KP Haunts

The Key Peninsula is Thriving With the Paranormal


Rachel Ostoyich knows where she is going when she dies.

She’s been there already. Because she died already.

It was 2008. Ostoyich, then 19, was at Allenmore Hospital in Tacoma. She had experienced mysterious pain and illness for months. After going through an exploratory surgery with many complications, she got a blood infection that caused her body temperature to spike above 105 degrees. A priest read her the last rights.

When she died, she was shown a glimpse of what she called heaven.

“I saw what I saw. It was my own truth,” Ostoyich said. “I was shown something as simple as green grass and was told to go back and create what I felt: peace, forgiveness, love and pleasure. Then I was sent back down (to live).”

Today, Ostoyich is creating just that on the 5-acre Lakebay property her family has owned for 23 years. She’s creating it with her husband, Antone, and her three children, twin 11-year-old boys and an 8-year-old daughter. And she’s creating it with the many ghosts that roam her property.

It wasn’t her death that connected her to the spiritual world. Ostoyich has been talking with ghosts for as long as she can remember. In fact, she feels that connection is both what killed her and ultimately what healed her. It took 15 years of therapy and hypnotherapy, and classes in both quantum and theoretical physics before she started realizing she is a physical medium. While psychic mediums can speak with the dead, physical mediums can see the dead in their spiritual form.

She’s also a parapsychologist, a certified hypnotherapist and an ordained minister. She uses that knowledge to help others who experience hauntings, but she also has her own ghosts to deal with.

Ostoyich shares her property with a Native American spirit whom she calls the “man of the land.” She communicates with him through vibrations and telepathy. For years the man didn’t like Ostoyich. He created evil variations of a half-human half-beast called a “wendigo” to get her to leave. She believes it took most of her adult life of caring for the property and respecting the land that allowed her to “get in his good graces.” But the spirit still holds a grudge against something, even showing Ostoyich the “people he keeps in the mud.” He won’t let them cross over, no matter how much she pleads with him.

Although she acknowledges she has no historical proof, Ostoyich attributes the stubbornness of this spirit to a Native American land curse that’s never been lifted.

The most specific example she gives is the story of what she called The Whistling Man. Often late at night, the Ostoyiches would hear the sound of someone whistling outside. Sometimes the noise woke up the kids and most of the time it annoyed Antone who gets up early for work. Turns out it was a spirit looking for one of his tools on their property.“I kept hearing how he left his saw somewhere,” Ostoyich said. Months later Antone was on his tractor clearing out blackberry brambles from the back of their property when he came across a rusted hand saw in the middle of a fir tree. He pried it out and brought it back to their house. “After that (the spirit) just left,” she said. “It was so simple. Sometimes the simplest answer is the one that works best.” Ostoyich doesn’t know exactly why the spirit was attached to the saw but suggests that he used it so much that the saw kept his energy and that’s what the spirit was connected to.

The Key Peninsula, according to Ostoyich, isn’t short on ghosts. If you’re trying to find them, she said Vaughn Bay Cemetery has peaceful ones. Then there are some creepier spirits at an old pioneer cemetery near Wright Bliss Road and 144th Street NW. Among some of the other ghosts Ostoyich has seen around the KP: A female who continues to stroll along the Joemma Beach trail where she died, a prostitute walking across the Purdy Bridge, a woman on the bridge near Wright Bliss Road and 129th Street Court NW, a hooded figure next to the gravel pit on Cornwall Road NW in Lakebay, and children playing on A Street in Home.

Ostoyich shared her concern with three areas: Palmer Lake, Bay Lake, and everything south of Taylor Bay in Longbranch. Palmer Lake, she says, has negative energy from elements in the land and from native land curses. “There’s just something grumpy tied to the land and it’s going to take more than just sage (to remove it).” She spends a lot of time working with clients in the area to cleanse their homes.

Around Bay Lake, Ostoyich mentioned seeing a grungy sloth-like being that “wreaked of depression” that she feels infects the area. Antone says his wife starts crying whenever she’s around the lake. “I don’t know how to get rid of something like that. It’s just sad and heartbreaking,” she said.

But even for someone who is connected to spirits, there are some places she won’t go, one being the southern tip of the Key Peninsula. “It gives her the heebie-jeebies,” Antone said. She won’t even let her kids, who are “very impressionable with their spiritual gifts,” down there. She feels it has a similar land curse as the one on her property.

For Ostoyich and other physical mediums, it’s not just about engaging with ghosts. It’s all things energy. That’s where her physics classes come into play. She mentions a vortex near the north end of Home that causes an energy influx responsible for cars breaking down in that area. She’s experienced similar vortices around Vaughn Bay and the KP Civic Center. She looks for that type of energy when she’s invited to cleanse homes.

She’s quick to point out that many so-called hauntings can be solved or debunked with science. Sometimes, in fact, it is just the wind. She also believes in self-generated spiritual activity where people create illusions with their minds.

“It’s not a bad thing. They’re becoming so powerful and aware of their minds that they’re creating beautiful chaos. I’m just trying to show them that if they can create chaos so easily, they can just as easily create their own heaven on Earth.”