The Ouija Broads Guide to Weird Spokane

The Broads met in Spokane, grew up in Spokane, and love us some Spokane. That’s why the show never goes too long without a strange tale from the Lilac City. We expect this guide to be updated often.

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The Much-Married Dandy

He said his name was Arlington Buckingham Wadsworth, but they called him “Buck.” City father Anthony Cannon was ready to call him son-in-law until a well-timed telegraph spoiled the con. We cover Buck’s exploits throughout the West and beyond, on a rowdy, bigamous, scamming career for the ages. (Episode 77 and Episode 78, Buck Was A Dandy Parts 1 and 2.)

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The Game

A handful of Gonzaga Prep students started game of tag that has lasted decades, inspiring ever-greater feats of skulduggery and subterfuge - as well as inspiring a Hollywood film. Anyone can play tag - Spokane folks can make it epic. (Episode 70, You’re It, Huckleberry!)

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The Unquiet Spirit

Gonzaga’s music rehearsal building was once the stately home of a wealthy Spokane family, and some say that their son - who died young and tragically in the Second Samoan Civil War - still lingers there. Or is it a darker force that causes the strange happenings in Monaghan Mansion? And why did we illustrate this episode with a Prince Albert Tobacco Can? You’ll have to listen to learn… (Episode 61, The Dryden Hall Demon and the Exorcism of Monaghan Mansion)

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The Vortex

A Spokane city founding father? A gorgeous mansion? Oh, you know there’s gonna be some ghost stories. While Glover Mansion itself has a robust paranormal reputation, the man himself is allegedly haunted by his wronged first wife. He not only divorced her, he left her flat broke and she found herself on the curb with all her possessions around her. How much of a role did Mr. Glover’s influence play in her eventual institutionalization? How much of a role did Mrs. Glover’s spirit play in ensuring that Mr. Glover was dead within six weeks of her own demise? Was Kirtland Cutter secretly some kind of architect of otherworldly portals? We answer none of these questions and less in this episode. (Episode 60, Secrets of Glover Mansion.)

The Horse Tornado

Okay, so as far as we know, there aren’t any sightings of ghosts whirling around on the Looff after hours. But we do have some stories about Looff himself, his Spokane connections, and why the carousel was built in this episode about another turn-of-the-century amusement park attraction. (Episode 58, The Human Ostrich of Luna Park.)

The Art and the Artist

Devon gives her Bachelors of Fine Arts a real workout in this episode that talks about public art in Washington and Harold Balazs.  You could design a beautiful, extremely opinionated walking tour just on the downtown Spokane art that we cover in this episode. (Episode 49, Small Town, Big Art.)

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The Vanisher

In his jazz-age heyday, F. Lewis Clark was a millionaire yachtsman with a beautiful house in Spokane and a second gorgeous place in Hayden Lake, Idaho. One night, while the Clarks were wintering in Santa Barbara, F. Lewis delivered his wife, Winifred, to the train station so she can go on a visit. He dismisses his chauffeur, saying he'll walk home... and is never seen again. There's a whole other sideline of con artists and psychics, false leads in the form of other bodies washed ashore, but to this date the case remains officially unsolved. You can visit both his properties today - his Spokane house has offices, and his lake place is a B&B. Or just go visit one of the many Spokane businesses he was involved in, including the Spokane Club and the Flour Mill. Let us know if you see him. (Episode 48, The Disappearance of F. Lewis Clark.)

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The Love Nest

Originally, this home on Spokane's South Hill was the "Love Cottage," a bungalow for the boy toy of a silver mine magnate known as Hecla. Thanks to his philandering, they never spent any happy hours together in the space. Next, it became the property of "Dr." Rudolph Hahn, a self-taught lobotomist and abortionist. On Hahn's watch, the property saw some mighty weird shit, including a car being driven into a pool, his wife's mysterious death - ruled a suicide although the room was riddled with bullet holes - and many illicit surgical procedures. Hahn himself was stabbed to death with a bayonet from his own antique weapon collection, and his ghost still pushes around his old desk in his old office, despite the preferences of its new tenant. Plus, Devon has the elementary school inside scoop on urban legends surrounding the house, as well as a first-hand paranormal experience. (Episode 24 and Episode 25, Ouija Broads Uncut at Hahn Mansion Parts 1 and 2.)

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The Curse

Not everyone waits until their death to visit misfortune upon those who have wronged them. The Spokane Police Department committed an illegal search and seizure against two families belonging to the Marks clan of Romani. To cover all their bases, Jimmy Marks both sued the police department and cursed Spokane City Hall. After his death in 2007, some say the curse was resolved… but others disagree. (Episode 39, Cursing Spokane.)

