Green chase lounge similar to the one in the Wellington Madam’s boudoir.
Mid-August 2018 myself and three friends returned to Wellington, Washington, the site of the worst train wreck in U.S. history when a massive avalanche swept a train off the tracks of the Great Northern line on March 1, 1910. During my first visit to Wellington in 2015 with fellow medium Al and his other half Sam, I encountered the town Madam not far from the Iron Goat trail head. She was quite the character then, even more so now.
My return visit included Al and Sam with the addition of H.B. Al is one of the few other mediums I can work with in tandem smoothly. We are each able to leave our egos at the proverbial door and tend to get the same key information from most sites and situations. Subsequent puzzle pieces that are different tend to add to the overall picture rather than devolve into hubris ridden debates about who is right or wrong. Being vastly different people we each pick up on details the other doesn’t. When that information is used to fill in the missing puzzle pieces the results can be impressive.
H.B. was the ultimate skeptic, so it was rather fun when the Madam decided to talk to both Al and I at the same time. My account is a combination of what Al and I each picked up on standing in the location of the Madam’s bedroom in the long gone Bailet’s Hotel whose concrete foundation we could barely make out among the vibrant overgrowth of ferns that cover the area today.
The Madam’s bedroom walls boasted waist-high wainscoting topped by vertical panels of bordello red velvet wallpaper. In the middle of each panel of wallpaper was the outline of a black emerald cut rectangle. There was a subtle pattern stamped into the red velvet of the wallpaper. After a great deal of online searching Al and I found the design. It was a popular Victorian fountain, impressed into the velvet of the wallpaper panels. It was a touch disconcerting to realize I was essentially standing at the foot of the Madam’s bed.
Plaster relief of the fountain pattern impressed into the red velvet wallpaper of the Wellington Madam’s boudoir.
Supported by a large wooden frame the custom-made bed was somewhere between a modern-day double and a king in size. It’s most striking feature was a stunning carved headboard of stylized wings that curved up from either side of the bed frame, but never quite met to create a full heart shape. The carved details of the feathered wings were incredible. My impression was they were meant to be either stylized angels or eagles wings. The Madam told us the dark, reddish black wood the headboard was made of was called dragon’s blood. Madam bragged to us that her custom made headboard had “cost plenty” for her to import. She also told us such wood is no longer available. A quick Google search confirmed there was a dark-colored wood of that name that has not been commercially available for furnishings since the 1890’s. Later research revealed H.B. was wearing a ring of Tibetan prayer beads around his wrist made of dragon’s blood wood. When he bought it he thought the name of the wood was just so much marketing. Turns out it was not. Nice touch the group skeptic was wearing dragons blood jewelry.
Dragons blood prayer beads bracelet. Dragons blood tree versions of which are found in China and Yemen with both Dracaena and Daemonorops resins are frequently marketed today as dragon’s blood. The blood-red resin is made into wood varnish to create the distinct dark reddish hue seen on the winged headboard of the Wellington Madam’s bed.
Above the embrace of the curved wings of the headboard was an oval framed photographic portrait of an older woman in a high-necked dress. She had a black gemstone hairpin securing her bun. The deeply carved roughly oblong design was probably Asian or Indonesian in origin. Eventually Al and I realized the photograph was of the Madam’s mentor, the madam who had trained her in the profession years earlier. We also came to the conclusion many of the luxurious furnishings in the room had been inherited from the Madam’s mentor, including the hair pin which Madam was afraid to wear as she was convinced it would have been stolen. I am certain there was nothing else like it in Wellington’s jewelry boxes.
Another interesting thing about the bed was its frame was held together via simple gravity. It could be quickly and easily dissembled, packed up and moved if the Madam needed to clear out quickly.
Madam’s room was a long rectangle on the second floor of the hotel. It probably took up at least half the length of the building. Standing in front of her bed against the long back wall of the room I sensed the stairs were in the middle of the wall to my right. To the left of her bed was a heavy set of ornately carved dresser drawers with brass pull handles graced with a rounded corner rectangular framed mirror. To the left of the bureau was a long brass pole mounted a few feet from the wall for her male clients to hang up their attire.
The far left wall, was populated with touches of elegance likely not found in many other rooms in Wellington. In one corner was a stand alone Tiffany style electric floor lamp with a beautiful umbrella shade done in reds, yellow, orange and deep purple stained glass.
Dale Tiffany style desk lamp similar to the one on the dressing table of the Wellington Madam’s boudoir.
Next to the Tiffany floor lamp was a gleaming, dark upright piano with matching bench. The piano was flanked by a long Louis XVI emerald green velvet chase lounge. The chase had a lion skin rug, complete with head draped over the foot of the lounge. Above it was a wooden shelf that supported two four-taper baroque sterling silver candelabra. Talk about mood lighting. Madam told us that was her “seduction spot” complete with birthday suit visuals. Being both female and the only straight member of our group I didn’t give much thought to the images she shared.
Thus it was hysterically funny when Al, who is not remotely inexperienced with the intimate practices of both genders blushed bright red. Madam crooked a finger at Al and told him to “come here”. She was completely unconcerned that she wasn’t his demographic nor her lack of breathing status. Both Sam, Al’s fiance and H.B. said they had never seen him blush so hard. I certainly had not but Madam succeeded spectacularly. Of course Al standing the middle of a field of ferns, eyes clamped shut, fingers in ears singing, “La, la, la, la, I don’t want to hear that, I don’t want to see that!” only added to the general hilarity.
