In the summer of 1917, Alice looked back over her shoulder to her sister, who was crying, begging her not to leave. Leave her beautiful San Francisco life. With one hand clutched to her suitcase, filled with her most prized possessions. Two dresses, a pair of shoes, and a framed photo of her mother. The other arm, locked tightly in her new husband's embrace. They had been married just one month when he announced they'd be moving their life to Alaska in search of gold in the world's last and greatest frontier. Carefully, Alice walked the two-board plank onto the old steamship, and into her new life. Rumors swirled her head about the man she had fallen for. Was this a mistake? Stories of his violence when the whiskey touched his lips. He had only pulled her hair and dragged her to the ground once. She pushed away the thoughts. After all, she was the lucky one. Off to strike it rich in Alaska, more money, more gold than any of them had ever seen. They were jealous, she'd be fine.
Three long weeks had passed before finally tying up to the docks in the world's current gold capital. Muddy roads, tattered boardwalks lining the streets, totem poles towering over various corners. The two set camp, in the tent city above the docks and at the foothills of Gold Creek. Alice, doing her best to make her new camp a home. Within two days her husband had packed up his gold pan, gear, and enough provisions for a two week prospecting trip up into the Perseverance Valley. With enough luck he'd be able to stake is own claim. But when two weeks turned into six, Alice knew she was on her own. Word on the streets suggested the shape shifting Kooshdakhaa had been known to lead men astray, deep into the woods, never to return. Pitying looks began following her wherever she went. Alice lifted the floor board to her last bit of savings and crumbled to the floor, looking up to the tent ceiling in despair. It was time, time she went to work in search of her own gold. But Alice was smart. Alice knew how to make the gold come to her.
Becoming a lady of the night was thrilling. For the first time she was free, independent, and a real force. One night of servicing the hungry men at the bar paid for two weeks of fine living. After just one night of working, she was able to move into her own hotel room. Hell, the way she saw it, a few months of this would have her permanently living at the finest hotel, dressed in elaborate gowns, gold nuggets dripping from her neck, rings adorned in raw jade. Perhaps an otter pelt collar, and shoes! Definitely shoes, with hand embroidered details and a good heal. Alice dreamed. Yes, Alice was smart. Alice would overcome, and be richer than any of those bitches who doubted her, pitied her, laughed at her.
One night, when the leaves had all but been blown off the trees, she took the hand of her favorite, and most loyal customer up the stairs to her new room, #218. She began her new routine, practicing her moves on him, slow dancing around while she playfully pushed him down to the edge of the bed. Unlacing her corset, and slipping her new beaded lace dress off her shoulders, her mind drifted to the imaginary pile of gold she was saving. Picturing herself wrapped in fur with a one way ticket on the steamship back to California, a sack of gold heavy, and tucked neatly away. She bent and reached for the man's belt and as she slowly unnotched it she heard a loud commotion coming from the bar downstairs. Banging, yelling, a bottle shattering against the wall, a woman screamed. She kept on track, nothing out fo the ordinary for these mangy, hungry miners. As her dress slipped down to her waist, she dropped to her knees. The man grinning with excitement, and both ignoring the clamoring footsteps racing up the stairs.
The door kicked open, a pistol pointing straight ahead. Alice swung around as the tender click followed by a bang had her lover half decapitated. His body lazy with death, crouched over backwards. As the horror and realization that her husband was the man holding the gun set in, she was stunned into silence. In the seconds that followed, she caught her breath. From the corner of her eye she could see the blood pulsing out of the deadman's head and soaking into her white gown. She raised her fingers to wipe the warm spattered blood from her lips. Ears ringing, she began pleading, begging her husband to put the gun down. Her head, flooded with a confusion of emotions. Four steps forward, gun resting on her heart. Her husband combed through her hair pulling her face back as she desperately sat on her knees with praying eyes.
He had no mercy. Striking her in the face with the butt of his gun, "whore" he condemned her. Blood dripping down her face and from her teeth she responded, "Fuck you." And as the bullet entered in body she silently damned any man with a bad soul who sought to stay at her hotel.
Leaving her body to bleed out, he sat on the small corner of the bed that was still clean. Watching as the two bodies, limp, slowly gushing blood onto the floor beneath his feet and into the hallway. He had come home with nothing. Three months of hypothermic conditions for a few flecks of gold. Hardly enough to buy him a ride with his own wife. He lifted the gun to his chin, one last inhale, gone.
Since that dreadful October night in 1917, there have been several reports and sightings of Alice in her white gown, of pools of blood seeping from under the door of room 218.
The most recent run-in with Alice comes from a Navy sailor in 2007, almost exactly 90 years after the gruesome incident. After being out at sea for months, a Navy ship made port here in Juneau. In his drunken stupor, he requested a haunted room at the Alaskan Hotel, probably hoping to get lucky. But after awhile the hotel manager heard an angry conversation, what sounded like furniture being pushed around forcefully. He called the police as the voices and commotion became too violent. When the officer arrived, he demanded the door be unlocked. On the other side of the door, grunting, arguing, and then a crash of glass. According to bystanders on the street level, the man was seen pushed out the window as he fell crashing between the two narrow buildings, breaking windows on his way down. He was immediately medivaced to Seattle. His wounds a mix of scratches, severe bruising, and shards of glass throughout his body. Nothing was ever heard from him again, aside from his mother a few weeks after his near fatal fall. She called the Alaskan Hotel to ask why in the hell they had rented a haunted room to her son.
*I spent several days researching the various hauntings at the Alaskan Hotel, different experiences and sightings, history of the building, history of Juneau, and even venturing inside the hotel to help draw inspiration. Much of this story is based on true events, I filled in a few details here and there ;)
Have you ever seen Alice or felt her presence?