Golden North Hotel, Skagway, AK

Categories
Haunted Places

Date of Establishment

            The Golden North Hotel was built in 1898 to provide accommodations to ‘gold-rushers’ making their way through the city of Skagway every week. In 1908 the hotel was moved, then another story was added to it, as well as the dome.

Name

Golden North Hotel is also known as the Golden North to local Skagway residence.

Physical Description

            The Golden North Hotel was beautiful off white, 3 story building, with large windows and golden trimming. On the roof, there was a large golden-colored dome clearing marking its place on

Origin

            The origin comes from the height of the rush when a prospector Klondike Ike was staying at the hotel with his beloved fiancé Mary. Mary took residence in Room 23 while awaiting Ike’s return from the goldfields with hopefully their new fortune.  This is where legends split for dear Mary; some say she grew ill with pneumonia and died. Other variations say that Mary grew sick with worry when her lover didn’t return, locking herself away from the town and passing away alone. Hotel staff found her in Room 23, and for years since have reported experiences with her spirit.

Mythology and Lore

            The true nature of ‘Scary Mary’ also comes with a variety of reported sightings. Some claim to see a woman roaming the halls and watching from windows while others hear strange noises, feel colder then one should in Alaska. Some guests reported waking up in the middle of the night choking as well.

            They are another Supernatural event claiming a room at the Golden North, this is Room 14. Staff and guests have reported mysterious lights ‘sparkling’ and also ‘twinkling’ around the room. There’s also an orb about the room that visits guests and workers. None of these “lights” have an apparent source, all reports state they are non-threatening to the viewer.  

            Though the hotel officially closed in 2002, the Golden North did let guests take a turn at staying in the ‘haunted rooms. Room 23 was on the 3rd floor toward the northwest corner, and Room 14 is believed to be on the 2nd floor. The build is currently the Frontier Excursions & Adventures but features the Golden North sign.



Is there anything we missed about the Golden North Hotel? Let us know in the comments section below!

Index

History and Haunting of The White Eagle Saloon in Portland, OR

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore
White Eagle Saloon image from early 1900's

On Russell Street, the White Eagle Saloon has been serving drinks to the community of Portland since 1905. Today, the building stands a regular hot spot on the Eastside of Portland for musicians and travelers alike. Notably marked on the National Register of Historic Places, the building has acquired a set of ghost stories and tales that expands over a century. Polish immigrants, William Hryszko and Bronisław Sobolewski, opened the saloon with intent to help serve other Polish immigrants around them. Yet shortly after opening, the White Eagle Saloon garnished a reputation for itself that would endure a century later: as a puzzle piece of the past in the Albina district. Prostitutes, kidnappings and an opium den are some of the rumors circling what the building, possibly, could have hidden within the walls. The mysterious and mischievous past are never far behind us, and many who stay at the hotel today experience frequent paranormal activity. Stories surrounding the saloon aren’t soon to die, and neither are the spirits still roaming the grounds. 

Oregonian newspaper clipping from early 1900's about Polish Society not being anarchistic

Shortly after opening, the White Eagle Saloon made headlines regarding who occupied the building and what it stood for. Multiple publications in the Oregonian helped to circulate rumors. The Saloon was thought to be an opium den, a brothel, the headquarters for an anarchist group or possibly all three combined. In June of 1906, press surrounding the White Eagle alerted the Secret Service to investigate the happenings within the saloon, believing the Polish members were planning to assassinate President Theodore Roosevelt. Although cleared after investigation, Portland natives were wary of the White Eagle Saloon after this press, which helped secure the saloon’s reputation on the mischievous side. Later that same June, the Oregonian printed an article clarifying that the White Eagle Saloon had, “been misrepresented by enemies”. (1) The Polish immigrants were often thought of as anarchists. Perhaps other members of the community saw them as violent members, as it was reported that many disturbances, such as beatings and brawls, occurred within the property. The Polish immigrants who came to Portland created a circle where they could retain their traditions and share their faith with other Poles. Many of these disturbances were due to politics or religion, as any Pole who did not believe in the Catholic Church was considered an anarchist (1) and one of the founders, Broinslaw “Barney” Sobolewski, was also the Minister of Justice on the Polish Cabinet (7). Regardless of the disturbances within the Polish community, the Saloon stood as meeting hall and refugee for Polish immigrants (3) where, “an immense emblem, a Polish eagle with the American and Polish flags underneath, occupies a prominent place on the wall.” (1)

newspaper clipping early 1900's about a war on vices such as prostitution being planned by the US government.

