So, my youngest daughter Chrissy and I set off to check out Portlands Forest Park, Located in the West Hills of Portland.
this part of the park(MacLeay Park) has the old stone house, aka The Witches castle. heres a bit of history for you.
Forest Park in Portland, Oregon most notably the area around Balch Creek
has some interesting history behind it as well as playing host to one
of the area’s most famous haunted places. In 1850, Danford Balch filed a
land claim on this portion of land near what was then the fledgling
settlement of Portland. Danford’s land was large enough that he needed
help in order to clear it. He hired a transient worker named Mortimer
Stump who was from Vancouver. Balch allowed him to stay with the he and
his family which consisted of his wife Mary Jane and his 9 children.
Mortimer was with the family so long that one thing led to another
and he fell in love with Danford’s 15 year old daughter Anna. Mortimer
asked for permission to marry Anna but her parents refused. The couple
threatened to elope and Danford exclaimed that if they did he would kill
Mortimer. Well young lovers did not heed this warning and Mortimer ran
off to Vancouver with Anna in November of 1858 where they were
married. This sparked a feud between the Balch and Stump families.
A few weeks later Mortimer, Anna, and some other members of the Stump
family returned to Portland for some supplies and encountered Danford.
Having been nagged and tormented by Mary Jane to make good on his
promise, Danford later claimed that his wife “bewitched” him into
carrying out his threat to kill Mortimer and return their daughter to
the family. In a drunken stupor, Danford pulled a shotgun and shot
Mortimer in the head.
Balch was promptly arrested, however the deteriorated condition of
the wooden prison allowed him to later escape while awaiting his trial.
He hid out on his own property and was again found and arrested some 6
months later. Danford Balch was put on trial and convicted for the
murder of Mortimer and was hanged to death on October 17, 1859. This
was the first legal hanging that occured in the newly formed Oregon
Territory. Mary Jane continued to live at the Balch cabin, but at
Danford’s request divided up the land amoung her children.
Over the years, the land was passed to various owners but was of
little use and was given to the City of Portland by Donald Macleay in
1897 to be used as a park. In the 1950′s a stone structure was built to
house restrooms and a ranger station for the park near the site of the
old Balch cabin. Over time this structure deteriorated from vandalism
and was abandoned in the 1960′s. This has since became known as “The
Witch’s Castle”. It is rumored that this was once a 1600′s trading
post, however the existing structure was built almost 350 years later.
Whether a previous structure was there or not, it is unknown.
It is said that strange occurrences occur in this area. Plasma orbs
have been photographed in some cases. Some say that when you visit this
area around midnight, many apparitions can bee seen in the area and
appear as if they are in some sort of battle or war against each other.
It is believed that these may be the ghosts of Danford, Mortimer, Anna,
and Mary Jane returning from the hereafter. Perhaps these are indeed
the spirits of the Balch and Stump families carrying out their ghostly
feud through all of time.
anyway, here are a few of the pictures I shot along the trail and of Witches Castle.