Portland’s Haunted History
Today, Portland’s catchphrase is “Keep Portland Weird” but the hauntings and ghost sightings that plague the city are far stranger than its quirky coffee shops and eclectic residents. With all the rain in Portland, a darkened pub makes for an ideal shelter to wait out the weather — but some of Portland’s pubs have horrifying secrets that date back to the city’s inception. Modern-day Portland was originally inhabited by several Native American tribes, but the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850 forced them out, leaving behind indignant souls in their native land.
The U.S. government was eager to colonize the west, so they offered free land to any white settler who survived the journey…most didn’t, but have returned either to claim their property in
the land of the living or haunt those who had success in life where they failed…
Portland’s Dangerous Waterfront
Portland’s waterfront is where countless ships arrived and departed, bringing in tired miners, loggers, entrepreneurs, sailors, and people looking to start a new life on the Western Frontier. Unfortunately, many of these hopeful men and women were kidnapped and forced into vile forms of slavery and hum an trafficking.
Below the unassuming streets of downtown Portland, these victims suffered some of the most nefarious, tragic fates known to man. While their bodies were taken out to sea, their souls ended up right back in the city. Endless drinking, prost itution, and general debauchery were accepted at most of the saloons of Portland in that time, reputable or not. It’s no wonder Portland’s drinking hotspots are also hotspots for hauntings — ghosts like to have fun just as much as real live humans do.
Initially built to transport goods from the waterfront to downtown Portland, the extensive tunnels that snake below the city earned the name of the Shanghai Tunnels as Chinese immigrants and dockworkers lived and made their way about the under ground of Portland.
The twisting maze of passageways was rumored to have extended as far as 19 blocks inland and were well-built, lined with brick, and supported by heavy wooden beams. Soon after the excavations began, a network of seedy criminals began us ing the new tunnels for gambling, drugs, prostitution, bootlegging, and kidnapping.
Since these activities happened underground and out of the public eye, people at every level of authority in the city were bribed to ignore the dealings going on below their feet. But today, the ghostly figures who remain from those days won’t be ignored.
What Will You See on Our Portland Haunted Pub Crawl?
On our Boos and Booze Pub Crawl, you’ll visit the most haunted locations in Portland — places where employees, patrons, and tourists have experienced unexplainable events — while enjoying a different type of spirits along the way. You’ll learn about several Portland establishments’ relationship to the Shanghai tunnels where seedy characters partook in gambling, drugs, pro stitution, kidnapping, and bootlegging.
We’ll take you to a classic arcade bar where you’ll learn about the mysterious arcade game that inspired the dystopian novel “Ready Player One” and some think may have been invented by an evil mastermind. You’ll vis it Kells Irish Pub, a sister pub to the Seattle pub of the same name, that is notorious for its location over the Shanghai tunnels and for the firefighter ghost that is said to hang out at the pub.
Finish up at Kelly’s Olympian Bar, one of the oldest continuously-operating bars in Portland, where friendly spirits lurk in the basement that supposedly housed a speakeasy during Prohibition.