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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. These ships often 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 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 understaffed 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 forced into illicit work at their cruel captors’ hands. 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 here. Their spirits still haunt the last places they saw before they died. Sometimes the ghosts return to their long lost home town if their lives were lost at sea.

But the supernatural elements present in Portland encompass more than just the characters and events involved with the city’s founding. 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.

About Portland: Ghosts of Downtown

Portland Ghosts tour will take you on an hour-long walk 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. If you want to experience more of the best stories in Portland, then sign up for the 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 and 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. Like many other towns on the Western Frontier, Portland 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 would never have thought possible on their journey to this beautiful city on the river.

You will hear real stories tied to factual accounts of life in the early days, as well as events that occurred in the 1900s. These have been compiled from eyewitness reports and historical excerpts, delivered by knowledgeable and engaging tour guides. You’ll see why some of the spots on the 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 the Portland Ghosts 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

Join Portland Ghosts and see the dark side of downtown Portland and learn about the ghosts of the past who call this city their home. Book today.

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Review Rating
April 03, 2021

The guide was so funny and informative! We loved the stories, and waking around seeing all the historical sights
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Audra Sona

Review Rating
March 07, 2021

This tour was recommended to me by a co worker and I am glad I went with my friends, it was fun and interesting!!
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Frantz September

Review Rating
February 04, 2021

Great fun for our group! We do tours regularly because its a nice way to see the city, this one was great!!!
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Guerin Victor

Review Rating
February 03, 2021

Fun for everyone no matter what age you are! We really liked our trip and this tour made it so much better!
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  • Remain calm.

    We don’t plan to bump into any ghosts of the 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. Please don’t try and provoke the ghosts.

  • Stay together.

    We’ve got a full house of amazing ghost stories from Portland. 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.