• Ashley

Bonus: The Hahn Mansion

Spooky season is by far my favorite time of year, so I wanted to release a special episode of Washed Away to celebrate. You’ll hear me talking to a paranormal investigator out of Spokane, Amanda Paulson, as she tells me about her experiences at some of Eastern Washington’s most haunted locations. There’s some history, mystery, ghosts, and… even a little bit of murder… consider this your content warning, though truly this episode is much more casual and lighthearted than usual in my opinion. Hope you enjoy it and Happy Halloween!


Sources for this episode include: KREM, KREM again, Historic Spokane, The Ghost Writer, and KING5.


Here's a photo of the infamous Hahn Mansion and if you look in the foreground, you'll see what used to be the swimming pool...

We also discuss The Govan Schoolhouse and The Davenport Hotel, two other well known haunted spots around Spokane.


Follow Amanda (aka @prettyfnspooky) on her blog, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

Transcript-

Ashley: So, how long have you been a paranormal investigator and what got you into the paranormal?

Amanda:

I've been a paramount investigator now for 12 years. I think I officially started investigating in 2008 when I was 18. Um, I'm 30 now. I first got interested in the paranormal because the house that I lived in when I was a kid, when I was like seven or eight, uh, was haunted or I believed it was haunted. And that kind of kickstarted my journey into the paranormal.

Ashley:

Were you scared at first and like kind of, did you get kind of get used to it or, I dunno, what was that like?

Amanda:

So the first instance that happened was actually walking into this duplex that we were going to move into. And I specifically remember being shown it and finding this penny and like, I had a really active imagination at this time. And so I, um, I saw the penny and I was like, Oh my God, like that's from the previous owners. And I feel like there's a presence in here, which is so bizarre thinking back because I don't think I had consumed any media that would have made me like predisposed to that. It was like, I was just like, I feel a presence in here and I wasn't scared then. But then when I had my first experience, which was, um, I was like coloring in my bedroom with my back to the rest of the room.

Amanda:

And my head was like in the doorway kind of, and this base moved entirely on its own across my dresser. Snd I freaked out. I was so scared and I told my mom, I was like, we have to switch bedrooms I'm not sleeping in this bedroom anymore. And then, um, I continued to be scared of stuff like that for quite a long time. I probably didn't lose my fear of the things that had happened around me or to me until like 2008 when I joined the group, was probably when I started being a little less scared and like actually searching for it.

Ashley:

And that was like a group of other people interested in the paranormal? And you guys would go to haunted locations and stuff and check it out?

Amanda:

Yeah. So that was in, um, this all was in Montana. I'm from Montana originally. And, um, I actually found this group on Facebook and I interviewed with them and they allowed me to be a part of the group. There was like 11 of us, I think, 11 or 13 of us. And, um, we would, we were like super professional. We would get together, we'd have meetings every month and then we'd also have investigations. And during our meetings, we would learn about each type of equipment and like about spiritual, like theories and things like that. Um, and then we would go on investigations for private residences and businesses and things like that. So it like really, um, helped me kind of understand how to investigate on a more like professional level.

Ashley:

Oh yeah what kind of tools or equipment do you use on investigations?

Amanda:

Oh man I have a lot, probably too much stuff now. But I'd say what I bring on investigations most often would be a digital recorder, which records electronic voice phenomena so "ghost voices" essentially that we can't hear with our ears right away. And then I have a couple different electro magnetic field meters or detectors, so those detect fluctuations in EMF. I also have something I've been bringing with me a lot lately called an EDI meter which is part EMF meter and then it also mentions temperature, vibration, humidity, all sorts of stuff. It's super cool. Those are my go-to's. And a flashlight. Always a flashlight, even if it's daytime. That's an old school ghost hunting technique, using a flashlight, asking a ghost to turn on a flashlight and it has worked for me before. It's really like not used enough. People want all the new, cool gadgets, but a $30 flashlight will do it.

Ashley:

Yeah there's something to be said about the originals and the things that work consistently.

Amanda:

Yes, exactly.

Ashley:

Did I see that you, uh, I don't know if it was recently, but at some point you checked out the Govan school house in Washington.

Amanda:

Yes, I did. That was, uh, kind of like a little bit of a bucket list item for me. It's so close actually to Spokane. Um, I want to say it was like hour and a half drive, two hour drive. Um, but I hadn't been in the 10 years I've lived here and yeah, I finally went this summer and it was amazing.

