Hood River Oregon’s Haunted Hotels

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Hood River sits in the Columbia Gorge along the Columbia river surrounded by fields, orchards, vineyards, and at the foot of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood. “The area was inhabited by Native Americans when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through on October 29, 1805. Here they found a campsite called “Waucoma,” or “place of big trees.” The camp was located near what became known as the Dog River.” – City of Hood River Website. The town was established in 1858 and was originally called “Dog River.” The Columbia Gorge is a wonder of nature unto itself stretching 80 miles and at times is 4,000 feet deep. The Columbia River that flows through the gorge near Hood River is notorious for windsurfing and kiteboarding. On any given day you can see the sails and kites littered about the massive river.

Haunted Hood River Hotel Side View
Haunted Hood River Hotel

The quaint town of Hood River is an outdoor adventurer stronghold. Sprinter vans, mountain bikes, kite and windsurfers, and craft beer are everywhere. The town is home to about 8,000 people and it’s a blend of farmers, migrant workers in the summer working the vineyards, mountain sports enthusiasts, beer lovers, surfers, and about anyone else who loves outdoor activities.

Scenic Map of The Columbia River
Scenic Map of The Columbia River

The town is also the home of two of Oregon’s most haunted hotels. The “Hood River Hotel” and “The Columbia Gorge Hotel.” The Hood River hotel established in 1912 is now over 100 years old and the magnificent Columbia Gorge Hotel will turn 100 next year in 2021. After a century in business, these hotels have seen some life and even some death. The town was originally a major hub for trade before being discovered as an outdoor person’s hot spot. With hundreds of thousands of visitors a year there are stories to tell.

The Haunted Hood River Hotel

Haunted Hood River Hotel Front
Haunted Hood River Hotel Front Door, Hood River, Oregon

The original hotel named the Mt Hood Hotel dates back to 1888 which was strategically located near the train depot in the center of town. It is the oldest hotel in the city of Hood River. Local lore tells of the original owner Ola Bell still inhabiting room 319 even though she died in 1942. She owned the hotel for over 30 years and her ghost is said to still haunt the hallways. The haunting ranges from sheer terror guests have experienced such as mortal fear when entering a room and disembodied footsteps to less terrifying events such as doorknobs moving with no one in sight, phantom phone calls. The most horrifying account comes from a guest staying in room 310. The guest reported opening the door and becoming overcome with dread, this the statement left in their review of the hotel room ” I nearly knocked my poor daughter down trying to get out. Every hair on my body stood on end, every rational thought left my brain and all I could do was yell GO GO GO GET OUT GET OUT.”

The Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel

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Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon

The Columbia Gorge Hotel was built by Simon Benson, who was involved with the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Benson envisioned a hotel at the end of the highway and completed the Mission style hotel in 1921. The new hotel was built on the site of the previous Wah Gwin Gwin Hotel, built in 1904. Between 1925 and 1952, the hotel went through several changes of ownership.

The then-48-room hotel closed in 1952, when it was sold to the Neighbors of Woodcraft, a non-profit fraternal benefit society based in Oregon since 1905, and converted into a retirement home.It was sold again in 1978, with the new owners planning to reopen it as a hotel. After a $1-million renovation, the now-42-room hotel reopened in September 1979. 

In January 2009, the landmark hotel closed its doors again, due to foreclosure. The foreclosing bank later re-opened the hotel before selling it to Vijay Patel’s A-1 Hospitality Group in October 2009 for around $4 million. Between 2009 and 2012, the hotel underwent a major renovation. The hotel is currently open and you can take a virtual toor.

Haunting and ghost sightings within the hotel vary. There are sighting of a woman in White attire who allegedly committed suicide at the hotel, most recently sitting at a park bench on the ground. Scents of cigar smoke with no identifiable cause possibly related to a retiree who died on the premises when it was a retirement home. There are other sightings of a ghost of a child near an area that once held a pool. Room 330 has reports of another female ghost of unknown origin. Rooms have been found barricaded with no known cause and a man wearing a frock coat and a top hat been seen.

Recent guests report strange dreams such as this guest in 2020 “I saw a black mass hovering above my the nightstand next to the bed. In the dream, it started to smoke and the room started on fire due to this presence.” In 2018 Another guest reported, “I saw a human form walk around the foot of our bed and to my side of the bed, suddenly I couldn’t move or speak.” That was not the only guest who was left paralyzed in fear. Another man in 2016 reported “my wife said she couldn’t move, speak or open her eyes, she was in a frozen state. I woke up when something felt like tugging or sitting on the blankets on my side of the bed that sent tingles up my legs.”

Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide
Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide

The town of Hood River is beautifully nestled along the Columbia River Gorge. It is home to some of the best outdoor activities in Oregon but it also has a long and haunted history. It’s well worth a visit for ghost-hunters, historians, and anyone who visits the great haunted state of Oregon.

Want more Oregon Lore, check out these articles?

https://puzzleboxhorror.com/tag/oregon/

Index
https://cityofhoodriver.gov/community/history/
https://www.columbiagorgehotel.com/
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g51909-d114266-r605770471-Hood_River_Hotel-Hood_River_Oregon.html
https://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-venezia/2015/09/i-spent-a-night-at-the-columbia-gorge-hotel-after-i-heard-stories-of-its-haunted-rooms/
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/hood-river-hotel.html
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/columbia-gorge-hotel.html

La Mala Hora – Urban Legend Explored

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Mexico has enough folklore and urban legends to make HP Lovecraft cancel his flight, though none are as menacing and confrontational as the dreaded La Mala Hora.

La Mala Hora Legend

La Mala Hora relates to The Devil’s Hour also called The Witching Hour; a time many know as 3am, and a time at which one may wake suddenly for no perceptible reason with an acute sense of dread wallowing in their stomach. This uncanny hour has been associated with practice of witchcraft, imbued with great satanic significance and even held accountable for the true story of The Amityville Horror, though residents of Mexico know it as something rather more tangible, and far more horrifying. 

In 1910 the phenomenon was described by Aurelio Espinosa as a malicious entity that stalked crossroads around Mexico at night. It would hunt, torment, and even kill anyone brave enough to ignore the tales and travel home alone at such an hour. If these individuals were unfortunate enough to come across the dreaded La Mala Hora and gaze headlong into it, they would be driven hideously and irreversibly insane. Sounds like Mexico has been reading a little of Lovecraft’s work after all.

And because of this, this particular spirit is said to be more feared than the devil himself. Most of Mexico flat-out refuses to talk about it, changing the subject or simply referring to it as “an evil thing”.  

La Mala Hora takes great pleasure in driving its victims mad. Not only this, but it will often attack helpless travelers, paralyzing them in their tracks and brutalizing their weakened forms. After being suffocated by the fiend their bodies are left at the side of the road.

La Mala Hora Lady in White

In Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, the insidious entity is told to take the form of a beautiful woman, sometimes dressed in white, sometimes in black. This incarnation and its diversely gruesome behaviours come across like some demented video game enemy gone rogue. When dressed in white La Mala Hora is said to be gentler and more graceful. She hypnotises weary travellers who, if they don’t notice the space between her feet and the ground, or the fact that her toes are backwards, or the fact that their lanterns have stopped working and all sense of direction seems lost, will follow her obediently into wherever peril she chooses. Perhaps this will be off the edge of a ravine, or perhaps in front of the next passing car. 

When dressed in black, La Mala Hora is more aggressive. She will stop a traveller by any means and attack directly with her pointed nails. The strong-willed should hope to meet her on a “white night,” while no one should hope to see her in black. 

One particular story has been circling the internet for quite some time, earning La Mala Hora its creepypasta certification along the way. In this story a woman goes to stay with her friend who is experiencing marital troubles. On the way she almost hits a woman in the road who, when the car stops, begins scratching fiercely at the windows in an attempt to get in. After driving away as quickly as possible, our protagonist reaches her friend who tells her frantically that she has seen La Mala Hora, the spirit who only appears when death is close. The woman then calls her husband, who she finds has been mugged and shot to death in another area. 

New Mexico Legend

On the southern border of the United States, in the state of New Mexico, La Mala Hora seems to appear much closer to Espinosa’s original description. Usually it’s seen as a black abstract form, like a fleece of wool which expands and contracts, changing size and shape and seemingly floating along the roadside. A widely feared omen, this incarnation is only told to be seen when death is soon to befall a loved one. I would imagine a lot of concerned yet apologetic phone calls taking place around 3am in Mexico. 

One thing is for sure; if I lived near any of the places that La Mala Hora is said to appear, I would doubtfully ever go out after midnight. 

