ownership would be debated for another decade.
Ten years later, John Dickinson took Comet Lodge Cemetery under his wing. Though full of good intentions, Dickinson's efforts would not pan out. He received permission from King County to begin work on the project, claiming that because two deceased relatives were buried there he had the right to maintain the property. He then claimed that he owned the property, and began cutting down a number of trees, one of which fell and injured a worker. The County slapped Dickinson with a cease and desist order, and withdrew his work permit. In spite of this, Dickinson continued his fight to "save" the cemetery by telling neighbors there houses stood on babies' graves.
The County eventually took Dickinson to court, and barred him from the cemetery for good.
During this hullaboo, apparently Dickinson created a website whose photos were unfortunately hosted elsewhere, and you can no longer see the full-size renderings of the photos and maps. They worked when I looked at all this two years ago, but no more.
Eventually the county finally kicked in $100,000 to get the cemetery cleaned up a little bit. It's really weird, though. You can tell the gravestones are no longer in their rightful places.
Some of the stones mark the graves of woodworkers and look like trees. I love this one.
Let's get a closer look.
And I'll show you three shots of this one.
As you're noticing, the graveyard is pretty small and sparse. There are perhaps a couple dozen headstones. Not 494.
Psychics and ghost tours sometimes visit the graveyard. Last summer, some local ghost hunters did an inconclusive assessment of the site, only capturing a couple orbs on camera.
Our initial reason for investigating here was from several rumored reports of
neighbors seeing apparitions and strange lights in the cemetery at night, many of
which reported to be children. (Much of the bulldozered area was the children's
section.) [...] The investigation was fairly routine. [...] Of the hundreds of bodies once buried there, only a handful of headstones remain. (This of course does not mean the bodies are not still buried there, unmarked.) Chantelle seemed to be getting very odd psychic feeling of the place, saying it felt like the ground was crawling.
This dude shot more orbs, but "Pati Smith from Washington State" took stranger photos of the place.
Someone has collected a bunch of links to 1980s Seattle Times articles about the cemetery. The 1985 article says, "Today, nobody knows the exact boundaries and nobody is certain where the bodies are situated because the detailed map has been mislaid and most gravestones have disappeared."
Spooked yet? Check out this quote from Chief Seattle, who warned us about all this.
When the members of my tribe become a myth among white men, when you think that your children are alone in the field, the shop, the store –- they will not be alone. When you think that your streets are deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this land, for the dead are not powerless. Dead I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.
* Respect the Spirits of Comet Lodge Cemetery (8/22/08)
* Daffodils in Comet Lodge Cemetery (3/22/08)
* Blurry Photos of Georgetown Haunted Tour (11/28/07)