Ghosts of the Martha Washington School for Girls | Haunted Seattle

The Haunted Martha Washington Park

former site of the Martha Washington School for Girls

6612 57th Avenue South

These normally quiet and seemingly innocuous ten acres sitting on the shores of Lake Washington are a huge hotspot for ghosts and other paranormal activity. Spirits of mistreated schoolgirls, a grounds caretaker, and indigenous apparitions all catch the attention of anyone taking a walk on these haunted, historic grounds.

Did You Know

  • There were murders and suicides of staff and students.
  • Bodies were dumped in the well, the lake, and the boiler burn box.
  • A madrone tree on the property was used for hangings.
  • The remaining haunted archway sits in Green Lake Park.
  • Satanists used the former school building for rituals.

Paranormal Park Events

Disembodied sobbing and other sounds of young women echo across the property. Rows of floating balls of light and gusts of wind from nowhere are frequently seen and felt at night.

A transparent young girl in a nightgown is often seen among the trees. Allegedly, she likes to walk along with groups, especially those with odd numbers. She and the spirits of other girls are said to appear and comfort troubled young living girls and to give a good scare to anyone bullying them.

During the day, you may even get pushed into the lake by the ghost of the caretaker if he decides he doesn’t like you.

There have been feelings of hands on shoulders, the sound of footsteps, as well as spirits showing up in photographs taken there. The madrone tree is a hotspot within a hotspot of activity.

History of the School & Grounds

The Martha Washington School for (Insane) Girls — also previously known as Parental Home for Girls and Girls’ Parental School — was originally located on Queen Anne Hill, Mercer Island, then finally Brighton Beach on Lake Washington. The reform school for wayward girls was founded in 1900 by Major Cicero Newell, his wife Emma, and the Woman's Century Club.

Brighton Beach was originally owned by Juvenile Court Judge and overall advocate for troubled youth, Everett Smith, since 1889. Smith had built an estate called Morningside that included a greenhouse, boathouse, and caretaker's residence.

In 1920, Judge Smith sold the property to the Newells and Club who moved the Martha Washington School there. Leaving the previous structures, the new owners added a dormitory and classroom in 1921 as well as an additional dorm and gymnasium in 1930.

In 1957 the city of Seattle and the State of Washington acquired the school, the students then being considered wards of the state.

In 1971, the School was shut down and the buildings were demolished in 1989, whereupon it officially became the Park.

Disturbed Native American Burial Ground

Centuries earlier, Native American tribes resided on the land that became the site of the school. They camped and fished and trained warriors — but where the caretaker’s hut was built was originally a sacred burial ground.

While building the Smith residence and later the school buildings, the European workmen were either not aware or simply not respectful of the cemetery, and disturbed most if not all of the remains.

Visiting mediums have attested that it was the angered Native spirits who truly drove the caretaker insane. They drove him to drink heavily, be generally angry, and even to abuse and assault the schoolgirls.

Lost in the shuffle as an average rentable property from when the pair lost the lease in 1985, it was rescued from obscurity in 1992 by Ida Cole of the Seattle Landmark Association – which became the Seattle Theater Group (STG) in 1999.

STG operates the theater to this day, leasing it from the current owners, family of attorney and real-estate investor George Toulouse.

Serial Killer Janitor

Sometime in the 1950s, one of the school janitors went on a murder spree. He assaulted and killed several students as well as a few of the staff members, hanging the bodies of the former on the madrone tree after strangling them to death.

Satanist Takeover

In 1972, while the school building was still standing and boarded up, a group of Satanists began using the place for various ceremonies, some of which included animal sacrifices.

Seattle residents complained vehemently about this and eventually petitioned the local city council who finally tore the building down.

Before You Go

The only installations of the Martha Washington School that can be seen today are the main brick building’s original circular driveway and a patch of dirt that sits over the capped former water well.

Another piece of architecture that remains is a hollow stairway the Judge built to the fated madrone tree.

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