Courtesy of John Rojas

Portland haunts

Every Halloween season, the itch to explore the paranormal strikes the city of Portland. Luckily, there are no shortages of haunted spots throughout the city. Try to contact the ghosts of Edgefield’s Room 215, catch a glimpse of a Pittock family member or hear the screams of a Shanghai Tunnel victim.


Pittock Mansion: Just a quick drive or fun hike from campus, Pittock Mansion has a great view of the city and surrounding mountains. It also provides a chance for a run-in with the paranormal. Some members of the Pittock family are believed to be haunting their mansion and have been responsible for disembodied voices, ghost sightings and a traveling haunted painting. According to staff members, no one has seen such sightings, but visitors have said otherwise.


Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub: With its connection to the Shanghai Tunnels, Kells has a few different paranormal visitors alongside their regular tourist crowd. In the cigar room, a friendly firefighter named Dave Campbell appears, most frequently to those with connections to firefighting. A piano will play by itself, as well as rearranging furniture and televisions with a mind of their own.


The Shanghai Tunnels: The most famously haunted place in Portland, perhaps even globally recognized, are the Shanghai Tunnels beneath the city. Beginning in 1850 and growing to infamy by 1870, “Shanghaiing,” where unsuspecting people would be incapacitated, kidnapped and trafficked, became a common occurrence in Portland. Tunnels beneath the city that were used to smuggle alcohol in prohibition were also used to smuggle people to the docks, where slave traders were waiting. Unsurprisingly, many innocent people met their demise within those tunnels. Those souls now haunt the tunnels and makeshift cells, where visitors have reported screaming and ghostly murmurs. Every evening, there are tours where guests can try to have a paranormal experience of their own.


White Eagle Saloon: Known as “Portland’s Most Haunted Hotel,” the White Eagle Saloon has been the location of several residual hauntings. From a main-floor staple nicknamed “Barney,” to a pre-prohibition era bartender named Sam, the hotel and bar have no shortage of specters and ghostly beings. 


McMenamins Edgefield: Now run as a hotel, bar and venue, McMenamins Edgefield’s past has added a paranormal attraction to the spot. It originally opened as a “poor farm,” where the homeless or sick could work in exchange for food and lodging. However, it quickly became overcrowded and epidemics swept through the population. It was then renamed Edgefield Manor and became a haven for tuberculosis patients. Edgefield changed again into a home for emotionally disturbed children, then again to a nursing home. Throughout its history, death has played a prevalent role, so it is no surprise there have been many reports of hauntings in the hotel. Room 215 is famously the most haunted, with ghosts being heard and seen both inside and nearby.


Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery: If you’re looking for a classic Halloween haunt, a cemetery should be on your list. Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery is the final resting place of over 25,000 souls, with many of those graves being unmarked. Many people believe those unmarked graves belong to the ghosts who linger there, wandering around the cemetery. It’s a perfect location for a séance or a ghostly picnic.


The Pied Cow: The Pied Cow is a whimsical coffee house and adjoining hookah lounge located in a large Victorian house on SE Belmont and 32nd. 

The coffee house certainly plays up the haunted vibe. Inside the home, numerous Victorian paintings and eclectic items adorn the walls, and a staircase is built up like a kind of altar, with various flowers, silks and dolls ornamenting every step. 

What many patrons don’t know is that the old Victorian home is known to be haunted by the kind and gentle ghost of a woman named Lydia. 

The Ghost of Aunt Lydia, as she is known, is reportedly a friendly and gracious ghost. She is known to be seen with her hair pinned up, wearing black boots and a high-collared dress. 

According to the cook and manager of Buttertoes restaurant—which occupied the home before the Pied Cow—Aunt Lydia would often rearrange table settings and move things in the kitchen. One Buttertoes waitress actually quit after feeling so uncomfortable while closing by herself.  

Eventually, the owners of Buttertoes restaurant brought in a psychic, who confirmed that a spirit was present in the home. 

Many believe that the Ghost of Aunt Lydia still haunts the quirky Victorian house, and patrons of the Pied Cow still keep an eye out for her while sipping mint tea and smoking ornate hookahs. 


Rimsky-Korsakoffee House: Rimsky’s is another coffeehouse situated in an old Victorian home, located on SE 12th and Morrison. 

Rimsky’s has been a Portland haunted staple for the past 35 years. The legend goes that the house is haunted by an old writer and his wife, who wander through the home at all hours, playing pranks on customers and steeping the atmosphere with their ghostly, supernatural presence. 

Named after the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, on many nights, one can expect to listen to live classical music, eat delicious desserts and, of course, drink coffee. 

Rimsky’s is filled with curious haunts, both real and imagined. Many of the tables move unexpectedly; spinning, rising and falling, inching away. One customer reported having to grab their plates and glasses as they tumbled to the floor after their table disappeared into the wall.

One should be warned: Some customers have fled the home after going to the famously terrifying and haunted bathroom on the 2nd floor…