Old Wheeler Hotel: a paranormal hotspot

‘Permanent guests’ at The Old Wheeler Hotel make it a hotspot in paranormal tourism

Long before white Americans settled in the area, the legend of the Neahkahnie Treasure occupied most of the Tillamook Coast’s paranormal spotlight, thanks to tales of 17th century Spanish sailors murdering a man and burying his body on top of a chest of gold hidden deep inside the mountain, leaving his ghost to guard the plunder.

The Spaniards believed, or so the story goes, that the Nehalem Indians would steer clear of the loot for they believed it was haunted, leaving the chest undisturbed until they eventually returned to reclaim it.

Today, however, the Nehalem Bay area’s premier supernatural destination is far less remote, situated as it is in the heart of Wheeler, and available for overnight bookings. According to the owner and many others, the Old Wheeler Hotel, which includes eight guestrooms with bay views upstairs and retail shops along Highway 101 downstairs, is a hotspot of spectral activity.

Built in 1920, the hotel did brisk business during Wheeler’s lumber boom following construction of the Pacific Railway & Navigation Company railroad in 1911, which allowed local mills to ship their product inland. The building later served as a nationally renowned, experimental arthritis clinic and a rural hospital before eventually being renovated to serve as a hotel again.

In late 2010, hotel owner Katie Brown told reporter Erin Dietrich, of the Tillamook Headlight Herald, that resident ghosts, or “permanents,” as she prefers to call them, include one that enjoys watching television in Room No. 3, as evidenced by the small indentation he leaves on the side of the bed in that room, and the fact that guests have reported the TV inexplicably coming on in the middle of the night, and showing old black-and-white movie).

Talk of such incidents reached a number of ghost hunting organizations, several of which have visited the hotel to see for themselves and document their findings. The Paranormal Society of Portland, for instance, filmed [this 2008 clip] of what it identifies as “an apparition” in Old Wheeler Hotel Room No. 3.

Brown told the Tillamook Headlight Herald reporter the spirits that haunt the Old Wheeler Hotel all appear to be benevolent, and added that she and the majority of guests say they feel exceptionally safe there.

You can visit the Old Wheeler Hotel’s resident ghosts at 495 Highway 101 N in Wheeler, Oregon on the Tillamook Coast. Or keep up with the latest Old Wheeler Hotel news on Facebook.

LeeAnn Neal
LeeAnn Neal’s great-great-great grandfather Elbridge Trask and great-great grandfather Warren Vaughn were among the Tillamook County pioneers who built the Morning Star ship and who are featured in the Don Berry cult historical fiction novels “Trask” and “To Build a Ship.” She has been a journalist on the north Oregon coast for nearly 20 years, as well as a freelance writer and blogger for a wide range of publications throughout the country. She is an owner and editor of the Tillamook County Pioneer, which provides free-to-read online news.

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