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Haunted Fridays: What lies beneath the Spokane Co. Courthouse

Haunted Fridays: What lies beneath the Spokane Co. Courthouse

SPOKANE, Wash. - A building constructed in 1895 is bound to have a few skeletons in the closet. This week's "Haunted Friday," goes inside the Spokane County Courthouse.

Facilities Director Ron Oscarson said he knows more than just a few courthouse secrets.

"Things like this were made in the late 1800s, early 1900s," Oscarson said.

Oscarson said one of those secrets is the hidden tunnel that runs underneath the parking lot. He said the tunnel starts underneath the old jail.


"On the plans for the original jail, they called that the drunk tank," Oscarson said.

He said the tunnel runs right underneath the new jail, but it does not actually connect.

"It's against the rules to have back doors in and out of the jail, you know," Oscarson explained. "If they were going to do it though, this is where it would be done."

However, some of the best kept courthouse secrets are hidden in plain site.

According to the courthouse, the area now known as the customer service department is where two brutal murderers were executed.

"So the reason you see these bars on these windows here isn't to keep people from the courthouse from getting in here," Oscarson explained while pointing to the windows in the customer service area. "It's to keep you and me, who are out here as inmates, from escaping through the courthouse and getting out of here."

According to the courthouse, the customer service room was a courtyard that contained makeshift gallows more than a century ago.

"So, it really wasn't a huge courtyard," Oscarson said. "It was big enough for inmates to do their exercise and big enough for the 300 people they invited to the hangings."

Oscarson said the courthouse used to send out invitations to the executions it held. In fact, according to records, a third man was hanged right in front of the Public Safety Building. According to some, his spirit never left.

In 1892, Charles Brooks was the first man to be officially executed in Spokane County, according to records. Brooks killed his wife in what is now known as Riverfront Park, according to records.

However, according to one newspaper article, he returned three months later to haunt the clerks in the courthouse auditor's office. The clerks claimed to see his ghost clutching at his neck while perched on the scaffold where he died.

So, if fortune finds you at the courthouse this October you may want to look over your shoulder.

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