Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I don't see dead people!

Thank goodness!

Though I did feel like dead people all weekend. And yesterday.

And today, come to think of it.

Because I caught The Cold From Hell. Today I am back at work but it is wavering on becoming The End of The Cold From Hell Plus Potential Stomach Flu. Good times, people. Good times.

But anyway, back to the dead people.

So on Friday night I took a tour of Portland's Shanghai Tunnels. Anyone ever heard of those? Apparently Portland was the Shanghai capitol of the world back in the late 1800 and up until as recently as 1941!! There are many underground tunnels intertwined under the city in which many an unsuspecting drunken man or unescorted woman would be captured and sold into slavery back in the day. The men sold to ship captains for a period of 3 to 6 years and the women sold into prostitution ... never to return.

Pretty freaky, right?

The tour begins at a local Portland tavern called Hobo's.

The guide takes you down into the tunnels through a grate in the sidewalk right outside the tavern:

One of the first rooms you see is what used to be an opium den:

Into another room you find the remnants of cells which held the captured men until a ship captain came to purchase them. The room was spooky. Very, very low light. Low ceiling. And barely a grate to see into another room nearby. Not a pleasant place to be, that's for dang sure. And though immediately overhead is a tavern, apparently back then the barkeeps were "paid" not to hear any cries for help. Yuck.

Plus nearby, a pile of discarded boots remained. The shanghaiers de-booted the captives and had the cells surrounded by broken glass so that in case of any escape, the escapee could easily be tracked by the trail of blood. And hence recaptured.

Some of the men were originally captured with the assistance of a barkeep. The barkeep could release a trapdoor (called a deadfall) so his prey would drop through into the tunnels below and into the waiting arms of the shanghaiers.

A re-enactment

The women who were captured by the white slavers were thrown into a tiny wooden room and kept in complete darkness until they "broke" and could then be shipped to another state and used for prostitution. The guide says that he was told it took no more than 48 hours to "break" a woman .... though he said he interviewed one famous white slaver who boasted that it took him no more than 8 hours. (*shudder*)

Here's a picture of that room:

Now remember that room ... because I'll be referring to it again in a minute......

Though the history alone of Portland's Shanghai Tunnels is creepy enough in its own right .... it gets creepier. Because apparently those tunnels are known throughout the paranormal world to be the 10th most haunted place in the US!!

Our guide for the night warned that, though he doesn't believe in ghosts per se, he does believe in the "history of this place". And that many tourists have reported many of the same experiences over the years.

In other words, at certain points of the tour, one or two folks in the group may comment about a certain hint of perfume. And each identify the perfume to be the same well known brand.

Or perhaps folks might say they saw an apparition. Only over the years, people give the same descriptions of the apparitions!!

So I was VERY happy that I was not one of the folks that saw any of the dead people.

BUT ..... apparently someone in our group did!!!!

He had his shoulder tapped by NO-ONE (*heebie jeebie shudder*) and when he looked over a door opened by itself and he saw the ghost of a woman slumped over in the chair in that room I showed you above. Another guy was with him at the time and saw that part too.

The guy that got his shoulder tapped seemed to take it very calmly. Very calmly indeed. Most folks didn't even know it had occurred.

Which WOULD NOT have been the case had I been the one to have my shoulder tapped and to see that. I guaran-f'in-tee you that!!! You can bet there would have been a flood of VERY LOUD "motherf'ing bleepety bleep bleep bleeps" come flying outta my mouth had that happened to me!!! And I certainly would not have just casually continued on that tour. Nosireebob. That guide would have needed to get my ass back up to the street ... and pronto! Is all I'm sayin! Because that's just C-R-E-E-P-Y!

And it was weird because at the end of the tour I happened to be standing near the guide as he was speaking to another volunteer there. And I guess they were trying to figure out which ghost this guy had seen. The volunteer thought it might be "Jenny" but the guide said "no, Jenny is very pretty and wears black. I think this guy was describing her friend.". Yeah, HELLO. That's just too frickin' weird for me, folks. These folks KNOW the ghosts and discuss them just like it's nothing. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Guess where I WON'T be going back to anytime soon? Anyone?? Anyone?? Yeah, especially now that the start of fall through the end of December seems to be the time of the most paranormal experiences there. So says the guide. Who has names for the ghosts. Uh yeah.


Teresa said...

That is so awesome...I'd be having a blast there! Man now I wanna go:) Definitely seems like my type o' place... and I would want to see the ghosts! I'll have to come up and visit sometime soon:P

Kat said...

Well, T ... you can throw in your vote for a Portland Thanksgiving ... :)

shannon said...

I just don't know if I could do it. Thanks for taking photos and letting us tag along! Heebie Jeebies for sure!!!

Anonymous said...

Hook, line, and sinker!

pagan said...

How come I never heard about those tunnels? I grew up in Portland! I'm heading up there for a wedding next month, so maybe I'll try to go see them. Boo!