The White Eagle underwent a remodel from a wooden structure to a brick building, and beginning in 1914 lodging was offered. The original intent Hryszko had to serve their Polish community proved true, as a census taken in 1920 showed that all the guests at the White Eagle were Polish men. (2) Although there is no substantial evidence to prove that the White Eagle Saloon was also a brothel along with the offered lodging, that is not to say that “working women”, or prostitutes, did not frequent the rooms available to rent on the second floor. Proof that prostitution existed in this way on the streets of Portland is shown in an Oregonian article from October of 1917. The article discusses cracking down on prostitution, and that the policy involves, “not only in eliminating regular houses of prostitution, but in checking the more or less clandestine class that walks the streets, and is apt to frequent lodging-houses and hotels”. (4) With Prohibition beginning in 1917, the saloon began to offer “soft drinks”, but it is largely eluded that regular activities were engaged in within. 

Gritty stories surrounding shanghai-ing patrons and enslaved women in the basement have circled the saloon for decades, with little truth ever found behind them. Tim Hills, a historian who researched the origin of the White Eagle, clarified that, “the opening in the basement that is usually identified as the shanghai tunnel is actually a coal chute leading to a trap door in the front sidewalk”. (2) Not only this, but Shanghai activity decreased at the turn of the century, making those dark rumors difficult to believe – thankfully. Nevertheless, rumors of spirits from the shanghai tunnels continue to proliferate even as recently as to my last visit to the bar in late 2019. When asked about the haunted hotel the staff reported that several ghosts from the tunnels have been heard over the years.

It’s natural for a destination of this notoriety to be believed to be haunted. The White Eagle Saloon was a notable location for dozens over the decades, and the idea that spirits of the dead are still attached to the building is not a unique idea. There are a couple of prominent ghosts known to haunt the grounds, with other ghosts poking fun at current hotel guests. Recounting’s of the tales vary in dates, names and other details. With something as intangible as ghosts, these differences are bound to appear. It has been reported that a prostitute named Rose met an untimely fate within the walls of the saloon. The general tale is that Rose was a favored and frequent prostitute around the area, who was often at the White Eagle. Sadly, a customer happened to fall in love with her and schemed up a plan for the two of them to run away together. Hoping to convince her to run away with him, he met up with Rose one night, pleading with her to leave her life of prostitution. Rose refused his advances and chose to remain. In desperation and anger, whether she was pushed down the stairs or stabbed to death in her room, the man then killed Rose. Guests at the hotel reported having seen an apparition of a beautiful woman, with some experiencing the feeling of being touched while in their beds. (5) While the spirits of multiple prostitutes may be tied to the saloon, guests have been reported to experience a run-in with some sort of female energy. Local staff report that most of the activity is rumored to come out of Room #2 in the hotel where she allegedly frequently stayed.

Another prominent ghost is a man rumored to be named Sam Warrick. (6) The tale surrounding Sam is that he was born on the second floor, believed to be birthed by a prostitute. Orphaned at birth, Sam grew up in the White Eagle trading his services for room and board. It is reported that he was a bartender amongst other jobs at the White Eagle. The saloon would be his final resting place, as he never moved away and eventually passed away in his room. Some of his possessions are said to still be in the guest rooms, appearing to have been moved on their own. It’s told that Sam is one of the faces you can see in the old photographs hung upon the walls on the White Eagle, keeping a dutiful eye on his forever home. 

A quick check on youtube has several paranormal investigators who have stayed at the hotel with various measurement tools. Their reports vary and some even report that room 3 has more paranormal activity than room 2. If you get the chance to walk the halls you will see why this hotel maintains such a vibrant haunted past. It is truly spooky in the hotel although it does maintain a warm vibe regardless of the low lighting, creaky stairs and stories of hauntings.

Perhaps it’s the spirits of Bronislaw Szelaszkewiez and William Hryszko that roam the halls, as their spirits are no doubt also tied to the White Eagle Saloon. Regardless of the truth, which many may never truly know, these tales that come from the White Eagle Saloon is an honor itself to the significance the building has had in Portland. The White Eagle Saloon has seen over a century of happenings occur within its brick walls, fluctuating between a safe haven for immigrants or a final meeting place for some souls. Spirits are still welcoming new guests, so feel free to book one of the original boarding rooms any night of the week and test it yourself. If you are brave enough perhaps add the Stanley hotel and Crescent hotel to your list as well, those are certainly on mine!

Oregon has several other haunted hotels also worth investigating including Hood River, Oregon’s Hood River Hotel and The Gorge Hotel.

Index 

  1. Article: The Oregonian, June 25, 1906 “Polish Society Not Anarchists”
  2. Article: Hills, Tim. “Oregon Places: Myths and Anarchists: Sorting out the History of Portland’s White Eagle Saloon.” Oregon Historical Quarterly, vol. 101, no. 4, 2000, pp. 520–529. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20615097.
  3. Article: The Oregonian, “White Eagles True Story”, Sep 27,2001 
  4. Article: The Oregonian, Oct 13, 1917, “Vice War Planned” 
  5. Ghost Hunting Oregon by Donna Stewart 
  6. Ghost Hunters Guide to Portland the Oregon Coast by Jeff Dwyer 
  7. Article: “Journal of the American-Polish Chamber or Commerce and Industry June/July 1921” 
Atlas of Lore #1

Hood River Oregon’s Haunted Hotels

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Hood River sits in the Columbia Gorge along the Columbia river surrounded by fields, orchards, vineyards, and at the foot of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood. “The area was inhabited by Native Americans when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through on October 29, 1805. Here they found a campsite called “Waucoma,” or “place of big trees.” The camp was located near what became known as the Dog River.” – City of Hood River Website. The town was established in 1858 and was originally called “Dog River.” The Columbia Gorge is a wonder of nature unto itself stretching 80 miles and at times is 4,000 feet deep. The Columbia River that flows through the gorge near Hood River is notorious for windsurfing and kiteboarding. On any given day you can see the sails and kites littered about the massive river.

Haunted Hood River Hotel Side View
Haunted Hood River Hotel

The quaint town of Hood River is an outdoor adventurer stronghold. Sprinter vans, mountain bikes, kite and windsurfers, and craft beer are everywhere. The town is home to about 8,000 people and it’s a blend of farmers, migrant workers in the summer working the vineyards, mountain sports enthusiasts, beer lovers, surfers, and about anyone else who loves outdoor activities.

Scenic Map of The Columbia River
Scenic Map of The Columbia River

The town is also the home of two of Oregon’s most haunted hotels. The “Hood River Hotel” and “The Columbia Gorge Hotel.” The Hood River hotel established in 1912 is now over 100 years old and the magnificent Columbia Gorge Hotel will turn 100 next year in 2021. After a century in business, these hotels have seen some life and even some death. The town was originally a major hub for trade before being discovered as an outdoor person’s hot spot. With hundreds of thousands of visitors a year there are stories to tell.

