The 'Shanghai Tunnels' Of Portland, Oregon

chickentoast

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Portland Oregon also has the distinction of being the place that (apparently) lead to the term "being Shanghai-ed" due to the practice of snatching unsuspecting drunkards, secreting them away into a maze of underground tunnels (having visited a few, they are very cramped and VERY creepy), and shipping them off to China (slavery or summat, can't recall - I've been sniffing photo chemicals in the darkroom all day, so mind no work so good).

/back to my spot toning, yay.
 
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mystickitten1

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Last year, the fiance and I took a tour of the Shanghai Tunnels (underground passageways from the turn of the century, used mostly for kidnapping) in Portland, Oregon... at the beginning of the tour, the guide told us that there was a certain smell that many people had reported sensing down in the tunnels. The fiance identified it within minutes of going down into it- roses. Supposedly it's the perfume of the ghost of a prostitute who died down in the tunnels.

-kat
 
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Mighty_Emperor

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We head to the NW of the US and Portland:

Deep Secrets Of The City: The dark world below Portland's streets harbors tales of shanghaied sailors and mysterious ghosts


By Mark Baker
The Register-Guard
Published: Sunday, May 28, 2006

PORTLAND - Ever been "shanghaied?"

Not likely. Not in the sense that Michael Jones is talking about, anyway. And by the description coming out of Jones' mouth, you wouldn't want to be.

But a long, long time ago, in the very place where 30 Wilson High School students are standing, in the darkness below Hobo's Restaurant in Portland's Chinatown district, it happened; a lot, if you believe the history that Jones is giving you.

"If you really want to know about the history of Portland, you need to go underground," says Jones, the curator of the Cascade Geographic Society, a nonprofit educational and preservation agency located near Mount Hood and founded by Jones in 1979.

"Shanghaiing," in the Portland underground sense, refers to the illegal maritime practice that occurred between 1850 and 1941, until America's entry into World War II. Sailors, loggers, cowboys, ranch hands, construction workers and vagrants were kidnapped and sold to sea captains who enslaved them for years at a time on board their Asia-bound ships.

From Portland to Pendleton to New York City, from below campuses across the nation, including the University of Oregon, lurks a world many do not know about - a world filled with the "darkness and shadows of the underground," as Jones puts it.

Asked why some are so fascinated with Portland's underground history, Jones says: "It's a mystery that has been talked about from the very beginning. When you were growing up in those times, your parents would warn you: 'Don't go to Portland because of the shanghaiers.' "

Because of this reputation, Portland was known around the world as the "unheavenly" or "forbidden" city, Jones explains. Also known as the "Shanghai Tunnels," the underground is accessed by the basements of old buildings that are connected to other buildings through brick and stone archways.

'Don't turn around'

Jones begins his tours - often given to groups from businesses such as Nike and Intel, or student groups from across the state - in the courtyard of Hobo's, a restaurant and bar in a 125-year-old brick building on Northwest Third Avenue. Known as Lasso's Saloon in the days when it had trapdoors in the floor that shanghaiers used to drop their prey through, the courtyard is where Jones sets the stage for what's to come.

"I do not believe in ghosts," says the 54-year-old, who bears a resemblance to rock musician David Crosby with his short, stocky build, his mustache and his long, brown hair that's slightly gray and balding in the back. "But I can't explain why you might feel a hand on the back of your neck. My advice? Don't turn around."

Some students guffaw. Some just look creeped out.

"You might smell someone smoking a cigarette or pipe or cigar," Jones continues, "but you won't see anyone. Or you might smell the perfume of an old prostitute."

Stories abound of ghost sightings in the tunnels. Northwest Paranormal Investigations has helped Jones restore some of the tunnels over the years, according to "Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon," the 2003 book by "Fight Club" author Chuck Palahniuk, a Portland resident.

"They say the underground is the most haunted place in Oregon," Palahniuk writes. "Under the streets of Portland they say the spirit of a woman roams, searching for her kidnapped daughter. Other spirits still search for their beloved menfolk who were drugged or shanghaied onto sailing ships, never to be seen again. Still more wandering spirits died in the tunnel system and are still looking for their way out."

Jones has been fascinated with the Portland underground for most of his life, since an old sea captain led him to the basement of an old Portland hotel when he was just 7 years old, he says. It was 1959, and Jones had gone to visit his foster brother's father, Dewey Kirkpatrick, who lived from one hotel to another. The sea captain led him to the hotel's basement and gave him a box of matches.

