Where I'm from, in New Orleans, it seems half the places in the city are (allegedly!) haunted by pirates, hookers, Civil War generals, etc. Portland, however, seems deficient in this regard. Are there any ghosts in this city I can scare my kids with? —Voodoo Child

The thing about supposedly haunted places is that they tend to be pretty boring if you don't know they're supposed to be haunted.

Take the Hollywood Theatre. It turns out this 1926 landmark is supposed to be home to at least two spectral presences. And maybe it is! However, I worked in that building for over a year, and the closest I ever came to spine-tingling horror was a bloom of mildew in the employee restroom that looked vaguely like Ryan Seacrest.

The nearest thing Portland has to New Orleans-style local color is probably the system of underground passageways popularly known as the Shanghai Tunnels, through which unwary drunks are said to have been whisked away to lives of unwilling servitude on the high seas.

There's no evidence the tunnels were ever used for this purpose, by the way. But whatever; I'm sure some sketchy stuff happened down there at some point, and the reality show Ghost Adventures did indeed find evidence of paranormal phenomena in the tunnels in 2011. Of course, the reality show Ghost Adventures could find evidence of paranormal phenomena in a bowl of wet dryer lint, so make of that what you will.

There's also the Benson Hotel, which once made a USA Today list of the world's most haunted hotels. It's said that former owner and notorious teetotaler Simon Benson still prowls the bar, occasionally knocking over patrons' drinks to express his disapproval of their intemperance. In fact, the drunker the patron, the likelier it is that old Simon will come along and knock the drink right out of his hand! Can't explain that!

This actually reminds me of a similar haunting in my very own house—occasionally, whole pints of my roommate's Ben and Jerry's will simply vanish overnight! I suspect the ghost of a disgruntled Tillamook dairy cow, striking a blow for bovine freedom, but I suppose we'll never know. Some things just can't be explained.