The Haunted Hood River Hotel

Haunted Hood River Hotel Front
Haunted Hood River Hotel Front Door, Hood River, Oregon

The original hotel named the Mt Hood Hotel dates back to 1888 which was strategically located near the train depot in the center of town. It is the oldest hotel in the city of Hood River. Local lore tells of the original owner Ola Bell still inhabiting room 319 even though she died in 1942. She owned the hotel for over 30 years and her ghost is said to still haunt the hallways. The haunting ranges from sheer terror guests have experienced such as mortal fear when entering a room and disembodied footsteps to less terrifying events such as doorknobs moving with no one in sight, phantom phone calls. The most horrifying account comes from a guest staying in room 310. The guest reported opening the door and becoming overcome with dread, this the statement left in their review of the hotel room ” I nearly knocked my poor daughter down trying to get out. Every hair on my body stood on end, every rational thought left my brain and all I could do was yell GO GO GO GET OUT GET OUT.”

The Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel

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Haunted Columbia Gorge Hotel, Hood River, Oregon

The Columbia Gorge Hotel was built by Simon Benson, who was involved with the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Benson envisioned a hotel at the end of the highway and completed the Mission style hotel in 1921. The new hotel was built on the site of the previous Wah Gwin Gwin Hotel, built in 1904. Between 1925 and 1952, the hotel went through several changes of ownership.

The then-48-room hotel closed in 1952, when it was sold to the Neighbors of Woodcraft, a non-profit fraternal benefit society based in Oregon since 1905, and converted into a retirement home.It was sold again in 1978, with the new owners planning to reopen it as a hotel. After a $1-million renovation, the now-42-room hotel reopened in September 1979. 

In January 2009, the landmark hotel closed its doors again, due to foreclosure. The foreclosing bank later re-opened the hotel before selling it to Vijay Patel’s A-1 Hospitality Group in October 2009 for around $4 million. Between 2009 and 2012, the hotel underwent a major renovation. The hotel is currently open and you can take a virtual toor.

Haunting and ghost sightings within the hotel vary. There are sighting of a woman in White attire who allegedly committed suicide at the hotel, most recently sitting at a park bench on the ground. Scents of cigar smoke with no identifiable cause possibly related to a retiree who died on the premises when it was a retirement home. There are other sightings of a ghost of a child near an area that once held a pool. Room 330 has reports of another female ghost of unknown origin. Rooms have been found barricaded with no known cause and a man wearing a frock coat and a top hat been seen.

Recent guests report strange dreams such as this guest in 2020 “I saw a black mass hovering above my the nightstand next to the bed. In the dream, it started to smoke and the room started on fire due to this presence.” In 2018 Another guest reported, “I saw a human form walk around the foot of our bed and to my side of the bed, suddenly I couldn’t move or speak.” That was not the only guest who was left paralyzed in fear. Another man in 2016 reported “my wife said she couldn’t move, speak or open her eyes, she was in a frozen state. I woke up when something felt like tugging or sitting on the blankets on my side of the bed that sent tingles up my legs.”

Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide
Columbia Gorge Hotel Information Guide

The town of Hood River is beautifully nestled along the Columbia River Gorge. It is home to some of the best outdoor activities in Oregon but it also has a long and haunted history. It’s well worth a visit for ghost-hunters, historians, and anyone who visits the great haunted state of Oregon.

Want more Oregon Lore, check out these articles?

https://puzzleboxhorror.com/tag/oregon/

Index
https://cityofhoodriver.gov/community/history/
https://www.columbiagorgehotel.com/
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g51909-d114266-r605770471-Hood_River_Hotel-Hood_River_Oregon.html
https://thoughtcatalog.com/amy-venezia/2015/09/i-spent-a-night-at-the-columbia-gorge-hotel-after-i-heard-stories-of-its-haunted-rooms/
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/hood-river-hotel.html
https://www.oregonhauntedhouses.com/real-haunt/columbia-gorge-hotel.html

Hot Lake Hotel – La Grande, Oregon

Categories
Haunted Places

Date of Establishment

The original building of the resort began in 1864 and has been reconstructed serval times over the years. In 1884 the Pacific Union Railroad cause constructing to go on again, followed by the renovations to build a fully operational hotel in 1903. Later it became a sanitorium and had a large fire once again leading to more construction issues.

