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Seattle's Haunted Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market After Dark
Meet the Ghosts of Seattle's Pike Place Market
The motto of Seattle's Pike Place Market is "Meet the Producer", but as darkness descends and the shopkeepers and their customers go home for the night, perhaps a more fitting motto would be "Meet the Ghosts". Many people have reported seeing objects moving, shadowy figures, and mysterious voices in the maze of old buildings, especially after dark. Some say the Pike Place Market is the most haunted place in Seattle. As with most historic areas, Seattle's Pike Place Market has been the scene of numerous untimely and violent deaths. Whether related to a tragic passing or from unfinished business on earth, there seem to be some spirits in the area that are not at rest. On this page you will meet some of the ghosts believed by some to be haunting Seattle's Pike Place Market and where you might see them.
All photos by the author, Vicki Green - PNW Travels, unless otherwise credited)
Are there really ghosts? - Or can these sights and sounds be explained by something else?
Have you ever seen or heard what you thought might have been a ghost?
The Ghost of Princess Angeline
Kikisoblu was the oldest daughter of Seattle's namesake, Chief Sealth. She was born in what is now Seward Park in Seattle somewhere between 1811 and 1820. Catherine Maynard, Doc Maynard's wife, renamed her Princess Angeline and that is what she was called by the white settlers. Princess Angeline lived for many years in a small wooden cabin on the hillside just below what is now the Pike Place Market. She died on May 31, 1896 and in the 100+ years since her death, she is one of he most commonly reported ghosts seen in the market.
Many people who have reported seeing her say they thought she was a live person until she suddenly disappeared. The most common location to see her seems to be in the area around a wood column near the center of the lower level of the market. Photos with orbs have been taken in this area and some people have felt cold spots. Princess Angeline has been seen in numerous other locations around the market including at a wedding reception at Cutter's Restaurant and in the shop of a Pike Place Market vendor who reported encountering an apparition of an old Indian woman who seemed lost. She has also been reportedly seen on the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island perhaps going to visit her father's grave at Suquamish.
The Economy Market Building 1910
The Economy Market Building Ghost
The Pike Place Market is not all in one building. It is made up of a cluster of several buildings of various ages in an eight acre area. The Economy Market Building was so named because it was used for selling day old or less fresh items at "economy" prices. This photo was taken of the Economy Market Building in 1910 a few short years after the market first opened in 1907. Since horses where still used as the main mode of transportation when the market opened, the lowest floor of the Economy Market Building was a stable for horses. The alley running through the market was named "Post Alley" because it was where there were hitching posts for horses.
The first floor of the Economy Market had vendor stalls and the second floor had offices, including the office of Frank Goodwin, the architect of the Pike Place Market. At one time there was a third level that housed a dance hall. The Economy Market Building was remodeled many times in the century since the market opened and there have been reports of paranormal activity at several sites in the building including what is now the atrium, the Il Bistro Restaurant and the Market Theater.
The Goodwin Family Ghosts
The Haunts of Frank and Arthur Goodwin
Frank Goodwin was the architect of the Pike Place Market and he and his family were the original builders and owners. In the above old photo taken at the Pike Place Market includes either Frank Goodwin or his nephew, Arthur Goodwin to the far left side of the photo. Arthur was a real estate agent who was also for a time the Market Director. Arthur loved to dance and loved the theater. Both Frank and Arthur spent a lot of time in the market during their lives and seem to have been reluctant to leave it after their death. Since the image isn't clear, no one seems to be certain of which Goodwin is in this photo taken while both were alive, but both have been reported as haunting the market. Neither died of a violent or suspicious death and their ghostly activities have never been described as evil or malicious.
Pike Place Market Atrium
The Ghost of the Pike Place Market Atrium
This is a photo of inside the Atrium in the Pike Place Market Economy Market Building where people have reported seeing what they believe is the ghost of Arthur Goodwin. Arthur has been sighted in his old office and also dancing on thin air in the area near his former office in the vicinity of where the giant squid sculpture is located. This area of the market was once had a dance hall above and horse stables in the levels below. Over the years in the course of several building renovations the horse stables and dance hall were removed and today part of the area where they formerly were contains this tall atrium.
The Il Bistro Restaurant
A Shadowy Woman at the Il Bistro Restaurant
The Il Bistro Restaurant is in the Economy Building along the alley leading down to Post Alley above the Market Theater. There have been several reports from people in and near the restaurant seeing the figure of a shadowy woman with long flowing hair wearing a white dress.
An Eerie Sight on Lower Post Alley
The Pike Place Market Theater on Post Alley
The Ghosts of the Pike Place Market Theater
The Pike Place Market Theater reserves 5 seats at every performance for their 5 resident ghosts. One of the ghosts is called Arthur, so it may be Arthur Goodwin who has been reported as being seen in the upper floor atrium of the same building. Two others are seen as a man and woman arguing, and a couple of others have also been seen. This photo is at the entrance of the theater where people waiting in line have created the famous Seattle Gum Wall, listed as one of the germiest places on earth.
