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What’s Haunting Portlock, Alaska? And More Mysteries…  

  • Things To Do
  • Celine Jerly
  • 6 minutes

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…from ghost towns you can explore across the country.   

You don’t have to be a fan of spooky stuff or wait till Halloween. So pack your bags and hit the road for an adventure this summer! Ghost towns are the perfect destinations for thrill-seekers. But first, what’s going on with Portlock, Alaska? Find out how this remote village became a ghost town.   

Portlock, Alaska – Big Foot Lore Galore  

Portlock was an active community thriving on salmon canneries in the early twentieth century. The place takes its name from Nathaniel Portlock, a British naval captain and fur trader believed to have come ashore here. Although, some reports say he actually skipped it and anchored upstream near Cook Inlet. But that’s not the only mystery shrouding this beautiful yet abandoned little town.  

What happened in Portlock, Alaska?  

In the 1940s, Portlock woke up to unexplained events too often. Disappearing Dall Sheep hunters, dismembered bodies in the lagoon, 18-inch giant footprints in the snow, and even lady-in-black sightings.   

Alaska is Sasquatch land – or Nantinaq, as Bigfoot is locally known around Portlock. The half-man half-beast creature is blamed for almost everything that happened to the community. First, the victims were found with wounds that do not suggest a bear attack. And then came stories about hauntings in Chatham Bay and the mine in Chrome.   

By 1949, Portlock residents were settled in nearby villages, leaving only the postmaster to brave the threat. But by 1951, he gave up too, and the Portlock post office was officially closed.  

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Where is Portlock, Alaska?  

Portlock is located in Port Chatham Bay. It is approximately 16 miles south of Seldovia, on the southern edge of the Kenai Peninsula.   

Seldovia, a small fishing town, is accessible only by boat or air. The nearest city is Homer on Kachemak Bay. There’s a ferry from Homer to Seldovia. A bush aircraft can also beach-land in Portlock.   

Can you visit Portlock, Alaska?  

It’s not easy – Portlock is beautiful but remote. Bigfoot or no Bigfoot, you are on your own here. Weather is good in mid-summer, but with heavy coastal rains. Before making any big decisions, you can check out what’s it like on Alaskan Killer Bigfoot – a recent reality show filmed in Portlock.   

Most of Portlock’s former residents now live in nearby villages like Port Graham and Nanwalek. There’s talk about the possibility of reviving Portlock. House pilings, rusted cannery equipment, and a mine tunnel are all that still exist in the ghost town.  

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Portlock’s stalking and murdering Bigfoot isn’t someone we’d like to meet. It’s a perfect Halloween story, though! So if you’ve got a sudden urge to check out ghost towns, here are a few places with histories and mysteries worth a road trip.  

St Elmo Colorado main street old store and hotel
The General Store, Hotel, and other buildings on the main street in St. Elmo

St. Elmo, Colorado – Dirty Annie’s Town  

St. Elmo, née Forest City, is in Chafee Country – a three-hour drive from Denver or Colorado Springs. And yes, you can visit – even drive down the main street, swing by the General Store, and look out for loitering past residents.  

Once a mining and trading community, St. Elmo is now one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the country. It is owned and maintained privately – the haunted hotel and store still stand. At its peak, the town had a population of around 2000. But as gold and silver dried up, the number dwindled.   

Annabelle “Dirty Annie” Stark is one of St. Elmo’s original residents and now its most famous ghost. But whether you meet her or not, the scenic 20-mile drive down to this ghost town from Buena Vista makes it worth the trip.   

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Cahawba, Alabama – Alabama’s First Capital  

Cahawba was at its best before the Civil War. It was quite wealthy during the antebellum years, apart from serving as the state’s first permanent capital. But even when the cotton trading and transport thrived, seasonal floods were the town’s bane. Yellow Fever epidemics also had a role in its decline, and Cahawba was abandoned by 1900.   

Today, it is known as Old Cahawba Archaeological Park and welcomes visitors to explore its ruins, cemeteries, and streets. Most reviewers describe it as “peaceful and relaxing.” So, it’s more history than mystery here. However, there are stories about a ghostly orb in a garden maze.   

Cahawba is Alabama’s most famous ghost town. Though you won’t happen to drive past it, it’s a great option for a road trip destination. Located 14 miles southwest of Selma, you’ll reach Cahawba less than four hours from Atlanta.   

Read: All you wanted to know about roadside assistance coverage  

Spokane, South Dakota – Hike in the Black Hills  

In the late 1920s, Spokane made its best profits ever, but everything went downhill in the following years. Eventually, the mine closed by 1940. Attempts were made to revive it in the 50s. A watchman was posted in the town till the mid-80s, but it is now officially a ghost town.   

Spokane is in South Dakota’s Custer Country – 16 miles south of Custer and 10 miles southeast of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. You can still see what remains of the old schoolhouse, a few other buildings, and a few abandoned cars. Don’t miss the prospector’s grave that tells the story of how he was shot and killed in the town.   

You should be more scared of the building – they are crumbling and can come down anytime. You can explore Spokane on foot – it’s a bit of a hike but worth it if you love unusual places with many stories.   

Photographing the ghost towns traveling around the states and visiting renowned ghost towns, you will take photos capturing each location’s eerie atmosphere. So, where can you use these images? What DIY projects can you make after your trip?

In preparation for Halloween marketing season or any private Halloween party, it’s always fun to create chilling decorations, posters, and eye-catching designs. Using the background removal tool on depositphotos.com, you can quickly prepare your pictures for collages. Use the online eraser to isolate haunted hotels and buildings from unnecessary background details in your photos, then combine the result with ghosts, smoke, and a few other spooky objects. This way, you can create truly unsettling designs.

More? Resurrection Cemetery, Haynesville Woods – try these for spookier road trips 


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