References

10 Fascinating Facts About The Devil’s Hour, 3AM – Listverse

Mexican Monstresses: La Mala Hora – Multo (Ghost) (wordpress.com)

La Mala Hora: From Scary stories at Americanfolklore.net

Urban Legends And Ghost Stories: La Mala Hora (urbanlegends66.blogspot.com)

Murphysboro Mud Monster – Urban Legend

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Deep in Southern Illinois coal country, along the banks of the Big Muddy River, sits the peaceful town of Murphysboro. Known for its natural beauty, fishing spots, and local wineries, Murphysboro also boasts one particularly infamous resident: The Big Muddy Monster, an eight-foot tall, slime-covered sasquatch. The Big Muddy Monster, also known as the Murphysboro Mud Monster, frightened local residents in the early 1970s, putting Murphysboro firmly on the map for North American cryptid enthusiasts.

Murphysboro Mud Monster History

The Murphysboro Mud Monster was first seen around midnight on June 25th, 1973. Randy Needham and Judy Johnson, two Murphysboro residents, were sitting in a parked car near the Big Muddy River when they heard a loud shriek coming from the woods. The next thing they knew, a tall, pale creature with fur caked in mud lumbered towards their car. The two left the scene, but reported the incident to the local police.

This was but the first of many unexplained sightings in the weeks to come. The experience of teenagers Randy Creath and Cheryl Ray, recorded in a police report, is particularly interesting. While sitting on their front porch around 10:00 the night of June 26th, Creath and Ray saw the creature not fifteen feet away. They described it as eight feet tall and approximately 300-350 pounds, with pale white fur, and smelling “foul, like river slime”. Again, the creature quickly departed, but Creath and Ray also reported their experience to the police.

More sightings would be reported in the days to come, prompting the local police to launch a 14-person manhunt. Footprints were found at the scenes of the encounters, along with a mysterious black sludge. Although the search did not locate the creature, local law enforcement had no doubts that the residents did see something. A sighting at a traveling carnival ten days later was the last reported sighting of the Murphysboro Mud Monster for many years. Just as mysteriously as it had appeared, the creature was gone.

Murphysboro Mud Monster Today

Big Muddy Monster aka the Murphysboro Mud Monster mural featuring a big foot in the town of Murphysboro

The Murphysboro Mud Monster has stayed alive in the years since these sightings, at least in the imagination of town locals and monster hunters nationwide. Another possible sighting was reported in the late 80s. In 2021, a documentary called Creature from Big Muddy was released that explored the story. The creature is even featured prominently on a new mural in Murphysboro! 

The Creature from Big Muddy Trailer

The story of the Murphysboro Mud Monster, like the best urban legends, has more questions than answers. What is the true identity of this tall, pale, smelly creature? Is it related to the similarly-described Sasquatch, seen by hundreds of Americans over the last century? Perhaps we will never know. What is unique about Big Muddy, however, is that its presence in Murphysboro was recorded by law enforcement at the time of the sightings, along with compelling evidence. This lends believability to the existence of the Murphysboro Mud Monster. As Sasquatch expert Harlan Sorkin stated at the time of the initial sightings, “The gorilla as we know it today was [unknown to many] until the early 1800’s. Can you imagine what people thought when they first saw it?”

Sources:

http://www.murphysboro.com/how_do_i/find/the_big_muddy_monster.php#outer-165 

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/11/01/archives/yetilike-monster-gives-staid-town-in-illinois-a-fright-halloween.html https://dailyyonder.com/illinois-town-welcomes-its-local-monster-on-main-street/2021/10/29/

Ohio’s Helltown Urban Legends and History

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Featured Haunted Places

The history of Helltown, Ohio – a small town plagued by rumors of hauntings, mutant snakes, murder, missing people, and chemical spills.

Tales of the supernatural surround the region formerly known as Boston, Ohio. The village of Boston was founded in 1806 and existed relatively uneventfully until 1974, when it became a footnote in American history. That was the year President Gerald Ford signed a bill that gave the federal government’s National Park Service jurisdiction to expropriate land for the establishment of National Parks. The NPS decided that Boston Township would be the new home for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and began buying the properties and forced evictions of its longtime residents. But the town’s history was much more frightening than anyone would have imagined. What was once Boston, Ohio is now known as Helltown.

The Legends of Helltown, Ohio

Helltown park map featuring drawn map and old photo of the town

“Now we know how the Indians felt.” and “No Trespassing”

Notes left on doors of abandoned houses in Helltown, Ohio

The abandoned village has attracted the interest of urban explorers and ghost hunters, who have uncovered strange orbs, lights, and heard disembodied voices. In 1985, a local dump near the village was discovered to be polluted with toxic chemicals. There are also dark rumors of satanic worshipers who frequent the area and use the abandoned buildings for their nefarious rituals, a haunted school bus and restless ghosts in the cemetery.

