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Paranormal activity: Snoqualmie couple lives comfortably amid spooky happenings at 1917 house | Photo gallery
When they moved in, Cathy and Todd Gamble were both taken by the charms of their new Snoqualmie home.
But, from the very first moment, there were some signs that all is not normal at this 1917 Maple Avenue cottage.
“When I first walked into this house, I knew it was going to be our house,” Cathy said.
Todd, too, was happy with the place, and ready to move in. That was why he never told Cathy what he experienced when he first set foot inside.
On tour with a realtor, stepping in the front door, Todd experienced what might best be described as a vision.
“This whole story was in my head, instantly,” Todd said. For an instant, he had a mental picture of something at the foot of the building’s steep, narrow unrailed staircase. “This girl had fallen down the stairs, and was crumpled on the floor. She got up, and walked through this wall.”
He shrugged the experience off, and didn’t tell his wife. After all, they both really liked the house, and he didn’t want to spoil it.
But later, after they moved in, “I started noticing some noises and oddities,” Todd said. “I told her the story, and she said, ‘Well, I’ve noticed some oddities, too.’ Together, we started noticing things that are strange.”
About every six months, it seems, something strange happens. Both Gambles say that, on multiple occasions, they’ve sensed someone enter the building. But when they go to see who’s there, there’s nothing.
“There were three times when I’ve heard the front door open and close, and someone walk in,” Cathy says. “I walk out there and there’s no one there.”
“It’s so real that I’ve yelled from the other room,” Todd adds. “I come out and she’s not there.” That’s really weird, he thinks.
At other times, the Gambles sense footsteps coming up and down the stairs.
“Everything was coming from the stairs,” Cathy says.
Cats and stairs
The Gamble’s four cats seem happy enough, but Todd says they can often be spotted gazing up the stairs—at nothing in particular.
“They’re always staring up the stairway, all the time,” he said.
I see one cat, Buttercup, start up the stairs, and go to take her picture. My camera focuses but refuses to function. Try as I might, I cannot get it to take the picture. Finally, after about a minute of befuddled coaxing, I snap a shot of the cat, still on the stairwell. She’s looking up and ahead. At what, precisely, I cannot say.
Then there’s the mysterious smell. At times, in their room, Todd or Cathy would smell cigarettes, as if someone was smoking a few feet away.
That mystery seemed to be solved when they began to do some work on the house. Dismantling the bedroom wall, Cathy looked behind the trim and some old, girly wallpaper to discover a stash of cigarette butts along the baseboard. Todd wonders what the story behind the old butts might be.
A couple of months ago, Cathy remembers the time the bathroom door suddenly swung shut. There was no draft, and Cathy says it takes some tangible pressure to close the door.
Then there was the time that Todd was surprised by a sudden, static sound. He checked his computer speakers, then realized the sound was coming from the battery-operated emergency radio on the shelf. Somehow, it had been switched on.
He immediately called Cathy: “We’ve got more things happening,” he told her. “We were excited.”
One day, while on a walk with Cathy, Todd decided to find out if the neighbors had any similar tales.
He met Barney Stevens, from two doors down, and decided to sound him out—without dropping any hints about their own experiences. What about the neighbor’s house? Gamble asked. No, nothing there, Stevens replied—“but a lot of people have seen a 15-year-old girl by your gate, smoking,” Gamble recalls being told.
“That made us feel like it might be real,” Todd says.
“And we’re cool with it,” Cathy adds.
Chatting with Todd by his home on Fir Street, Stevens acknowledges the stories. He’s got some of his own: similar ones about unexplained footsteps, noises and presences at his place, and the occasional, inexplicable scent of old-fashioned women’s face powder.
The Gambles aren’t troubled by all the paranormal activity. They’ve never felt afraid or scared. To this day, they love their home and have no plans to leave.
“It’s just strange,” says Todd, who believes in the possibility of a spirit world, but never really considered the possibility of “Scooby-Doo style ghosts.”
“But we definitely have something,” he said.
“We think it’s really cool,” says Cathy.
Todd Gamble stands near the steep stairway in his home.
Todd Gamble points out where he and his wife found an old stash of cigarette butts, apparently responsible for a 'ghostly' odor. It's one of the odd echoes of the past at their home.
One of the Gambles' cats, Princess Buttercup, gazes up the stairs—at nothing, apparently. Such pet behavior is common.
Another of the Gamble cats hangs out at the top of the stairs.