Syracuse Street
North Syracuse Street
Portland, OR

Syracuse
 
The Syracuse House was last sold in 2000.  The property has changed dramatically with the construction of a brick/iron wall on the property line.  I received the following email from a neighbor up the street.  I wonder if the present owners know of its haunted past.... I wonder if they are experiencing any problems.
I never went to the new owners regarding the haunts but I've received more messages from a previous owner.  I have added this information to the end of this page, (below Karla's segment.)

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This house is located in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of North Portland; a stones throw from the St. Johns Bridge. It's cozy, well kept, and comes with an extra; down in the dark basement.

Karla used to live there and was gracious enough to give the following details via email:

"Hello, I found your site accidentally and am so interested in this. You see two years ago I moved from XXXX N. Syracuse after living there for five years. This house was very haunted. We had lights turn themselves off and on at will. We had off become on and on become off. We especially felt a presence in the basement. One night we had a visitor, a hispanic man knocked at our door and asked if the ghost was still there. It would manifest itself more if we were doing any construction on the house and when we prepared to move it went nuts. We heard footsteps in the middle of the night. My husband slept in the basement for awhile and saw a woman at the foot of his bed one night standing over him. We have many stories. I loved that house and became friendly with the ghost and never felt in danger, just often alarmed."
Thanks,
Karla

The preceding email perked my curiosity. I asked for a bit more detail and received the following:

Dear Mike,
"I bought the house in 1991 and as a realtor I pulled a chain of title that showed all the owners. It had been owned for 40 years by a single old woman who sold it about 11 or 12 years before I bought it. I don't know if there was any tragedy or deaths. It is my understanding that after the old woman it was owned by a Mexican family and neighborhood rumor had it that they ran a still out of the basement and had some workers living in the basement. When I bought it there were old slat bunkers in the basement and an eerie feeling down there. Then the old man who stopped by one night was also Hispanic and said the ghost had bothered them terribly. I always felt that the ghost was probably the old woman. I felt that she was protecting the house and making it uncomfortable for anyone she didn't like."

Some of the problems we had were:

"One day my son turned out the dining room light to leave and it turned itself back on by the time he reached the front door. The switch to the basement light was in the kitchen. All the time we would find it on and I was always yelling at my kids. Finally I woke up a few times in the night to find it on after I had certainly shut it off and with the other phenomenon I realized it was the house. My daughter says she would turn it off and when she went up the stairs to the second floor she could see through the floor boards it was back on. Once my back stoop light switch turned off to on and visa versa for about a week and then switched back. We would unscrew bulbs in certain rooms with out dated light fixtures and find they would come on. Once the pantry light was on, but when I touched the light bulb it fell into my hands. It wasn't screwed in enough to be on. Once I was painting my bedroom floor and I turned out the LAMP and painted myself out the door. Closed it and then remembered that I had left something in there. Turned around to find the light on under the door. I didn't go in."
"Once my stereo in the same room had a loud feedback sound. Horrible, and when I ran to shut it off, it was off. If we did any construction or work on the house the phenomenon would increase."
"My husband moved to the basement for while and had a woman visit him at the end of his bed. He said he felt peace from her, not fear. My son had a lot happen to him as his bedroom was above the most haunted basement room. I could have him email you with some of it. He felt there were 3 separate entities in the house. He is very sensitive and received the most activity."
"I sold the house when I separated and was losing it. I hated losing it and I miss the house and its ghost very much. A man from across the street from the house bought it to put his family in and over 2 years later he still hasn't moved into it and is now trying to sell. I haven't spoken to him about this and would appreciate you leave my name out of your questions. If the opportunity arises I would still like to buy it back. But, I do believe there is a reason he never moved into it and then is trying to sell it. Please let me know what you find out."

Another tenant named Sara who called this house home from 1986 - 1991:

"Hi my name is Sara.  I sent you an email a few days ago regarding things I experienced in this house. I just read the email from the old owner claiming that Karla made those things up and that her house was dirty and in bad repair. That may be true but I assure u that when we lived there it was in much better repair and we did not have mice or a filthy house. I don't know how anyone could spend time there and not feel a presence. He must have been just really trying to sell. Oh and from what I heard around the neighborhood he did buy the house to live there and did live in it for a short time."

