The Shanghai Tunnels are a notorious place, located deep underneath the streets of Portland, Oregon. Many of the businesses that are in Portland are connected by the tunnels and have openings to the tunnels in the basements of the buildings. There tunnels are a mysteriously haunting place. It is said in, The Haunted Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon, the art of shanghaiing occurred in these tunnels dating all the way back to the 1850’s and ended somewhere around the 1940’s. This article also states that Shanghaiing was the act of stealing men that would wander around in the tunnels at night, or would enjoy a few or more drinks at that bars that are above the tunnels, many of these men would be taken and sold to ship owners. The owners of these ships would pick out “able-bodied men” and use them on their ships as slaves (The Portland Underground FAQ).
According to, The Haunted Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon, unfortunately, not all of the people stolen in the tunnels were male, some of them were females, sold as prostitutes to work on the ships one of which is a woman named Nina is said to haunt the tunnels underneath “Old Town Pizza.” It is said by locals that Nina was a prostitute who was drugged one night and thrown down the shaft to the tunnels. This fall was fatal, and now it is said her ghost haunts the tunnels and the scent of perfume still lingers in the air (The Haunted Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon). In fact, there is a carving that says “Nina” into the brick in one of the passageways said to have been there since the tunnels were first used for shanghaiing (Haunt in Shanghai Tunnels Portland). According to, The Haunted Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon, she is not the only ghost that is said to haunt these tunnels,
“Many individuals who walk the tunnels in Portland have stated that they have heard moans, talking, screaming, and even the sound of crying. While it is believed that many of these sounds may be a result of the energy expelled in the area, and may be residual based hauntings, there are many who firmly believe that these are the sounds of truly intelligent hauntings. The opinion is carried that these intelligent hauntings realize that they have been trapped in the tunnels and because most do not know how they got into the tunnels to start with, they have a difficult time finding their way out.”
This is possible with the belief in ghosts, and the supernatural. I believe that many people might experience more supernatural occurrences with the belief in ghosts. Is it possible that ghosts exist, or are people simply seeing something that they chalk up to the belief in ghosts? In the article, Poll: Majority Belief in Ghosts, when asked if people believe in ghosts 48% of people said yes, while 45% said no, this shows that more people believe in the supernatural. This could, perhaps, explain why people take tours of these tunnels.
|A collection of boots found in the tunnels taken from the Ghost Adventures visit.|
Today, tours are given in the tunnels by a number of tour groups. This leaves me to question the beliefs of many people; perhaps they take tours because they like to be scared, they are a skeptic, or a true believer. As you walk through the tunnels I can imagine what it was like back in the 1900’s, filled with a musty smells, with hints of alcohol and perfume. You could possible hear the moans of the soon to be sailors, and the prostitutes. Many people believe that if you walked through these tunnels during this time period you would not see any of this, in fact, many believe shanghaiing did not exist at all (Mellema). This is left to be decided by the individual, but I believe once experiencing the eeriness of these tunnels one cannot help but form an opinion.
Alfano, Sean. "Poll: Majority Believe In Ghosts." CBSNews. CBS
Interactive, 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500160_162-994766.html>
"Ghost Adventures: Shanghai Tunnels Pictures." Travel Channel. Travel Channel, n.d. Web. 19
Oct. 2012. <http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/ghost-adventures/photos/ghost-adventures-shanghai-tunnels-pictures>.
"Haunt in Shanghai Tunnels Portland, Or 97201 Portland,
OREGON Multnomah Haunt." Haunt in Shanghai Tunnels Portland, Or 97201 Portland, OREGON Multnomah Haunt. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www.strangeusa.com/Viewlocation.aspx?id=8136>
The Haunted Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon." The Haunted
Shanghai Tunnels In Portland, Oregon. Haunted Places to Go, 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://www.haunted-places-to-go.com/shanghai-tunnels.html>
Mellema, Valerie. "Portland Underground: The Shanghai Tunnels."
Portland Underground: The Shanghai Tunnels. Legends of America, 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://www.legendsofamerica.com/or-shanghai.html>
"The Portland Underground FAQ." The Secrets of the Tunnels. N.p., n.d. Web. 16
Oct. 2012. <http://shanghaitunnels.info/>
"Shanghai Tunnels." Spooky Places. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
Links for Further Research:
Portland Walking Tours
This site gives more information on booking tours through the Shanghai Tunnels.
This article gives extra information on the Shanghai Tunnels and extra pictures.
News Channel 8 Shanghai Tunnels reveal Portland's sinister history
This article gives a brief history of the Shanghai Tunnels and what occurred here.