Portland, Oregon is now known as a very hip place because it is liberal and environmentally-friendly. However, it is also known to have the most number of strip clubs per capita in the United States.
An aerial view of Portland, Oregon. (Link: https://www.visittheusa.com/destination/portland)
Aside from that, Portland, Oregon was one of the most dangerous cities in the world back in the 19th century because of a form of human trafficking called shanghaiing. To know more about these inhumane practice that resulted to Portland Oregon’s haunted Shanghai Tunnels, continue reading below.
The entrance and exit of the Shanghai Tunnels. (Link: https://www.tourist-destinations.com/2014/11/the-mysterious-shanghai-tunnels-in.html)
The History Of The Shanghai Tunnels
Basically, these human traffickers preyed on unsuspecting men in saloons and boarding houses. The saloons are very popular to some of the sailors or laborers near the area because it is a place of relaxation. However, what all of them did not know was that some of these saloons and boarding houses had trapdoors and the men are taken to a network of underground tunnel. These tunnels connected the basements of the saloons and boarding houses to the waterfront of the Willamette River. Originally, they were built to move the goods from the ships that were docked on the river but it later became the medium for the unfortunate fate of thousands of men.
The Willamette River in Portland. (Link: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/where-does-the-willamette-river-flow.html)
The unsuspecting men were usually held captive, drugged, and eventually transported to the waterfront. They then were usually sold to ships to work as sailors who are unpaid. Accordingly, most of the men who were trafficked worked for months and even years before they were able to return home. If they did not want to work, they would be killed. It is called shanghaiing because this form of human trafficking led to the victims being shipped to Asia.
One of the saloons in Portland, Oregon. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/443182419563193421/)
There were also reports claiming that women were also shanghaied. However, they were not taken to work on a ship but were taken for prostitution. Allegedly, these women who aged or became pregnant were later murdered.
The Cause Of Death Of Some Of The Victims In The Shanghai Tunnels
Not all the men and women who were drugged and held captive were able to live and work. Some of them died and they are the ones reportedly haunting the Shanghai Tunnels of Portland, Oregon.
One of the holding cells in the Shanghai Tunnels. (Link: http://steve-parr.blogspot.com/2013/05/shanghai-tunnels.html)
Accordingly, these victims died because of being injured, having complications after being drugged, and eventually getting sick. Some people who visited the Shanghai Tunnels claimed they felt strange and unusual phenomenon while they were there. They reportedly felt like the spirits were still residing in the tunnels with secret passages and hidden trap doors.
A photo of a trap door in the Shanghai Tunnels. (Link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/portland-s-shanghai-tunnels)
A Woman Named Nina Haunts The Shanghai Tunnels
One of the most popular ghosts in the Shanghai Tunnels has been given the name Nina. She reportedly haunts the area below the pizza parlor called Old Town Pizza. Locals claim that this woman was a prostitute and was a victim of the shanghaiing. Nina was thrown down the shaft of the elevator and the fall caused her death.
A photo showing a sign of Old Town Pizza in Portland. (Link: https://theatlasheart.com/experiencing-a-brewcycle-tour-in-portland/)
Locals claim that whenever her presence was felt, they can smell her perfume. Also, she tugs on the clothing of the individuals who pass through the Shanghai Tunnels.
Some claimed they have seen Nina. She is said to be always wearing a black dress.
Other Ghostly Phenomenon In The Shanghai Tunnels
Locals and visitors of the Shanghai Tunnels claim they heard screams, talking, moans, and cries. Accordingly, these unnatural phenomena are sounds of intelligent hauntings. The sounds reportedly come from the victims who realized they were trapped in the Shanghai Tunnels but they do not know how to get out.
How trap doors are usually designed inside the saloons and boarding houses during the shanghaiing era in Portland, Oregon. (Link: https://www.eyesonbroadway.com/from-broadway-to-you/2018/2/19/portlands-strange-places-1-shanghai-tunnels)
The Shanghai Tunnels Today
Historian Michael Jones worked for a number of years to restore, discover, and explore the underground Shanghai Tunnels. He provides guided tours for the Shanghai Tunnels where visitors can actually see the tunnels, the holding cells, and the trap doors. A simulation could be seen showing a man being dropped on a pool of pillows.
A simulation of how victims fall into the Shanghai Tunnels. (Link: https://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/2014/04/portlands-shanghai-tunnels.html)