Check Out the Haunted Watson Cabin in Tahoe City This Halloween
Every year for Halloween from 4-6 p.m., families fill the main street of Tahoe City dressed in their scariest costumes to go trick-or-treating and visit their favorite local businesses. This year, the Tahoe City Public Utility District will also have a booth set up in Heritage Plaza with information about its Huntin’ for Pumpkins contest.
The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society will also have Watson Cabin open again this Halloween from 4-6 p.m., giving people the chance to peek inside North Lake Tahoe’s oldest residence. Historical Society board members will be dressed up in period-era clothing and serving apple cider.
“This is our second year doing it. We felt that we needed to do something in town because we get the biggest outpouring of locals trick or treating here in Tahoe City,” says North Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum Director Susan Winter, who added the last year some of its board members figured that around 400 people came out.
“There are so many locals who’ve never been in the cabin before, so this is a great time to check it out,” Winter adds.
Built in 1908, Watson Cabin served as a residence until the 1930s and was built by Robert Watson and his son Robert. It is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and still has many of the same furnishings and artifacts of that time on the main floor, acting as a “living museum”. The second floor is usually closed off to the public because the stairs getting up there are steep and unsafe.
Winter has not experienced any spirit activity in the cabin itself but has heard stories of whispers and lights being seen on the second floor where the sewing room was located.
“It’s not used or open that often, so it tends to be a little cold and dry,” she says.
On September 13, 2023, paranormal personality and host of the Netflix TV show “28 Days Haunted” Aaron Sagers visited Watson Cabin and posted a video of his visit to Instagram.
“While taking the video, he did mention hearing noises upstairs when we were the only two there,” Winter says. The former sewing room is currently used as a storage area, a place that Winter admits that she doesn’t “particularly like” because of its weird, uncomfortable vibe.
“But downstairs is perfectly fine, and I think it has the best view in Lake Tahoe,” she adds.
In his social media commentary from his Watson Cabin tour, Sagers says, “Walking through this area…it’s definitely quite old.” He then pans his camera to the staircase, commenting, “It is somewhat unsettling- just these steps.” Upstairs in the cabin’s narrow hallways and scarecrow in the bedroom, Sagers adds, “I can see why this is creeptastic out here”. He goes into the sewing room, where people have reported seeing a light on from the street although there is no source for illumination.
Although Sagers didn’t experience any hauntings during his broad daylight September tour, he mentions, “With a building this old, these were used as impromptu morgues because it was so cold”. That same day, Winter and Sagers also visited the Tahoe Inn (formerly the Blue Agave) that was an actual functioning morgue.
“Sometimes we’ll host historic walking tours of Tahoe City and that’s always on the list,” Winter says.
“Most people will come to this event who’ve never been here before because it hasn’t been open too much. Last summer people could walk 10 feet into the cabin and have a viewing experience, but our goal is to have it open a lot more.
“Our job with the Watson Cabin is to maintain its historical integrity and provide a platform for showing the heritage of Lake Tahoe. We’re really happy to open it for this event and make it more a part of the North Lake Tahoe community. It would be fun to make Watson Cabin a haunted house year-round, but I don’t think it’s possible,” Winter smiles.
“For a spooky house that’s possibly haunted, it has a good view,” Sagers said about the Watson Cabin during his North Lake Tahoe tour.
Haunted Watson Cabin will be open on October 31st from 4-6 p.m. The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society operates Watson Cabin, the Gatekeeper’s Museum, and the Marion Steinbach Basket Museum. For more information about the Historical Society, visit http://www.northtahoemuseums.org/.
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