Spooky spots abound in downtown Anchorage

Published: Oct. 31, 2016 at 8:18 AM AKDT
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Might as well get a spooky start on the day of Halloween, right?

Well, look no further than downtown Anchorage.

From Snow City Cafe to 4th Ave. Theatre and beyond, Anchorage is full of stories of the paranormal.

As for Snow City, that's where this all starts.

"The short story is that a very prominent woman of her day, in 1976, was killed by a car bomb," said Rick Goodfellow, Founder of Ghost Tours Anchorage. "She was a travel agent, and in those days, there was no Snow City. Her offices was where Snow City is today."

According to Goodfellow, nighttime staff at the cafe will tell you that the ghost is especially active, and enjoys playing with water and interfering with food prep from time to time.

"But," he said, "she's very friendly."

Briana Goldman, Front of House Supervisor at Snow City, said the stories of hauntings are true. She had her first incident this past August.

"There's so much daylight at that time of the year, but I came in about 20 minutes early that day," she said. "I was just like, yes, it's beautiful, I can get some things done early.

"And then I hear someone laughing," she said. "I heard a cabinet close in the back, by the bathroom. And I was just like, 'Is someone here?'"

Goldman said she thought the laugh was from a specific person, another employee at the cafe, so she called her friend to find out.

"She was totally still sleeping," Goldman said. "It creeped me out, so I ran back to the kitchen. Our general manager will tell you all the stories."

Snow City Cafe, located on 4th Ave., happens to be first stop for Goodfellow one each one of his tours. He puts them on every summer through early September, thirteen or fourteen locations most times, though it varies based on paranormal activity and weather quality.

"I'm interested in Anchorage history, and I've found people get excited about ghost stories," he said, "and if you can get them interested in the ghost stories, and why there's a ghost there, they also learn about why Anchorage is the way it is."

The second stop on Monday's mini tour is also the usual second stop for Goodfellow's tours: The Captain Cook Hotel, where a "territorial" and "angry" ghost likes to frequent a bathroom in the basement.

"Of all people," Goodfellow said, "the operations manager told me why there's one stall that's always locked: It's because there was a suicide in there shortly after that tower, Tower 2, was opened."

The ghost stays in the stall, according to Goodfellow, and if she feels slighted, she'll take revenge.

"She gets into bad moods sometimes," he said. "Over the course of Ghost Tours, I've seen her go from very quiescent for months, until she's very active night after night after night."

In six years of hosting ghost tours, Goodfellow said people have full-on collapsed in the downstairs bathroom on three separate occasions.

"Always in that one spot, always in that particular women's restroom in the Hotel Captain Cook," he said.

But the spookiness doesn't stop there.

At around 100 years old, the Historic Anchorage Hotel is one of the most haunted spots in Anchorage, Goodfellow said, and staff there said the same. There have been so many sightings and spooky experiences, in fact, that there's a 'Ghost Log' that's kept down at the front desk.

"We've had guests call and ask if we can have the kids stop running around, even when there are no kids registered to stay," said Terri Russi, Historic Anchorage Hotel General Manager. "Guests will come down asking if the place is haunted, and we just ask why. So when they tell us, we'll put it in the log."

Children running around and playing in the middle of the night, Goodfellow said, is the most common story he's heard.

"They're just happy little kids," he said. As the story goes, a group of children died of influenza in 1938, but not inside the hotel itself. They passed away at Providence, which was in the downtown area back in the old days.

"The theory is that those kids loved playing in the hotel so much," he said, "they just decided to spend eternity there.

"They'd never seen a 24 hour playground that was always lit, always warm and snow free. They thought it was great," he said.

For more stories, watch the Channel 2 Newshour Monday, Oct. 31, or take the tour yourself in the summer. The Ghosts of Anchorage Tours take place June through early September, beginning at 7:30 p.m. six nights a week.

You can learn more about the hauntings of Anchorage