Another true ghost story

This is a story never written before although it happened almost a hundred years ago. My grandfather, Miguel Vargas when he was young, around 1915, worked as a policeman. One night neighbors called the police and reported that they could hear screams from a woman next door that sounded like she was being beaten. My grandfather went there and looked in the window to see the woman being dragged around the room by her hair, but there was no one else there with her. He, being a religious man went to the neighbors and told them to call a priest. He had other stories of the old country but this is the only one that I remember now.

Walter T. Chestnut

Walter was born in 1873 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Although he was an accountant, he and his brother came west and were working on the ship Islander in 1898. Walter contracted pneumonia while onboard and had to disembark in Skagway where he died in the Hotel Rosalie, on this day, April 8, 1898. His remains were taken to Victoria where he was buried.
The Hotel Rosalie was located on the corner of Broadway and Bond (4th). It was a one room hotel where patrons curled up in corners. The building changed hands pretty soon after the Gold Rush and became Brownell’s Hardware Store. Then in 1903 Mr. John Anderson bought it and transformed it into the Pantheon Saloon. Charles Walker, who had done such a grand job of decorating the AB Hall, was hired to do the same with the saloon. Today you can see some of his artwork (restored by the Park Service) on the front of the Pantheon. In past years the Pantheon was leased to jewelers as part of the Klondike Gold Rush NHP’s leaseback program, but like many other businesses on Broadway this summer, it has gone vacant and will be used for meetings/training again this summer.
Several years ago, I worked in this building and I can say I never saw or felt the ghost of poor Mr. Chestnut, perhaps he just wanted out of here. Seen above is the building – labeled Hardware Store. The photo was taken at midnight in June by Barley.

Skagway Death Record; Victoria Daily Colonist April 15, 1898.

Albert J. Goddard

Albert J. Goddard was an engine designer from Iowa who saw an opportunity to cash in on the gold rush. With the help of his wife, Clara, Goddard planned to take two steamboats into the Yukon over the White Pass during the winter of 1897 so that they could take the first cargo down the river in the spring. The little “A.J. Goddard” was prefabricated in San Francisco and Seattle. But Goddard discovered that moving the boats over the pass was not as easy as he thought. He and his wife were forced to move the vessels in bits and pieces across the steep White Pass, a job that took the entire winter, forcing them to endure deathly cold and physical exhaustion. The Goddards’ determination paid out in the end, as they established the first steamboat link between the gold fields and the Pacific coast. After building the boats at Lake Bennett, they plied the Yukon River in 1898, and then left the Yukon in 1901 when the A.J. Goddard sank.

In 2008 a Yukon River Survey team discovered the A.J.Goddard in 40 feet of water on Lake Laberge. It had foundered in a fall storm in 1901, sinking at the north end of the lake and killing three men.

While diving on the boat, they saw two axes lying on the deck at the bow where they were dropped after the crew apparently cut away a barge in tow. One firebox door is open and stuffed with unburned wood, suggesting the crew tried to restart the boiler fire as the ship was foundering.

Goddard died in 1958 at the age of 94. Clara the faithful wife died in 1953 at the age of 89. I guess hard work did not kill them. I am reminded of a ghost story I heard about ten years ago. A friend who was staying at Sheep Camp at the ranger cabin was getting ready to retire one night when she heard people outside. She heard a man saying to his wife, “Come on Clara, it’s not much further, we’re almost there…” My friend opened the door expecting to see them on the trail, but to her surprise, there was no one there, she looked up and down the trail. This story is true, my friend is a very sensible person who would not make up a story. Of course that was the Chilkoot Trail and the Goddards used the White Pass trail, still…..

Pierre Berton; Daily Alaskan 1898; familysearch; online obit; Explorenorth.

The Haunted Bed

Today a little ghost story told to me yesterday by a visitor from Tok.
Many years ago, this woman, we will call her Mary, inherited a beautiful carved mahogany bed from her family in Pennsylvania. After moving it into her house she started sleeping on it and for a month every night she would have the same nightmare of a woman coming to her and trying to wake her up to go hide, because “he” was coming. After she had hidden she would see the man’s khaki pants and workboots, but never his face. Mary would wake up each night with the same dream.
She finally went to her aunt and told her what was happening. The aunt sighed and said, “I was afraid of that”. The aunt pulled out a big family album and asked Mary to point out the woman if she could. Mary found the woman who had a distinctive “horse-face” and pointed her out. The aunt nodded and said, “Yes, that’s the woman who also would bother other relatives who had slept in the bed”. Apparently, many years ago, there was a man who lived in the house and would come to molest the girl who slept in the bed and the woman would come and try to hide the girl.
After hearing this story, Mary took the bed to the dump and saw it burned because she did not want anyone else to experience this phenomena.