Portland’s Haunted Houses

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 5 March 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.


Welcome to a special feature from ‘Haunted Diary’, the go-to source for ghostly tales across the USA. Today, we’re venturing into the heart of Portland. While this city is renowned for its lush landscapes and artisanal coffee culture, it also conceals a shadowy past filled with eerie apparitions and chilling encounters. Beneath Portland’s bustling streets and historic buildings lie stories that have refused to fade with time. As we uncover these tales, we invite you to delve deeper into the supernatural with us. For those intrigued by haunted tales from coast to coast, be sure to visit our home at www.haunteddiary.com after this ghostly journey through Portland.

Pittock Mansion

In the heart of Portland, Oregon, stands the grand Pittock Mansion, a beacon of the city’s early 20th-century prosperity. Built in 1914 for Henry Pittock, founder of the Oregonian newspaper, and his wife Georgiana, the mansion is a testament to their love for the city. But beyond its architectural beauty, the mansion is said to be home to spirits that have never left.

The Pittock Mansion
The Pittock Mansion– Credit Bill Badzo

Henry and Georgiana were pillars of the Portland community. Their love story began in the late 1800s and was filled with shared dreams and ambitions. Tragically, both passed away within a few years of the mansion’s completion. Since then, visitors and staff have reported strange occurrences. Soft footsteps echo in empty halls. Windows and doors open and close on their own. Most notably, the scent of roses, Georgiana’s favorite flower, wafts through the air even when none are present. Some believe these are signs that the Pittocks remain, watching over their beloved home.

The aftermath of these tales has turned the mansion into a must-visit for both history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts. While the mansion serves as a museum showcasing Portland’s history, the ghostly tales add a layer of intrigue. Many come hoping to catch a glimpse or hear a whisper from the past. Whether it’s the spirit of the Pittocks or just the wind playing tricks, the mansion remains a place where the past feels very much alive.

McMenamins Edgefield

Nestled in Troutdale, Oregon, McMenamins Edgefield stands as a testament to the past, with its storied walls echoing tales from its days as a poor farm. Established in 1911, the Multnomah County Poor Farm was a refuge for the destitute, offering shelter and work. But as with any place steeped in history, whispers of the supernatural have intertwined with its factual past.

McMenamins Edgefield Portland
McMenamins Edgefield – Credit Annie & John

The farm saw its fair share of residents, each carrying their burdens and tales. Among them was a woman named Anna, a frequent resident due to her struggles with life. It’s said that her spirit still roams the halls, especially near Room 215. Guests often report hearing soft humming, believed to be Anna’s favorite lullaby. Another spirit, a man with a penchant for mischief, is known to playfully hide guests’ belongings, only to return them in unexpected places. These tales, combined with fleeting shadows and unexplained cold spots, have given McMenamins Edgefield a reputation beyond its historical significance.

Today, McMenamins Edgefield is a popular resort, boasting a hotel, brewery, winery, and more. While many guests come for the amenities and history, others are drawn by the allure of the paranormal. The staff, always in good humor, sometimes share their own eerie experiences, adding to the rich tapestry of tales. Whether seeking spirits or just a spirited drink, McMenamins Edgefield promises an experience that lingers long after the visit.

Shanghai Tunnels

Beneath the bustling streets of Portland, Oregon, lies a maze of underground passages known as the Shanghai Tunnels. These dark corridors, once the hub of illicit activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are now infamous for their chilling tales of ghostly encounters and the echoes of a sinister past.

Shanghai Tunnels Portland
Shanghai Tunnels Basement – Credit drburtoni

The tunnels’ name, “Shanghai,” stems from the nefarious practice of “Shanghaiing” unsuspecting individuals. Men would be drugged or knocked unconscious in local bars, then dragged through trapdoors into the tunnels. Once there, they’d be locked up and later sold to sea captains in need of crew members. Many of these unfortunate souls never saw their homes again. Women, too, faced dangers, with some being trapped and sold into unspeakable situations. The cries, whispers, and footsteps of these tormented souls are said to still reverberate in the tunnels. Visitors often speak of cold spots, unexplained shadows, and the feeling of being watched.

Today, the Shanghai Tunnels serve as a haunting reminder of Portland’s darker history. Guided tours take the brave through these passages, where the weight of the past is palpable. Some leave with stories of their own, adding to the ever-growing lore of the tunnels. As a testament to the city’s effort to remember and learn from its past, the tunnels stand as eerie monuments to those who suffered within their walls.

