A Slice of the Pie: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters or a plumber?

October 2021 Posted in Other

Melissa Wagoner – A Slice of the Pie

I recently learned something rather astounding – if you ask for ghost stories, prepare for an onslaught. Houses, storefronts, restaurants, nursing homes – and apparently nearly every school in area – all come with a ghost story or two attached. And many of them took place in… bathrooms? 

Which prompts the question – why bathrooms? Because – and I don’t want to come off as a naysayer here – many ghosts appear to be infatuated with flushing toilets. Is it something to do with ease of use? The satisfying sound? Or is it simply old and leaky pipes?

Full disclosure: I have never seen a ghost. Perhaps I am not particularly open to paranormal experiences, but I cannot help but ask – could many haunts be merely the symptom of a house in need of repair?

But I’ll admit that not everything in the world can be explained. And many of these stories – each and every one from someone who truly believes that what they said is true – might prove just that. Either way, you decide.

Mac’s Place

“Well, my experience was very odd,” Airen Del La Cruz said. Her haunting experiences happened while working as a waitress at Mac’s in Silverton.

“[W]hen I would go in to use the bathroom… I would always hear someone in the stall next to me… Didn’t think much of it. But one day I decided to look under the stall next to me… and there was nobody there!”

Mark Twain Middle School

“Matilda was her name,” Charlotte Schiermeister-Strunk, then a secretary at Mark Twain Middle School, said. 

She went on to describe the “friendly ghost” who generally made her presence known by flushing toilets.

“The first time I heard her I was in the school copy room making copies for new teachers… when I heard the toilets flush… I shouted, ‘Who’s there?’ No answer. So, I went in. No one was there… Then I remembered someone had told me about Matilda, and I figured it was her.”

Schiermeister-Strunk offered a brave, “Hi Matilda, I’m Char, the new secretary, and it’s nice to meet you.” From then on, she was greeted with a flush.

Lynette Lesire, also a secretary at Mark Twain, had a similar experience. 

“A key had been issued to me to get in the school and I did so just after dark one evening on a weekend,” she began. “I was alone and walking toward the office area when I heard the toilet flushing in the girls’ restroom. So, I called out asking if anyone was there.” 

Although there was no verbal – or flushing – answer to Lesire’s call, the overhead light blinked – just once. 

“Maybe it was her,” Lesire speculated. “The incident didn’t cause me to worry or be frightened, but I didn’t forget it.”

The Queen of Angels Monastery

Kathy Carty was working in the monastery when she had her experience. 

“I was standing in the doorway of the charting room talking to one of the sisters when all the sudden a pager flew off the shelf and hit the door of a supply cupboard, splattering all over the floor,” she recalled. “It hit so hard the batteries came out.”

Laughing, Carty said, “The natives are restless tonight,” and chalked it up to the fact that the building – which Carty claims is listed on a “most haunted house list” – is known to have spirits. 

Apartment overlooking Silver Creek

When Carol Sundet was living in an apartment on North Water Street in Silverton – above what was then known as “Fishes Bakery” – a woman dressed in a long gown, with her hair pulled up, visited her as she sat resting on the couch.

“I’m sitting there unable to make a move as she slowly walked to me,” Sundet recalled. “The whole scene was like something out of a movie, like this isn’t real, yet it was real.”

Nearing the place where Sundet sat –immobile – the woman bent her head, as though inspecting something, and then, apparently satisfied, left through the locked door.

A few months later Sundet was working at Bodies, a hamburgers and shakes place, on Halloween night. She continued, “It was a quiet night with few customers so one of the girls suggested we tell some ghost stories…”

Sundet told her story, describing the look and dress of the woman she’d seen. When she finished her coworker told her, “You just described my grandmother perfectly, and that’s the apartment she lived in…”

“I’ve never forgotten,” Sundet said. “It still seems like yesterday.”

Silverton Art and Frame

For Molly Moreland, owner of Silverton Art and Frame, ghosts have always been a part of her life. 

“In the Catholic faith, in which I was raised, we have holy days in which we honor the dead…” she explained.

So, it came as no surprise when, upon purchasing her store, she discovered she was not alone in the basement workshop.

“I had the sense that someone was watching me, in a curious way…” Moreland began. “I sensed a kind soul, and sent a kind greeting.”

That was in 2017. Since then, Moreland has taken note of numerous incidences when, upon needing a specific frame or a special color of matboard, the item required simply appears in an unusual but easy to spot location.