"To this very day," Jones tells the students, "I can hear that door creaking open."

The man followed closely behind as Jones lit one match after another. "I felt extremely grown up until he said, 'Well, kid, see ya 'round. I gotta go." A frightened Jones, who says the experience "changed my life forever," almost ran right through the man trying to get back to the hotel, he says.

It's a story he has told many times, and whether you believe him or not, it does set the stage for the descent into darkness.

Dust, dirt and musty smells

With his introduction complete, and the heebie-jeebies firmly planted, Jones leads the students through the restaurant and out onto the sidewalk.

He unlocks the steel doors in the sidewalk. The students descend a ladder leading underneath Hobo's. They pick out dimly-lighted flashlights from a white bucket and stumble toward the dark.

They giggle. They shriek and scream as their feet hit the dirt and they duck underneath the low ceiling of pipes and wooden beams.

The first stop on the 90-minute tour is a small room the size of a jail cell. This was an "opium bunk," a place where drunk men and prostitutes came to get high, Jones says. "Lots of people have commented about seeing this woman standing in the window," he says. It's the ghost of Nina, a prostitute who was thrown down an elevator shaft to her death because she talked too much about the underground, Jones says. But if you see Nina's apparition, it never says a word, "because the last time she spoke, she lost her life," he says.

Next stop, after ducking under a brick archway, is a mess of dirty old boots on the ground between two ropes. They were left long ago by men who were shanghaied, Jones says. "This was not a romantic story," he says. "This was human abuse at its worst."

Then comes a small holding cell with bars. Once you got dropped through the trapdoor of a saloon, or were drugged and dragged here, this is where you stayed until you were taken to your ship.

Jones tells the "Slug Harbor Saloon" story, whereby two sailors found a trapdoor one day and discovered what they thought were 10 barrels of whiskey hidden below. They began to drink freely and invited another 30 or so men down to drink with them.

But "they weren't drinking whiskey," Jones says. "That was embalming fluid!"

They were all literally "dead drunk," he says. And they were found by Joseph "Bunko" Kelly, a notorious shanghaier, who sold their corpses to an unsuspecting ship captain who thought the dead would soon awaken.

Around the corner and into another room with a chain hanging from the ceiling, Jones explains that, "If you were standing at the wrong place at the right time," you just might have found yourself in a "dead fall."

To demonstrate, he pulls the chain and ... whump! A dummy falls from the trapdoor.

"I believe the underground is haunted," Jones says. "But not by ghosts. I believe it's haunted by its past."

registerguard.com/news/2006/05/28/o ... oregonlife
Link is dead. No archived version found at the Wayback Machine. The article (quoted in full above) can also be found at:
https://www.sdparanormal.com/articles/article/1961531/50544.htm
 
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Mister_Awesome

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The show, Insomniac, on Comedy Central had the host going through the shanghai tunnels in Portland (Insomniac is a comedian wandering around cities late at night, talking with the people he meets and drinking lots of booze). I imagine it was that same restaurant and guide. Never seen them, myself, though I've been to Portland many a time.
 
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IbisNibs

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I was curious about the "Shanghai tunnels" in Portland, Oregon, on the list of haunted cities posted by Sharon Hill. I posted the link I found in the "People Who Vanish" thread. During the peak times of shanghaiing, a minimum of 1500 people a year just vanished!
 

EnolaGaia

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This 2007 Oregonian article claims the crimping (shanghaiing) tales associated with the tunnels are more a matter of myth than fact. The emphasis on shanghaiing seems to have arisen only 50 - 60 years ago - after Portland's crimping problem has subsided and around the time heritage tours began.
Portland's buried truth
Historians say the story of the city's infamous Shanghai tunnels likely is a myth
Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lurid stories of kidnappers seizing drunken or drugged men and whisking them through a network of underground tunnels are a cornerstone of old Portland lore. The kidnappers, as legend has it, sold the hapless men to ship captains desperate for crewmen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The so-called Shanghai tunnels have been immortalized by travel writers, television shows and even by the Portland Oregon Visitors Association, which dangles the story as a lure to out-of-towners.

The only problem is that the stories, as beloved as they have become, seem to be more fiction than fact. ...
FULL STORY (In Three Parts; Connecting Links Work):
https://web.archive.org/web/2007101...ex.ssf?/base/news/1191466510318550.xml&coll=7
 

Kondoru

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So...Shanghaiing, but not through tunnels?
 
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