With looming, snow capped mountains as a backdrop, Skagway has been a port town since 1897, and can be found in the most northern part of southeast Alaska, about a 100 miles north of Juneau. Skagway today is still the farthest northern port along the inside passage.
This spot for the town was chosen for some very good reasons. Because of its location, it can make some money in the shipping business. It was a convenient spot to drop off folks from Seattle, on their way to the Klondike in search of gold. Also, the weather was pleasing, if you didn’t mind the sometime strong winds. Known as the garden city of Alaska, the winters are not bad, according to northern standards, and the Spring can see temperatures in the 70s, all because of its latitude and the benefits brought by the Japanese currents.
DESCRIPTION & HISTORY
Except for its paved streets, Skagway appears physically today much like it was in 1897, when it sprang up because of the turn-of-the-century Klondike Gold Rush. The town’s population in 1897 was 700 residents, that swelled to around 20,000 in 1898. Interestingly, by 1899, the population went back down to 700 people. Because the town never burned down or fell apart, it became part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The 700 living people who now stay here as permanent residents work to keep the town’s historical appearance, taking building maintenance seriously and often wearing period costumes. The town’s number one income source comes from tourism during the summer, when several thousand visitors are dropped off by cruise ships, or fly in by plane. Some hearty souls do come up the road from British Columbia to Whitehorse in the Yukon and then travel back down route 2 to Skagway.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Many of the ghosts found here come from the wild gold rush period of 1897-’98, when lawlessness was rampant, corruption and evil doings were commonplace, and many people suffered unexpected, unhappy deaths because of the horrible situations that existed here or were allowed to take place. To top it all off, a diphtheria epidemic swept through town, killing a lot of children. With people coming to bad, sudden ends, their dreams also were snuffed out. All these situations are ghost-making ones.
The Red Onion Saloon
The Red Onion Saloon was originally built to be a whorehouse. This white building, with dark trim has two stories, with a storefront window. The first floor was then and is now a saloon, and the second floor has 10 small rooms, which were called cribs. In 1898, the ladies of the night working at this establishment serviced their customers there. Now, an office, some dressing rooms for employees, and a refurbished bedroom, called the Madam’s Room, occupy this second floor.
Ghostly Happenings on the Second Floor – Caused by at least one female presence, who is sometimes hostile toward men.
* Foot steps are heard upstairs, when no one living is there. A spooked employee once called the police, who also heard running feet and pounding on the second floor. When the employee and arriving officers went up to investigate, they saw a shadow go down the hall and slip into the Madam’s Room, but found nothing visible there.
* Cold patches and areas upstairs have been felt by employees.
* The Strong aroma of perfume permeates and travels along the second floor hall.
* Some unseen presence likes to be helpful, and waters the living plants on the second floor, when no living persons were present to do this chore.
* The shadowy form of a woman has been seen watering non-existing plants in the Madam’s Room.
* A musician who once lived on the second floor for a short period, while playing downstairs in the Saloon, awoke one night to seeing a shimmering light in his room, and he had a very strange sensation.
* One of the local town leaders has felt twice in the hall a strong presence, in sort of a hostile mood.
The Golden North Hotel
The Golden North Hotel is a three story building and sports a corner cupola facing the street. Rooms 14 and 23 are known to have most of the manifestations.
Room 23 is the favorite haunt of a pretty, young woman entity, nick- named Mary by the staff. She died there of pneumonia, while waiting for her beloved to return from the gold fields, and while trying to hide from the local ruffians as well.
* Mary has fully appeared to various hotel employees, mainly the chambermaids and maintenance men.
* The owner and one of the maids both together saw Mary standing by the window in room 23, looking out of the window.
* A hotel guest singer from Juneau, had his girlfriend take his picture while standing in the then empty third floor hall. Imagine his surprise when the picture was developed to see standing right next to him, the detailed apparition of a young woman, known as Mary!
* Other people visiting room 23 have felt the sensation of being choked, as if one was suffering from pneumonia.
Room 14 is another favorite haunt of either Mary or another ghost, and perhaps both!
* The full apparition of Mary has been seen in room 14 as well.
* A grayish light form moves around the room at night.
* While staying in the room, some hotel guests have felt really sick, to the point of almost passing out. Then, a grayish light form appears to them, and gradually fades away. The guests then suddenly don’t feel sick anymore.
* Four ghost hunters spent the night in Room 14. The next morning, they found a ring around the tub, that wasn’t there the night before, as if some unseen entity took a bath. They had not used the tub.
Fraternal Order of Eagles
Eagles Hall was created by linking/stitching together two old 1890s hotels
The second floor seems to be the favorite spot for several friendly ghosts, who make their presence known by moving cold spots. People have felt the presence of these unseen entities, keeping them company on the second floor.
This “graceful, Victorian residence” was built in 1904, and was the home of the Mulvihill family from 1914 to 1949. William “Mul” Mulvihill was the chief dispatcher for the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, and kept a telegraph key in his house.
Manifestations Reported by past owners: The entity is believed to be William Mulvihill
* Doors throughout the house open and close by themselves.
* Some unseen entity, likes to walk up and down the stairs, with heavy footsteps.
* The sound of a telegraph key can be heard clicking away
The White House
Originally built as a private home, the White House became a hospital during World War 2, then a small hotel, a day-care center and finally a home to various families. It was abandoned in 1988, after it was damaged by fire, but now has been restored to its former glory. It is now an upscale bed and breakfast; AT the White House www.atthewhitehouse.com
* A commercial fisherman and his family were staying there. He and his wife awoke one night to see the detailed apparition of a woman, standing at the foot of their bed.
* The couple’s three year old daughter happily chatted away with an apparition in the kitchen, who matched the description of the woman they saw in their bedroom. This gentle woman specter is believed to be the woman who used to run a day-care in this house.
Most of these dwellings are still haunted, though the ghost in the Mulvihill House has been very quiet since the new owners moved in. It is theorized that he likes the new people in his house.
- Photos from skagway.org
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr