Portland is a city known for its lush greenery, quirky culture, and vibrant arts scene. It also hides a dark and eerie side. Beyond the craft brews, food carts, and hipsters, the city boasts a rich history filled with tales of ghosts, hauntings, and paranormal activity.
Travelers with a penchant for the paranormal seek out our city to explore haunted locations, take ghost tours, and participate in investigations. According to a study by Haunted Tourism, paranormal tourism generates an estimated $2.5 billion in annual revenue across the United States.
Paranormal enthusiasts also contribute significantly to the local economy of Portland. In addition to spending on accommodations and tours, they patronize nearby restaurants and shops, supporting the livelihoods of countless businesses. A study by the Portland Economic Development Office found that paranormal tourism has become a vital part of the city’s economy.
Delve into the spooky histories and the ghostly encounters that send shivers down the spines of locals and visitors alike throughout the City of Roses.
The Shanghai Tunnels
Beneath the streets of Old Town Portland lies a network of tunnels with a sinister history. The Shanghai Tunnels, also known as the Old Portland Underground, are infamous for their connection to the practice of “shanghaiing,” where unsuspecting individuals were kidnapped and forced into labor on ships. Visitors to these tunnels have reported ghostly apparitions, eerie sounds, and inexplicable drops in temperature, making it one of Portland’s spookiest destinations.
There is no evidence to substantiate any of these claims. Still, the existence of the tunnels—purposefully suppressed from public knowledge—are a strange Flemish to Portland’s respectable reputation.
Pittock Mansion: The Ghostly Residence
The elegant Pittock Mansion, perched on a hill overlooking Portland, has a history rich with tales of the supernatural. The ghost of Henry Pittock, the mansion’s former owner, is said to linger in the hallways. Visitors have reported encountering cold spots, hearing mysterious footsteps, and witnessing objects moving on their own. The Pittock Mansion is a must-visit for those intrigued by haunted homes.
Haunts include the spirits of previous owners, Henry and Georgiana Pittock, never wanting to depart the halls of their beautiful mansion.
The White Eagle Saloon
The White Eagle Saloon, a historic bar and music venue in Portland’s Albina neighborhood, is known for more than just its live music. It’s also famous for ghostly encounters. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions, hearing disembodied voices, and feeling an eerie presence in the old hotel rooms above the bar. The White Eagle Saloon has become a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts seeking ghostly thrills.
Shortly after opening in the early 1900s, the Saloon was rumored to be an opium den, the headquarters for an anarchist group, or a brothel. The Secret Service investigated the happenings after their was a rumored plot to assassinate then President Theodore Roosevelt. There were also rumors of a Shanghai tunnel in the basement.
The Benson Hotel
The elegant Benson Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Portland, has a history intertwined with ghostly encounters. Guests and staff have reported unexplained phenomena, including mysterious knocks on doors, flickering lights, and the apparition of a woman in a white evening gown. This upscale hotel is a favorite among paranormal enthusiasts seeking luxury and spookiness in one package.
Built by Simon Benson in 1913, the 12-story hotel allegedly still hosts its original owner. Benson was not fond of alcohol, going so far as to donate 20 bronze water fountains known as “Benson Bubblers.” Now featuring several bars, drinks have been knocked over without explanation, causing guests to blame the late teetotaler.
Lone Fir Cemetery
Lone Fir Cemetery, one of Portland’s oldest cemeteries, is said to be home to numerous restless spirits. Visitors have reported encountering apparitions, experiencing unusual cold spots, and even capturing mysterious orbs in photographs. The cemetery’s eerie atmosphere and historical significance make it a favorite spot for those seeking ghostly encounters.
Obviously, the cemetery is filled with dead folks—including 16 local mayors. Over the 25,000 graves, there are plenty of horrifying stories about residents’ demise that are sure to make your skin crawl.
Dating back to 1927, this Universal Studios owned theater featured both moving pictures and vaudeville shows. Throughout the theater’s history, two people reportedly perished on the premises: a stage hand was said to have taken his own life behind the movie screen; another actress passed in her dressing room.
Another ghost reported is a spooky manager overseeing the work done by modern employees. Cleaning supplies are moved, papers are scattered, and footsteps are heard at night.
The location also hosts a paranormal investigation during the Halloween season.
As we conclude our eerie tour of the most haunted places in Portland, it’s evident that the city’s supernatural history adds a layer of intrigue to its vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes. From ghostly encounters in historic tunnels to haunted hotels and cemeteries, Portland offers a unique blend of history, culture, and the unexplained.
With these insights, we hope you’re inspired to explore the otherworldly side of Portland and perhaps plan your own paranormal adventure. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the haunted places of Portland have stories to tell, and they’re waiting to share their secrets with those daring enough to seek them out.