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About Portland: Ghosts of Downtown

Our tour will take you on an hour-long walking tour through the oldest sections of downtown Portland. You will visit 8 or 12 of the most haunted locations in the region, with a number of them tied to the infamous Shanghai Tunnels. Some of the buildings you’ll see date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s and retain much of their early charm, as well the spirits of some of their original occupants who have never cut ties with this earthly realm.

If you want to experience more of the best stories in Portland, then sign up for our extended tour. You’ll be taken to 4 additional locations and hear more about the City of Portland and its haunted buildings. Including the former Meier and Frank department store, once housing over 11 acres of retail under one roof. Interesting note: Clark Gable worked in this building, selling neckties and cravats, like the ones he would wear in Gone with the Wind!

Today, Portland is known for great beer & food, professional sports teams like the Trailblazers, and the Timber Wolves as well as a multitude of quirky residents. But over 160 years ago the city was originally founded as a port town, and this brought in every type of person from all corners of the earth. Portland, like many other towns on the Western Frontier, suffered from its share of lawlessness and villains who let nothing stand in the way of profit and greed. Combine those folks with upstanding entrepreneurs and hard-working laborers looking for fun and adventure and you get a history filled with fates that many never would have thought possible on their journey to the beautiful city on the river.

You will hear real stories tied to factual accounts of life in the early days as well events that occurred in the 1900’s. These have been compiled from eyewitness reports and historical excerpts, delivered by our knowledgeable and engaging tour guides. You’ll see why some of the spots on our tour frequently make national top ten “most haunted” lists and are regularly visited by paranormal researchers, authors, and the curious from around the world.

No matter what level of interest you have in the supernatural, you will come away with an understanding of things that just cannot be easily explained. The Portland Ghosts tour is geared for people of all ages and will leave you with stories and details that history books often overlook.

After experiencing our tour, you’ll leave with:

  • Historical insight into what life was like for some of the early visitors and residents of downtown Portland
  • Details on what “Shanghaiing” was and how the terrible practice led to some of the hauntings in the downtown area
  • A greater understanding of why Portland is listed as one of the most haunted cities in America
  • Unforgettable stories that may very well make you a believer that there is more to this world than meets the eye

Come and see the lesser-known underside of downtown Portland and learn about the ghosts of the past who make this city their home. Book today.

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Why is Portland so haunted?

Portland began its life during the mid-1800s as a vital port on the Willamette River, with ships coming in from the Pacific to load up with valuable commodities from the region. Very often, these ships didn’t have the full crews needed to sail the seas to far-away destinations. Sailors regularly jumped ship as soon as they came into port, looking for better opportunities or just to get away from the harsh life at sea that generally lasted for months at a time. Some of them died during their voyages and never made it to their homeport again, leaving the captain with an undermanned ship.

This is where the cruel practice of Shanghaiing came in. Men would be drugged, kidnapped, and sold to captains in need of a crew. Women were also victims of human trafficking during these times, often being forced into illicit work at the hands of cruel captors. Portland became known as the “Shanghai capital” of the world in the 1890s and wise town folk knew to keep their distance from this unsavory part of town. Many unfortunate people died from the cruel atrocities committed against them and their spirits are believed to still haunt the last place they were before they died or even the place they longed to return to if their demise occurred somewhere else.

But the supernatural elements present in Portland encompass more than just the characters and events involved with the founding of the city. Native Americans lived here first and were struck with terrible diseases brought in by the earliest settlers. Ambitious entrepreneurs also left their mark on the city throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and their stories will add to what you see and hear on the tour.

Portland mostly runs on common sense, even if we can be a bit eccentric at times, in case you need a reminder, here are some guidelines.

  • Remain calm.

    We don’t plan to bump into any ghosts of our tours, but it has been known to happen. Regardless, stay calm, buddy up, and shout if you see anything so we can all get a good look!

  • Be polite.

    People are mostly lovely up here in Cascadia, and we want to keep being allowed back, so be nice! And if you can’t be nice, be quiet.

  • Do not provoke the spirits.

    Ghosts don’t tend to hurt people here, we steer clear of the few exceptions, ask us about them. We ask the same of you, don’t try and hurt the ghosts.

  • Stay together.

    We’ve got a full house of amazing ghost stories from Portland (more from further afield on our blog) We don’t need any more, so stay in the world of the living, buddy up!

  • Watch your step.

    If the streets are wet (often, it’s fair to say) they can be slippery, so keep your feet firmly planted – in this realm – and you will be all good.

You can read their experiences at Portland Ghosts in the reviews belowABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC TOUR , and even see how many stars they rate our tours with.

Read Our Reviews

Kitty P.

Review Rating
August 05, 2020

So glad we did! Our tour guide Mason was very friendly and knowledgeable and really brought the city...
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Review Rating
July 13, 2020

Mason did a great job with great storytelling. Old and current ghost stories were told with obvious ...
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