Helltown Cemetery

The “Boston Cemetery,” one of many haunted cemeteries in the US, named after the original township has many stories. One involves a ghost who sits on a bench, waiting for his family to come back to him. Another legend from the cemetery states that the only souls not forced to leave the area are the dead, and they sit in this abandoned ghost town, looking for their families which have left so long ago.

The Presbyterian church

old white church

A tiny white church in Helltown is at the center of local urban legends. Some locals believe it was once a place where Satanists worshipped, and that those same Satanists still wander the abandoned streets, hoping to entice visitors with tales of their sinister powers.

The abandoned bus

Road Closed sign from Helltown Ohio

A ghostly school bus stands on the grounds of Helltown. One legend says that it was supposed to be carrying high school students on a ski trip, but an elderly woman flagged it down and warned the driver that there was a young boy in her house who was seriously hurt. It was a trap though and all the students were murdered by a serial killer. In another version of the story it was satanists who sacrificed the students. As the legend goes you can see either the ghosts of the killer or his victims still sitting inside if you peer through the windows of the bus.

Toxic Waste and Monstrous Snakes

There was a private dump not far from Helltown owned by the Krejci family. The Dump was eventually sold to the National Park Service in the early 1970s, but it took until 1985 for the agency to take possession of the land. At first, investigators believed the area was nothing more than an old junkyard. They started to report strange odors, headaches, and even rashes. One man became physically ill, and was reported to be vomiting profusely while cleaning up the dump. The Environmental Protection Agency was called in and found there were thousands of drums of toxic chemicals that had been dumped on the land by major corporations over the decades the Krejci family ran the private landfill.

Peninsula Python Urband Legend from Helltown Ohio. Image of a giant mutant snake

The “Peninsula Python” is mutant snake created from the toxic dump left behind at the Krejci landfill. It is known to be up to 19 ft long with a wide track possibly as wide as a car time. It is dark with brownish blotches. It can climb trees and rear up like a cobra. It’s known to raid henhouses.

There are a few sighting reported from fandom.com.

Clarence Mitchell saw an 18-foot snake crawling across his cornfield near Peninsula, Ohio, on June 8, 1944. After several days of effort, a posse that had been formed on June 25 failed to find any evidence other than broken branches and trails leading to the Cuyahoga River. Reports of a large snake were made through August 1 by other residents of the valley, including Pauline Hopko, who said it slithered away from a willow tree in her yard and frightened her cows so much that they broke loose and ran away.

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

Helltown remains a mystery inside of several tragedies. It is a destination for urban legends, ghost hunters and historians alike. The town remains vacant but accessible.

Is it Illegal to Visit Helltown, Ohio?

No, Visitors can see Helltown without fear of breaking the law. The town is in Boston Township, Ohio, just off Rt. 422. Some residents still live outside the designated national park area but the town remains abandoned. The area is open; it’s free; and it’s less than 20 miles from downtown Cleveland. It’s a quick daytrip and although you could probably stay overnight, do you really want to?

Film and TV about Helltown

Helltown Documentary – This Documentary / Docudrama explores the different aspects, theories, facts, contradictions and speculations of what may have really happened in Helltown 1974.

Travel Channel Episode – Travel Channel explores Helltown.

Lost in Helltown – This looks like the beginning of an indie horror film

Youtube

Sources

https://allthatsinteresting.com/helltown-ohio

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2016/05/10/helltown-ohio/

https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Peninsula_Python

http://www.weirdus.com/states/ohio/abandoned/hell_town/

Ozark Howler – Cryptid Lore

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

Date of Discovery

The Ozark Howler sightings date back to the early 1800s in some southern regions of the United states. The earliest legend comes from Daniel Boone’s encounter with this creature. Legends say Boone fired a few shots at the creature, some say he took it home as a trophy, but little evidence supports that. The most recent sightings came in 2015 when a local resident claims to have photographed the Howler at Devil’s Den State Park.

Devils Den State Park

An imposing icon in the Arkansas Ozarks, Devil’s Den State Park boasts beautiful natural scenery and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park contains a system of caves and underground rivers, as well as trails to surrounding forests that offer hikes and horseback riding opportunities. Lake Devil, a CCC-built dam spanning Lee Creek, also attracts fishing and boating enthusiasts.