Name & Location

Hot Lake Hotel is located off Highway 203 in La Grande, Oregon situated between beautiful hillsides and a hot spring named “Ea-Kesh-Pa”.

Physical Description

The hotel red brick buildings with a beautiful white railing around the building. The grounds surrounding the building feature rolling hillsides, a garden, statues, and walkways to draw their guests out into nature.

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Origin

Originally built in 1864 the Hot Lake Hotel had a long history of operation and disastrous events leading to remodeling and reopenings. It was first built to be a hotel featuring the hot springs, later being reopened as a therapeutic get-away, then as a training school, retirement home, and finally an insane asylum before being abandoned.

Mythology and Lore

The myths and lore of the Hot Lake Hotel can be hard to nail down as its long history and main use blur the lines of fact from myth. It’s been rumored to be haunted by past vacationers, a nurse who was murdered, a gardener who committed suicide, and a long string of asylum residents. There is a large number of reports stating a piano formerly owned by Robert E. Lee’s wife is haunting the 3rd floor and playing itself through-out the day. Other reports have been of ghostly screams, haunted crying sounds, whispers, rocking chairs moving on their own, spirits wandering the grounds, phantom footsteps, as well as other objects seeming to move around the rooms. The hotel was even featured on “The Scariest Places on Earth” television series in 2001 because of the main accounts of experiences. Today this haunted hotel has been remodeled into a bed and breakfast with a spa, though its owners are wary of highlighting the building’s darker past.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

Ghost Stories from the Pacific Northwest (1995)

Television Series

Scariest Places on Earth (2001)

Is there anything we missed about the Hot Lake Hotel? Let us know in the comments section below!

Is Rose Red Based On a True Story?

Categories
Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is the Movie Rose Red a Real Story?

How Real is the Rose Red Movie?

The very interesting road to filming the haunted house horror movie Rose Red is a special one.  The idea started out as a way to combine Stephen King and Steven Spielberg to make “the scariest haunted house movie ever made,” however, the two simply could not see eye-to-eye, and parted ways with King purchasing the full rights to the movie from Spielberg. It is a good thing he did (no offense to Spielberg), as King is better suited for the cerebral type of horror…which is exactly what Rose Red turned out to be: a psychological horror masterpiece.  So how real is Rose Red? Is it truly based upon a real story, as its $200,000 promotional marketing campaign implied? And if so, where is the “real Rose Red”? Let’s break it down a little, as the mansion is pretty big after all!

Is Rose Red based upon a real story?

The short answer is: YES, Rose Red is based upon a true story, however, there are plenty of embellishments and Stephen King combined multiple inspirations to achieve the end product that is the Rose Red movie we all know and love.

Where is the Real Rose Red?

Rose Red was filmed in a house known as the Thornewood Castle in Tacoma, Washington. However, the film was inspired by the story of the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California.

The Winchester Mystery House [aka Winchester Mansion]

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While there are many horror movies about haunted houses, and many movies about ghosts, Rose Red still strikes a uniquely creepy vibe. This is probably because Stephen King’s primary inspiration for the film came from the Winchester Mystery House story.  King first heard the story in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not  comic book as a kid. The story goes a little something like this…

Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, one of the most important originals of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Winchester company was responsible for developing the weapon that revolutionized weaponry. The Winchester rifles would kill so many people, that lore would ultimately spawn the tale behind the mansion itself. Sarah Wichester was a huge believer of the paranormal and life beyond living, thus naturally succumbing to a number of psychics and paranormal investigators in her area.  The most notable of all spiritualists who would be hired by Sarah was Adam Coons…who supposedly explained to her that her family was cursed by the spirits of those killed by the family’s prominent invention.  Furthermore, Coons suggested she should move west and construct a home for the spirits and herself to reside.

