The Mad Doctor of Spokane

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Manage episode 298253204 series 89785
By Audioboom, Scott Philbrook, and Forrest Burgess. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Here's a question: What makes a haunted house spooky if you've never been there? How scary can a haunted house be if no one has repeatedly investigated it? In other words, what is more frightening, the honest anecdotes about experienced paranormal activity in a haunted location or the unverified legends and lore of a place that send the frights of our imagination into overdrive? And what makes a house haunted? Is it the house or land itself, the activities and energy of its inhabitants, or a reciprocal combination of both? These are questions that would be apropos for tonight's subject, a house known as the Wilbur-Hahn manor in Spokane, Washington. The craftsman-style mansion came to life in September of 1916, when the heiress to the Hecla Silver Mine fortune, Sarah Smith, married playboy Ralston T. "Jack" Wilbur. Jack Wilbur had used Sarah's money to hire an eminent architect to build a three-story, seventeen-room house in Spokane's historied and tony South Hill neighborhood. For the princely sum of $75,000, the estate, sitting on nearly four acres of land, flaunted imported marble, gold-leaf carvings, and mahogany paneling inlaid with mother of pearl brought from China. However, the newly minted Mrs. Wilbur didn't fancy the home, and with this and other tumults in the marriage, Smith, and Wilbur divorced in 1918. The following notorious couple to occupy the house was Rudolph A. Hahn and his second wife Sylvia, thirty-two years his junior. Hahn purchased the manor in 1924 and spent $50,000 on additions, like a swimming pool and lavish gardens with fountains and statues, along with rumored secret panels and tunnels. Obtaining a doctor's license through a correspondence course, Hahn made a fortune performing electroshock therapy and illegal medical procedures for Spokane's well-heeled. The money, which some believe Hahn had stashed on the property, fueled his love of wild parties, fast cars, boats, and racehorses, much to the neighbors' dismay. But the excess and extravagant lifestyle of this real-life "Great Gatsby" would eventually lead to his bizarre murder in a seedy hotel downtown known as The New Madison Hotel. Perhaps it was the raucous, illicit activities and extreme emotions witnessed by the estate that imprinted somehow. Reports of arguing phantom voices or boisterous laughter, vanishing bloodstains, shadow figures, the apparition of a woman at the top of the stairs, and even screams and mysterious noises heard by passersby are forever bound to the house. The lesson of such an infamous place as the Wilbur-Hahn manor is that no matter how private any owners are, they cannot curb the spirits or the legend of a haunted mansion, and spooky is as spooky does.
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