If you find yourself in the Evergreen State, you should visit the Pike Place Market in Seattle. I guarantee this historical landmark has something to intrigue you . There are fish vendors, arts and crafts, book stores, herbs, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and so much more. It’s both an outdoor and indoor market. Picture a maze with wonderment around every corner. There’s a mannequin that tells fortunes and tarot card readers who do the same. If you search long enough, you’ll find a wall completely covered in gum. The tradition of leaving your discarded gum started in the 1990s. At first, the gooey remains were scrapped off, but in 1999, the powers that be decided to let it be. It’s now considered a work of art. People have been known to have wedding pictures with a used gum background. One of the favorite market attractions of locals and tourists is the fish aerial throw show. At the Pike Place Fish Co., the workers throw fish back and forth to entertain the crowds. Pedestrians line the aisles to watch.
The market was established in 1907. It officially opened on August 17th. Frank Goodwin built the first marketplace building. In 1911, the market had grown so much, a “Market Manager” was hired to oversee the daily lottery of assigning stalls to competing farmers and vendors. Multi-level buildings were built and they remain today. During the Great Depression, when many businesses failed, the market expanded. It was the cheapest place in town to buy food.
In 1941, the main arcades were purchased by Joe Desimone. During the 1940s and 1950s, the market declined because of an increased use of motor vehicles and the popularity of those new, fangled supermarkets in the suburbs. People were mobile and had options.
In the 1960s, the business was only surviving because of the artisans and craftsmen in the market. Soon, the place was slated for demolition. As we hear about so often, a local group came together and began the “Save the Market” campaign. On November 2, 1971, voters approved a 17 acre historical district for the complex. The market was saved. A Public Development Authority was established to rehabilitate and manage the core buildings of the market. The market overlooks the Seattle waterfront and, today, has 600 vendors. It is a major attraction in Seattle – a major haunted attraction.
Let’s start our haunted stroll through the market with Princess Angeline. Princess Angeline was the oldest daughter of Chief Seattle of the Duwamish tribe. Her name in Duwamish was Kikisoblu. The Duwamish tribe was banished from the area by the white settlers with the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, but the precocious Princess Angeline said, “I’m staying.” And she did, until she died on May 31, 1896, at the age of 85.
She was considered the link that connected the Native Americans with the new settlers of the city. Her cabin sat where the market is today. To earn a living, she took in laundry and she sold hand-woven baskets on the streets of Seattle. As she got older, she was frequently seen around the area that would become the market, with her red handkerchief on her head, a shawl on her shoulders, and a cane in her hand. When she died, the town held a funeral for her and she was buried in a canoe shaped coffin. Her body was laid to rest in the cemetery, but her spirit still roams around the market.
For decades she’s been seen all around the market, but mostly on the lower level. People report she still has her handkerchief, her shawl and her cane. She moves slowly and appears completely real until she disappears like a, well, a ghost. She’s sometimes with a young Native America boy. Others have reported that her apparition changes colors. She goes from white to lavender to blue to pink. At one point, a Native American shaman tried to exorcise her ghost, maybe to bring her peace, but she remains today.
Arthur Goodwin, the nephew of the Pike Place Market developer, Frank, was the Market Director from 1918-1941. He haunts the market today. From his past office above the market, he continues to oversee the shops. His silhouette’s seen in the office and sometimes he’s seen swinging a golf club.
The next ghost is called “The Fat Lady Barber”. In the 1950s, she would sing to her customers as she shaved them. After she lured them to sleep with her hypnotic voice, she’d steal their wallets and pilfer cash. Of course, she’d leave enough for them to pay for her services. The story is told that she stepped on a weak spot on the floor of her stall and fell to her death. Today, night janitors hear her still singing her lullabies, hoping to filch a few bucks.
A little boy spirit roams the Bead Emporium. People report the boy sometimes smells of hay and manure. He may have worked near the market. Young children were often used as laborers in the early 1900s. A basket of beads was found in a wall of the shop and it’s believed this crevice was his place to hid his beads. The owners of the store named him Jacob and they designated a spot in the store for him to play. Today, he is still adding to his bead collection as beads often go missing from the shop. Sometimes the store’s inventory is reorganized. The owners are pretty sure it’s Jacob moving items around. One time, strands of red beads hanging on a wall hook crashed to the floor. Cash register drawers open and close. The boy also plays with marionettes in the puppet shop.
The hauntings by Madame Nora at Sheila’s Magic Shop are my personal favorite. She appears as a woman with a crystal ball. The ball belonged to Pharaoh’s Treasure, a market shop, before it was given to Sheila’s. The story goes that a woman came in the shop to purchase a scarab. She said she would trade her crystal ball, but she made it clear that the ball was possessed by Madame Nora. Madam Nora ran the Temple pf Destiny shop when she was alive. She practiced crystal gazing, Egyptian sand divining, and Indian psychic projection. The Pharaoh’s Treasure owner wanted the crystal ball so he didn’t heed the warning from the old woman. Immediately, paranormal activity started happening. Currently, objects in the magic shop move on their own.
The area where the market is located was a Duwamish sacred land. Chief Seattle predicted that long after the Native Americans disappeared from Seattle, the descendants of the white people would not be alone. The Spirits of Duwamish would be with them. Spirits aren’t governed by treaties.
This is a place I want to go, not only because of the hauntings, but because of the adventure. I’d love to get lost in the Pike Place Market!
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If you want to hear about more hauntings at the Pike Place Market and the scary occurrences at the Walker Ames Mansion, listen to episode 70 of TCKP where we discuss haunted Washington. (Click the button on the right sidebar to get connected or watch and subscribe wherever you listen to podcast)
Turn the crooked key and join us.
(All sources for this story are listed in the podcast notes.)