Local historian Jefferson Davis is offering his “Spirit Tales of the Vancouver Barracks” for the third year in a row. With both a historic and paranormal take on the stories of Fort Vancouver, Davis guides history buffs through some of Vancouver’s spookiest places.
“This is a good way to teach history,” he told The Reflector last spring. “Although the ghost stories I do tell, I didn’t make up. What makes a ghost story interesting is the context: who and why.”
Davis was born in Vancouver and enlisted in the reserves at the barracks at the age of 17. He has run ghost tours in and around the Vancouver and Portland area for more than four years. He has also authored a few books, including “Vancouver USA Ghosts Volume I.”
Last spring, Davis’ walked The Reflector through the tour. The full story can be read at bit.ly/GhostReflector.
The tour starts at the west end of the Grant House Restaurant parking lot with a brief orientation and history of the barracks. The first stop on the 1.5-mile tour is the Post Headquarters near the Parade Grounds. Ghost stories come into the picture quick with Davis telling his first story of the night at this stop. It’s the tale of the ghost sentry, Tryggve Jgerdwine.
Following the Parade Grounds, Davis takes walkers around Fort Vancouver with stops near Building 987, O.O. Howard House and the famous Post Hospital. At the hospital, Davis tells the story of his first ever ghost-hunt where he was “driven away by the forces of darkness itself.” Davis also gives listeners a history of the 115-year-old hospital and its different rooms and uses since its construction.
The last three stops on the tour consist of building 721, The Auditorium, Officers Row and, finally, The Grant House. At The Auditorium, Davis tells stories of his own past and spooky stories about a human skull found under the building.
Davis offers the tours June 1 through Nov. 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. It is recommended to wear walking shoes and dress for the weather as the nearly 1.5-mile tour takes place entirely outdoors.