I’m not sure if I believe in ghost stories, but I have to admit I am intrigued by Taimi Gorman’s new book Haunted Fairhaven, which discusses the spirits long suspected of lingering on the south side of Bellingham. I was excited to take an after dark tour with her in the Sycamore Square building (at the corner of 12th Street and Harris Avenue) to learn more.
Although from the street Sycamore Square looks like an average Victorian-era structure, the interior is a scene right out of a Wild West movie. It is essentially hollow, with huge wooden staircases and four levels of wrap-around balconies. Taimi calls the building “Fairhaven’s Spirit Portal.” Black-and-white photos on the walls tell the story of Fairhaven’s origins in the 1890s, when the building was constructed.
During that early era, Flora Blakely and her husband City Marshall Joseph Blakely lived on the 4th floor of the building. In March, 1892, Flora mysteriously died and it is humored she may have jumped to her death from the 4th floor into the courtyard, where her burial was held. For more than 100 years, business owners in the building have reported strange phenomena that many believe to be the presence of Flora and other spirits. Although Taimi does not directly speak to ghosts, she does sense their presence and she has invited teams of psychics to investigate Sycamore Square and multiple buildings in the Fairhaven District. They have made contact with numerous souls.
Taimi’s main contact is through her digital camera. While photographing rooms inside the Fairhaven buidlings, she frequently encounters images of orbs floating through the air. They are not visible to the eye, but somehow are captured electronically. She says the cell-like structure of the orbs in the pictures rules out simple dust particles. To our excitement, one person in our group actually captured orbs on her own camera while we were touring. These invisible energy fields seem to be simply hovering, and oblivious to our presence. Can you spot them in this image taken at Skylark’s Hidden Cafe?
Although our private tour was after dark, the experience was interesting, not scary. Many businesses in Fairhaven’s historic buildings are open late, and the curious are welcome to look around. Guided walking tours of Fairhaven are offered in the summer and in October. Taimi told us Haunted Fairhaven is currently the 10th best seller at our local Village Books in Fairhaven. I have always known that Fairhaven district seems to be alive with its own vibe. Maybe there is much more truth to that than I realized.