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Heceta Head’s Other Ghost

Heceta House And Hanson Kids

Heceta Head Lighthouse’s Head Light Keeper’s House (try saying that ten times fast) is rumored to have two ghosts. Yesterday I wrote about Rue, its first ghost. Today I’m writing about John, its other ghost.

Through a quirk of history the U.S. Forest Service ended up owning the house. By the 1990s the almost 100-year-old building was in pretty bad shape. I was part of the team tasked with restoring it.

It was an era of no new taxes, so to keep the structure standing we had to figure out a way of making it financially self sustaining. The community was invited to offer suggestions. Many of their suggestions started with the letter B: turn it into a brewery, turn it into a bed & breakfast, turn it into a brothel. The last one would probably have brought in the most money, but we opted for the second one, bead & breakfast B&B. We were the U. S. Forest Service, after all.

T- McCracken on Heceta House's Porch
Me on Heceta Lightkeeper’s house’s porch circa 1994

Mike and Carol Korgan were the first ones to run the B&B. When the Forest Service interviewed them for the position, they were asked in jest how they felt about living in a house rumored to be haunted. Yes, federal employees do have a sense of humor.

“No problem,” the Korgans said. “In fact, would you mind if we brought our own ghost?”

You could have heard a ghosts’ dress rustle in the ensuing silence. The Korgans explained that they had lived in a house in Portland built by a man who lost ownership of it during the depression. He was so despondent that he hanged himself in it.

The man haunted the house while they lived there, but certainly was a benevolent soul. Once when their daughter Michelle was very young the house caught on fire. She said she was led to safety by a man named John. The Korgans assumed he was the ghost.

When they moved from the house, the Korgans discovered it wasn’t the house that was haunted, but a couch they took with them. The couch is nine-feet-long, too long for most storage lockers, so they wanted to bring it with them.

I told them that although they’d be running the B&B it was still owned by the U. S. Forest Service and was considered a national cultural resource, and if Rue existed, she was a Federal ghost. Like I said, federal employees do have a sense of humor.

I said, “I’m pretty sure the Forest Archaeologist, Phyllis Steeves, wouldn’t sign off on this unless you agree that if there were any problems between the two ghosts, John will have to leave.”

Me and Phyllis Steeves, Siuslaw National Forest's Head Archaeologist circa 1994
Me and Phyllis Steeves, Siuslaw National Forest’s Head Archaeologist, circa 1994

According to Mike, Rue and John got along fabulously and he often heard them at night making “wild whoopee.” Maybe they had a few ghostlets. If so, there may now be more than two ghosts haunting Heceta.

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