Auburn’s ghost stories
The haunting atmosphere of Halloween piqued my curiosity whether the City of Auburn had any ghosts or urban legends. Searching the internet provided a few stories worth checking out. Here’s what I found.
Though neither a ghost nor an urban legend, we thought it appropriate to share a bit of Auburn’s history. Upon its incorporation, Auburn was initially named Slaughter. The name choice was a means to honor William Slaughter, an Army Lieutenant who died in a battle near the townsite during the Indian War of 1856.
Two years after incorporating, on February 21, 1893, Slaughter’s name was officially changed to Auburn by Act of the Washington State Legislature. The name selection came from an influx of settlers from Auburn, New York caused the new name.
The Faceless Roamer
One of the most frequent stories found online spoke to a “Faceless Roamer.” All accounts typically read that a wealthy landowner from Slaughter sold some property to help contribute to the city’s growth. The claim is that his ghost can be seen stalking downtown A Street. He angrily walks through walls, and it appears he delights in the fear he instills. There is no known reason his face does not appear.
Credibility: Multiple longtime Auburn residents confirmed they have never heard of this urban legend. Reaching out to the White River Valley Museum, Curator of Collections Hilary Pittenger also confirmed the lack of credibility in the story.
“I have also heard of this “Faceless Roamer” story, but only through internet sources. I believe the first time I came across it was about five or six years ago. Since then, I have seen it occasionally written about on blogs or lists of “creepy Washington State stories,” but I have never heard a first-person telling of the story or heard of anyone telling the story verbally. As the story continues to spread online, I expect that this will change – and I look forward to learning what new permutations the story takes!”
Pittenger added that “like so many ghost stories and urban legends, this story picks up on a juicy historical fact – Auburn previously being named Slaughter – and uses it as set dressing to set the right eerie mood for the rest of the otherwise very anonymous tale that could be told in innumerable towns across the country.”
The Ghost of Auburn High School Auditorium
Another story frequently found online was a ghost story of a girl who haunts the Auburn High School Auditorium. According to the story, in the early 1950’s, a girl fell from the catwalk during a production. Since her fatal accident, her ghost has been seen walking around the pit area and heard in the rafters. In these stories the age of the girl can change but is always female.
Credibility: Several AHS alumni confirmed they had heard this story, but that the auditorium it occurred in was no longer there. Providing some Auburn history, Pittenger thoroughly dispelled the ghost story.
“The only thing that makes it a local story is its setting inside Auburn High School. One problem with this story is that the auditorium being referenced wasn’t built until 1981. In the 1950s, drama performances were held in the school cafeteria, which certainly had no catwalks,” said Pittenger.
The White River Valley Museum
Last year the City shared a post that a cut out of photo contest winner, Mrs. Miller had a habit of moving on its own. Pittenger explained that “we do have a very lightweight cutout of Mrs. Miller in our exhibits that does [tend to] move around on its own. But this is due to being positioned close to a ceiling vent that constantly blows on it, rather than any spectral activity. The “movement” of the cutout is not very dramatic – usually just turned slightly from its usual position or pushed further back against the wall it was closest to.”
When asked if there were any other potential specters in the museum Pittenger shared, “I’m afraid there’s nothing nearly so interesting to share. In 2012 we allowed a group of hobbyist ghost-hunters to tour the museum and see if they found anything interesting. At that time, several staff members shared stories of hearing odd noises or unexpected movements in their peripheral vision, but nothing with a definite pattern or source. Certainly, there have never been reported incidents of anything unexplained happening that was scary or harmful. Our ghost-hunting friends also came up fairly empty, but were very polite and interesting guests.”
Regal Cinema 17
There are accounts online that the Regal Cinema movie theaters at the Outlet Collection is haunted. The reports say that a spirit is in the projection area of the theater. Those who have experienced what they feel is a paranormal phenomenon say movies turn off suddenly in theater numbers 2, 9, and 17 for no apparent reason.
Credibility: A reliable source has heard personal accounts of this from multiple people.
In December 2014 the Spunky Monkey hosted the Puget Sound Ghost Hunters for an investigation.
Is it haunted? See for yourself and decide:
What do you think, does Auburn have a few ghosts taking up residence? Do you know of any ghosts or urban legends around Auburn that you find fascinating?