It seems that I'm learning something new about Washington every day. Today, I dove into the history of Thornewood, and the famed castle on its grounds in Lakewood, Washington near Tacoma. Let's try to get to the bottom of this.

Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
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Is Thornewood Castle haunted?

This is a somewhat complicated matter, as you'll soon learn. I think it's important to start by going back to the beginning - the construction of the castle. Construction began in 1910. There are three buildings on Thornewood, including the famed castle. What's really interesting is that the castle was built from bricks that were used in a 15th-century English home, meaning those bricks had to be imported to Washington. Nowadays we call that recycling.

Thornewood Castle under construction circa 1910, Lakewood, Washington (Public Domain)
Thornewood Castle under construction circa 1910, Lakewood, Washington (Public Domain)
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Why do people say Thornewood Castle is haunted?

Since being featured as a filming location and set in the Stephen King movie Rose Red, rumors have swirled through the vast reaches of the internet that Thornewood Castle has experienced paranormal activity.

Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
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Famed architect Kirtland Cutter designed the castle for Chester Thorne, and it was truly a castle featuring 54 rooms (22 bathrooms!) across 27,000 square feet. As you can see, it is truly a marvel.

Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
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The grounds of the property feature many magnificent sculptures including two massive boars that oversee a life-sized game of chess, not unlike Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. I would be intimidated walking this lawn.

Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
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What happened to Thornewood Castle?

After Thorne died the castle was inherited by his daughter. While his will stated that the property could not leave the family, she sold it anyway. Years later, it became a bed and breakfast. After the castle's fame rose in the ghosthunting culture, the owners at the time leaned into the "is it haunted?" motif. But the property was sold again, still as a bed in breakfast. The new management, however, wasn't as enthused with the idea of their property being haunted.

Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Joe Mabel via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
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If you wanted to visit the castle on a day trip, you're out of luck. According to the owners:

The Castle is a private residence and located in a private neighborhood. It can only be seen when coming for previously-reserved overnight lodging or as an invited guest of a scheduled event.

Is Thornewood Castle haunted?

While many people have claimed to see some sort of supernatural activity, the fact that there weren't any such reports before the castle was used in horror movies makes me suspicious. The current owners of the property don't believe it's haunted, saying so on their FAQ page.

Photo of Thornewood by Joe Mabel / CC BY-SA 3.0 (No Changes Made)

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