The existence of ghosts is an age-old question that even science has not been able to confirm or deny altogether. However, there are many believers in spirits around the globe and the state of Alaska is no exception. Alaska’s rich history is filled with tragedies, disappearances and countless accidents that lend themselves to believable ghost tales and unexplained phenomenon. Here are some famous haunts in Alaska and the fascinating legends and stories behind them.1
Haunted hotels in Alaska
There are too many haunted hotels in Alaska to mention, but here are two favorite stories that have thrilled and chilled residents and visitors for decades.
1 – Golden North Hotel, Skagway
A man called Klondike Ike brought his fiancée Mary to this Skagway retreat during the gold rush. While he went off to hunt for treasure she waited day after day for his return to marry her—but he never did. Mary confined herself to the hotel room, and staff eventually broke down the door to find her lifeless body wearing her wedding dress. It is said that guests see a pale figure looking out windows or standing over their bed in the middle of the night.
2 – Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage
Local lore claims that a lady committed suicide within a hotel bathroom in the 1970s and has been making ghostly appearances on the premises since. She appears dressed in all white while she is shutting lights off and on and closing and opening doors. This tragic figure has made herself known in multiple hotel restrooms.2
Alaskan spirits in shops and saloons
Feel like shopping or sharing libations with the departed? There are two rather popular options rumored to make this possible.
1 – Dimond Center Mall, Anchorage
Reportedly built upon a Native American burial site that was not properly cleared before construction began, visitors to the mall report a number of odd sightings and sounds. Flute and drum sounds often accompany visions of transparent figures of natives dressed in customary garb roaming the hallways and common spaces in the Dimond Center Mall.
2 – Red Onion Saloon, Skagway
Visitors touring the Red Onion Saloon can experience spirits of the drinking variety as well as at least one spirit of the otherworldly variety. 3Once a two part business—a saloon and a brothel—the apparition of a former prostitute named Lydia is said to be seen, heard, sensed and smelled throughout the structure still today. Patrons and employees have claimed to smell perfume, feel cold spots, see her ghost running down halls or lounging in parlors. They even believe Lydia occasionally waters the plants! Apparently, she also tends to show aggression towards men, leading many to believe she may have died here at the hands of a client.
Haunted schools in Alaska
While many may argue that so many living children in one place can be ‘haunting’ enough, how about adding a few departed ones to the mix? These three schools in Alaska reportedly have a few present who aren’t current students—but some were long ago.4
1 – Clark Middle School, Anchorage
It’s unknown exactly who the lady in white that appears in the school’s hallways in summertime is. Seemingly a harmless spirit, she seems to enjoy opening and closing doors, flickering lights on and off, spending time in the band hall and surfacing through floors.
2 – Ketchikan High School, Ketchikan
In the 1940s, a student supposedly met his demise by falling from a catwalk within the school, and students have dubbed him “Boochie”. Students report hearing screams near the area where he fell and purportedly blood reappears on the concrete below.
3 – Hanshew Middle School, Anchorage
A young student who is said to have died during the school’s construction is reportedly trapped at the site. School staff and current students report seeing and hearing a sad girl crying and calling for help in the early morning and late at night.
The spirits of Badarka Road, Chugiak
Longtime Alaskans tell a story of a young girl assisting her dad with carrying wood back to the family cabin. Wanting to impress dad, she decided to try chopping some herself. Unfortunately, the heavy axe won the battle and ended up hitting her in the head, causing her demise. Legend goes that the grief-stricken father sat up holding her body at the site and passed away of hypothermia. Supposedly, the two spirits sometimes make appearances on Badarka Road, near the site of the accident, around 3:30 am.