Ashley:

Yeah. What was that like? The photos seemed really creepy. Uh, I remember seeing like a little doll or something.

Amanda:

Yeah. That was actually kind of a pleasant surprise to find that like, because you know, I have a blog and I'm there for the creepy vibes anyway. And so I walk in and I was like, you gotta be kidding me. There's this friggin doll in here, it's like, that's amazing. It clearly somebody had planted that for that reason, but it was super creepy.

Ashley:

Govan is an Eastern Washington almost ghost town, only 3 people live there, and it was the site of several unsolved murders back in the day including Judge JA Lewis and his wife, who were bludgeoned to death in their home in 1902 and the killer has never been caught. In 1941 a woman was found murdered on her farm and her son went missing that same day but he wasn't found until 8 years later. The 40s is also when the schoolhouse closed… and the the huge town fire in 1974 is what finally took Govan off the map. It’s a really creepy sounding place. I've never been there and I'm okay wit hthat.

Amanda:

So the Govan schoolhouse is really, uh, dilapidated, like, um, you can kind of see through the walls and the ceiling and stuff. It's just like really starting to deteriorate over time. Um, and I honestly didn't expect much. I went like in the broad daylight, I want to say I went at like 10 or 11:00 AM. And so I like just didn't expect much activity paranormal wise, even though there's tons of stories in that area. But then I got there and I was like, Whoa, like it was a true testament to places that hold some kind of like special or weird energy, kind of like vortex-y. And I asked, I actually ended up getting, um, quite a few like electromagnetic field fluctuations and things like that. It was, it was a really good investigation actually.

Ashley:

Do you have any favorite haunted or spooky spots that you've discovered since you've been in Washington?

Amanda:

There is a handful of them... I'll say in Spokane in particular, there's the Davenport Hotel and also the Hahn Mansion. However, I've never investigated the mansion.

Ashley:

Ooh, have you investigated the hotel?

Amanda:

I've sort of investigated the hotel, anyone, anyone who also ghost hunts and investigates and stuff will understand this, but uh, I've like gone into the lobby and tried to do my own little ghost hunt without them being privy to it. Um, I have not rented a room yet. It's very expensive. So I'm working on that, hoping to do that, uh, in 2021, but, but the Davenport hotel is like a really interesting story about a woman who fell through the ceiling, um, on accident, it has this like weird glass ceiling thing and there's a door that opens up onto the glass. And, in the early 1900s or sometime she was drunk and opened the door and stepped outside and fell to the glass and that's the, that's the ghost story of Davenport hotel, it's also very beautiful.

Ashley:

You mentioned the Hahn mansion, I would love to hear more about like the local lore of that place. Cause that's one that actually you told me to check out and the story is wild.

Amanda:

Yes. Um, the Hahn mansion is amazing. Uh, I will preface this by saying that it is a private residence, so it can not be visited. And I think the new owners are not like super down with the lore around it, which kind of makes me think that it's haunted more, like more haunted. I don't know. I just, it seems suspicious and I'm like, Hmm. But, the Hahn mansion is not only one of the most reportedly haunted houses in Spokane, but it also has like a famous, um, previous resident that is just outrageous, like kind of like a "Horror Gatsby" a little bit is how I like to look at it.

Ashley:

That's honestly the perfect nickname for him. Uh, so you haven't been able to investigate that place, but have you driven by it or? Cause I tried to look at photos online of what it looks like now and it's all just covered in trees. And so I'm so curious.

Amanda:

Yeah. So, it was built in the early 1900s for a different family actually. Then it was eventually the Hahn Mansion, for Dr. Hahn, it's a huge property. It used to have a pool that's now been, cemented in, because at one time Dr. Hahn partied so hard that he drove his car into the pool. I don't know if you read that story..

Ashley:

haha Yes!

Amanda:

But yeah, the property is like huge and it's in a weird area of town where properties aren't that big in that area. It's like a very normal, um, suburb. Like I dunno, people don't have like a lot of land, just a front and a backyard, but, um, but the property to the Hahn mansion starts on one block and it just has these big pillars and like a long driveway and then this big open field and then it goes up to the house, but then the way to like enter the other way to the house is like two blocks up. It's insane. Yeah. It's hard to get up to two without like boldly just driving into their driveway and then pulling like, a oops, didn't mean to do that. I've tried, many times to take pictures from the bottom of their yard because that's like street facing. So I can easily just walk down the sidewalk and look at it and try to take a picture, but it just doesn't do it justice. Like it would, if I could just get a little bit closer.

