Ghost of Toyo Watanabe

Straight Up Ghosts


2017 (APPROX.)

When I worked at this place a co-worker, who was friendly with our local travel agency, told me about a Japanese immigrant who had been murdered on the location where the store stood. Before the 1920s, downtown Salem on Liberty street had been a row of abandoned apartments that Chinese Immigrants moved into as that was the only place they were allowed to live (Oregon once had very strict anti-Chinese laws). A Japanese woman named Toyo Watanabe had moved there for unknown reasons, at the time the local Japanese community in the Northern part of the city had no idea why she moved. She had her throat slashed by an unknown assailant, witnesses claimed she had been quarreling with a Chinese immigrant man who, they assumed, she had been involved with. Toyo was learning English, she couldn’t speak it, especially not through her wound, but she tried to write a note as she was dying. Investigators said they couldn’t decipher what she had written. They didn’t investigate any further. After telling me all of this, my co-worker went to use our employee bathroom, and I turned around to check the security cameras to see if any customers looked like they needed something or were up to no-good, when I saw a woman with black hair in a white gown cross the top of an open stairway and move through the shop’s front windows. She didn’t look at me, didn’t even acknowledge me, but I didn’t feel afraid either. I like to think she appreciated someone learning her story. I hope she was able to move on

Submitted by David