The LaSalle Hotel, Pike Place Market 1967
The LaSalle Hotel, Site of Paranormal Activity
The LaSalle Hotel building was formerly named the Outlook Hotel and is believed by many to be haunted by several ghosts. Most of the paranormal activity has been seen and heard in the Alibi Room bar below the hotel on the Post Alley level. The LaSalle/Outlook Hotel was a hotel for sailors, seamen and other working class guests for many years. In the 1940s and 1950s it was a brothel owned by Nellie Curtis. In this 1967 photo, the Economy Market Building is to the left and the sign for Boulton's Tavern can barely below the parking area seen to the right of the parked cars. Boulton's Tavern is now the location of Il Bistro Restaurant.
The Alibi Room in the LaSalle Hotel Building
Mysterious Activities at the Alibi Room
The Alibi Room is a dark and mysterious looking bar on Post Alley right across from the entrance to the Market Theater and Pike Place Market Gum Wall. If you venture in you may see one of its three ghosts. "Frank" was believed to be Frank Goodwin and was often seen introducing himself as "Frank" and asking customers and employees where the toilet was. Frank has not been seen for several years, so some think his spirit is now at rest.
Another ghost seen in the Alibi Room is a woman who is dressed like she is from Russia or another part of Eastern Europe. Many Eastern European women came to the US as indentured servants or in less polite terms as "white slaves". Their passage was paid to Seattle by a hotel owner in exchange for their services as a maid or cook in the hotel. Sometimes these women ended up forced into a life of prostitution and met a violent end. A third ghost appeared as an apparition to an employee and he has a habit of cleaning up at night after the bar is closed. If he finds items like small pieces of papers or crumbs he places them on surfaces that have been wiped clean.
The Pike Place Market "Down Under"
Paranormal Activity on the Lower Floors of the Main Market Arcade
Pike Place Market is built on a steep slope with three floors below the main arcade entrance on Pike Place which are referred to as the levels of the market "Down Under". There are many stories about paranormal activity in many of the shops located on the floors Down Under. Some of the shops that have had ghost sightings or other paranormal activities include #319 and #415. Many of the sightings in these areas involve spirits of children. Over the years many children worked in the Pike Place market - some of them sons and daughters of vendors, but also many orphans that managed to survive by working in the market.
A Shopkeeper at the Pike Place Market Describes Her Ghostly Encounter
Butterworth & Sons Mortuary
Butterworth's Mortuary was the first full service mortician in Seattle. The Butterworth Building was completed in 1903 and it revolutionized the funeral industry with its care of the deceased from picking up the body to burial or cremation. Edgar Butterworth, the founder of Butterworth's Mortuary is credited by some with creating the words "mortuary" and "mortician". In addition to the normal creepiness associated with a mortuary, there are rumors that Butterworth's may have helped facilitate a few premature deaths.
Many men returning from the gold fields of the Klondike with pockets full of gold were robbed and killed in Seatte and their bodies dumped into Elliott Bay. In a misguided attempt to stop the dumping of bodies, King County offered $50 to funeral directors who would pick up and dispose of the bodies. Since $50 was a considerable amount of money in those times, there is speculation that Butterworth's may have shared the $50 with anyone bringing them a body and not asked too many questions. It would have made a profitable motive for murder.
Epidemics and disease caused the deaths of many in Seattle in the early 1900s. Tuberculosis was a leading cause of death from 1908 to 1918 and then the Spanish Flu epidemic swept through Seattle in 1918-1919 resulting in at least 1600 deaths. Butterworth's Mortuary was kept very busy handling the bodies of the deceased many of whom were children. When the Butterworth Building was sold in 1999 the basement was found to contain numerous urns identified only by numbers which mortuary records indicated contained the ashes of unidentified children.
The True Story of Convicted Murderer Dr. Linda Hazzard
When Dr. Linda Hazzard was convicted of starving one of her patients to death, the scandal involved Butterworth & Sons Mortuary. Butterworth's cremated one of her victims and then substituted the victim's body with a different, less emaciated body for the funeral. The true story of Dr. Hazzard's murders is told in Gregg Olsen's book, Starvation Heights. Although no one at Butterworth Mortuary was convicted of any crime, the incident caused many to wonder about what other shady activities may have occurred there.
Seattle's Butterworth Mortuary Today
Is the Old Butterworth Building Haunted?
This is the entrance of the Butterworth Building at 1921 First Avenue, the location of what was the Butterworth mortuary as it looks today. Over the years several restaurants have been opened at this location. All of the owners of these restaurants reported paranormal activities of dishes breaking, chandeliers swinging, wine bottles flying across the room and pots and bans banging. One chef quit after seeing what he described as "a legion of the dead" walk past him when he was alone at night at the restaurant. All of the businesses failed. Several people have felt strange sensations and fainted when standing in front of the building. It is currently vacant.