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The Pleasure Garden

It’s a lovely old place on Spokane’s South Hill that boasts a Japanese Garden, a formal garden, a rose garden, and the lilacs that gave the Lilac City its name. But in its early days, Manito Park was the home of many ambitious projects meant to lure Spokanites to the new development – including a spark-flinging, horse-startling electric trolley and a loosely supervised zoo where a bear once tore an arm off a visitor. The developer of Manito, Francis Cook, was an early Spokane settler who founded the Spokan (no e) Times and had infinite beef with the other city founders, including one spat that boiled over into a visit from Anthony Cannon and his son-in-law, revolvers in hand and ready to demand a retraction.  After a brief scuffle, Cook sent both attackers packing and didn’t get a scrape on him. Newspaper editors could really throw down in those days. All that plus gay swans, mysterious picnic table stackings, and baby coyotes in the first episode where we kind of knew what we were doing. (Episode 9, Secrets of Manito Park.)

The Steps 

West of downtown Spokane is Greenwood Cemetery, a beautiful boneyard dating back to 1888. As the old pioneer burial grounds of early Spokane started to overflow, town founder Anthony Cannon bought this land to turn into a railroad. Railroad? Yeah, when that didn’t work, he turned it into a cemetery instead. The Cemetery is the home of the legendary Thousand Steps, of which there are actually about sixty (but supposedly they feel like a thousand steps, and supposedly you’ll never make it to the top because of all the ghosts you’ll encounter). The entrance to the steps is behind a dilapidated mausoleum originally owned by the Elks. Several theories exist to explain the presence of the stairs, but the most likely explanation is that the Elks originally meant to be buried on terraces nearby – but abandoned the site after their families objected. Legendarily, the Steps are the site of Satanic rituals and ghost sightings. (Episode #5, a “Lost Episode” available through our Patreon.)

The Crossroads

In 1890, workers for the Northern Pacific Railroad were setting up more than 200 lbs of dynamite before heading home for dinner. Unfortunately, the charge went off prematurely, killing 26 workers. 15 bodies were recovered and buried in a mass grave in Greenwood Cemetery (site of the Thousand Steps), while the remainder were never recovered. This intersection/gravesite is supposedly a hotbed of ghostly activity, and certainly is one of the deadliest intersections in Spokane. (Episode #4, a “Lost Episode” available through our Patreon.)

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The Grand Hotel

The Davenport Hotel is a gem of Spokane’s downtown, with a signature elegance that has survived over 100 years. The Davenport also has its share of hauntings, including the original proprietor, Louis Davenport – staff say that they sometimes see him standing in his robe and slippers, scowling at them as they dust the intricate woodwork. An unseen bellman helps push luggage carts and open doors for visitors, and sounds of a Prohibition-era party waft from the spa that operates on the site of the hotel’s former speakeasy.  And of course, there’s poor Ellen McNamara, who got turned around during the renovations of the atrium ceiling and plunged three stories to the lobby floor below. Although she passed away in 1920, some psychically sensitive guests have reported that they can still hear her repeating in death her last words from life… “Where did I turn? Where did I turn?” (Episode 14, Five Ghosts of the Davenport Hotel.)

The Derailment

As part of our Ghost Train/Train Ghost episode, we discussed the Division Street Bridge trolley disaster (relevant portion starts at 46:30). On a snowy, pre-dawn winter morning in 1915, two trolleys passed each other on this bridge. The bridge collapsed beneath them, pulling one directly into the river and leaving one dangling from the bridge’s remains. Multiple people died in the freezing water, and at least one Spokane psychic says the echoes of their last moments can still be heard to the spiritually inclined. (Episode 33, Ghost Trains/Train Ghosts.)

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The Gilded Cage

The Corbin Mansion was home to strangeness both before and after the death of its original resident. D.C. Corbin was a city founder of Spokane, but not one that was particularly popular in his day. He directed his coachman to race through town without slowing at intersections, and his rudeness was legendary. After Corbin’s first wife deemed Spokane a “dirty little place full of dirty little people,” he lived alone in Spokane. Alone, but with a Swedish housekeeper named Anna who eventually became the second Mrs. Corbin. Anna was never accepted by Spokane society, nor does she seem to have had a very happy marriage. She spent many hours sitting on the window’s edge, looking out at the beautiful grounds of her beautiful prison. When D.C. died, he left her only enough money to minimally keep the house operational and staffed – money that she would lose if she ever sold the house. So Anna stayed on for many years. She entered into an affair with her chauffeur, and – depending on who you asked – either incited him to burn the mansion down for the insurance money, or attempted the arson herself and tried to pin it on him after the fact. Either way, the home didn’t burn much and the plan was unsuccessful. Anna spent some years in a mental hospital, and after returning to the mansion, converted it into a rest home. (Episode #1, a “Lost Episode” available through our Patreon.)