Updated: May 21
The Left Corner of Weird
Every place has their legends - some more famous than others - and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. One of our own, Bigfoot aka Sasquatch, has become more real in his appearance in marketing, movies, sports teams, and social media than actual humans. But I'm more interested in the smaller stories, the weird local legends, the out of the way haunts and ghost stories of the area. I'll be posting nuggets on this blog under the tag "PNW Wonderfully Weird".
A PNW Castle
Today's post is about a castle, located south of Seattle and Tacoma, in a suburb called Lakewood. You may have seen this castle and didn't even know it. It is called Thornewood Castle, but it was "cast" as Rose Red in the Stephen King TV miniseries back in the early 2000s.
It's rare enough to have a bonafide castle in America, but what of one complete with stones from a dismantled Elizabethan castle and gorgeous stained glass from 15th century churches. It was built by Chester and Anna Thorne, beginning in 1907, and today, it has been refurbished and visitors can stay in the B&B rooms.
What's a castle without a ghost?
What brings Thornewood on my radar, besides the gorgeous Tudoresque design and lavish gardens, are ghosts. What castle doesn't have a ghost story? Rumors abound that both Charles and his wife, Anna, have been seen in the house, including Anna appearing in an original mirror still onsite at the Castle. The ghost story that intrigues me the most though is that of a child, said to appear by nearby American Lake. I did find a reference to the Thorne's grandchild drowning in an ornamental pond on the premises but beyond that, not much to verify that the incident took place. Does lack of evidence hurt a ghost story? Of course not!
Inspiration for a good scare
Whether the castle is haunted or not doesn't really matter to me - I am sure ghost-hunters would disagree - but what matters more to my author's soul is the stories that such places as Thornewood can inspire. A grimdark style short story is just begging to be written about a ghostly child luring guests to the lakeshore. Who knows, you might see one showing up on this very website.