Ashley:

Yeah. I just looked at pictures on, I think Zillow and like Google Earth and it is so hard to get a peak in there. It's just all, uh, like a fence and um, and a bunch of trees and it kind of looks like it's close to, not residences, but like a library or a, some kind of business or something. I thought I saw a parking lot.

Amanda:

Yeah. It's across the street from a school actually, a school that is also reportedly haunted, which is interesting. That's a really interesting neighborhood actually. It has a lot of like haunted places like that. Um, but yeah, it's super bizarre.

Ashley:

Here's the background on the Hahn Mansion: it's rumored to cause bad luck for its owners. Ralston Wilbur and Sarah Smith, divorced three years after building the house in 1916. The second owner moved after only five years. In 1924 it was sold to Dr. Rudolph Hahn, nicknamed “The Mad Doctor of the South Hill.” He wasn’t actually a licensed doctor by the way - but still performed labotomies, electro-therapy procedures, and what were at the time illegal abortions for those that could afford them. Hahn did these procedures in the basement of the mansion. He was known for playing loud music late into the night, throwing crazy parties, and apparently driving into his own swimming pool. He also may have murdered his wife… though her death was ruled a suicide. After he lost his wife, Hahn also lost all of his money and friends and his Horror Gatsby reputation - this was because a woman from Idaho had died on his operating table and he was convicted of manslaughter. Then on August 6th, 1945 Dr. Hahn was found dead, not in the mansion, but in his apartment with a bayonet skewering him through the chest. The killer is allegedly someone who was connected to the Idaho woman that died under Dr. Hahn’s treatment. A truly brutal way for his story to end. The Hahn mansion has since had a few other owners since then, thought it mostly sat vacant in the 60s and 70s. And those that have spent time in or near the mansion have reported hearing screams from the basement and music in the courtyards.

Ashley:

I guess the theory is that he killed his wife, but it was technically ruled as a suicide. I wanted to get your thoughts. What do you think happened there?

Amanda:

Sure. So... I'm like, yes, I have thoughts on that. Um, so Dr. Hahn was like this crazy, like crazy doctor. He partied a lot, he drank a lot of alcohol, even during prohibition. He was known for throwing these like crazy parties for Spokane elite. And he had this wife the entire time who then eventually killed herself in 1940 or so they thought, um, they later ended up finding... Um, or I should say that he stayed in the house for a little bit after that if I remember correctly. And then, he actually was charged with manslaughter for one of the illegal abortion he was doing, going wrong and killing one of the women. And, um, so that kind of ruined his career and he claimed that it was too sad to be in the house because his wife had committed suicide.

Amanda:

So he moves and then they do further investigation, finding bullet holes in the house, like in the wall and start suspecting that like maybe he could have, there was like suspicion that he could have killed her. Um, but then he claimed that he was target shooting in his house, which is crazy. And, uh, I don't, there's also a theory too though that he could have just been like, um, I mean he was eccentric enough. He could have just been kind of scaring his wife and being like, I'm gonna shoot you and like, not shooting her, but shooting the wall. Um, but I think he probably killed her. I mean, it was 1940, there's a lot of domestic abuse going on. And like, that's like after the Great Depression and stuff, like there's just a lot going on there and, and they seemed like they, I mean, they had a pretty volatile marriage and the bullet holes. I don't know. I think, I think he probably killed her.

Ashley:

Yeah, me too

Amanda:

I dunno. Yeah. Or at least like egged her on to do it or something like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What I find most interesting actually, well, besides his Gatsby like parties, he moved into this small apartment building downtown, um, or I think it was a hotel then, it's apartments now, but, um, he moved in there, so it was like tiny apartment, not anything like the mansion that he was living in. Um, and he just like living his life and going about his own business. And then he ends up getting murdered by some random guy with a bayonet. Did you read that part of the story?

Ashley:

Yes. Which is again wild. Like that's like the only word that really describes this man's life, like wild and... cause it was his own bayonet that he like collected or something? And what? It's so weird.

