Spirit in residence
Many years ago, all of the residents of Kathryn Hurd's former home knew something was awry in the Northwest Clackamas County Victorian abode — even the cats.
"The cats were meowing and screaming," said Hurd, a writer who now lives in Estacada, also noting that doors weren't closing properly and objects were mysteriously moving inside the house that she purchased nearly 60 years ago.
Previously, three people had died in the home, including one of its prior owners. Hurd's experiences eventually led her to believe the owner did not want to leave the home even in death.
Not long after Hurd and her husband moved into the house, she heard him calling from the basement. He had been in the canning room, which had a door that locked from the outside.
"He said, 'I don't know what happened. I went in and everything was fine. And the next thing I know, I couldn't open the door,'" she recalled.
The couple wasn't sure how the door became closed and locked, and that wasn't their only unsettling experience in the home.
The incident that stands out the most to Hurd was when a can opener, which was attached to a wall in the basement, fell to the ground and moved up several of the stairs.
"It was a really interesting staircase — you came down, there was a landing, and then you had to walk down three more stairs in order to get to the floor of the basement," Hurd explained. "Around the corner, we had a table
for feeding the cats, and on the wall at the bottom of the stairs we had a can opener for cat food. I came downstairs one day, and the can opener had mysteriously moved off the wall, up the steps and the landing and was on the third step up."
Hurd could find no rational explanation for this.
"There is no way that it could have appeared there. Something had to move it, although we never knew exactly what it was," she continued. "I knew I hadn't done it, and my husband hadn't done it. It was very strange."
The can opener wasn't the only item that mysteriously ended up in another place.
"Things began moving, not in front of our eyes, but we would have something that we set down, and then it wasn't there. We'd find it in a totally illogical place," she said.
Visitors to the home noticed unusual occurrences, as well.
"We had friends who came over for parties, and one time someone who was there did séances," Hurd said. "She said she wanted to do one, but there was just something about that. I said 'I don't think we want a séance.'"
Hurd had a hunch that the cause of all the chaos was paranormal and had a suspicion of who the spirit belonged to.
When the Hurds bought the home, the deceased owner's son said his parents had moved to the old Victorian house in 1918. It was in disrepair, and they had put in a lot of work to fix it.
The previous owner's son jokingly told the Hurds, "My mother often said, 'This will always be my house. This house will never belong to another woman."
About a year after they moved in, the haunting was still going strong and Hurd decided to take action. She stood on the stairs and called the former owner's name.
"I said, 'I know you told people that this house was yours and it would never belong to another woman. But I live here now, and this is my house. And I do not want you to do anything to my house,'" Hurd remembered.
Her conversation with the spirit seemed to work, and the mysterious incidents became a thing of the past.
"We never heard anything again — no sounds from the attic, things stayed in place, the cats didn't appear to be upset. There were no happenings in the basement," she said. "All was calm."
She thinks the spirit obeyed her because she "was the strong one then."
"I told her this is now my house," she said.
Though there was peace after her confrontation with the spirit, an aura of spookiness remained. Several filmmakers were drawn to the home, but ultimately didn't end up using the site since the interior didn't fit their specifications.
"We were approached by a movie company that had seen the house and said, 'This would be a perfect house for a ghost story,'" Hurd recalled.
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