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Formerly Haunted * A Ghost Story
by Linda Lane
2008-07-17 08:08:23
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This is the Whitman house in 2001 as it appeared before, yes, unbelievably we renovated it for free (5-6 months overall) and the owner then sold it. Why? Right before the dotcom bust it was the only place I could find to live in Seattle. At all. No matter what the condition was. (The images are from still footage from video camera.)

formerly haunted * 4001 Whitman Ave NE Seattle WA 98103There had just been a wind storm which knocked down the flowering trees from the front yard. The white sofa Julie is laying on was the prior renter's and they just left it on the walk out front of the house. She's on the left on the front sidewalk.

It took a crew of up to 6 people, 3 working nearly full time 3 months to make it livable. Then I worked on it with help for another three months until it was finished about the same time I found work at Premera Blue Cross building their first Web application.

027nicole_observes_paintingI spoke to the owner's wife and suggested he sell it because it would never look better, I guess that wasn't so wise. He still had the audacity to complain.

Nicole surveys the plastic floor covering - to make sure it's complete -

It was a lovely place in bad condition with dog food, poo, and fur crammed into the heating and old carpets. So it smelled funny. First we cleaned it , including the forced air heating, and removed the wall to wall carpets, and hauled them away. Worse yet there was evidence of animal cruelty with the appearance of a dog kept locked up in a second bedroom - urine stains that came from the same source. The animal tried to claw its way out of the room.

The upstairs neighbor said his asthma stopped - he really never had that - he was allergic to all the fur and poo in the heating system!

Linda Lane and artist friend Mark renovating the Whitman House near Aurora in SeattleWe nailed back in all the nailheads of the wood floors and put an oil rub and very very light varnish on each floor's rooms. On the most damaged wood we filled the wood. This place was really big inside. Huge.

Julie finds WilsonWe reworked the bathroom - here's a photo of my artist friend Mark helping me with some remodeling.

Then we painted it, including 3 colors in some rooms (cream and white trim with a very light orange creme). We completely made over the bathroom adding a new sink, faucet and mirror. A new faucet for the kitchen and the water flowed freely at last.

Due to the age of most things we found around it appeared that no one had cared for the place since the 1970's. There was alot of garbage, and decrepid stuff like the rotten wood picnic table in the small back yard covered in spiders, you know broken desks, and big cans, and old mirrors. We cleaned it. We found this friendly ball - Wilson, of course with a nod to Tom Hanks.

Same with the kitchen. We added lighting throughout, and new curtains, and blinds tailored to fit.

026Dr_JimJim Chase - as the DR. FIXALL gets ready in the kitchen -

Also removed tons of junk from the basement and backyard and planted flowers and grass. Spent days trimming the trees in front and bushes. Planted two types of flowering bushes, lilacs. We also put up the brass house numbers out front.

Until we filled all the holes in the house I had bad dreams and nightmares no matter where I placed my bed. Once we completely filled in everything, all the cracks, then things were better. Once completely painted and refurbished, these bad dreams vanished. One exception was the ghost cat Julie said would brush up against her leg.

Julie starts spackling the walls - as she painted I drove roundtrip Seattle to Folsom -

I had a little video camera that I captured these images from - hauling my homestead
from the trees and sun of Folsom - and back to Seattle - on 5 in the pouring rain -
Leaving Folsom California Road Hi 5 Rain Crossed Oregon to Washington

My favorite ghost was the one that would jump over my bed at night mounted on a horse. I was unimpressed and just rolled over and went back to sleep.

Generally I charge to do this kind of work but I was so desperate to have a place to live - the landlord made a profit of course, and I had to move out. Right then the market fell.

My friend Nicole enjoying a ciggy on the west side of The Whitman House.

Nicole smokes whitman

Myself I was just grateful to my friends that I could spend so much time with them and that they helped me so much for such a little reward as just friendship. When we were done the place looked fantasic!

Here is an after shot -

formerly haunted * 4001 Whitman Ave N, Seattle, Washington, USA

Unfortunately I did not record the process which was almost all done inside the house.

Besides the scary stalking ghost, there was a cat ghost, a mounted on horseback ghost, and even a prostitute ghost. There was a strong owner ghost concerned about her garden. After asking the dearly departed residents to find new homes I believe that helped rid the place of ghosts but not completely.

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