Earn your Halloween chills at the Tour of Untimely Departures
The spirits at Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery are loose, but you can catch them during a series of tours this Halloween.
Join the Tour of Untimely Departures for haunting recounts of Portland's most notorious murders, suicides and deadly accidents. Period actors provide the chilling details in a 45-minute tour of the area's largest pioneer cemetery. The stories are true and the burial sites are all real.
Guests may hear from Edgar Pittman, who in 1906 committed suicide by jumping from the Victoria dock into the Willamette River. Pittman was heard saying "here goes nothing" before the descent. Others may channel the tale of Archie Brown and James Johnson, two men found guilty of killing a young boy and sentenced to a public hanging that drew 8,000 Portlanders.
This is the tour's seventh year in production. More than 110 volunteers, hundreds of candles and tiki torches and a traveling group of hymnists ensure this year will be the event's greatest.
"With the quality of the volunteers and actors, this will be the best year ever. The music will put it over the top," said Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery board chair and event coordinator Frank Schaefer, who is expecting upwards of 2,000 guests to the cemetery this Monday.
Friends hosts the tour every year to welcome the community on a day that most cemeteries stay shuttered. Seeking to stave off vandalism that is sometimes tradition on this night, the Tour of Untimely Departures helps foster appreciation for the unique inhabitants and history of the cemetery while raising funds for Friends' cleanups and educational events.
"The tour came out of a real negative situation, to protect the cemetery on Halloween," said Schaefer. "We like to welcome people in instead of kicking them out."
Admission can be purchased at the gate for $10 per adult, or $15 for a family of four, including two adults and two children under 18. The frights will happen rain or starlight.
Founded in 1855, Lone Fir is now a forested 30.5 acres of land with more than 25,000 burial sites. The property is by far the largest of 14 pioneer cemeteries managed by Metro.