04 April 2011

Haunted Seattle – Pike Place Market

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I love spooky stories.  One of my favorite things to do when I’m travelling and have the time is take ghost and haunted history tours.  (If you ever get the chance to take the New Orleans Vampire Tour, do it!)  However, I’ve never taken any of the haunted tours here in Seattle.  I mean to remedy that, so on Saturday I went with some friends and did a ghost tour of Pike Place Market.

Over the years I’ve been to the market hundreds of times and it’s always packed to the gills with people.  One of the coolest things about taking the ghost tour was that it ran after the market closed for the day.  It was really neat to be able to see the bones of the market without the usual crush of bodies.  The market is beautiful even when it’s empty, but I’m rather partial.

The tour began at the gum wall.  For those of you who haven’t been, there’s a wall in Post Alley where people stick used gum.  It’s disgusting.  Really, really disgusting.  For some reason, that is incomprehensible to me, people think it’s really cool and it’s become a tourist attraction.

At the gum wall the guide told us some interesting stories about the Market Theater and The Alibi Room (supposedly haunted by the market’s founder).  From there we went up to the market proper and heard stories about the ghosts of Princess Angeline, old sailors murdered by “seamstresses,” an eccentric dubbed “Mae West,” and a murderess named Linda Hazard.  We also heard stories about the Post Alley former home of E.R. Butterworths, the city’s first mortuary.  To read these stories in detail I highly recommend reading the book put out by the founder of this tour, Seattle' Market Ghost Stories.

It was a fun and informative tour, not terribly spooky, but fun.  I’d recommend it to anyone coming into town that didn’t already know a lot about the city’s history.  If you’ve got limited time here in town, skip this one and take the Underground Tour, the energy is a lot darker and you’re much more likely to see or experience the paranormal.

I enjoyed this tour because I’ve actually seen ghosts in the market and its surrounding areas.  When I was a teen going down to the market was one of my favorite things to do, and when I was about 14 I saw the ghost of Princess Angeline (daughter of Chief Seattle).  I was down in the bowels of the market, near the magic shop, and saw an old native woman wearing an Indian blanket with piercing blue eyes.  She creeped me out, but I didn’t think much of it until I passed her and turned around only to find she’d disappeared.  My other encounter happened in Kells (an Irish pub/restaurant in the basement of the old mortuary).  I was having lunch with a friend late in the afternoon and we were the only patrons there.  My friend had gotten up and I was alone in a dark corner when I saw a little girl, maybe five or six years old, in an old fashioned dress skip down the center of the room and disappear into a wall.  I’ve eaten there many times since and have never seen her again, though I hope to again someday.

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