Portland Oregon is usually seen as a calm city. Natural beauty and fairly recent architecture give an impression of a safe and tranquil environment. However, no large city can exist without some secrets. And in Portland those secrets often center around the supernatural. One of the most interesting involves a structure called the Witch’s Castle. This site has served as the setting for some dark events. Echoes of that past are said to still influence those who come to investigate.
A peaceful start in the midst of historical events
The 1850s were an exciting time for the Pacific Northwest. Rough settlements were gaining a new legitimacy on a national scale. 1851 would see two important events. The first is that Portland would become an official city. And the second involves a man named Danford Balch laying claim on a piece of land next to a small creek bearing his name. He hired a poor laborer named Mortimer Stump to assist him in creating a property near Balch Creek.
Love, loss and witchcraft in the forests of Oregon
Stump’s time with the family gave him a chance to get to know Balch’s daughter. And in time the pair would fall in love. Balch wasn’t simply opposed to the romantic development. He flat out threatened to murder Stump after the man asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Mortimer Stump and Anna Balch would elope but return to Portland to acquire supplies. Balch was waiting with a shotgun and murdered Mortimer Stump. However, the dark tale takes on an even more sinister tone. Because to the day he died Stump would insist that he didn’t act of his own volition. He insisted that his wife had bewitched him in order to ensure their daughter couldn’t leave.
Stump was sentenced to death for his crime. However, he managed to hide on his property for six months before finally being apprehended again. He was then hanged on October 17th 1859. A stone structure would be constructed in the area 100 years later as a ranger’s station. But it quickly fell into disuse and has instead become a monument to that dark past. Today it’s known as the Witch’s Castle, in memory of the woman said to have set those events into motion with her sorcery.
Today the area is filled with happy hikers and tourists. But it’s said that as October approaches things become far different. The spirits of Stump and his wife rekindle their war against Anna and Mortimer. However, the home they’d all worked on no longer exists. All that remains is Balch creek and the Witch’s Castle to stand as testament to those events. This is said to leave a sense of homesickness in visitors who approach at certain times. It’s also said that especially receptive people can feel the presence of a passage to somewhere else. Somewhere that might be good, or bad but which has the sense of home. It’s something that all four parties yearn for but can never seem to reach. And likewise it can fill some visitors with a sense that death might personally allow them entry into that realm the deceased family so yearns for.
Looking into the past and future
The Witch’s Castle is a must for any paranormal enthusiast visiting Portland. The area in which these events took place has been preserved. And one can look around in knowledge that some of the trees were alive to witness the related events. As the sun sets, especially in October, the feelings associated with the Balch homestead usually become more easily noticed.