If you are visiting the San Juan Islands around Halloween and want to get in to the holiday spirit, you don’t have to look to hard to find a reportedly haunted location to investigate. Several hotels and restaurants around the islands have reported unworldly activity that will give even the most stubborn nonbelievers an appropriately seasonal chill. I’ve gathered a couple of the best stories to get you started on your paranormal investigations.
The first story comes from Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. After Robert Moran sold the mansion in 1938, a couple by the name of Rheem took residence. After seeing Alice Rheem (pictured left) recklessly riding her motor scooter around the island and partaking in a few too many beverages at the local bar, rumors started circulating around the island that her husband had bought the remote property in order to ensconce his unruly wife. After years of drinking heavily, Alice eventually passed away in the mansion, but some guests and employees seem to think that she never truly left. Guests have complained of raucous parties going on all night in adjacent rooms, when the rooms were in fact vacant the night before according to resort staff. There have also been reports of lights turning on and off by themselves, shadowy figures passing across the walls at night, and one housekeeper even reported being touched!
The manager at the Roche Harbor Resort has also reported paranormal activity, and he believes he knows who is responsible. The former owner of the property, John S. MacMillan, hired a woman named Atta Beanning as a governess for his children, and she later passed away on the property. Creepy occurences such as lights turning on and off by themselves, doors opening and closing, and kitchen appliances turning on by themselves have been reported by the resort staff. The restaurant manager has lived with Mrs. Beanning’s pranks in his kitchen for the last 15 years, but he believes her to be a friendly presence.
For even more spine-tingling stories, join Ghosts Among Us each October, sponsored by the San Juan Historical Museum. During the event, island residents and visitors share stories and experiences they have had personally or that have been passed down through the years. Although parental guidance is suggested for the younger crowd, the event guarantees an informative, fun, and lively way to celebrate the spookiest holiday!