Located in San Jose California, the Winchester Mystery House started out a smaller mansion in 1884, being built up with the massive inheritance Sarah Winchester was left after her husbands death.  In fact, it was only an eight room farm house at the time she purchased it. After she purchased the property, construction began nearly immediately, first starting with renovations and then the additions of rooms.  It has been said that construction continued in the property from the time she purchased it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…for more than 38 years! By the time of her death, the Winchester House had grown to a massive 160 rooms making up 24,000 square feet. Much of her staff required a map in order to navigate the home, despite working there every single day.  The sheer size of the mansion created a natural uneasiness which fostered the development of the best ghost stories!

Fun Fact: There are 47 fireplaces, 40 stairways, 6 kitchens and 3 elevators in the Winchester Mystery House.  It is obvious as to why the Winchester Mansion was the perfect inspiration for Rose Red!

Is the Winchester Mansion Really Haunted Like Rose Red?

In real life, the Winchester Mansion does not expand indefinitely like the haunted mansion portrayed in Rose Red.  The idea of an ever expanding house that was bigger on the inside than the outside did come from the Winchester Mansion story.  And the house itself was believed to be haunted by Sarah Winchester, and many others (even still to this day). Additionally, the sound of hammers and construction being heard from within Rose Red does come from tales reported from within the Winchester Mansion…as many guests have reported such audible anomalies.  The house currently serves as a historic tourist attraction at 525 South Winchester Blvd (and yes, it’s still located in San Jose, California!).  Unfortunately there have been some exploits of the Winchester house, such as modifications to the home to include the number “13” more prominently to back up a suspected-false rumor that Sarah was obsessed with the number 13. There are scattered reports of several construction workers and laborers (carpenters, electricians, engineers, etc), who claim to have been paid to modify the property after her death (chandeliers, bathrooms, windows, etc) to increase the frequency of the number 13 throughout the house.

Stephen King and his crew did explore the Winchester Mystery House prior to selecting a filming location with the intention of possibly using the Winchester Mansion itself.  Ultimately, however, the rooms proved to be too small for filming high quality footage, and Thornewood Castle was selected.

Additional Inspirations

Winchester Mystery House Painting

The rest of the inspirations for Rose Red either came from Stephen King’s impressively twisted mind, or from the 1959 book “The Haunting.”  The Haunting would be turned into a movie in itself in 1963 and showcased a professor with an interest in the supernatural recruiting a group of psychics specifically to investigate a haunted house for proof of paranormal activity.  Stephen King wanted a hands-on type of professor, and portrayed Joyce Reardon as a more aggressive character, rather than simply an inquisitive one.  Stephen King also turns to a variety of other horror tactics to put the character of the house, Rose Red itself, into physical terms.  King gives Rose Red the ability to grow more powerful and manifest real, “in the flesh” types of anomalies…even summoning back its victims as zombies to haunt the rest of the living!

It turns out, additionally, that Thornewood Castle (the place Rose Red was filmed within, not based upon), also has its own sets of scares and ghost tales! While none of the crew or cast have reported any strange occurrences while filming, many guests and tourists most certainly have. Many staff members have reported seeing apparitions and other spiritual inhabitants…and guests report seeing the figure of a woman in a mirror throughout the castle. Thornewood Castle is an English Tudor in a gothic style built for Chester Thorne in 1911.  Although no where near the size of the Winchester Mansion, it possesses a respectable 54 rooms, including 22 bedrooms and 22 bathrooms.  And the castle itself was a most obvious choice for the film Rose Red, given the intense level of detail paid within the architecture.  Even the famous red brick facing seen in the movie was imported straight from Wales! 

Final Words About Rose Red

Rose Red is one of the most creative horror movies of all time, despite being about a cliché haunted house.  There are psychological thrills to be found in nearly every scene, riddled among just the right amount of paranormal action and phenomena. Probably one of the most critical parts of the suspense buildup is the heavy peppering of the house’s creepy history.  Unfortunately, most of the history of the actual house itself was made up, though we have to give Stephen King props where deserved…as its one hell of a story!

Huge Rose Red Fan? Check out some Rose Red Trivia, Behind the Scenes and Fun Facts!