During Prohibition, it is said that bars moved their operations
underground, as well, making it easier than ever for unsuspecting victims
to be shanghaied. Some researchers estimate that as many as 1,500 people
a year were shanghaied through Portlandís Underground. Entire scenarios
about the practices and experiences of the shanghaied in the tunnels have
been created and elaborated on over the years.
catacombs beneath Portland do exist and the stories almost sound
plausible, but is the legend true? What evidence exists to support the
allegations that these tunnels were used for shanghaiing? Is there any
evidence at all?
can take a tour aimed at demonstrating the validity of the Shanghai legend
and decide for yourself, but so far the evidence does appear to be scanty
to say the least. You can imagine that what is there, could have been
created any time rather than during the 19th century. The persistent oral
history of the legends is somewhat convincing, but remember historians
donít doubt shanghaiing took place in port cities of the West, including
Portland. What they doubt is the connection between the tunnels, the
basements of hotels and bars, and the kidnapping.
is no historical record or evidence of shanghaiing being practiced in the
tunnels from the time period it is said to have taken place. In fact, the
earliest mention of a connection between the practice of Shanghaiing and
the tunnels dates from the 1970s. Historians assert that even in the event
of a massive cover-up effort, it is unlikely there would be no evidence of
the practice whatsoever from the era when it was supposedly at its peak.
Evidence may finally be forthcoming, and if it is as convincing as
promised, it could settle the question about Portlandís Underground once
and for all. Michael P. Jones is the founder of a group offering tours of
Portlandís Underground and is a proponent of the Shanghai Tunnel theory.
He claims to have obtained undisputable evidence of the practice that will
be revealed in a forthcoming book. The evidence supposedly consists of
documents, photos and other proof of Shanghai activity.
the book is released or other proof surfaces, the legend of Portlandís
Shanghai Tunnels remains just that Ė a myth individuals must decide about
for themselves. Being able to explore the legend and form your own opinion
is of course what makes the Shanghai Tunnels so appealing. If proof
finally does come out confirming the story, itís doubtful it will make the
legend any more or less interesting than it already is.
question that will probably come to mind on your visit to Portlandís
Tunnels may haunt you more than what you believe you see. If history
already confirms that shanghaiing took place in Portland, why on earth
wouldnít the tunnels have been used as a means of transporting the
Mellema, March, 2008
About the Author:
Mellema is a freelance writer living in
Texas. She loves to
travel and is always planning a trip, whether it be a weekend in Dallas, a
week in Spain, or a relaxing cruise.
Words You Want, provides a variety of writing services including
article writing, eBook writing and other writing services on a wide
variety of topics. She also has the opportunity to write for a variety of
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