Haunted Journeys

Historic and Haunted Alaskan Hotel
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There have been many mysterious and spooky stories written about the Alaskan Hotel in Juneau, Alaska. And for good reason. It’s one of the hottest haunted places in "the last frontier." But more so than you can even imagine!

Exploring the Alaskan Hotel’s Haunted History

Let’s explore the reasons behind the fascination. The Alaskan Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Southeast Alaska , opening on Tuesday, September 16, 1913, built by Charles Hooker, Jules B. Caro, and the McCloskey brothers, John and James “Big Jim” McCloskey.

The Alaskan Hotel Historical Poastcard
Credit: The Alaskan Hotel & Bar Website

Upon its grand opening, the Dispatch newspaper wrote that, "At 6 p.m. the management will formally unlock the doors and the keys with then be attached to a toy balloon which will carry them out of sight. From the moment the doors swing open, never to close, the hotel will be for the accommodation of guests." And so with this, it's believed, spirits of those who stayed here never left.

The property was placed on the national register of historic places October 25, 1978. Present owners Mike and Bettye Adams have renovated the hotel to its original Victorian style.

Photo of hotel when purchased by Adams in 1977 Before Restoration
Credit:  The Alaskan Hotel & Bar Website

History Speaks Today Through the Haunted

Bettye Adams, the owner of the hotel for more than 40 years, has a clear understanding of what transpired here. With this, it has caused many to believe that there are lingering spirits that haunt her building.

Alice is one of the more frequent spirits that lingers within hotel. The local legend states that Alice first came to the hotel during the Gold Rush with her husband, both with the dream of striking it rich.

Promising that he would be back in less than a month, Alice's husband left the hotel, but when he failed to return after many weeks, Alice had to find an alternate means of supporting herself. Having used the little money her husband had left her, Alice became desperate and turned to selling her services as a means to survive.

It all came to a tragic twist of fate, however, when her husband returned a short while later. When Alice’s husband saw her with another man in the hotel's south-facing room, he was enraged. The legend describes a macabre scene of a furious husband firing several rounds from a revolver into a man, saving the last one for his wife. “Alice” is seen to this day in a diaphanous gown with her arms outstretched, just as she died on the bed in room 219.

Today, the staff and guests have reported interactions with Alice's ghost on many occasions. Close to where she met her gruesome demise, she lingers  in the back of the hotel, especially in Rooms 218, 318, and 219. As a result, many guests desire to be moved to a different room, or simply leave the hotel entirely, due to an undesirable run-in with one of the Alaskan Hotel’s invisible “guests.”

Various staff members have stated that they are always uncomfortable when they're working in this area of the hotel. Housekeepers recount how they often discover towels or other items either moved or misplaced in these two rooms. Several have seen Alice's ghost sitting on one of the beds.

Alice is only one of many spirits that make themselves known throughout the hotel, but one in particular has caused the biggest stir.

The Haunted Alaskan Hotel
Credit:  The Alaskan Hotel & Bar Website

The Haunted Epicenter: Room 315

The epicenter of the hotel's haunted activity is room 315. Ms. Adams refers to the room as “creepy,” saying that although she herself has never seen anything, she gets strong, uneasy sensations when she enters the space. According to a couple of people that were there on May 19th, 2007, a tragic event occurred that has left an indelible mark on this property. The events are described in interviews, and they paint a gruesome picture.

The Bloody Sailor

The resulting reports written about room 315 describe a scene where a sailor who was in town asked to reserve the haunted room on the third floor, so he was promptly checked into room 315. That night, there was commotion in the room, and when police responded, they discovered blood splattered all about the walls and a broken window. It turns out that this sailor jumped right through his window, and fell to the ground in the alley below. A witness in the room below his on the second floor had her window broken as his body bounced between the hotel and the adjacent building on the way down. Amazingly, the sailor beat the odds and survived, and was given care after managing to make it to the street from the alley. To this day, there is no explanation for his jump or the bloody mess left in the room.

Credit: Alaska Public Media “AK: The Haunting of Alaskan Hotel’s Room 315”

Jacob Resneck, Coast Alaska Juneau

This horror story could have ended tragically, and thankfully it didn’t. But is this really a ghost story, or could it reflect the unexplained power of those that dare stay in the hotel? The only one who might have an answer is a sailor who, at his own request, was put in a so-called haunted room at the Alaskan Hotel and almost paid with his life to settle his curiosity.



Author reviewer and contributor of details:
Joshua Adams
As the current owner's son, Joshua Adams has written a book about the Alaskan Hotel and its history, Life and Times of the Alaskan Hotel. He is currently writing a sequel, with a more spirited view, titled Ghosts of the Alaskan Hotel. We look forward to reading the haunting details of the abundant activity in this historic property. Expected to be released September 2019, his latest book is for anyone interested in Juneau, Alaska's seamier side. 

The Alaskan Hotel website


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