On August 17, 1920, Mrs. Ellen McNamara was not feeling well prior to dinner and decided to remain upstairs. Exiting the French-style doors on the third floor of Spokane's Davenport Hotel, she took a walk around what was at the time a promenade. Instead of returning the way she had come, McNamara entered a small door leading to the glass pagoda covering the lobby's skylight roof.
"Ellen was feeling dizzy, so she had a 50-50 chance of choosing the right or wrong door," says Tom McArthur, communications director of the Davenport. "One door led back to the third floor, and one led to the lobby skylights."
McNamara chose the wrong door.
The delicate glass panels were not built to hold a human's weight. McNamara came crashing through the glass ceiling and into the lobby, falling 30 feet onto solid concrete. Nearly a hundred guests witnessed the fall.
The injured woman was carried to a nearby couch. She uttered one phrase before losing consciousness: "Where did I go?"
For decades since, guests have reported seeing a woman dressed in 1920s attire roaming the lobby mezzanine and peering over the railing as if she were looking for someone.
Every year, on August 17, McArthur places a red rose on the fireplace mantle to commemorate Mrs. McNamara's having lived at the Davenport as a guest. As he notes, "She just checked out in an unusual way."
McArthur says that the ghost stories at the Davenport have been playful or odd, not sinister.
Room 1129 on the 11th floor is where Mr. and Mrs. Davenport both lived and passed away. The floor and the room (now re-numbered to 1105) both sport quite the rap sheet of activity. A bellman once reported pushing a heavily laden cart down the thick, carpeted hallway, only to discover halfway down the hall that the cart was pushing itself. A couple from Alaska who stayed in Room 1105 found that their electric razor wouldn't turn off -- even when they unplugged it. An engineer fixing an electrical outlet on the fourth floor reported seeing the heavy door leading to the garden terrace -- which had a locking mechanism on it -- opening by itself and remaining there for several seconds, as if someone were passing through.
Another story involves a woman from the Washington State Patrol. While lying in her bed in room 1105 and watching TV, the woman felt the bed take a dip.
"She looked over and saw an indentation in the sheets. Then a corner of the bed covers started coming toward her, as if they were being pulled back by someone about to get in," says McArthur. "She requested to be moved to another room."
During the hotel's reconstruction, a Davenport employee went to explore the abandoned guest floors. The hotel was originally equipped with gated elevators. The gates had to be latched before the mechanisms would engage -- a detail of which the employee was not aware when she tried to ride one of the elevators upstairs to meet her colleague. "How do you make this thing go?" she recalls asking aloud. At that moment, she says, an arm in a gray sleeve appeared around the corner and tugged the gate closed. The experience was so real, she said "thank you" to the unseen bellman as the elevator whisked her upstairs.
Upon meeting her colleague, she remarked that she would not have been able to get upstairs were it not for the helpful bellman. "Bellman?" he said. "The Davenport has no staff."
As depicted in an old photograph, the bellmen in the early days of the hotel wore gray uniforms. Gray uniforms have not been used in decades. The current uniform is black.
"The building talks," says McArthur. "It just needs a translator. And if you can choose a heaven, who wouldn't choose the Davenport?"
As for those spirits who may already be in heaven (or the other place) and are just coming back for an ectoplasmic visit -- they've already staked out Patsy Clark's. The familiar three-story mansion in Browne's Addition was designed by Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter for Spokane mining millionaire Patsy Clark and his wife Mary. After the Clarks' deaths, the mansion served as an inn before becoming a restaurant in 1982; a law firm currently occupies the mansion.
When Eymann Allison Hunter Jones was considering purchasing the mansion for its use, several of the lawyers explored the house. They took note of a piano on the second floor. Sitting on top of the piano was a black woman's glove. One person noticed and said, "I wonder who left their glove behind?"
The group then peregrinated up to the third floor. Soon after, they were all caught off-guard by the sound of a single key being played on the piano.
"We all heard it," says one of the attorneys, a self-described "tour guide/historian." "We came back downstairs, looked around, and there was nobody else in the house. We looked at the piano, and the glove was resting on the piano keys."
The employees of the law firm have come to friendly terms with what they believe to be the ghost of Mary. "We all agree that she's nice," says Carol Hunter. "We like to think that she likes us here because we're quiet."
Former restaurant employees were not so welcome. "Mary did not approve of the restaurant and didn't like the noise," says Hunter. A story reported to one of the lawyers tells of a young server who was once gathering plates on the second floor to take downstairs. He turned around to leave when he heard a noise behind him. What he saw was a woman's figure in period turn-of-the-century clothes, drifting down the stairway.
