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Ghosts and Wine at Chateau Ste Michelle and Willows Lodge

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The oldest and largest winery in Washington State, Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville, WA, started its operations in 1976. Not only does it have beautiful grounds and superb wine, but it has some of the best events and outdoor concerts . Those travelling from out of town, can spend the night at the Willows Lodge, which opened in 2000, and is located across the street from the winery. The land that the winery sits on , was once called a Hollywood Farm. It was owned by a wealthy lumberman and a businessman Frederick "Fred" Spencer Stimson [1867-1921}. The Manor House, that is still on the property, was built in 1912 for him and his wife Nellie {1868-1946} and their children. Stimson's property included several other buildings as well as greenhouses for Nellie's flowers, that were sent daily to her flower shop and other places. Frederick Stimson's older brother Charles Douglas Stimson{1857-1929}, also a wealthy businessman, built a hunting lodge about 2 miles down the road that he named the Willows Lodge. Unfortunately it burned down in 1939. Willows Lodge is not listed as a haunted hotel,but the winery however does have a tragic story. We have not investigated at the winery, so I can't confirm its validity. However, I was at an event there with psychic medium Jennifer VonBehren recently and she did see 2 female ghosts there. One was a younger woman and the other was an older woman, who was smoking a cigarette. It is said that the Stimsons had a servant called Elizabeth, who had an affair with Mr. Stimson and got pregnant. Mrs. Stimson understandably wasn't happy about the news and somehow Elizabeth ends up falling down the stairs and dies. Jennifer can connect with the energy in the house and feels that the servant was pushed ,not by Mr. Stimson, but the fall didn't kill her. There is said to have been some strange activity in the house such as cold spots,noises,shadows etc. Jennifer does believe that Nellie Stimson is one of the women at the Manor House. She also believes that the 2 brothers, F.S. Stimson and C.D. Stimson are still around as well.

Our stay at the Willows Lodge took an interesting and unexpected turn . It is very common tho ,that where the psychics or those who are sensitives are , the ghosts seem to find them ,if they are around. Haunted rooms are not always haunted, because the spirits travel and people can bring attachments along. I stayed in room 133 and Jennifer in room 114. My night stand light turned on 3 times after I had turned out the light. At that point I knew I had company, so I simply told whoever was doing it to stop and he did. The next morning I did a quick evp session to see if the spirit was still there and he was. Turns out that Jennifer also had a ghost in her room that night. Based on the sessions, we both had at least one male spirit in each room. After showing Jennifer a picture of C.D. Stimson, she confirmed that he was the man in my room. Whoever was the man in hers, we don't know. I believe that there were possibly 2 male spirits in her room, one called either Jacob or the last name Jacobson and the other a soldier,a general. There was a settler family by the last name of Jacobson at one point, which may not be related at all. There were also Indian wars in the area or close by in the 1850's,which might have brought soldiers in town. In my room I got 2 names ,one of which sounds like Charlie Doug and the last name may be Stimson and also possibly Fred, which is his brothers nick name. However the recordings are not clear enough to be 100 percent sure. The Hollywood Farm and the old Willows Lodge hunting cabin, were fun,special and meaningful places to the Stimson brothers at one point ,so I am not surprised if F.S and Nellie still feel a special connection to the land and C.D. feels connected to the new Willows Lodge somehow. Whoever the ghosts are, they were fun loving and just wanted to say hello. When in town be sure to pay a visit to the Woodinville Heritage Museum and learn about the history of the Woodinville, the Stimson brothers and the settler families. Special thanks to Halee Turner of the Redmond Historical Society and Mitch from Chateau Ste Michelle Concierge Team for helpful links.

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