Geek in the City

Mixing pop culture news, reviews, and socially biting commentary with mildly amusing entertainment.

Most Haunted in Portland, aka…

The Top-5 Most Haunted Locales In Stumptown.

Every year I write about various places within Portland where you can (perhaps) catch a glimpse or hear the sounds of the long departed. Knowing people have a limited time with which to get their creepiness on; Geek in the City presents the Top-5 Haunted Locales within Portland.

Honorable Mention – The Lady in White @ The Rose & Raindrop

This site would have rated higher, if would be ghost hunters were still able to investigate Portland’s first morgue. Sadly, the Rose and Raindrop closed its doors almost two years ago and is now a bank. (Thankfully, the new tenant kept many of the buildings gorgeous architecture in tact). Captured on film, video, and seen by numerous eyewitnesses, the Lady in White was a local legend. No one knows why the Lady in White roamed the upper dining area within the Rose and Raindrop. Some believe she simply does not realize she has passed on and continues to roam the location where her body left this mortal coil. However, some believe her paranormal searching has a more sinister path. Some believe the poor Lady in White is still searching for her young son, a son that met a quick demise when he saw one of Portland’s first Shanghai location put to use…

Number 5 – Depressed Spirits – @ The Vista Avenue ViaductWhile not the biggest bridge in Portland, the Vista Avenue Viaduct (commonly known as the Vista Bridge) is still a beautiful stone arch bridge for both car and pedestrians. Stretching over the Goose Hollow neighborhood in SW Portland, the Vista Bridge tunnel offers some of the best views in the city. However, during the Great Depression, the original Vista Bridge (then able to carry Portland’s many Streetcars), saw more than its fair share of despondent jumpers. Death was assured after the 120-foot drop to the pavement below. No longer a “prime” location for jumpers, the Vista Bridge is still known as Suicide Bridge to Portlanders with a taste for the macabre. EVP is difficult due to the constant traffic on and below the bridge, but many Orbs have been photographed.

Number 4 – Ghost Stories @ Powell’s Books

If I had to haunt one location for all time and I couldn’t make it to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (what, I can’t help it); I think Powell’s Books on West Burnside is a strong follow-up. Would it surprise you at all to know that many an unnamed phantom wanders the hall of the countries largest used bookstore? No? Well, what if I told you that every time you enter from NW Couch Street you pass the Earthly remains of Walter Powell, founder. At least his home is more secure than his previous locale, being an urn behind the counter in the Rare Book Room. (A nice place to spend all time I suppose). It would appear that ‘ol Walter still loves his precious rare books, as he is often felt and heard wandering the room. Ask the employees that work the room, they will tell you that Tuesdays are his favorite night, for reasons unknown. Finally, while Powell’s highly discourages this practice (as it is rather ghoulish and illegal), many a mourning family have been known to spread some ashes of their loved ones within this massive store. Who knows what kind of energy such actions leave behind? Still, we recommend you just send loved one away with their favorite book, so as not to be vacuumed up at the end of the week.

Number 3 – The Stubborn Man @ The University of Portland

Started in 1901, the University of Portland is commonly known as the “Catholic School” in North Portland. While the school administration is hesitant to comment, many students have claimed to hear and see spirits wandering the halls of higher learning during the quiet hours of the night. There is, however, one building where even the faculty and stalwart priests will admit to something “being off”. The University Commons was the one time home of Frank Houston. A rather stubborn old man, Houston refused to sell his property to the University, as he openly loathed the priests of the Holy Cross and often called them old black crows. After his passing in the 1934, his widow sold the land to the University. To this day, faculty and students have heard a ghostly scream of old black crows throughout the Commons. In addition, priests feel a cold and chilling presence within the rooms and electrical equipment often fails to work properly for them. It would seem that even in death, Frank Houston sticks to his Protestant belief.

Number 2 – The Lost Child @ Cathedral Park

Located in St. Johns, just under the east side of the St. Johns Bridge (indeed, the bridge itself provides the parks name), Cathedral Park is a study in contractions. Built under one of the final gothic style bridges in the country, Cathedral Park was not always the idyllic location Portlanders find it today. Once a location for flagrant prostitution, drug dealing, and other unsavory actions, Cathedral Park claimed its first spirit; when poor Thelma Taylor, a 14-year old girl, was kidnapped, beaten, and finally death days later underneath the bridge. While Portland police will not confirm or deny the calls, many a local reside have made claims of an unearthly scream coming from the park. Each time the police find no evidence of the screaming girl. In recent years, Cathedral Park (and most of St. Johns) has gone through a positive metamorphosis. No longer a haven for illegal activities, Cathedral Park is one of the more pleasant parks within the city… until the sun goes down and the spirits rise.

Number 1 – The Land of the Dead @ Lone Fir Cemetery

It seems that no Halloween season can pass without some mention of this gorgeous cemetery. (And, perhaps one of the most peaceful locations within the City of Portland). Lone Fir Cemetery is the oldest place of eternal rest in the city. With a long past and home to many of Portland’s more colorful residents, it is little surprise that most paranormal investigators consider this area the most haunted in the city. You can pick up dozens of different EVPs (and in varying languages including English, Cantonese, and Russian), and all manner of spirits, rods, and orbs have been captured on film. Still, even in the afterlife there are celebrities. Lone Fir Cemetery is no exception. Located within the iron fence lay the man that started the practice of Shanghaiing in Portland, a horrible man that even shipped off his son. Portland’s beloved “singing drunkard”, a man that had not a cent to his name but a voice that compelled people to buy him spirits and ales, and later a cemetery plot. A high society prostitute (with a massive “client bought” tombstone) rumored to have been killed and mutilated by her disgusted and puritanical sister. Then there is the giant mausoleum simple known as “The Wall”. This family crypt is known as one the single most haunted tombs in the country, yes, country. (Take all the photos and EVP you desire, but do not attempt to enter. It is wrong and illegal). Lone Fire Cemetery is a favorite for history buffs, ghost hunters, and a local group of Goths that treat the location as a holy site and are known to care for and trim the grounds. While Lone Fir is public grounds, it does have a sunup to sundown rule. Get permission first, since cops regularly patrol the area, especially this time of year. As one that personally loves this grand old cemetery, I urge you all to purchase tickets for the Lone Fir Cemetery benefit concert at the Doug Fir Lounge, featuring Storm and the Balls, Amelia, Jum Brunberg, and many more.

And now, as promised, my request of you the fantastic Geek in the City readers. To put it bluntly, after four years of covering real haunts in Portland, I am plum out! (In fact, a few were repeated on this very list). So, if you know of a place I haven’t mentioned please drop me a line…Even better if this is a place myself and my intrepid ghost hunting companions can check it out, legally!

Stay scared!

Category: EVENTS
  • Bot-o-Tron says:

    Thank you. Awesome article you got here. Got some extra sites to point to which have a bit more information?

    October 31, 2010 at 7:40 pm

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