There is undoubtedly a legend in every town you’ll visit, or perhaps some story passed around by locals from generation to generation. Washington is host to a tremendous number of cities that hold stories of cryptids, ghosts, and paranormal encounters.
And, of course, Yakima is no exception to that. Yakima has several stories and supernatural claims about certain spots in and around the Valley, and if you’re from here, you surely know of at least one of these paranormal rumors.
Coast To Coast AM radio hosted by Art Bell no doubt gave listeners plenty of claims from callers about strange encounters with aliens, ghosts, shadow beings, and the list goes on and on. However, one unique and widely talked about story a caller of the radio show described happened to take place in the hills between Yakima and Ellensburg.
On February 21, 1997, a man by the name of Mel Waters called into Coast To Coast AM, claiming to own property along the outer hills of Ellensburg, and had come across a bottomless pit.
Waters explained that the hole, according to his own measurements, had no bottom, extending past his approximate measurement of 80,000 feet that he took himself using fishing line and a weight. Waters continued to make claims about the hole, suggesting that his neighbor disposed of a deceased animal in the pit, only for the animal to have been seen walking around the hole the next day.
Mel’s Hole has never been identified, and the location of it has never been specified, not even by Waters himself, who made two more calls into the radio show after the initial call about the hole.
Claims made by Gerald R. Osborne, a fellow believer of the hole and its supernatural origins, had also said to have seen the crater, suggesting it was filled with an underground species of extraterrestrials and that the U.S. government was keeping a base there to keep the hole out of the public eye.
In 2002, Osborn was unable to lead an expedition of over 30 people to the hole, despite claiming several visitations to it and knowing its location.
Further into the story, Mel Waters told in his final call that the U.S. government had offered him a large sum of money to keep his mouth closed about the hole and its location and relocated him to Australia.
There is no record of Mel Waters living in or owning property in Kittitas County or Yakima County, where the hole is supposedly located somewhere in between.
Complex physics may hold the answer to this fun mystery, but undoubtedly, it still is freaky.
Gravity Hill is a location in Prosser, marked with a crude “start” at the beginning of a barren and empty road that leads to a hill. If you put your car in neutral, your car will begin to roll uphill.
Claims of handprints being left in the dust collected on the windows of your car will pop up if you choose to visit this unique and supernatural location.
Now, this certainly could be an optical illusion. However, several reports of the hill indeed being at an incline have proven that something else must be happening here that we just don’t know.
If you want to visit Gravity Hill yourself, the location is marked at 101204 N Crosby Road in Prosser. Please remember that the surrounding area around the road is private property.
The Hog Devil of Naches Avenue
The Yakima Herald published an article back in 1897 about a so-called “Hog Devil” that terrorized residents and visitors of Naches Avenue in Yakima.
“North Yakima has a ghost, at least the young people, and many old ones, are very much agitated on the subject,” says the article published by the Yakima Herald.
This ghostly apparition goes by two names because it can appear to you as two different things — a ghostly-looking woman in black or a horrifying hog. Whichever one you encounter, they both will chase you up the street. Both are described as “noiseless and with the swiftness as the wind.”
Two unnamed boys in 1897 claimed that the figure sat on the stoop of the church before spotting them and taking off after them. There is even a claim that a police officer threatened to arrest the apparition for terrorizing the area.
The hog woman’s claims have died down mainly as time passed. However, Yakima residents along Naches Avenue were adamant about the eerie figure and its terrifying reputation, with one spooked resident at the time saying, “Well! You may say there are no such things as spooks, but when you put your hand out, and it isn’t there, that settles it.”
The Capitol Theater
Downtown Yakima has a whole list of spots where reports and rumors of ghosts hang about in the afterlife. However, Yakima certainly has a celebrity among the residents, and even if he may be in the spirit realm, he is very well known.
The Capitol Theater in Yakima was constructed in 1920 by Frederick Mercy (whose family continues to operate the local theaters in Yakima to this day!) The theater was one of the largest in the state and continues to operate to this day, despite the fire in 1975 that destroyed part of the historic building
The theater is host to a Yakima legend who goes by the name Shorty.
The story goes that around the 1930s, Shorty was a stagehand that worked at the Capitol Theater. There, he fell in love with an actress who rejected his affections. Shorty then ended his life upon the rejection.
Yet claims of Shorty never leaving began soon after his departure.
To this day, the staff at the Capitol claim Shorty has never left, and he makes it very obvious with his antics.
An old office that had been locked up and only accessible by ladder was found to have documents that had gone missing, and nobody on the staff knows who could have possibly moved them.
Doors that have been locked tight for the night have been found wide open the next morning. Footsteps can be heard in the hallways, and toilets are randomly set off when the bathrooms are empty. Shorty has made his presence known very clearly at the Capitol Theater and is a true Yakima legend.
To read more about Shorty’s ever-popular residency at the Capitol Theater, visit here.
Of course, the list of potential haunted and supernatural locations in Yakima and its surrounding areas could go on forever. Plenty of stories float around every day, and many of them have compelling evidence to back them up. So, whether you’re an out-of-town skeptic or a local believer, these paranormal spots are sure to raise some eyebrows.