Sometime back in the Victorian era, a lighthouse was built on the end of Whidbey Island where Fort Casey is now. The lighthouse is still there….
…it’s just surrounded by fort now. It is also the fort’s only really tangible ghost source known. The teenage son was tragically drowned when we made the mistake of taking a rowboat out in a storm. Yet as far as I know, no one has reported seeing him, though I do recall the tour guide at the lighthouse, now a museum, saying something about a ghost woman being seen at the lighthouse. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the details of that, only the fact that I didn’t see her. Be that as it may, I’d be the last person to say that Fort Casey isn’t haunted, because it definitely seemed so to me.
Fort Casey on Whidbey Island WA was first activated in 1901 as one of three forts called the Triangle of Fire built to protect the Puget Sound from invasion by sea. The other two are Fort Worden in Port Townsend and Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.
A special feature of Fort Casey’s design was its guns on disappearing carriages, that could be raised up above the fortifications long enough to fire and then go back down…
These, however, did not long remain the latest, greatest thing in defensive warfare. They were obsolete, for the fort at least, with the invention of war planes in 1903. This meant that the fort could now be attacked from the air and the guns couldn’t hide so well anymore. They were removed from their emplacements and for use on trains in Europe as mobile defense during WWII, but the fort itself was used mostly for training until after the was when it was deactivated and became a state park.
It did not see any warfare at all unless you counted what it’s guns did gallivanting around Europe in WWII before eventually coming home to roost as it were circa 1960.
Guys care about that stuff. Go with your husbands, son, boyfriends, male what-have-yous and most of their interest in Fort Casey will be riveted strictly on the guns. They LOVE those things! Anything that’s basically destructive, makes loud noises, and gives off lots of smoke.
My personal interest was always in the spooky looking and fasinating fortifications atop as well as the tunnels and chambers below ground – many of which are now closed to the public due to people being lost or injured in them.
One underground tunnel I particularly liked went to a sort of balcony in the cliff where you look out of the sea from a still fairly high vantage point. I believe that one is still there but I didn’t think to take a picture of it. Sorry.
Anyway, back in the days when everything was still open and I was about 18, my family and my boyfriend Mark visited there and spend all day just exploring it.
Most of the fort is composed of maze-like underground tunnels and chambers, which I couldn’t get enough of. Mark, however, big burly foot-player-type guy that he was, had to be dragged along. He was leery of the confined spaces and dark.
I felt three different presences in three different areas of the fort that day. The first was in a square, underground building called the “Switch board”. I felt the prickle of an extra presence there, but that was it. Nothing special; not for me anyway… but when we got back out into the sunlight, my mother, who been in the single file line between me and my step father, he leading – mentioned feeling it too and then we all looked at her in surprise because she was wearing a necklace now that she hadn’t been wearing before: a little gold cross I think. Her hand went to her neck when she saw me frowning at it in puzzlement.
“Where did you get that?” I asked.
:What?” she asked in the same minute that her fingers found the necklace and froze with a similar frown on her face.
She couldn’t crane her neck enough to see it properly with it on so I unfastened it for her and held it up. “This.”
She frowned. “It’s pretty, but I have no idea. I have never seen that necklace before…. But I felt…. Something….”
I can’t recall if she put the necklace back on, but she kept touching her neck, uneasy as to how the necklace might have gotten there.
The second presence made itself known in a relatively open area called “the Stockade” where what were obviously jail cells surrounded a courtyard. It got some sunlight here, yet stepping into one of the cells for a moment, I felt a very dark and brooding presence, both angry and forlorn. It was so palpable, that I actually retreated from it in a hurry. My mother later mentioned feeling the same thing in that spot. Years later, my daughter went to Fort Casey on a field trip and also felt it there in the stockade, though I hadn’t yet told her my own story of it.
As for the third presence… Near the old lighthouse, we found the entrance to another tunnel. Actually, there were two entrances facing on each other indented into the hillside, one of which was sealed, but the other wide open into a narrow tunnel. Mark insisted we take both rope and flashlight into this one so, once we got them, I went in with the rope and Mark shone the high-powered flashlight from behind me.
