In northeaster King County, just about eighty miles outside of Seattle, Washington lies a ghost town with a cold, dark past. Founded in 1893, Wellington, Washington provided a home town for Great Northern railway employees who worked to provide a route through the Cascades. The town was abandoned around 1929, and all that remains today are a few faint reminders of the past. Why does this old railroad town still draw ghost hunters, tourists, and explorers from all over?
The Cascade Mountains are steep and prone to avalanches and slides which often buried the railroad tracks. Engineers knew this while constructing the original Cascade Tunnel under Steven’s Pass. However, a route was necessary to get trains from one side of Washington to the other. This little problem with the weather would later earn Wellington its place in the history books.
In the winter 1910, a train carrying passengers emerged from the Cascade Tunnel and into the small town of Wellington. The train made an emergency stop as a week long blizzard prevented them from traveling. The tiny hotel in town couldn’t hold all of the passengers. Many chose to sleep on the train, while others ventured out with snow shoes.
Two people were killed during the blizzard when a bank of snow crashed into the cooking shack for the hotel. As the blizzard lifted, the warm winds produced rain which froze on top of the snow pack and weighted down the light powder below. On March 1, 1910, an infamous disaster struck Wellington. Measured in terms of lives lost, this avalanche is marked as the worst avalanche in the history of the United States. The hotel and town of Wellington suffered only minor damage. However, the train filled with passengers suffered an ill fate. The avalanche pushed the train down a drop of over 150-feet leaving passengers trapped under mounds of snow. Although rescuers immediately went to work searching for survivors, the conditions were bleak. Only twenty-three passengers survived. Including passengers and crew, a total of 96 people were killed. Some of the bodies weren’t recovered until summer when the snow had receded.
The town was later renamed Tye, after the nearby Tye River. A snow shed was built to protect the railroad tracks from future snow issues. However, the town would later become abandoned as the second Cascade Tunnel was built. The new tunnel bypassed Tye and eventually the railroad tracks were removed and the town slowly died.
Residual haunts are a playback of events and commonly occurs after a tragic death. While investigators can record EVPs (voices too low to be picked up without special equipment) and obtain photographic proof, they can’t interact with this type of haunting. The number of people who died tragically near Wellington is high and therefore residual haunts could be relevant.
Is Wellington a ghost town filled with ghosts? The Ghost Gurlz were recording a live radio show up at Wellington when they had an unforgettable experience that left them believing there may both residual and intelligent haunts at Wellington. Casi felt a presence getting way to close and Medea told it to, “Back off.” Medea was then physically pushed away from Casi.
“That’s not all,” Medea told me filled with excitement. “There is also the coffee story.”
When they returned the following year, Medea had a ghostly interaction which has remained with her until this day.
“It was a colder night and I stayed behind in the parking lot to make some coffee on the camp stove. While I was getting water out of the car, I heard some fragments of speech that sounded like a woman’s voice. Figuring I might not be alone, I offered to make an additional cup for whoever might be out there with me. My voice recorder was still recording and in the cup holder of my camp chair during the twenty minutes or so that it took to boil the water. While I was pouring the water from the kettle, I had not turned off the burner and the wind made it flame up a bit… Class A EVP “Put it out”. I poured an extra cup of coffee and placed it on the table. That is when the recorder picked up three separate voices. A woman’s voice said, “thank you for putting me a cup of coffee”, a child-like voice said, “thank you”, and a male voice said, “a whole cup of hot coffee.”
To learn more about Wellington, Washington, including tip on planning a visit: http://www.wellingtonproject.org
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