Benson Hotel

In the heart of downtown Portland stands The Benson Hotel, an opulent testament to the city’s early 20th-century elegance. Built in 1913 by lumber magnate Simon Benson, this luxurious establishment has hosted presidents, celebrities, and countless travelers. Yet, amid its polished wood and glittering chandeliers, some say a spectral guest has taken up permanent residence.

Benson Hotel Portland
Benson Hotel – Credit dog97209

Simon Benson, the hotel’s founder, was a visionary and philanthropist. His passion for Portland and its people was evident in every brick and beam of The Benson. But it seems his attachment to the hotel went beyond his mortal life. Over the years, guests and staff have reported sightings of a well-dressed gentleman, resembling Benson, wandering the halls. He’s often seen near the grand staircase or in the common areas, seemingly inspecting the property. Some have even felt a gentle tap on the shoulder, turning to find no one there but catching a fleeting whiff of Benson’s signature cigar.

The tales of The Benson’s ghostly inhabitant have only added to the hotel’s allure. Today, it remains a favorite among travelers, with many hoping for their own paranormal encounter. The staff, familiar with the tales, often share their own experiences with a twinkle in their eye. Whether it’s the spirit of Simon Benson ensuring his beloved hotel remains in top condition or simply the echoes of a bygone era, The Benson Hotel offers an experience that blends luxury with mystery in the heart of Portland.

White Eagle Saloon

Spirits and Spirits: The Haunted Halls of White Eagle Saloon

Tucked away in Portland’s industrial district, the White Eagle Saloon stands as a relic of a bygone era. Established in 1905, this historic pub has seen its share of raucous nights, lively performances, and, as local legends suggest, otherworldly visitors. The saloon’s storied walls have absorbed more than just the sounds of clinking glasses and laughter; they’ve also witnessed events that have left an indelible, spectral mark.

In its early days, the White Eagle Saloon was more than just a watering hole. It was a bustling hub, rumored to be involved in illicit activities, from underground gambling to the infamous practice of “Shanghaiing” unsuspecting patrons. One of the most told tales is that of a young laborer named Sam. After a heated argument over unpaid wages, it’s believed that Sam met a tragic end in the basement. Today, many claim to hear his restless footsteps and muffled cries echoing from below. Another spirit, that of a distraught woman named Rose, is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, her sorrowful presence often accompanied by the faint scent of roses.

White Eagle Saloon Portland
White Eagle Saloon – Credit Kalina Wilson

The White Eagle Saloon, now owned by McMenamins, embraces its haunted heritage. While it continues to serve as a lively venue for music and merriment, ghost tours and tales of the paranormal are part of its charm. Patrons often share their own eerie experiences, from unexplained cold drafts to fleeting glimpses of figures in period attire. Whether you’re there for a pint, a performance, or a peek into the paranormal, the White Eagle Saloon promises an unforgettable experience.

The Crystal Ballroom

Dancing Shadows: The Crystal Ballroom’s Enchanted Echoes

In the vibrant heart of Portland, the Crystal Ballroom stands as an architectural gem, its walls echoing with a century of music, dance, and whispered legends. Since its opening in 1914, this grand venue has seen countless performances, from vaudeville acts to modern rock concerts. But amid the electric energy and pulsating rhythms, some say the ballroom dances with spirits of its own.

The Crystal Ballroom Portland
The Crystal Ballroom – Credit dog97209

The Crystal Ballroom’s most distinctive feature, its “floating” dance floor, has been the stage for countless dances. But not all of these memories are of the living. There’s talk of a mysterious woman in a 1920s flapper dress, seen dancing alone in the dim corners of the ballroom. Her laughter, light and melodic, often fills the air, even when no one is around. Another tale speaks of a gentleman in a sharp suit, believed to be an old performer, who appears during shows, watching silently from the balcony, only to vanish when approached.

Today, the Crystal Ballroom continues to be a hub of entertainment in Portland, with its historic charm drawing in both artists and audiences. The tales of its resident spirits have become a part of its rich tapestry, adding an element of intrigue to every event. Staff and patrons alike share stories of unexplained sounds, fleeting shadows, and that unmistakable feeling of being watched. Whether it’s the allure of the music or the chance to share a dance with a spectral partner, the Crystal Ballroom remains a place where the past and present waltz together in timeless harmony.


Explore Portland’s haunted past with eerie locations, from mansions and hotels to landmarks and libraries. Hear chilling tales from locals and witnesses. Are they truly haunted? Investigate and decide. Respect private properties. Uncover ghostly folklore in this thrilling journey.

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