Manresa Castle, located in picturesque Port Townsend, Washington is a treasure to behold. Upon entering the castle for my Olympia RWA chapter’s writer’s retreat, I found myself in another time. Everything in the castle (besides the contemporary necessities) is from the era of the castle’s original splendor.
I loved the castle’s antique atmosphere, but what I really wanted to experience were the ghosts that the castle is famous for! There are tales of the young woman who cast herself from a castle window, to her death, when she heard that her fiancé had been drowned at sea. Then there’s the tale of the Jesuit priest who hanged himself in a castle turret after he became disillusioned with his calling. And there’s the little girl who wanders the hall. Perhaps she is looking for a playmate?
On our first night there, we took a tour of each other’s rooms to see what they looked like because each of the bedrooms in Manresa is different. (Well, I guess that’s why the rest of us toured the rooms. Me? I was looking for a ghost!) In one two bed bedroom, two beautiful antique chairs sat facing the beds’ feet. I mentioned the ghosts who could be sitting there to watch the bed’s occupant during the night and I was told by Chassily, the room’s sole occupant due to circumstances beyond her control, that she did not want to talk to me any more! LOL! We even toured the tower where the priest is said to have hung himself!
That first night in our bedroom I was awakened by what I assumed was a ghost and I mentioned it to my boyfriend. He didn’t say anything and went back to sleep. The nerve! But I wasn’t frightened and lay there listening. First the ghost made clacking sounds outside the bedroom window. I got up to look out the window, but of course there was no one there. Then the ghost went out into the hall outside our bedroom and began to play out there! I assumed it was the little girl playing with things that made clacking sounds. And then I went back to sleep. When I shared my fun story with the rest of our chapter the next day, my boyfriend had the gall to tell everyone that the ghosts got quieter each time he turned the heater down! He NEVER turned the heater down! (To my knowledge.)
There was one friendly spirit who insinuated her presence there in front of us all. A small piece of paper with her name on it fell to the floor from one of our chapter president's paperwork to remind us of her. She was Elizabeth Kistler, a past chapter member who died of cancer last year. On that sign, we named our annual retreat after her.
The weekend went much quieter after my first night there and I learned a lot and got a lot of writing done. I received some excellent critique from Nicole on a contest entry that I was fighting a deadline on and I met the deadline with it!
They were there! I know it! But I didn’t see any ghosts.
Romance through the mists of time and Love through the dimensions of reality