The City of Dreams
Tucked up against a deep bay and surrounded by mountains and water, Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, is known as an artist community, a maritime hub, and a tourist destination, and, for those who are sensitive to it, a haunted location. It is also home to approximately 9,000 residents, who, for the most part, choose to live life a bit more laid-back than inhabitants of other towns in the area. While driving through downtown or even walking around, you are greeted with what we like to call, “a living museum of a community that keeps the past in the present.” That is what has been carefully accomplished by the many historians, town planners, and the entire community, since the start of the City of Dreams revival in 1975.
Dreams Don’t Always Come True
Behind each window is a story of today seamlessly intertwined with the stories of yesteryear. Four-story limestone or brick buildings have been restored with great care to highlight the details that make Port Townsend a true Victorian Seaport. Over 300 commercial and residential buildings recall the days of gingerbread and gold leaf. Every structure is a pallet of color and texture, reminding us that even 150 years ago, beauty was a quest. And the imagination was only limited by the depth of the dreamer’s pocket, and the time needed to create the dream. A dream that, for some, turned into a nightmare.
Death, Murder, and Ghosts
One would never suspect that the little candle store in the under the town, so full of brightly-colored wax and the scent of exotic fragrances, has replaced the smell of tragedy and gun smoke from the shadowed past. The blood red candles displayed on the front counter now replacing the stain of sorrow and confusion that puddled around the body of a man, who, on the outside, had it all, but on the inside, was just as hollow as the smoke of a blown out candle. The heated dis-ingenuousness of purchased passion, now remembered in the words of our storytellers.
When walking into the Bishop Hotel, built on the edge of what used to be China Town, you may be met by the little girl who calls the second floor landing a fun place to sit and play with, what some think to be, a game of ball-and-jacks. But, when you look again, all you see is perhaps a glimpse of shadow on the floor where she was sitting. Don’t worry, she is still sitting there, it is not your imagination, and no, we don’t know who she is (though we have our suspicions.) We will address our thoughts on this, and share the details we have uncovered when you take a Twisted History tour.
A Very Haunted City!
So, you get it, right?! The spirit of Port Townsend is old. Older than the cracks in the granite cornerstones of our downtown buildings. It is as aged as the water that laps the shores and as timeless as the sands hidden under the blacktop of progress. These details are not what makes it haunted, though. It is more than just being “old” or “a place of tragic happenings.” No, to find a possible answer as to why the city is home to over 200 known and shared ghost stories, with hundreds of myths, folktales, and legends contributing threads to the fabric, one must dig. Dig into the dark shadows of the past, pushing through the rigid confines of “accepted history” and into that rich tapestry of lore, which stretches back into a time before motor and glass.
That is where the true story of Port Townsend and it’s twisted history truly begins to take shape. Today is part one in this series. Over the next few weeks, we will explore, from multiple angles, this haunted, yet vibrant, community. The history of Port Townsend will be shared, for I am a storyteller first and foremost, and the city itself serves as my backdrop. The stories must be told to examine why Port Townsend is a genuinely twisted town. A town, vibrant with murder, debauchery, crime, mayhem– and more than its fair share of paranormal happenings!
We will hear from Gussy Dupp, the Port Townsend Greywytch, as she discusses why Port Townsend is home to so many shadows from yesterday. This will include the Spiritualism Movement, famous in turn-of-the-century Port Townsend, and the openly pagan lifestyles that so many of residents of this town observe now, and followed, then.
Pixie Dupp will weigh in with her thoughts as to why murder was as common as a lover’s caress on a moonlit beach! With years of crime research and independent murder investigations for unsolved crimes, she brings a unique blend of theory, mystery and opinions as to the darker side of man’s passions.
Our lead investigator, Allcut Dupp, will road map the type of spirits, ghosts, shades, and horrors that peek at us from the dull glass windows of the lamp-lit streets of the town. Having investigated many of the buildings and locations, we are convinced that the past is still with us, and indeed part of everyone that calls The Key City, home.
We hope our thoughts and insights about our haunted seaside community intrigue you as much as they have us. We are eager to share all that we have learned after six years of calling Port Townsend the home and headquarters of Twisted History. We invite you to subscribe and enjoy what we have to share. Port Townsend is a bastion of otherworldly activity in the Pacific Northwest, and you’ll find that the paranormal is normal, here.