Wolf Creek Inn in the Pacific Northwest of America is a place packed with history. Built in 1883 for local entrepreneur Henry Smith, it boasts a reputation as the oldest continually operating hotel in the whole area.
Located off the Interstate Five, Wolf Creek Inn is at a convenient stopping point, yet still just far enough away from the beaten track. Originally positioned next to Henry Smith’s apple orchard, it operated as a stagecoach stop on the Applegate Trail. The route served travellers heading North between San Francisco and Portland, which in those days involved a gruelling sixteen-day journey.
Much of the old building’s original charm has been preserved, and the inn still welcomes paying guests. There is also plenty of information readily available for visitors about its fascinating history. Rangers are on hand to offer guided tours for those keen to hear more, particularly those wanting to experience something of the paranormal.
As one of Southern Oregon’s officially recognised places of historical interest, Wolf Creek was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation bought it in 1979 and carried out extensive refurbishment.
In 2018, Andrew and Gesi Shroyer took over the management of the inn, and quickly became acquainted with the many stories of hauntings and ghostly occurrences at their establishment. They like to view the inn as a ‘free museum’ and are keen that anyone who happens to be passing should come and experience it for themselves.
The Ghosts of Wolf Creek Inn
Guests have frequently reported feeling a ghostly presence around the inn, or sudden drastic temperature changes – despite the climate control system installed throughout. There are sounds of children running and kicking a ball around in the ballroom. A common claim from guests is the strange feeling that their toes are being played with while they are in bed.
Another frequent report is that of particular smells wafting through the building. Next to Clark Gable’s room there have been reports of heavy perfume, and certain smells in the women’s parlour. These smells sometimes move around, but they are only temporary and completely vanish within moments.
Andrew Shroyer is happy to embrace his inn’s spooky occurrences, given that the spirits have been there far longer than him. His own experiences are many and varied, including cooking pans flying across the kitchen when he tries to leave the room. Whether this is a ghost wanting him to stay, or just a prank – he is uncertain.
Some believe the spirit of a famous stagecoach driver who died at the inn is still present. After the driver’s death, it was discovered that he was in fact a woman, posing as a man. Some believe her to have been the notorious One-Eyed Charlie, who allegedly “drove his team hard, spat his tobacco juice harder, and cussed like Sam Clemens”.
Known as a first-class hotel, Wolf Creek Inn boasts celebrity writers and actors among its former guests. These include Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Orson Welles, Sir Antony Hopkins and many others. John Wayne stayed there while he was filming in the area. The cast of the popular 1950s-1970s TV show Gunsmoke frequently stayed when filming in the nearby town of Golden – also believed to be haunted.
Another celebrity guest was the author Jack London, who often wrote while staying at the inn. He is believed to have completed his novel Valley of the Moon there and enjoyed hiking in the local area. Some have reportedly seen his apparition and heard his disembodied voice in the room where he stayed.
Wolf Creek Monster
Whether they are celebrities or not, Andrew Shroyer insists the ghosts at Wolf Creek are content and welcoming – or at least, most of them are. One ghost is allegedly unpleasant, a vampire-like creature believed to be a mentally deranged monster, appearing with fangs and blood around its mouth. But Andrew is convinced the other ghosts keep this bad-humoured spirit under control.
Jessie Shroyer has reported her own experiences. She claims to have heard the sound of the piano playing downstairs in the restaurant; but when she goes to investigate, no one is there. Sometimes she has heard footsteps behind her when climbing the stairs but knows she is alone.
The inn has featured on two TV shows, Ghost Adventures and Mysteries at the Hotel. A number of paranormal investigators have visited, taking readings and recordings wherever they can. One group called Ghost Tracker walked around in 2012, ‘inviting’ ghosts to speak to them on camera – which allegedly many did.
Over the years, Wolf Creek staff have reported flickering lights, unexplained voices, moving objects and apparitions. A child is occasionally heard singing, and her ghostly form has been spotted in the window. Chairs move on their own, and objects disappear from tabletops. For former non-believer Andrew Shroyer, the paranormal has simply become daily normality.