Haunted PDX happenings

White Eagle Saloon and Hotel
Part of the McMenamins chain, White Eagle is a rock ’n’ roll–themed bar and hotel located in north Portland. It opened in 1905 and has kept some memorabilia from the past around the hotel. Guests can rent a room on the second floor—shared bathrooms—and enjoy live music on the main floor stage, which also has a restaurant and saloon. There is also a basement, now used for food and restaurant storage.

Almost 100 years ago, Polish immigrants Barney Soboleski and William Hryszko opened White Eagle to try to create a place for other immigrants to gather and enjoy recreational activities such as poker, drinking and spending time in the brothel on the second floor or the opium den in the basement. Although the White Eagle has morphed into many other functions, such as a soda shop, a rock concert venue and a respected hotel, the supposed hauntings come from its early 20th century spine-chilling happenings.

In the basement, there was a tunnel used to shanghai men into working on ships. Legend has it that these ships also supplied women from around the world to be used as sex slaves in the hotel. There have been reports of room doors opening and closing by themselves, coins falling from the ceiling and objects moving on their own. Guests have also claimed to be groped by cold hands!

The most famous entity of the hotel, a prostitute named Rose, is believed to still live on the second floor. While working at the hotel, she supposedly fell in love with one of her customers. So when she refused a marriage proposal from another man, he violently killed her. Some guests have claimed to hear a woman crying in the night, perhaps from the spirit of Rose. Although charming, this hotel and saloon has a lot of creepy history in its walls.

Old Town Pizza
Old Town Pizza, located in downtown Portland, was once known as the Merchant Hotel over 100 years ago in 1880. Similar to the White Eagle, the establishment sits on top of the Shanghai Tunnels, where sailors were kidnapped for forced labor.

Again resembling White Eagle, the Merchant Hotel housed prostitutes who were forced to be sex workers. One of them, Nina, tried to make a deal with a traveler; she would give information about the sex industry in exchange for her freedom. Although she allegedly cooperated with the deal, soon after she was found at the bottom of an elevator shaft, dead. Nina has been seen walking around the restaurant in a black dress, giving guests the occasional chill and scent of strong perfume.

Although you can grab a delicious slice and a cold beer at Old Town Pizza with your friends, you might meet Nina in the process, maybe by the brick that has her name mysteriously carved into it.

Hoodoo Antiques and Design
Travel down to Old Town and check out the drawing of the woman in a lace headscarf in Hoodoo Antiques and Design. According to Jeff Davis, author of Portland’s Rose City Ghosts, the 19th-century picture is a haunted object that has been documented in police reports.

The owner’s mother-in-law found the painting hidden in the floorboards of her Portland bar, formerly known as Barracuda. There have been reports of motion-censored alarms going off—more often on New Year’s—and people seeing a woman standing in the back of the shop wearing lace around her head and hair.

There have also been claims that objects will go missing and then be found in obvious places, some time later.

Benson Hotel
The Benson Hotel was originally built by wealthy businessman Simon Benson in 1913, who sold it in 1919. The hotel has since undergone a series of multimillion-dollar renovations, transforming the already large lodging into a grand, upscale hotel on Southwest Broadway.

Although most of the paranormal activity has not been considered extremely frightening, guests and staff have described seeing different spooky spirits throughout the hotel, mainly on the 7th, 9th and 12th floors.

Simon Benson himself has been spotted in the banquet hall—fooling a staff member into thinking he was a real man—and around the hotel. The entity of Benson has allegedly knocked drinks out of people’s hands, if they had been drinking to excess. The former owner has also been seen in a suit, floating at the back of staff meetings.

Besides Benson, there are a few other ghosts roaming about the hotel. Supposedly you can spot a woman wearing blue in the lobby mirror and a woman in white wandering various parts of the hotel.

You may also get help from a porter who once helped a disabled person get into bed and then quickly disappeared. A mother and visitor to the hotel professed to seeing a boy outside of her covers, making silly faces at her. She tried to grab him to make sure he was alright and he was apparently very warm. She hid under her blankets, peeking up at the boy’s face once more. After she felt the boy move to the bottom of the bed, she looked to see if he was still there and he had evaporated into thin air!