The Witches Castle – Portland, Oregon

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Zero 45 (25mm configuration). Graflex “23” Graphic roll back. Ektar film
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Queen of Diamonds: The Witches Castle. From the Secrets of Portland deck by Aron Trotter.

When I pulled the Queen of Diamonds from my “Secrets of Portland” deck I was giddy with excitement. I’d heard about The Witches Castle and was instantly curious about it (who wouldn’t be?!?) and knew that I needed to find this place and pinhole it.

The Witches Castle is located in Forest Park (Portland, OR). There are a host of rumors about this place. I was curious about how the place came to be known as “Witches Castle” so I did some research.

Way back in the olden days  there was a family living on the property by the name of Balch (the creek that runs through here is named after this family). When Danford Balch laid claim to the area he hired a transient worker to help him clear a spot for his house (Mortimer Stump was his name).  Stump fell in love with and married Balch’s 15 year old daughter.  Things got ugly. Balch murdered his son-in-law, claiming he was bewitched by his wife to do so. He eventually was hanged for his crime. And now this place is haunted by Balch.

So I decided to hike up here alone, which was fun. I also sat for several very long exposures. Also fun. I didn’t see any ghosts. Or witches.

About the structure: I’ve read that this was a restroom that fell into ruin after a storm in the 1960s. The Forest Service  decided to not rebuild it and so they let it go.

Witches Castle
Zero 45 (50mm configuration). Arista.edu film. 5 minutes.
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Zero 45 (50mm configuration). Graflex “23” Graphic roll back. Ektar film
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