“I have come to appreciate the ways he watches out for me and the people who come into my shop,” Moreland said.

But it wasn’t until two years ago, when a mother and daughter came into the shop, that Moreland really understood who the spirit might be.

“[T]he daughter turned to me and said, ‘Do you know you have a spirit present in your basement?’” Moreland said. She confirmed that she did know. The woman told her, “It’s a male presence. He cares about this place. He likes the sound of your voice, when you’re talking down there.”

Known to “think out loud” while working, Moreland was unsurprised. Instead, she said she felt, “Grateful. Lucky. Loved. Fortunate to have a benevolent spirit looking out for me.”

Stone Buddha

When Renee Bianchi owned the former Stone Buddha, located next to Chan’s on East Main Street in Silverton, she had two very haunting experiences with a woman wearing a yellow dress.

“I pulled head first into my parking space up against the wall,” she said of the first sighting, in the lot behind her store. “I opened my driver door, turned to get my purse and someone walked from in front of my car to beside my door. They shut my door to get past me.”

All Renee saw was a yellow dress, then the figure disappeared.

“There was absolutely no space for her to walk in front of my car,” Bianchi recalled.

Then, two weeks later, she saw the woman again, this time in the back of the store.

“My dog obviously saw her, but did not react,” she remembered. “Then she just disappeared.”

Later, a friend, who owned a restaurant a few doors down, told Bianchi the woman was a regular there, showing herself numerous times, always in a yellow dress.

“Always benevolent. Never any negative energy,” Bianchi said. “I actually don’t believe in ghosts. I just know this happened.”

Home, sweet home

Before Lacy Wellesley moved into her parents’ house, she spoke with a little girl who had lived there and who warned her that the place was haunted. It didn’t take long before she agreed.

“It started out with lights flickering and disembodied voices,” Wellesley recalled. “Soon it was footsteps and quick little wisps of something faintly white going through rooms and wall.”

Kids playing jacks in the hallway. A man in a tall hat she refers to as “the doctor” who likes to lie in bed next to house guests. Disembodied voices that “sing” in her ears. These are the hauntings Wellesley and her family have endured.

It’s the house’s most recent “resident,” known to the family as “Thursday,” that is her least favorite.

“She’s always by the window,” Wellesley began. Describing a little girl with long black hair, pale skin and no eyes. 

“She is a little disturbing,” Wellesley admitted. “My house is full… At times it can be a little spooky. But I love where I live. You always wonder… if these walls could talk… I don’t ever wonder that here.”

Providence Benedictine Nursing Center

Della Gerkman was working at the Benedictine Nursing Center one evening when she noticed a non-mobile resident’s call light on. Concerned, she went to check in and discovered the patient huddled in fear under a blanket. 

“I asked what was the matter and they said that ‘he’ was back,” Gerkman recalled. “I was confused because I’ve never seen this behavior from them before.”

Gerkman found the bathroom light on and urine all over the toilet seat. As she tried to comfort her patient who – still very much afraid – told her there was a man standing next to her who was mad. 

“I talked to the other staff and they said that there is a ‘ghost’ on that floor and they have had similar experiences in that room, with other residents,” Gerkman said.

The Red Bench

Lynn Lewin was working at The Red Bench one morning, finishing the dusting before the crowd, when from the back of the store floated a beautiful, petite young woman with cropped black hair and a long white dress. 

“She looked over at me and I wasn’t frightened,” Lewin, who has seen many such spirits throughout her 74 years, said. “Then she floated up to the front of the store and disappeared.”

Having heard that the space housing The Red Bench was once a live theater, Lewin theorizes that the woman may have once been part of the cast. 

“She was so beautiful, just absolutely gorgeous,” Lewin said. 


The first time Ellen Williams-Morrison realized the Mount Angel pub she and her husband, Eulace, owned was haunted she was sitting at her desk in the office.

“I kept feeling like something or someone was going by the door,” Williams-Morrison recalled. “It was constant. All the time I was seeing it. Then I caught a glimpse of what looked like a child.”

That sighting marked the first of many for Williams-Morrison, her husband, staff and even customers.

Later, mop buckets rolled down hallways. Kitchen knives swayed in their rack. 

Eventually Williams-Morrison and her husband sold the bar, planning to retire, but three weeks later Eulace passed away.

“But he’s still here,” Williams-Morrison said. “I know he’s still here. There’s never been a bigger non-believer than me. It goes against my religious training that when you die you go, you don’t stay here – but obviously you do.”

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