Is Bush House Museum Haunted?

Bush House Museum

Visitors to this historic house museum may spot specters of its namesake family among the exhibits

Paranormal Activity at
Bush House Museum

  • The apparition of Eugenia Bush has been seen
  • The home’s thermostat is reportedly turned up by unknown forces
  • Cold spots have been encountered
  • Moving shadows have been spotted around the house
  • The ghostly figure of a man has been seen by visitors
  • Disembodied female voices and cries have been heard

Familial History of
Bush House Museum

In the middle of modern Salem, Oregon sits a picturesque park with a haunting secret within. Just off a corner of the expansive Salem Hospital campus is Bush’s Pasture Park.

This beloved park that once made up the estate of one of early Salem’s most prominent families: the Bush family.

The focal point of the park is the Bush House Museum, a picturesque Italianate home.

Though it’s been a museum for decades, generations of the Bush family lived and died in the home before that. And, Salem legends say some family members still linger in the home in spirit.

Timeline of Bush House Museum's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Bush House Museum through the years

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In the 1870s, Asahel Bush had spent many years making a name for himself around Salem, Oregon. Bush built a fortune in newspaper publishing. He ran the local Oregon Statesman paper for over a decade. He then pivoted into banking, and flourished for years. By the late 1870s, Bush resolved to build a beautiful home for himself and his four children.

So, using a 100-acre parcel of farmland he purchased years prior, Bush put men to work on his new home in 1877. The stately Bush House was completed the following year.

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The Bush House served its namesake family well for many years after its construction. The surrounding acres became a bustling farm and lively garden. Asahel Bush lived in the home until his death in 1913, though it remained in the family. The family deeded some of the land around the home to the city for parkland in 1917.

However, the family kept the home and gardens close. For much of the early 1900s, the Bush House remained with Asahel’s children.

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By the 1940s, the Bush House, once on the outskirts of town, became hot real estate in expanding Salem. Two surviving Bush children still cared for and resided in the home, A.N. and Sally. The two saw offers to sell their family home for great wealth, but they weren’t interested. The two opted into an agreement with the city to preserve the land as a park.

Sally died in 1946, and A.N. lived at the home until his death in 1953. That year, the city took over and opened the home as the Bush House Museum.

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As the Bush House Museum, the house soon became a historic cornerstone of Salem. In 1963, the old family barn burned down. But, it was soon rebuilt, and reused as the Bush Barn Art Center. The home itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It continues to greet countless visitors each day.

The museum now showcases numerous art pieces and hosts special events often. But, some say the home may also host hauntings from its long history. Are a few members of the Bush family still tending to the house and gardens?

A disembodied female voice has been heard throughout Salem, Oregon Bush House Museum

Is The Bush House Museum Haunted?

Much of the paranormal activity around the Bush House Museum is centered on one person: Eugenia Bush. Asahel Bush’s youngest daughter, Eugenia was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was young. She was sent away to an institution at age 18.

She spent much of her adult life away from the home, but likely saw a lot to enjoy in the home’s luxuries when she was growing up. The Bush House featured many late-1800s luxuries, like central heating and indoor plumbing. And, she did return to the home later in life, before dying in the early 1930s. But, many now believe she lives on in the home in spirit.

Bush House Museum is a local landmark, but visitors have reported seeing dark, shadowy figures moving throughout the halls

Do Ghosts Play With the Home’s Thermostat?

One of the most frequent claims at the Bush House is of temperature changes. The home’s thermostat is known for having the heat suddenly go up at times, with no explanation.

Eugenia’s ghost is now often blamed for the occurrence. Some figure her spirit may remain forever enchanted by the ‘state-of-the-art luxury’ of central heating that she knew when she was young.

Strange occurrences have been reported in the home, notably a thermostat that turns itself up – perhaps the spirits are cold?

Bush House Museum’s Cold Spots

Strangely, direct encounters with Eugenia’s ghost are often said to come with noticeable cold spots in the air. Perhaps that is a reason why Eugenia’s specter seems so interested in turning the heat up.

Beyond that, some people have even claimed to see Eugenia’s apparition wandering through the rooms of the house during their visit. Others have also reported less well formed shadow figures darting through the home at times.

The Museum’s Voices & Figures

Eugenia Bush’s ghost is sometimes heard around the house as well. Visitors have reported hearing female voices coming from empty rooms around the house. Other people have heard the sounds of a young woman crying.

Some who have heard it describe it as loud, noticeable sobbing. But, some disembodied voices lead visitors to think Eugenia isn’t the only haunting in the Bush House. Some people claim to have heard whole conversations in the house, with both male and female voices.

Surrounded by a lovely garden and Park the Bush House Museum is center for the community

At least one paranormal report at the Bush House suggests Asahel Bush’s ghost may also still linger. A male figure has been seen around the house in the past. Those who have seen him describe him in 1800s era dress.

He’s often found fidgeting or winding an old pocket watch. At least one witness reportedly identified the figure as Asahel Bush based on an old picture of him.

Bush House: Mysterious Museum

Both the Bush House Museum and the Bush’s Pasture Park around it remain popular stops around Salem. The park’s greenery and rose gardens make for perfect strolls on sunny days. And, the museum seems to be a perfect place to take in art and history simultaneously.

But, an aura of paranormal mystery will likely always remain around the historic home.

As visitors come and go, more encounters with Eugenia and ghost stories about the Bush family phantoms accumulate.

While you can’t book a ghost hunt at the Bush House, you can always take a day tour to enjoy the art and scenery. But keep an eye out for Eugenia too; you might just catch her messing with the thermostat.