Here is the email she referred to:

"I was 6 when we moved in and almost 12 when we moved out but I still remember like it was yesterday.
The house itself is somewhat creepy. It was so old and had crawl spaces and secret doors in closets everywhere. Strange things started happening as soon as we moved in. Lights turning on and off, random objects like hair brushes and tv remotes would disappear and turn up in the same spot they had been in the day before. The neighbors who had lived there a long time all said strange things went on there in the 2 years it sat vacant before we moved in.
A hispanic man would stop by from time to time smelling like liquor and asking about the ghost and at least once every summer really late at night an extremely old man who looked either native or hispanic would knock on the door and tell us it wasn't safe there. I could never sleep through the night. I was the youngest of 3 children and whatever was in that house seemed to follow me around. I felt like someone was watching me all the time but I wasn't really scared I just never felt alone.
Night time, however, was sometimes terrifying. I remember lying in my bed at night right at the top of the stairs and I would here voices calling my name. There were 3 voices that I remember. One sounded like an old woman, one sounded like a child and one was a man. The man was the scariest. I sometimes didn't sleep for days at a time. my mom didn't know what was wrong with me at times she seriously thought I needed therapy. I never told her what was happening. I didn't think she would believe me. I did tell my dad though and i never really understood why he believed me until I was older and he told me things he had seen in the basement. I stayed over at friends houses whenever my mom would let me. Sometimes I slept on my sisters bedroom floor and other times I would sleep in bed with my mom until my dad would come home and move me. When he moved me to my bed i would still get woken up by the voices though so he got a small mattress and put it on his bedroom floor for me.
Then, finally, halfway through the 5th grade we moved but it wasn't over. My parents sold the house to the xxxxx family. They were new to St. Johns and I had never met their children. One day in the 7th grade I met a new girl in my class at George Middle School. She seemed cool and she asked if I wanted to take the school bus with her and hang out at her house. Walking from the bus stop I told her I used to live on the same street. A few minutes later I realized she lived in my old house. It was very strange -  they had changed so much of the house but the moment I walked in the door I felt that same unsettling feeling of being watched. We remained friends and when we were about 16 her parents were out of town and we had a party.  I slept in my old room with a few other friends and even though I had been drinking and was surrounded by people, I still kept waking up hearing someone call my name.
Not long after that her family moved and here is where it gets weird: the house had been for sale for a while when one day a friend of my brother who used to live next door came over to my parents house with a book. It was basically a binder that said 'Hauntings of North Portland' on it and had a lot of the same info and pictures as on your web site. I was about 19 at this time so it was probably in the summer of 2000. The house was sitting vacant. A few of my friends saw the book and wanted to go see the house so we waited until about 11pm and walked over there with flashlights hoping maybe the old upstairs fire escape door or basement door wouldn't be secure. When we got to the house I stood in the front for a minute just kind of staring at how dark and gloomy it looked. I took one of the 'for sale' flyers out of the box on the sign - then we headed around to the back. Both doors were locked up tight. We used our flashlight to look in the windows and messed around in the old garage for a few minutes and decided to leave. As we were leaving one of my friends noticed a light on that hadn't been on before in a front basement window and the window was unlocked. We were all very excited to find a way in but just as he was about to open the window I got a very sick feeling in my stomach and didn't want to be there anymore then I was short of breath I started to say we shouldn't be there and iI remember tears coming out of my eyes. My friend agreed with me seeing how panicked I was. So she stopped our other friend from climbing in the window which he now had opened, telling him it's right in the front of the house and someone might call the police - we left. I remember the farther away from the house we got the better I felt. I went home and told my dad the whole story but he just looked at me very strange and said, "What window in the front? There is no front basement window!" Then he said, "Remember, that's where the water faucet was where you would put your little kiddy pool." I had to think for a moment and then I remembered he was right. Then I took the 'for sale' flyer with the picture of the house on it out of my pocket and sure enough - no front basement window! We even went back with my dad the next day and I actually walked up and touched the foundation of the house where my friend had been standing, holding a window open just the night before and it was solid - no sign of a window ever being there at all. To this day I am still somehow drawn to that house and find myself driving by it from time to time. Sometimes I have dreams about it. As crazy as it sounds I would like to own that house someday."

For Sale
10/9/00... I received a blunt and hostile complaint from the owner who was trying to 'flip' the house for profit. Read this email from the seller/owner. He wasn't happy with the posting but I left it. This is a typical reaction from so many owners - to hide the activity and pretend that all is normal.
No, he never personally moved in..... he finally sold the property to a latin family and they reside there to this day.

 

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