~Written By Pattyhap1863~

When we pulled into the gravel parking lot and first caught a glimpse of Thornewood Castle, my whole mind was in a state of awe and a kind of pleasant shock as if I had just found a hidden treasure. The mansion itself is magnificent; the view of it amongst the trees is enough to take anybody’s breath away. Stephen King had certainly made the right choice to bring “Rose Red” to life here!

A view of the castle and some of its Christmas decorations

Plaque at entrance

As we stepped out of the van and walked around the circular driveway, we admired its parapet balconies and many chimneys and none of us spoke. We were greeted by one of the staff at the door and given a short tour, and our keys. My husband and I would be staying at the Grand View Suite, while my seventeen-year-old daughter would stay at Chester’s Suite, where reports of cigar smoke wafting through the air have been made even though smoking is not allowed in the mansion these days.

Grand View

A view of the Grand View Suite


Chester’s Suite

We were informed that dinner was at seven, and afterwards would start a Candlelight Mystery Tour given by the owners of the castle, Wayne and Deanna Robinson. We all met in the oak-paneled Great Hall, and drank in the beauty of the room. A huge breathtaking Christmas tree dominated the scene. The whole Great Hall was decked with lovely decorations. The massive great staircase seemed to belong to a castle of long ago, and indeed it had. Chester Thorne had spent a lavish one million dollars to build this mansion for his wife Anna. He had brought the staircase and other materials from a 15th century castle in England around Cape Horn to Washington State. The exquisite stained glass had been crafted from the 13th to the 17th centuries, true pieces of artwork from the past (previously owned by an English Duke), and were artistically placed in the windows of the entire home, including the twenty-two bedrooms and twenty-two baths. However, they were not the only treasures of the estate. There was the Sunken English Garden, on the grounds, designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers who had also designed the gardens of the White House, among other famous landscapes. The magical quality of the Sunken Garden surely takes us back in time. I had the feeling I was stepping into a storybook while I was there. I had certainly never felt anything like it before. Three words described in a nutshell all that I was feeling: “Healing. Magnetic. Mystical”.

Stained Glass

Sunken Garden

A view of the sunken garden from our balcony window

The Candlelight Mystery Tour was started off by our gracious host Deanna Robinson, who told us the stories of Thornewood. The ghost stories included a man walking out of one of the bathrooms at the staircase, walking down the few remaining steps, turning to the left, and walking down the great hall, disappearing into the ballroom. Stories of Chester unscrewing the light bulbs around the castle and the ghost of Anna looking out the window of her room were also told. Anna is also said to appear to young brides in Anna’s Suite. Brides staying there, who look into Anna’s original ornate mirror, may catch a glimpse of Anna sitting near the window behind them, who promptly vanishes when they turn to get a better look. Chester has also been reported around the mansion as well, though he is felt rather than seen. Other ghosts include non-existent servants running around the corridors late at night, as well as footsteps echoing around the mansion floors when there is nobody walking around. Reports of an apparition in the room where I was staying have also been made and I thought it would be interesting to see what I would catch!

Anna's window

Anna’s window, where she is seen, is on the far right and next to it, the parapet balcony of the room where we stayed.

Mirrored corridor

Are muffled footsteps heard here late at night?

Entrance to Rose Red

Entrance to “Rose Red” suite

Deanna Robinson is an excellent tour guide. She gave us a wonderful tour of the available rooms in the mansion and filled us in with the history behind them, answering our questions and taking us around her home with her lantern. All of us held a scented candle throughout the tour, which gave it a ghostly atmosphere. She also told us that the place is full of angels, which I am ready to believe, for the peace felt there was unlike the peace I have felt anywhere else! The room that impressed me the most was the Meditation Room, which had been a servant’s room back in the day and had also been used in the “Rose Red” miniseries. This room was extremely quiet and very small compared to the rest of the rooms, yet it had an ethereal quality to it which can only be found in chapels or churches. As we went down the three flights of stairs to the basement, where her husband Wayne waited to take over and show us the basement and castle grounds, we were reminded of the stories of the sounds of servants rushing to and fro on their tasks, residual hauntings at its best!

Morning mist

Morning mist, or paranormal mist?

Indian wishbone

Indian wishbone in the basement

The basement intrigued me the most, not only because of its vastness, but also because it had some interesting Indian wishbones hanging along the pipes in various places. The history behind this is that Chester Thorne had used Indian workmen while building the place, and they had put in the wishbones to ward off evil spirits. These pieces of wood had been there for many years, kept and respected by all the previous owners of the place, as well as the Robinsons. I was filming all of this at the time, and in reviewing the footage I seemed to catch a glimpse of what looked like a figure at the end of one of the basement corridors.

Thornewood Basement

Thornewood Basement Enhanced

The tour around the gardens was magnificent. We saw that a lot of the property had been sold off by a developer in the past, which made us terribly sad. There is part of a forest and this is what interested me the most. I wish I could have walked around these woods, but the weather was terribly cold that night, and we wanted to get back to the warmth of the castle. The sunken English garden holds the pond that had been reconstructed and enhanced by the people filming “Rose Red”. It still holds the stairs that the actor stepped down from as he waded into the pond before discovering the body of the lady. Another interesting feature was the area where this actor had died of a heart attack, whilst asking for the window to be opened. It was there, but the windows were majestic French doors opening onto the loggia or portico. They had been converted into windows only for the film!

French doors

French doors leading into the loggia or portico

French doors another view

French doors from the ballroom

When the tour concluded, we headed towards our rooms after a lovely chat with the owner. I planned to set up a digital recorder for the remainder of the night. I also spent a few minutes with my EMF detectors which both spiked in the middle of the room where a round table was, and I could not see what could be giving the spikes of 8 and 10, even after investigating thoroughly. I knew it couldn’t be anything underneath the room as the mansion had been built using concrete and steel rebars which makes electromagnetic waves pretty much impossible to penetrate from other places. I had to conclude there must have been something in the room itself. The spikes maintained a steady reading of 8 to 10, and then slowly dissipated to the normal base of point one I had been getting. This ruled out a possible light on the floor below that had been turned off suddenly. My husband fell asleep immediately but I could not sleep because of all I had seen and because I wanted to drink in the beauty of the place as much as I could. I set up the recorder in the bedroom, where it remained untouched until 5.30 the following morning. I left the room and roamed around outside, taking pictures and also spent a lot of time reviewing the video and the pictures in the kitchen of our suite. I also went to the private deck overlooking the sunken English garden on one side and the American Lake on the other. The view was stunning. When I turned off the recorder the next morning, to my surprise I saw that the batteries were nearly almost drained. However, I don’t believe that drained batteries are paranormal in nature, but physical. They are, after all, an unproven theory, so I packed the recorder along with the rest of my equipment. After one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in ages, we went exploring some more and ended up in the Games Room, where we spent part of the morning. We also chatted with our gracious owner once again and departed off to the sunken English garden and the grounds before leaving.

Below are three EVP’s I caught in my room, and I would love for you to listen to them with headphones on if possible. Is Thornewood Castle haunted? I do believe there is some paranormal activity going on in the castle. I also need to return and continue with yet another investigation. One thing is for sure, this lovely Tudor mansion is enchanted and magical, a truly haunting window into the past!




Visit the Thornewood Castle site for more information: http://www.thornewoodcastle.com/

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