Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lydia's Ghost -The Red Onion Saloon - Skagway, Alaska

In the late 1890s, the Alaskan wilderness had havens such as Skagway where the gold miners would come in from their claims and unwind.  The Red Onion Saloon was one of the most renown casino and most notably, bordellos around the area.  As more settlement were established closer to the gold fields, business began to slow and the Red Onion moved to a location closer to the rail depot in hopes of luring in more customers.

The haunted Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska is home to a ghost named Lydia

Over time, the building that used to host The Red Onion served a number of purposes including a U.S. Army barracks during World War II, a bakery, TV station, and a gift shop.  In 1980, it was re-opened as The Red Onion, only this time as a restaurant-bar and in its own unique way, a museum of prostitution.

The years may have passed, but one of the former prostitutes apparently did not.  There have been reports of footsteps heard on the 2nd floor where the brothel used to be.  Upon investigation, no one would be around.  However, the strong smell of perfume would be lingering in the air and there would be extremely cold spots where the smell would be coming from.  On one occasion when a disturbance was heard upstairs, the police were called and as they approached the top of the stairs, they claimed they saw what was a shadow figure running down the hall and into a room.  The room turned out to be the former madame's room. The resident ghost would also make herself known by watering the plants upstairs.  The hostess of the house would go to water the plants and the soil would be damp as if someone had just done so.  

Modern day interior of the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska

It is unknown if this female spirit died in the building, but it is believed that she is one of the former madams named Lydia.  She has made personal appearances on  several occasions when the form of a female apparition was observed walking around the madame's room going through the motions as if watering plants.  However, there were no plants in that room!

The modern Red Onion Saloon plays host to ladies of a different sort
Ladies of the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska

The Red Onion is still standing today and is still in the business of wining, dining, giving brothel museum tours and entertaining guests with stories of Lydia.


  1. I loved Skagway when we visited! I would've loved to take this tour but we did the train that day instead.

  2. I did the tour it was AMAZING!!! Im into supernatural stuff and history it was so great! I took a cruise to Alaska !! I cant wait to go back!!

  3. diana peters,september 14 2013 at 3.30pmSeptember 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    My friend Gloria and I did this fun and informative tour.Our"Madam" was full of stories and made the walkabout a trip back in time.I recommend this to anyone who stops at Skagway.