White Eagle Tavern Portland, Oregon


The White Eagle Tavern, as this intensely haunted establishment was known for many years, is a ramshackle old building located near the Willamette River in an industrialized area of Portland, Oregon. Now owned by McMenamin’s, a regional restaurant chain, this tavern served in a dual capacity as both a saloon and brothel when it first opened its doors for business in 1905.The brothel portions of the saloon were originally segregated into two areas: The upstairs area, housing the white prostitutes; and the basement area, housing the black and chinese prostitutes. Many men and women have met an untimely demise within the walls of this compelling brick building, the majority of them being prostitutes and drunks who incurred the wrath of the management of the saloon and/or each other in the early 1900s. Poltergeist activity appears to be rampant in both the upstairs and basement areas of the tavern today. Witnesses have seen mops, brooms, menu boards and other items flying through the air at various times of the day and night, hurled by unseen hands. Tavern staff and patrons alike have been touched, squeezed and even pushed down staircases by phantom pranksters. The upstairs area, which was closed to the public for decades, has allegedly been the haunt of at least two spirits for more than fifty years. One of them is believed to be Rose, a prostitute who was murdered on the premises in 1926 by a jealous lover. The other is Sam, who lived upstairs for a number of years prior to passing away in his room in the tavern in 1955. A man has been seen staring out at the street from an upstairs window of the tavern by many passersby, even though the upstairs had been sealed off at the time that the majority of these sightings occurred. The consensus among the locals who frequent the tavern is that this lonely apparition is the ghost of Sam. Rose was one of the most sought-after delicacies of the tavern back in its bordello days. A stunning young woman, she was considered to be the personal property of the brothel manager, a fearsome beast of a man who often shanghaied customers out the back door of the brothel and sold them into slavery. One of Rose’s paying customers fell hard for the beautiful young prostitute, and began to court her most assiduously. He took exception to her treatment at the hands of the vicious pimp/saloon manager, as she and other women of the evening endured merciless beatings from him on countless occasions. One evening Rose’s young lover confronted the manager, and endured a beating himself that nearly cost him his life. Rose refused to vacate the White Eagle Tavern despite her lover’s pleadings for her to do so. Enraged and despondent, her young paramour stabbed Rose to death one night in an upstairs bedroom. Rose’s ghost has been seen and felt by many tavern-goers since she died so brutally that evening so long ago, and some longtime patrons of the White Eagle Tavern swear they have been propositioned for sex by the spirit of a woman whom they think can only be Rose.Rose’s voice has often been heard crying out in abject desperation while she walks the lonely rooms and hallways of the White Eagle in search of the jealous lover who condemned her to an eternal life of sadness and discarnate misery. One of the prior owners of the tavern has had more than his fair share of odd experiences in this old building. Although he possessed no keys to the thirteen rooms comprising the upstairs area of the tavern, and even though the upstairs had been closed off to the public for many years, this proprietor would frequently find many doors to these upstairs rooms locked and unlocked at various times. Sometimes these doors would be found wide open; at other times he would find the same doors locked tight. Transit windows have mysteriously opened and closed seemingly of their own volition. Chairs have been seen and heard scuttling unaided across the floors of the establishment. This same individual has seen coins dropping from out of nowhere onto the floor of the basement, which used to be where he maintained his office. He claims to have heard voices so often in the old tavern while working late at night, that he would often turn his portable radio up in order to drown them out. Even though he was the only person in the place. The basement is likely to house the spirits of many unhappy souls, for the black and Chinese prostitutes who worked in this area led a life of total misery. Many of these unfortunate women died in the basement of the White Eagle, under the harshest of conditions. Some were tortured. Many of these women gave birth here, their illegitimate children stolen from them while they slept. The ghosts in the basement of the White Eagle Tavern are legion, and it is not likely that they will be vacating the premises anytime soon. For they have indeed lost their way. Even the bar area on the main floor is not off-limits to the myriad ghosts of the White Eagle Tavern. And apparently a few of them are quite playful. In 1996 a woman entered one of the two stalls in the ladies bathroom and heard someone enter the adjoining stall next to her. Much to her surprise, a roll of toilet paper soon came flying at her over the top of the nearby stall. Thinking it to be the handiwork of the female friend who had accompanied her to the tavern, a toilet paper fight soon ensued. After tiring of the impromptu exchange of paper pleasantries, the woman opened the door of the adjacent stall expecting to find her friend — only to find the stall empty.

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