Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Corrupt Mortician

E. R. Butterworth was a furniture maker in Seattle, Washington in the early 1900s. At this time, there were many deaths in Seattle because of fast spreading diseases and frequent mine accidents. 

Butterworth ended up making more coffins than furniture. 

By 1903 he realized that death was a booming industry. So he opened up "Butterworth’s and Sons Mortuary." His mortuary was located in what was to become the E.R. Butterworth building. 

This building still stands today, and Kells' Irish Pub occupies the basement where the mortuary once was. Not surprising this pub is considered haunted.

Butterworth mortuary provided a chapel, a crematorium, and a morgue where autopsies and embalmings were performed. Some feel this space is haunted today because of Butterworth’s unethical and corrupt practices. 

There were so many deaths in Seattle the bodies literally stacked up. To alleviate this problem the city paid it’s citizens $50 to bring the deceased to Butterworth’s mortuary. Butterworth collected half this amount and prepared these bodies for burial.

It seems collecting these generous fees was not enough for Butterworth because he became greedier. He started to have people killed. 

At this point in history, people did not concern themselves overly with the cause of death and the fact that Butterworth immediately cremated these bodies destroying the evidence allowed him to continue this practice for some time. Later, it was rumored that Butterworth had an accomplice.

Dr. Linda Hazzard performed extreme treatments on her patients to supposedly cure them. She basically staved them to death. * 

Hazzard was caught and convicted of murder for one such case. She served two years in prison and then moved to New Zealand with her husband, where she continued to practice medicine. Butterfield’s handled the cremation of several of her former patients—hence the rumored connection.

The Butterworth and Sons Mortuary was in business from 1903 until 1923. 

When the owner and manager of Kells Irish Pub started to renovate this old building they quickly became aware something odd was going on. One workman that demolished an upper floor took pictures to show the two the progress that was being made. In one of these photos, something unexpected appeared. 

This workman had captured a man who was deathly pale, with very dark gaping eyes. But what was most unusual was the man’s mouth was sewn shut with thread. At this point, the owner looked into the history of the building.

People at Kells' today feel that many of the souls of Butterworth’s victims are making their presence known. 

Glasses are pushed off the bar without apparent cause, and dirty handprints are discovered on the windows after they are cleaned. 

The spirit of a little girl without legs is sometimes seen playing by an unused staircase. At one point a large wall mirror fell and broke in an empty room. It oddly fell to the floor in neat, clean-edged pieces. 

The activity in the pub seems to be most active in November. It is believed this is because in November of 1918 Seattle residents were dying in droves from Spanish influenza. People at the time wore surgical masks to avoid becoming ill.

* Two sisters, Claire, and Dorothea Williamson, were both victims of Dr. Hazzard. Claire had already been cremated at the time of Hazzard's trial, but her sister Dorothea who died later was still skin and bone.

The following link is a news story about the pub, and it shows the photo that was taken by the workman on the demolition crew. The manager and the owner are interviewed. The television show Ghost Adventures with the Constantinos are highlighted as well.

News story about ghosts at Kell's Pub

No comments: