Haunted Harbor: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Places in Grays Harbor County

Grays Harbor County is known for its overcast skies and frequent rainstorms. Cities and towns are filled with weathered homes and buildings nearly a century old that could easily serve as the backdrop of a spooky paranormal-themed movie.  It’s no wonder several sites in this coastal community could be home to ghosts. As Halloween draws near (or any time of year) visitors can take a tour of the Harbor’s many haunted places.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments. Photo courtesy of Rachel Thomson.

Billy’s Bar & Grill Kurt Cobain may have been Aberdeen’s most famous resident, but many historians may say Billy Gohl was the most sinister. Gohl was an infamous serial killer who lived in Aberdeen in the early 1900s. The legend of his ghost has been documented in many books and a quick Google search turns up dozens of websites detailing his horrific murder spree.

Gohl was a sailor and laborer who came to Grays Harbor around 1903. Gohl became a representative for the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific and had a wharf near the present-day restaurant that bares his name. Sailors from every port of call would stop at his office to collect mail, deposit valuables or connect with friends. After a while, Gohl began stealing from the sailors. After swiping the valuables belonging to his fellow sailors, he would then shoot, poison, strangle or bludgeon his victims and dump the bodies down a trap door that led to the Wishkah River. It’s not known for sure how many deaths Gohl was responsible for, but some estimates have been as low as 40 to well over 100.  Read more here…http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/10/10/a-ghost-hunters-guide-to-haunted-places-in-grays-harbor/

Exploring the Ghost Forest of Copalis

The town of Copalis sits quietly along the coast, having seen better days during the logging and fishing industry heydays. Unassuming and small, Copalis doesn’t look like the type of place where amazing scientific discoveries should occur. However, looks can be deceiving.

ghost forest

The Ghost Forest is located less than a mile up river in Copalis. Photo courtesy Brian Atwater.

Less than a mile upriver from the bridge crossing the Copalis River on Highway 109, a forest of dead trees, known by locals as the Ghost Forest, helped not only solve the mystery of the Japanese tsunami of 1700 but also has given us insight about tsunamis right here at home. The Ghost Forest of Copalis isn’t just someplace that scientists study, it is a location that we can all access, and a unique destination for visitors from around the world.

On the evening of January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the Washington coast off Grays Harbor, causing the land to instantly drop in elevation by up to 6 feet around the region. The quake occurred on the Cascadia Fault, which stretches from North Vancouver Island all the way to Northern California and saw over 622 miles of land get moved by an average slip of nearly 70 feet. The 1700 earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, located off shore and under the Pacific Ocean, caused a tsunami that not only devastated the local areas but killed over 15,000 people across the ocean in Japan…read more here http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/10/15/ghost-forest-copalis/

Keep Clam and Carry a Shovel or Gun


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expects more than half a million digs this year.

Razor clam season brings joy to those who enjoy watching tides and standing on the windswept, often wet Washington Coast. The beaches this year are packed with clammers, as all signs are pointing to this being the best clamming season in more than three decades. Early estimates from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are looking extremely promising even compared with last year’s amazing clamming season.

Last season’s clam dig was the largest since 1982. In the 2013 clam season, more than 6.3 million clams were harvested along the coast of Washington State. With the majority of those clams coming from the beaches of Grays Harbor. This season, the officials at WDFW are anticipating an even better year. Nearly half-a-million dig trips were recorded last year, resulting in an average of 13.9 clams per digger. Those numbers, according to the WDFW reflect a spectacular razor clam population.

“When the ocean is really healthy, the razor clams are also healthy,” explained WDFW’s Coastal Shellfish Lead Biologist, Dan Ayres.  Read more here…http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/10/23/razor-clam-dig-grays-harbor/