Everyone on the first floor heard a thunderous crash, followed by the young man flying out the door. "The owner called the him the next day and said, 'What about your pay?'" says the attorney. "And the kid just said, 'I'm never coming back. Keep it.'"
Other wait staff had reported seeing glasses and wine bottles being thrown across the room downstairs in the wine cellar. "Stories like those and the ones we have really confirm the presence of a ghost here," says the attorney.
Once Dick Eymann, a partner at the firm, was working on a Saturday by himself at the mansion. "I was in my office on the second floor, and all of a sudden I distinctly heard this raspy voice whisper, 'Shut your window. It's going to get windy,'" he says. "I looked out the window and half the leaves started blowing off the trees. Nobody was here -- no cars parked in the parking lot. I left for the day after that."
The women's bathroom appears to be one of Mary's favorite haunts. "One time, an employee walked into the bathroom, and all of the doors were open as if someone had opened each one of them up," says employee Patty Froemming. "All of a sudden one of the doors started to close. It stopped midway, and then it just slammed shut."
A former secretary even quit after being spooked twice in the bathroom.
"She heard the toilet flush and said hi, but didn't get any reply. She didn't hear any doors open or close," says Eymann. "The second time she got up when the toilet was flushing. She opened the stall door, and saw water flushing down the toilet. She quit the next day."
The cleaning staff has reported feeling a presence when they're cleaning late at night. "I've been here late at night, and I wouldn't want to be here by myself!" says Froemming.
Still, the ethereal resident adds character to the workplace. "We love having Mary here," says one of the attorneys. "It adds to the mystique of work. When something disappears, we just blame it on Mary."
BLACK LIGHT ART SHOW See the artwork of Cristie Dunavan, and other works painted with black-light paints and printed on glow-in-the-dark paper backlit by black lights, on Friday, Oct. 31, from 6-10 pm. Free. Ink to Media, 523 N. Pines Rd. (863-9125)
FEAR FEST Travel to the Attic on Schweitzer and experience terror on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 from 6-9 pm. Cost: $10. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, 10000 Schweitzer Mountain Rd., Sandpoint, Idaho (208-263-9555)
HALLOWEEN BIKE RIDE Ride from Millwood to Browne's Addition in full costume on Friday, Oct. 31, at 10 am. Free. Leave from Argonne Library, 4322 N. Argonne Rd. (624-8617)
HALLOWEEN FUN RUN Run with the Flying Irish in full costume on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 6 pm. Free. O'Doherty's, 525 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (747-0322)
HARVEST FESTIVAL Kids can come dressed in costume, play games, make crafts and explore some spooky science on Friday, Oct. 31, from 2-5 pm. Cost: $5.75. Mobius, 808 W. Main Ave. (624-5437 ext. 304)
HAUNTED HOUSE The Post Falls Lions Haunted House will be open on Friday, Oct. 31 from 6 pm-midnight and Thursday, Oct. 30 from 6 pm-10 pm. Cost: $6. Post Falls Haunted House, Fourth Ave. and Post St., Post Falls (208-660-8936)
HAUNTED MAZE Travel through a maze of corn and encounter scary gobblers and goblins on Friday, Oct. 31, from 4-11 pm. Cost: $8; $6, kids and seniors. The Amazing Corn Maze, Hwy. 53 South, off Beck Rd., Hauser, Idaho (242-CORN)
IGNITED HAUNTING A haunted house, presented by Ignite! Theatre, will freak you out on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 7-10 pm and on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, from 7-midnight. They are currently seeking volunteers. Call for more information. Riverfront Park, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. (993-6540)
MONSTER'S BALL A costume party with a performance of 6 Foot Swing and the Hot Club of Spokane will be on Friday, Oct. 31, at 8 pm. Cost: $45. Partial proceeds benefit the Pride Foundation. Glover Mansion, 321 W. Eighth Ave. (325-SEAT)
MURDER, MASKS AND FANCY FOOTWORK Join a murder mystery, dance party and costume ball on Friday, Oct. 31, at 8:30 pm. Tickets: $35-$45. Northern Quest, 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights, Wash. (481-6700)
NOCTURNUS A night of belly dance with a Halloween theme jiggles on Friday, Oct. 31, from 7-9 pm. Cost: $7; $3.50, children. Bombay Palace, 128 W. Third Ave. (535-1107)
SWEENEY TODD See the Demon Barber of Fleet Street sing in a concert performance on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $30. Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard St. www.spokanecivictheatre.com (326-6311)
TRUNK-OR-TREAT A costume contest, games and trick or treating will be a part of this event on Friday, Oct. 31, from 4:30-7 pm. Free; $1, haunted house. Boys and Girls Club, 544 E. Providence Ave. (489-0741)