To the left of the green chase was a small ladies dressing table topped by an oval wood framed mirror. A second Tiffany’s lamp, this one a table lamp, sat on the back left corner of the dressing table. Next to the dressing table was a small square stand that held a plain white ceramic washing bowl. The washing bowl was accompanied by a cobalt blue glass pitcher for water to wash with. Madam told us the cobalt pitcher was a favorite of hers in part because her mentor, whose portrait hung above her bed hated the color blue to the point that neither of the Tiffany lamps she inherited had any trace of blue glass in the design of their shades. Madam noted with considerable satisfaction that sunlight streaming in from the window next to her wash stand would not only light up the cobalt pitcher but throw deep blue patches of light onto the unlit Tiffany lamp shades. I guess most of us go through life with a bit of a rebellious streak against some of the views and biases of our elders and the Madam was no exception.
The long wall opposite the Madam’s bed had a shallow built-in closet flanked by two large mullioned glass windows that looked out onto the street below. The corner closest to the door boasted a red velvet ladies chair with small arm rests and a rounded upholstered back.
The tiny closet not only held the Madam’s dresses but also doubled as the sleeping quarters and work space of her personal maid. The maid, a fair young woman with brown hair under a mob-cap, wore a simple brown or gray homespun dress covered with an off white apron. She slept on a pallet on the floor of the closet. Interestingly she was barefoot. That would have made escape difficult if not impossible. Both Al and I saw the maid furiously sewing up rips and gashes in Madam’s wardrobe. We concluded the Madam’s trade was rather hard on her clothing.
Periodically in the course of her work the Madam required fast costume changes. If a client was headed up to her room the maid didn’t always have time to leave it. At those times she would be banished to her coffin like closet bedroom and was obliged to wait for the business transaction to conclude before she could sneak out.
The Madam spoke of her best customer who was also one of her most challenging. Daily bathing wasn’t a common practice in many western settlements, let alone railroad towns. Her best customer was a tall, burly fellow with shoulder length curly dark brown hair who abhorred wearing hats, unlike the shades of the railroad executives I had previously encountered at Wellington. The quality of his clothing was high, but the fabric was cotton, not silk other than the occasional silk cravat for special events. He paid handsomely for her services. We concluded he was probably one of the top foremen on the line. He was also an incredibly hairy individual from roughly collarbone to ankles. Madam told us he was sometimes so ripe that not even she could stand him. Thus the luxury of a long ceramic tub and a full body shave was employed prior to getting down to business. After such ablutions she would rub him down with some sort of scented oil a former Chinese maid had turned her onto. Neither Al nor I could place the scent but according to Madam it went a long way to making her best customer more pleasant to engage with.
Despite his more casual sartorial style this gentleman moved in the top circles of Wellington society. Several times a year he would bring Madam and two or three of her best girls to exclusive fancy dress parties. Madam would be his companion for the evening and always had a new dress for such gatherings. She and her top girls were the only women allowed into the gentleman’s smoking rooms. Wives were banished to all female sitting rooms after formal meals. This common custom in upper crust society definitely worked to the advantage of ladies of the evening. Being human Madam wasn’t happy about the names the wives of her clients called her in town. So at these events, in full regalia she would saunter into the wives sitting rooms and mention which of her girls their assorted husbands had chosen for the evening, only to sashay back to the men’s smoking room and the evening’s entertainment as the wives watched in helpless fury.
Another one of the Madam’s top customers was the husband of the lady who lead the Temperance society in Wellington. He couldn’t get a drink at home, so he frequented the Madam’s establishment where he could enjoy his sherry in peace. Madam told us he wasn’t much of a drinker and never went in for hard alcohol. He just wanted somewhere to relax with a drink or two without the inevitable domestic upheaval at home. I felt rather sorry for the man. Madam found the situation amusing.
At the head of the Iron Goat trail the US Forest service has a picture of both Bailet’s Hotel and a group photo of a number of women clustered on the deck of the building. Our group was chatting with another hiker, a young woman up from Seattle for the day. After taking a closer look at the group photo I looked at Al and tapped the image of the woman I thought was the Madam with no further explanation. Al pointed to the same figure nearly at the same moment, laughed with a big grin and simply said, “Yep.” That poor hiker had no idea what we were about but was polite enough not to inquire. Lucky for me Sam is not concerned about the fact his fiance and I complete each others sentences when working together, or sometimes skip words completely. However, I think witnessing that dynamic rather blew H.B. out of the water.
There is only one other psychic to date I connect with that well. He occasionally shows up in other posts about locations outside US soil. I will say it is a lot faster and easier to read locations with each of these guys respectively because massive amounts of information pass back and forth in the blink of an eye, cutting down on a lot of time spent explaining the multi-layers of data in play well beyond shared images. It is important to be around understanding people when such dynamics are unfolding because frankly it is rather rude to non-psychics in the vicinity. I compare it to being a non-English speaker in a group of native English speakers talking a mile a minute. It is impossible to follow unless you are “in on” the “conversation” or energy being read at any given moment. Our group clammed up when other hikers passed us on the trail until they were out of earshot. It would not be kind to scare the locals into next week. So much of my work is focused on reducing fear of the paranormal, last thing I wanted to do was increase it for others enjoying a hike.
Lynne and Al heading into the Wellington Snow Shed 8/18/18. Photo courtesy of Sam D.
(c) 2018 Lynne Sutherland Olson. All rights reserved.