Some visit Alaska in hopes of finding glaciers, mountains and wildlife. Others are looking for something a little more off the beaten path, and some might even be seeking out the supernatural. Whether you’re planning a ghost tour of the 49th state or are just a little curious, here are a few notorious ghost stories that are sure to send a shiver down your spine.
The staff at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus will be the first to tell you that the theater is haunted. The building is said to be home to quite a few spirits, including a lady in white, a teenage boy and even the ghost of John Wendell “Wendy” Williamson himself who has been seen playing the piano in the lobby (post-mortem) on more than one occasion. Women with long brown hair have reported being pushed by an unseen specter as they walk down the lobby stairs, props have been known to fly off tables and faucets and lights turn on and off with no explanation. Women using the handicap stall in the women’s bathroom have even felt it being violently tugged shut by someone on the other side as they try to exit. Visitors to the theater hoping for a supernatural event to happen might be out of luck, since its staff said that these experiences usually only happen when you least expect them.
The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway is another spiritual hot spot. The town is steeped in Gold Rush history, and so are its ghosts. A former brothel that was bustling during Skagway’s heyday is said to be haunted by a ghost name Lydia who isn’t the biggest fan of men. If you take part in the Ghosts and Goodtime Girls walking tour around Skagway you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her. You may also catch an unexplained scent (her perfume), hear mysterious footsteps or find yourself walking through a strangely cold patch of air. If not, the tour still ends with a glass of champagne and a garter to commemorate the excursion.
Another supposedly haunted location in Alaska is the Buckner Building, a Cold War relic in Whittier. The town is only accessible via a two-and-a-half mile tunnel through a mountain and the building is massive, built to house up to 1,000 soldiers if need be. In its day it offered amenities like a bowling alley, a church, a small jail, radio station, rifle range and more. Although it was built to protect people in the event of a bombing, the 1964 earthquake rendered it unsafe to inhabit. It’s been abandoned ever since and many strange sounds and sightings have been reported. It doesn’t help, of course, that the eight-story, sprawling cement building with broken windows, often standing before a backdrop of gray skies and snow-covered mountains, looks incredibly creepy. The Buckner is no longer open for public exploration, but if you’re in Whittier it’s impossible to miss this mysterious building.
No matter what you believe, these historic locations across the state are worthy destinations to see, ghosts or not! Find out more about some of these communities and more on our destinations page.