The tunnel kept making sharp turns and doubling back on itself and with each turn got narrower until it became more comfortable for us to simply walk sideways. Several turns in, we were starting to think of turning back because the sides of the tunnel were now brushing us both in front and in back. Then I found yet another turn and reached through the opening into it because the flashlight this deep into the hillside was no longer lighting much. It was a tunnel too narrow for us to fit through at all, yet I felt a hand in it reach forward and gently cover my own.
Surprised, I asked, “Who are you? Are you stuck?” and then had to explain about the hand to Mark.
The owner of that hand didn’t answer, but the fingers tightened on my own. I asked Mark to bring the flashlight further forward and he shone it directly into the new tunnel while my hand was still clasping the other, but no one was there. Even the other hand wasn’t visible. Even so, I was convinced it was someone stuck there – invisible because of the intense darkness – while Mark was abruptly convinced that we were dealing with a ghost, shrieked pitiably, and hurriedly left me alone in the tunnel without even the flashlight.
Disgusted with him but otherwise unperturbed, I disengaged from the hand, saying I’d try to find help and fumbled my way back out of the tunnel.
Outside, I found a search party looking for a young girl, but when I told the ranger in charge about the hand in the tunnel, he actually had the nerve to say it was impossible and that I was imagining things. The young girl was found, but elsewhere, and when I went back to the tunnel again on my own to see what I could do to help whoever was there, I found no one.
On Labor Day Weekend of 2005, I went back to the site with Carol Portos and her family, who’d I met online after she’d seen my above tale of Fort Casey on my main website, Ampbreia, and had a far more interesting one of her own to tell. They’d been exploring a set of bunkers I’d never even known about before and something invisible that felt suspiciously like a hand had repeatedly played with and lifeted locks of Carol’s hair. When Carol took a photo of the spot, a very definite large orb appeared in it. Here’s the photo she took and later gave to me with permission to use it online:
We’d both decided to come back to the place of our ghostly experiences and explore some more in earnest, this time with an EMF meter and audio recorder in addition to our cameras.
We didn’t really find anything. In fact, I couldn’t find the two places where I’d felt the presences back when I was a teenager. Carol Portos and her family showed us where they’d had their experience and we hiked in at night and settled in for a couple of hours within the dark bunker with only our flashlights for light. We found a very cute little bat that was very annoyed with us for the flashlights. I had my EMF meter handy and it did unexpectedly beep in a few areas, but it was neither prolonged or predictable about it. One of the women found a very warm spot several inches out from a corner and that spot moved from time to time though couldn’t be felt on the actual surface of the wall. We all felt it. This was one spot where my EMF meter beeped most often.
Something about the bunker. It was underground and built of cement. It also had the beginnings of stalactites and stalagmites just like you would find in a natural limestone cave. There is a certain significance in this. Limestone caves, for centuries, have been used by shaman, seers, and other spirit questors as a place to receive visions. It’s also a warm place to go when it’s cold outside because, even barring wind chill factor, these caves average about 10 degrees F warmer than outside.
Cement is largely composed of limestone. When water runs through limestone sufficient to create stalactites and stalagmites, it creates a low level radiation that may, in fact, generate a mind-set appropriate to visions. It’s said, too that this radiation is sufficient for ghosts to use for their manifestations. They take in this radiation and give off EMF. I’m no expert on this though. These are just bits and pieces I’ve gleaned from my reading. Anyway, it could explain the warmth we found in that one corner.
It is also of note that residual hauntings tend to take place where there’s a lot of limestone. It acts almost as a recording device of past events and emotions.
I must not be receptive any longer. I didn’t see or feel anything I’d confidently call a ghost. My son, my husband, and myself did have fun exploring all the ruins and taking a ton of pictures however.
Speaking of which, we later that weekend took the Keystone Ferry from there to Port Townsend to visit Fort Worden, some of which is right by the beach…
…the rest of which is a steep hike uphill.
We had lots of fun exploring there too and one very good orb shot among them that I got by accident when I took a picture of our sons going down into one of the tunnels:
Ghosts or no ghosts, though, these forts are very cool places to explore.