Amanda:

I know it's so weird. And then the guy that murdered him with his own bayonet tried to claim that it was just like a random robbery, but people actually suspect that he had some kind of relation to somebody that he gave an illegal abortion to, which makes more sense to me than just a random robbery.

Ashley:

Yeah. I can only imagine like how many enemies this dude probably had at that time, you know? Um, I don't think he was probably very popular.

Amanda:

No. Well, yes and no, not at this point, not towards the end of his life. When he was throwing the parties, everyone loved him, and then he ended up being crazy. So yeah.

Ashley:

Yeah. Man, the more I read about, you know, the history about what happened in the Hahn Mansion and like Dr. Hahn himself, I was just like, yeah, this is the story that we should tell on this episode, because it is just nuts. And I had never heard of it. It's such an interesting part of Washington state history.

Amanda:

I know it's such a hidden gem. Like I talk about it here, weirdly often just cause I think it's so interesting and no one knows about it. It feels like, it's definitely not well known. And I think that does have something to do with it being a private residence, and there's like a rumor that, um, the basement still has like draining areas from his surgeries and stuff like in the floor. Sounds like a recipe for a haunting!

Ashley:

I don't know if this is just, you know, lore, but you know, people can hear, um, like they can still hear screams sometimes from like that, like from the house or from the yard and like music and the courtyards, that kind of thing.

Amanda:

Yeah. There's a lot of, um, like reported, um, disembodied voices and music and laughter and screams and all sorts of stuff like that, which kind of points to, I think more like residual energy. I haven't heard in particular about any kind of intelligent spirit being there, like Dr. Hahn himself walking around and like knowing he's a ghost there, but lots and lots of claims of yeah, screaming, laughing, music, parties, all sorts of stuff.

Ashley:

So you mentioned energy, so there's all different types of, I mean, would you call them all hauntings? Like how do you kind of categorize the different, um, types of spaces that you investigate?

Amanda:

This might vary from person to person a little bit, but there are different kinds of I guess you could say hauntings or spectral beings or spirits. But like a couple that I mentioned, a residual haunting being like, um, energy leftover, energy imprinted in an area. So it's not necessarily like a spirit left behind that can intelligently communicate with you, but more like, an imprint of a time that has happened in there that, or something that used to happen in there often like parties, for instance. There's theories that like a residual haunting could be, you know, the sound of laughter and music at 2:00 AM every Saturday night, because that happened for years and years in a house, it like imprinted itself. I happen to stand by that a lot of hauntings are actually like residual energy imprint.

Amanda:

I just think that it happens more often, if for instance, you walk in somewhere and you smell cigar smoke, or, I mean, there's tons of different ways to explain that. And it just happens more often. And like you go into a house and talk to an intelligent spirit, which is somebody who would theoretically be like an actual person who's haunting a house and you can have like an actual conversation with it through a piece of equipment. Like, I, seem to come by that kind of haunting or spirit less often. But that's the more exciting one, when you can talk to a ghost for sure. And then you have other ones like poltergeists and different types of stuff like that, but yeah, there's all sorts of all sorts of possibilities out there.

Ashley:

Yeah. I think the energy thing makes total sense. I mean, there's so little that we know about. I mean, everything... from, you know, nature to space, to like how, I mean, what happens after we die? Like no one knows anything, truly. And so anything is possible and like energy is so powerful. I think that totally tracks.

Amanda:

Yeah, absolutely.

Ashley:

Where can people find you if they want to learn more about what you do and kind of follow your journeys?

Amanda:

So I am @prettyfnspooky. That's pretty FN spooky on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, the whole shebang. And then I'm also prettyfnspooky.com as well, which is my website where people can request investigations.

Ashley: I’ll be sure to post links to Amanda’s work in the show notes for this episode plus photos of the Hahn mansion and more - that can all be found at washedawaypodcast.com. Washed Away is a Cosmic Bigfoot production. This podcast is all about cold cases and unsolved mysteries. Follow the show on instagram and twitter @washedawaypod. Send case suggestions to washedawaypodcast@gmail.com and if you’d like to help this podcast grow and reach new ears, please remember to rate review and subscribe. I’m Ashley Smith and I’ll have another episode for you… very soon. Thanks for listening!

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