There’s nothing quite like settling into the barstool at your favorite dive bar, ordering your favorite cocktail and feeling that safeness that comes with your regular drinking spot. For me, that’s a little bar with a dark and vintage glow off of a one way street. For many in Snohomish, Washington, that spot is the Oxford Saloon. But it also has some compelling proof to say that it’s a favorite haunt for more than just the occasional drinker, it’s known for yet another type of spirits.
Let’s say you enjoy that cocktail and head upstairs to check out the ancient building and the history in the walls. One of the rooms has a clawfoot tub that just seems… off. All it takes is a conversation with one of the employees at the Oxford to find out the grisly history of that particular bathtub. A former madam from when the second floor served as a brothel was murdered in that very clawfoot tub… and decapitated. If that still doesn’t satiate your need for haunted stories, don’t worry there are plenty more.
The building that is now known as the Oxford Saloon began life in 1890, when it was built it first served as a general store and grocery store for the surrounding area. It wasn’t until 1909 that it was given its purpose for the next 100+ years; a rough and tumble saloon that would have a dark history. It’s said that no less than 10 documented murders have taken place within the walls of the Oxford, including several that spawned the paranormal activity that employees and patrons experience all the same.
First, the saloon has a mischievous spirit of a police officer who was murdered on the steps between the first and second stories, stabbed and left to bleed out, his spirit today seems to delight in pinching guests and appearing as a full apparition walking up or down the stairs. The aforementioned madam also seems to haunt the place where she took her final breath, often appearing as an older woman dressed in a fine purple garment. Sometimes she might be seen with another specter, that of a girl who worked for her during the brothel days of the second floor.
Today the second floor is rented out as office space, but in its heyday it was the site of a high-end brothel. Known as Amelia, the young girl who was said to have been forced into prostitution was found dead, curled in a closet on the second floor. No one knows for sure if it was murder or suicide, but that hasn’t stopped paranormal investigators from trying to find out the truth of her death. Amelia is said to be a little more shy than some of the other boisterous spirits.
A particularly fantastic story tells of a young woman who had been playing in a band that evening heading to the basement to wash her hands before she left. She came to the owner laughing and said “You have the nicest bartender in the basement,” saying he told her all of the fun stories of the Oxford like Henry the police officer and Kathleen the decapitated madam– The rub is that there was no bartender in the basement and, especially, the two were alone in the entire building that late at night. Legend says the young lady turned white as a sheet and then left very quickly, spooked by the specter.
A hotspot for paranormal investigators as well as those looking for a good time and some spirits, the Oxford Saloon is packed to the brim with stories about their hauntings, making their title as most haunted saloon in the pacific northwest a very easy title to cling onto.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.