Ozark Howler

The Ozark Howler “Howler” has racked up a list of names such as Howler and the Ozark Black Howler. Some of these creatures’ lesser-known names are the Hoo-Hoo, the Nightshade Bear, and the Devil Cat. This creature is known to live in remote areas in the Ozarks. Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas are the four states that make up the Ozark area and have the most sightings of the Howler.

The notable howl is described as eerie, violent and loud. A mixture between several creatures but none specific enough to know its true origins.

Physical Description

Ozark Howler drawing resembling a large bear with horns and claws

These creatures are typically a bear sized being, with a thick and stocky build. It’s covered with black shaggy hair, and in some reports has prominent horns near their ears. This “Howler” has glowing red eyes and the cry of a wolf’s howl, elk’s bugle, and the laugh of a hyena. Often some sightings claim this creature is a large ‘’cat-like’’ monster, but the size of a bear. Still have shaggy hair, but the tan color of a mountain lion or puma. This version does not come with horns, however. Also the “cat” version of the Howler as orangey-red glowing eyes, but the growl of a big cat rather than a true howl.

Origin

This creature has origin tales from Arkansas to Missouri, Oklahoman and Northern Texas and back, all pointing to the 1800s as its true origin date. Many believe this was a hoax to fool the cyptid community from early American folklore, while others have determined the Howlers real. Some claim this is a lost branch of the mountain lion line mix with and unknown ‘big cat’ breed. This missing link from Howler to a big cat has scientists scrambling to match the species and close this unknown link.  

The Ozark Howler is not the only cryptid to be likened to other animals such as the Sasquatch, Dogman and many others.

Mythology and Lore

Some legends state the Howler to be a growling demon stalking its prey across the country or mountainsides. Others report the Howler appearing in the distance just for a look at the passer-byes before disappearing again. The 1800s versions of the Howler telltale of people being attacked and killed; while recent tales to match. Most sightings have become passive walk byes with some strange howling or growling.

Scientists have spent years research breeding populations of big cats in the Ozark area, as well as thermal imagery in hopes of catching a reading of this creature. Many large-scale efforts have been brought to sighting location’s in multiple states, only turning up minor evidence the Howler could have been there. Paw prints and dark hairs are the only traces past blurred out pictures and local tales.  This, however, does not stop locals, researchers, and cryptid hunters from searching out the Howler. Many still comb the area in hopes of seeing this creature.

The Ozark Howler Hoax

Adding even more confusion to this creature’s tale in the late 1990s hoax. Convinced this and other legends were a hoax, an Arkansas student made it his mission to prove the cryptid community wrong. This person flooded websites and blogs with outlandish sighting stories of the Howler, as well as other legends. This made researching and proving the truth of the Howler, to be massively difficult. Scientists have since launched full investigations to get to the bottom of the Howler legend. Chad Arment even states in his book Cryptozoology that the Ozark Howler is definitely a hoax, but there is no further evidence presented.

In 2015 News Leader ran a story from a tipster, John Meyers who sent in photos that were meant to be the Ozark Howler. However, the pictures were thought to be heavily photoshopped and barely resemble the Howler legend.

John was quoted in News Leader saying “Met some family in Devil’s Den State Park this weekend for some camping,” the tipster wrote. “We were up near Yellow Rock trail head this morning and saw this thing chase a squirrel up a tree and I have never seen anything like it. It had short black fur, a broad nose and horns like a young deer but it moved like a cat and had a long tail. Don’t know what else it could be but the Howler.  It was yelping and scratching at the tree and I got this pretty good photo when it stopped and turned to look at me. Wish I had video or more photos but it disappeared too fast….You can give me a call I’m an electrician so usually available to talk for a minute.” 

The Search Continues

Today many still search for the Ozark Howler across the States, others have written this creature off completely. Unfortunately, we will have to make our own choice as to what we believe over this creature’s truth. Hopefully, in a few years, the cryptid community will be able to say for sure what is truth and what is false information. Thus giving Howler hunters a set origin and behavior to match the creature they so long to capture. This is one creature that real or not, has dug deep into American folklore of the Ozark region. It is doubtful the Howler will ever be free from humans searching it out, but it is a fun, albeit potentially dangerous, way to spend your time traveling the Ozarks.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature about the Ozark Howler

Movies about the Ozark Howler

Index

Fandom
Explore Southern History
Unlock the Ozarks


Is there anything we missed about Ozark Howler? Let us know in the comments section below!

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