Since Bend is such a relatively young city, some might not realize just how much of the past still lies within the walls and waterways centered around downtown. From the shores of the Deschutes River to the O'Kane Building in the heart of the city, ghost stories are silently waiting to be discovered. Mother and daughter duo and local authors Jools Sinclair and Meg Kehoe host the Bend Ghost Tours, on a mission to discover Bend's most active haunts. The tour features Sinclair and Kehoe explaining historical downtown spots and the eerie tales that go along with them.
The ghostly adventure starts at the banks of the Deschutes River where a tale of accidents and bravery is told. The next historical haunting is the Allen/Rademacher/Goodwillie House, which currently houses the Commons Cafe and Taproom and is known as Bend's oldest haunted house. Next is The O'Kane Building that houses storefronts from arcades to bars and is said to host more than gamers and patrons. Passersbys claim to see shadowy figures manning the empty bar, just waiting for familiar customers to come strolling in. From there, the group ventures to several downtown businesses including the Pine Tavern and what's said to be the most terrifying property in the area: The Downing Building, located on Bond Street.
A short interactive dowsing-rod experiment behind the Downing Building allows tour guests to get intimate with the spirits of years past. Scientists and ghost hunters alike use dowsing rods to find water, artifacts and ghosts that could be buried deep underground. The rods begin crossing or moving when a spirit or underground water source is present. Some guests may get no answers with the rods while others have their rods going haywire the entire experience.
During my group's ghost tour, husband and wife Mick and Sally Craven had two separate experiences with the rods. Sally's rods crossed continuously and began to move faster as she walked closer to the building. Her husband, though, received no movement from his set of rods. Mysterious. ...
The last otherworldly spot loops back around to the Tower Theatre, where an old couple can allegedly be seen enjoying shows in the crowd—even though they died years before curtain call.
A love of mysteries and ghosts led Sinclair and Kehoe to start The Bend Ghost Tour company. In the future, the pair expects to add more creepy stops and lost history to the walking route.
So, the next time you're passing by the O'Kane Building, look through the glass into the several shops that line the bottom floor and possibly get a glimpse of a patron, worker or owner that this terrifying building refuses to let go of.
For more information and to register for a tour, visit bendghosttours.com.
Bend Ghost Tours
Tours start at Mirror Pond Plaza
875 NW Brooks St., Bend