Kells Irish Pub at the Pike Place Market
The Spirits of Kells Irish Pub
Kells Irish Pub is located in the lower level of the old Butterworth Mortuary building on Post Alley. Kells is in what some say was originally the embalming room of the mortuary. In addition to having a beer or a drink, many people have reported seeing other types of spirits at Kells. There have been numerous reports of objects moving or breaking and sightings of several shadowy figures including a little girl and a man.
The Soames-Dunn Courtyard
The Soames-Dunn Courtyard Cemetery
Another place of interest is the Soames-Dunn Courtyard. The courtyard is located outside the Soames-Dunn Building by Emmet Watson's Oyster Bar. It can also be seen and accessed via a flight of stairs leading down from Post Alley. Before it was renovated and landscaped in 1997 the courtyard had an ancient plum tree that was believed to have been planted by Princess Angeline. In this photo looking up toward Post Alley there is a newly planted young tree in approximately the same location as the old plum tree.
One of the long-time vendors in the Pike Place Market was Lois Brown who went by the nickname of Mae West. May 18,1994 was proclaimed "Mae West" day by the mayor of Seattle and she was crowned "the Queen of the Pike Place Market" in a parade through the market. Her last wish before she died in 1995 was to have her ashes scattered in the market. Her request was honored by her friends and her ashes were scattered under the plum tree in the Soames-Dunn Courtyard.
Apparently several other people who lived or worked around the Pike Place Market buried the ashes of their loved ones there as well because when the courtyard was re-landscaped several containers of ashes of unknown individuals were discovered buried under the old plum tree when it was dug up. It is also believed to be a place that was part of a native American burial ground. Some people believe the spirit of "Mae West", the Queen of the Pike Place Market and others were disturbed when they were removed from their resting place under the tree. Since 1997, there have been several stories told of Mae West's ghost being seen in the arcades of the market including some accounts of seeing her lean out from behind a pillar and say "Boo".
Pike Place Market Ghost Tours
I really enjoyed the way this book weaves the history and colorful characters of the Pike Place Market into the reports of mysterious paranormal activities.
Seattle's Market Ghost Stories by Mercedes Yeager - Seattle Pike Place Market Ghosts and Haunted Places
Market Ghost Stories was written by Mercedes Yeager who created the Pike Place Market Ghost Tours. Yeager is the daughter of the owner of one of the long time Pike Place Market businesses, "Water Colors Daily", located in the Economy Market Building. She grew up around the Pike Place Market hearing the stories about ghosts from the market's vendors and customers. She has also done considerable research about the history of the Pike Place Market to find possible links to tragic events from the past to current paranormal activities.
Pike Place Market Ghost Tours
Ghost Tours at the Pike Place Market
Although you can do your own self-guided tour hunting for ghosts and haunted places in the Pike Place Market, you can take a guided Market Ghost Tour. The Market Ghost Tour office is located at 1410 Post Alley a short distance south of the Market Theater and Pike Place Market Gum Wall. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a Market Ghost Tour is a fun way to learn about the fascinating history of the Pike Place Market as you can see by the comments and reviews about the Pike Place Market Ghost Tour at TripAdvisor.
Although the tickets for the tour are regularly fairly reasonably priced at under $20 per person, they are occasionally offered through Groupon for half price.
For anyone who wants to do a little ghost hunting in the Pacific Northwest or simply read about unexplained paranormal events in the area, this is a facinating book to have.
Pacific Northwest Haunts - A Ghost Hunter's Field Guide By Joe Peeples
If you want more information about ghosts, hauntings and paranormal events in the Pike Place Market and beyond to other places in the Pacific Northwest, you will want to read this book. The book was written by Joe Peeples who is a past vice president of AGHOST - Advanced Ghost Hunters Of Seattle Tacoma. The sibtitle of the book is "A Ghost Hunter's Field Guide" and the book provides over 270 haunted locations in the Pacific Norhwest.
Seattle Ghost Tours and Paranormal Research Organizations
- Washington State Paranormal Investigations and Research
WSPIR is a skilled paranormal investigation, research and education organization committed to seeking scientific and metaphysical evidence of other realms of existence, dedicated to assisting those experiencing unexplained phenomenon and providing ed
- Private Eye on Seattle Ghost & True Crime Tours
Since 1997, Private Eye Tours has specialized in unique and sensational tours of Seattle's dark history, mysteries, true crimes and hauntings.
- Spooked in Seattle
Spooked in Seattle tours was founded in 2004 following the popularity of AGHOST (Advanced Ghost Hunters Of Seattle - Tacoma). It was the idea to help the public learn what real ghost hunters did and what was truly experienced in the world of paranorm
- A.G.H.O.S.T. - Advanced Ghost Hunters of Seattle-Tacoma, Home Page
A.G.H.O.S.T. is the most active paranormal research group in the Pacific Northwest. During paranormal investigations, our team combines hi-tech equipment with qualified psychics, research and training for successful results.
© 2011 Vicki Green