Western State

It was October of 2003 when Paul suggested that they go ghost hunting at Western State in Steilacoom.

“Where the hell is that?” Jason asked his new friend.

“It’s like in Tacoma.”

“Okay, that isn’t too far.  So what is supposedly haunted about this place?” he asked.

“Dude.  It’s like one of the most haunted places in the U.S.  It’s an old insane asylum, and apparently there were a lot of abuses there.  Lobotomies were practically invented there, and they did all kinds of experiments on patients.  You know the Nirvana song, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle?  Well that song is because she was committed there for being too wild of a woman and then says she was abused and raped there.  Before that there was a big TB outbreak that killed a ton of people.  The old hospital was replaced with one across the lake, but there is still part of the buildings and the boiler room.  We should go.”

“A Taco Bell outbreak?”  Jason asked jokingly, knowing he meant tuberculosis.

“No dude a tu-  Dude, you’re an asshole!” Paul said, realizing the joke a little late.  “No, it’ll be fun.  Michelle and I went last year.”

“Yeah, alright.  I’ll see what the wife has going and let you know.”

So after work, Jason talked to his wife who thought it sounded fun, although she did say she was scared.  Jason joked with her about it until she said she was more scared of getting caught trespassing than of ghosts.

The next day at work Jason told Paul that him and Jenny were in.  They made plans to go that Saturday night.

After driving to get there, through a pretty rough-looking neighborhood, they got to the entrance of Ft. Steilacoom park which was technically in Lakewood, WA.  They parked and then walked along a trail for a while until they came to the fence.  It was an especially dark night.  The moon was not particularly bright and what little moonlight did shine was filtered by clouds.

The fence stood around a group of massive, half-destroyed concrete buildings.  As they approached the fence topped with razor wire, the temperature seemed to drop considerably.  Jenny saw the fence and was relieved.

“There is no way that I’m climbing that.  Guess we’ll just go back,” she said almost in the form of a question.

“No, there is a big hole cut in it,” Paul said.  “You don’t need to climb.  It’s right here,” he finished as he went through to the other side.

“Oh, good,” Jenny lied in reply.

They all walked across the fence line.  As they did, Jason noticed a profound sense of sadness.  He dismissed it, knowing that he had heard (and then read online to verify) the history of the place and all that had happened there.  He had always thought that if a place were going to be haunted, there probably wouldn’t be any place more likely than an institution.  He started to wonder if the energy of the place was so negative, that it just did not go away, even when the people did.  They walked in and around the ruins.  He was so busy looking at everything, that he didn’t notice that his wife Jenny was really starting to freak out.

Paul and Michelle were now sitting down on a slab of concrete making out.

Jenny grabbed Jason’s hand and said, “Let’s go.  We need to leave.  Something isn’t right here.”

“Okay, we will in a bit.  Are you scared?” he taunted.

“Yes.” she said in a way that let him know she was dead serious.

He’d never seen her like that before.  Understanding that if he ever wanted to get along with her again, they should probably leave, he decided to go tell Paul and Michelle they wanted to go.  He approached the face sucking duo and coughed to get their attention.

“Jenny’s freaking the fuck out.  You two ready?”

“Yeah, dude, no problem.  Where is she?” he asked Jason.

Jason turned to look for her and she was gone.

“I think she must already be walking back to the car,” Jason said.

“Dude, I didn’t even see anything this time.  The first time I was here, I saw some white mist and I did the same thing.  Took off and waited for my friends back at the car.”

They walked back hoping to catch up with Jenny.  They made it back to the car, but she wasn’t there.  Jason told Paul and Michelle to wait there, and he would go back looking for her.  He must have taken the wrong way because he found himself standing in a field of numbered 4×4 flat stones.  He was standing in the 2,000 range. It dawned on him what those numbers were, and then a white mist rose from the graveyard.  He heard Jenny scream.  He took off running after the sound, and found himself back at the ruins.  On the ground, lie Jenny.  Her eyes were open but she was paralyzed with fear.  Paul and Michelle got there a second later and they picked her up and lead her back to the car.

She seemed completely in shock.  Everyone asked what was wrong, but she didn’t say anything.  She just stared off into space for the whole ride home.  He led her up to the apartment in which they lived and put her to bed.

The next day, Jenny still wasn’t any better.  In fact, she seemed worse.  When he woke her up and made her breakfast she didn’t get out of bed.  He got her up and led her to the kitchen, but she wouldn’t eat.  When he saw some drool forming at the corner of her mouth, he got her dressed and took her to the hospital.  She still hadn’t said a word.

After the ER doctors examined her, they feared she may have had a stroke or aneurism while she was scared.  They ordered a CT scan.

The doctors came in with a very concerned look and asked Jason to sit down.  Jason knew the news couldn’t be good, and braced himself for a brain tumor, stroke, or aneurism diagnosis.

“Are you sure she was fine before you went to Western State?” the doctor asked.

“Yeah, why?” Jason replied.

“Because this woman has been lobotomized.”

The numbered graves


Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

22 thoughts on “Western State”

      1. No kidding. You really did ? It’s something I’d do too. Ghost Hunting on SyFy used to be one of my most favorite shows ( I loved Wednesdays coz it was Ghost Hunting time ). Oh, I don’t like Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel. Zak, the main guy , is such a fake and drama queen.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Good one, Josh and great writing BTW! My daughter is doing her internship at Oregon State Hospital in Salem. (where they filmed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest–and some other notorious goings on there). I’ll text her to make sure she stays away from graveyards near it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The hubs ghosts hunts regularly. I think he’s insane, but less because of the ghosts and more because of the bats, and rats, and spiders. I’m way more scared of the things I CAN see than the things I can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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