Wellington Avalanche Haunting

Karen Frazier
Orb in snowshed built after avalanche.

In 1910, an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state claimed about 100 lives and became the worst avalanche disaster in terms of life lost in the history of the United States. The tragedy occurred in the town of Wellington, Washington, and while it is now a section of a well-known rail to trails hiking trail called the Iron Goat Trail, Wellington is also one of the Pacific Northwest's most notorious haunted places.

Wellington's Avalanche Tragedy

In February 1910, a passenger train and a mail train were caught just outside the Wellington depot due to a nine-day blizzard that dumped a foot of snow every hour onto the stranded travelers. Some reports claim the largest snowfall during the blizzard was eleven feet in one day. On March 1, 1910, the snow turned to rain. A lightning strike loosened a ten-foot-high wall of snow that rumbled down the mountainside on top of the sleeping passengers. A reported 96 people perished, while 23 were pulled from the wreckage.

A Haunting at Wellington

Wellington is a popular hiking trail, and it's also a favorite place for ghost hunters and paranormal investigators to visit. I (the author) was originally interviewed for this article and have investigated, studied, and written about Wellington since 2009, including writing two books about my experiences there. In addition, visitors to Wellington have shared their paranormal stories with me, and there are many.

Technical Equipment Failures

When filming up at Wellington for some YouTube shorts, my husband Jim experienced a weird series of technical difficulties. The batteries drained in his camera at the same time two separate infrared filming lights lost power. They all shut off at the same moment. It happened in a spot where many people have reported strange incidents. All three items were on different power supplies with separate switches, and the two infrared lights had mechanical slider switches that clicked into the "off" position with no human intervention. The fact they all shut off simultaneously was certainly surprising. When Jim turned them back on, they all worked normally.

Spontaneous battery drain is quite common at Wellington as well. Many investigators have reported equipment with brand new batteries dying and cameras refusing to work. Wellington is in the middle of the wilderness. There are no available power supplies except what you pack in with you.

Other Paranormal Experiences

So many people have experiences at Wellington that some investigators claim if you go, you will have a paranormal experience. People hear sounds of old-timey music and disembodied voices, see strange shadows and apparitions, feel people touching them, and more. Investigators also capture plenty of audio anomalies known as electronic voice phenomenon or EVP, including one of the strangest I've ever heard (see video below).

Visiting Wellington

Wellington sits at about 3,100 feet near Stevens Pass on Highway 2 in Washington State. Because of its elevation, there are no open roads to it for six to eight months a year, usually from mid-November through the end of June. However, even in the winter months, it is accessible by snowshoe, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. It's important to realize, however, there is always a risk of avalanche at the location during the winter months, particularly in the late winter and early spring as the snow begins to melt. For those wishing to visit in the summer months, it is accessible by turning down the Old Cascade Highway from Highway 2, just across from the west end of the ski area at Stevens Pass. The road is rough in places, but even cars with low clearance can make it down the steep, bumpy switchbacks.

Tragedy at Wellington Leaves an Impression

Wellington has had a profound of an impact on those who have spent any amount of time there. Several times a year, usually in the summertime, I receive messages from people with no previous belief in ghosts who have visited Wellington. Their stories differ, but they all have a common theme. People who visit there believe once they've been, they've had a brush with a ghost.

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Wellington Avalanche Haunting