Step into the underworld of Anchorage—a hidden gathering of ghosts and spirits—on this walking tour through some of the city’s most haunted sites. It’s the most unsual perspective you can get of Alaska’s largest metropolis.
Meet the Local Spirits
You’ll spend most of the time on your feet, taking in the sights of downtown, walking through alleys and bars…and meeting spirits. You may encounter the Friday Night Man who wafts through the Anchor Pub & Club, formerly the Empress Theater, on his way to what once was the projection booth, or the little girl who bounces on beds at the Historic Anchorage Hotel.
The ghost tours start on the far end of Fourth Avenue, at the site of a former travel agency said to be haunted by Muriel Pfeil, who died in a 1976 car bombing after a bitter divorce from her attorney husband. It ends about two hours later at the 13th stop, the Historic Anchorage Hotel, where 32 “entities” refuse to check out. One of them shakes shower curtains, while a boy and girl are sometimes seen running up and down the halls holding hands.
Your Top-Hatted Guide
Your guide on this exploration of the undead is Rick Goodfellow, a dapper man in a top hat, tails, and Hemmingway beard. Together, you’ll weave and wind down city streets and alleyways, stopping for stories of history, hauntings, and unsolved murders—like the spot in front of a former Turkish bathhouse where, in 1921, the city’s first chief of police was shot in the chest... with his own gun.
General manager of a classical music radio station by day, artful storyteller by night, Goodfellow has always been a history buff. His ghost tours bring a phantasmatic twist to the past. He and his wife, local artist Jan Ingram, did extensive research putting this tour together, digging up historical documents, maps, and photographs, and walking into every downtown business and asking: “Are you guys haunted?”
Goodfellow also asked everyone he met for first-hand stories. One of his favorites comes from a highly credentialed businessman who described in great detail looking up from the street one night at his locked office on the second floor of the Fourth Avenue Theatre and seeing a man staring down at him. As he got closer, he recognized the man, no question. It was the man who’d built the theater, Cap Lathrop. Only he’d been dead for 35 years.
Goodfellow doesn’t care if you believe in ghosts or not, and he’s not out to persuade you. He’s on the fence himself. But you just may end up changing your mind. One skeptic on the tour did just that, in the women’s restroom in the basement of the Hotel Captain Cook, where a woman is said to have committed suicide in a stall in 1972. The skeptic snapped a picture over the top of the stall, as did others. Everyone else’s photo was of an empty stall. Hers had what looked like a fog of angel hair all over the floor.
Dress For Chills
In one way or other, you could get the chills, so dress warmer than you think you need to. Not surprisingly, this tour is not recommended for young, impressionable children. It is wheelchair friendly, but otherwise expect to spend about two hours on your feet. Wear good walking shoes. And since the tour goes on rain or shine, it wouldn’t hurt to bring an umbrella.