Haunted: Manresa Castle Hotel

Mansera Castle Hotel, the original home of Charles and Kate Eisenbeis, was a testament to its owners’ prominent status in the early Port Townsend, Washington business community. Built of walls a foot thick and made from Eisenbeis’ own brickworks, it boasted 30 rooms and was worthy of a king’s residence, although Eisenbeis was only a mayor, the town’s first one.

Nevertheless, it was the largest private residence ever built in Port Townsend, and the locals dubbed it “Eisenbeis Castle.” It looked like one, too, with its turrets’ sheer magnificence, comparable to a few castles in Eisenbeis’ native Prussia. The Castle looks haunted. And it is. 

Outside the Manresa Castle Hotel in Port Townsend, WA
Outside the Manresa Castle Hotel, Port Townsend, Washington (Source)

Manresa Castle Hotel: A Brief History

Eisenbeis had business interests in almost every consumer-driven endeavor within the town, including a bakery, brewery, lumber mill, hotel, and bank. And by all accounts, he lived a happy, prosperous, and vibrant life there until he died in 1902.

His wife, Kate, remarried a few years later, and the castle was left to the stewardship of one caretaker and, therefore, virtually empty for almost 20 years.

Then, in 1925, a Seattle attorney purchased the castle and transformed it into a vacation spot for nuns who taught in the Seattle school system, allowing them to partake in some rest and recreation. This castle incarnation lasted only a few years before the Jesuits purchased it for training their seminarians in 1927.

The Jesuits then changed the castle name to Manresa Hall after the town in Spain where their founder, Ignatius Loyola, established the order. They also expanded the property by adding sleeping rooms, a large wing, a chapel, and an elevator.

Unfortunately, during this period of Jesuit ownership, two priests met their deaths.

  1. The first death was Fr. John Alden Murphy, who accidentally drowned in Puget Sound.
  2. The second death was a suicide. According to legend, a young Jesuit priest in training had an affair with a local nun, was caught, then shamed and shunned by the community for his transgression. Distraught, he hung himself from the attic’s rafters above room 302, one of the most paranormal active rooms in the castle.

Two other tragedies are affiliated with the castle and have paranormal consequences for visitors and staff. Charles Eisenbeis’ son, Charles Jr., committed suicide in the basement of their nearby bakery on September 29, 1897. Although no one is sure why he ended his life, many believe it was due to financial woes. 

In another tragedy, a guest of the Eisenbeis’ from the UK stayed at the castle while waiting for her beloved’s return from the sea. Unfortunately, while there, she received word that her lover’s ship sank, and there were no survivors. Overcome by grief, she jumped from the window of room 306 to her death.

But, in an almost Shakespearian twist of fate, it was later learned that a passing boat picked up her lover, and he survived. This is just one of the stories attributed to this particular suicide, but although the stories may vary, the sightings of her ghost have remained consistent for over a hundred years. 

The castle is a paranormal hot spot, with most of the activity attributed to the above suicides and deaths. However, contrary to its dark history, when the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures investigated there, Zak Bagans was struck by the old-world beauty, romance, and ambiance of the castle and grounds, which he said reminded him of Ireland or Scotland.

The television shows Haunted History and My Ghost Story have also covered the haunted happenings at the castle, and it’s a popular hotspot for paranormal investigators of all levels of experience.

Rooms 302, 304, and 306 are reportedly the most paranormally active and the hotel’s Breakfast Room. These and so much more have made this one of Washington State’s most haunted locations. So, let’s move on to some of the ghostly encounters. 

Paranormal Activity and Evidence

Malicious, unsettled energy seems to be the hallmark of most of Mansera’s dearly departed and some benign residual energy. The activity here is so prolific that those who spend some time investigating within these castle walls will undoubtedly encounter evidence of the afterlife. The current castle owners placed a ‘ghost register’ for recording these experiences in each room but eventually had to remove them because they were scaring away the paranormally challenged. 

Here’s a laundry list of reported occurrences at the Manresa Castle Hotel:

  • Unexplained Noises: Door creaking, Footsteps, Banging noises, Plastic ruffling noises, Tapping sounds
  • Visual Sighting: Apparition of a child below the stairs
  • Disembodied Voices:
    • Child laughing
    • “WHOA!”
  • EVPs:
    • “Someone is here.”
    • “Set off that table.”
    • “Get out!”
    • “Trouble”
    • “Enter.”
    • “I am not here.”
    • “Please help.”
  • Spirit Box Voices:
    • “Natalie”
    • “Stay out!”
  •  Intense cold spots and the hair on arms begin to stand on end.
  • Orbs
  • Unexplained Phenomena: The phone in the room where an EVP session is performed begins to ring.
  • Apparition of what appears to be a face moving from left to right.
  • An X camera captures a chair in the breakfast room tilting to the left.
  • The castle housekeeper was physically attacked twice:
    • Bruise the size of a child’s hand on her leg.
    • Punched in the face. 
  • Lights turn off and on.
  • Spurts of cold air while walking down the hallways.
  • Apparition, in a long, flowing white gown, is frequently seen near the window in room 306, where the woman jumped to her death. The ghost rearranges guests’ belongings and sometimes leaves the dresser drawers open. 
  • Glasses in the restaurant and chapel sometimes explode or turn upside down.
  • Some report seeing an apparition of a hooded monk in room 302, the room just below the attic where his suicide occurred. 
  • Mrs. Eisenbeis’ ghost was caught on a digital camera in the dining room dressed in a long, Victorian gown. An EVP of a female speaking German, the Eisenbeis’ native language, has also been recorded in the same dining room.
  • People are heard talking and moving around in unoccupied rooms.

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