The story of the Russian ghost in Alaska

The story of the Russian ghost in Alaska
16 March 2024 J.W.H

The folklore of the northernmost state of the United States is a treasure trove for paranormal investigators. The mysterious Sitka phenomenon was described in a 2016 book Ghosts of Southeast Alaska: History and Hauntings of Western Alaska by writer James Devereux.

The writer drew attention to the urban legend of old Novorangielski related to the “Baranów Castle”. This is the name of the hill on which the residence of the primary ruler of Russian Alaska, Alexander Baranov, stood. The constructing itself burned down in a fireplace in 1894. However, stories concerning the ghost of a “Russian princess” allegedly appearing in these places originated much earlier.

One of the primary publications on this subject will be read within the New York Times of August 22, 1883. The article “The Story of a Ghost in Alaska” tells the story of a ghost that settled in an abandoned constructing. The mystical “princess” was normally seen by the inhabitants of Sitka at midnight. She was said to have worn long black robes and had diamonds on her brow, neck and wrists.

“He wrings his beautiful white hands and wanders sadly from room to room, leaving the faint scent of wild roses at every step,” the newspaper wrote.

Brave officers of warships sometimes dared to spend the night in Baranov's castle, but none of them managed to talk over with the ghostly beauty.

The “Lady in Black” was believed to be the daughter or niece of the “Russian Governor” who was once famous in Sitka for her beauty and charm. The girl married an unloved man against her will.

On their first wedding night, the bride disappeared. She was soon found dead within the small guest room. According to at least one version, the girl committed suicide. According to a different, she was killed by an unhappy lover, a sailor on one among the merchant ships.

In his book, James Devereux describes the main points of the romantic legend he discovered. He describes the groom of the “lady in black” as a cruel and malicious man who blackmailed the ruler of Alaska, who was involved in a “revolutionary conspiracy”.

Even after the engagement, the sweetness continued to secretly meet along with her lover on the banks of the Koloshenka River (Indian River). When the governor learned of this, he sent the young man on a naval expedition south along the American coast.

On March 18, the girl married the “evil prince” within the Orthodox Cathedral of Archangel Michael. On the identical day, the warship returned to port. Learning about this, the newlyweds fled the ballroom to satisfy their lover. Realizing that their situation was hopeless, the couple decided to die.

“With one final kiss, they drew their hidden blades, pierced their hearts, and fell dead on the banks of the Indian River,” Devereux writes.

The lovers were allegedly buried locked in one another's arms. And from then on, the ghost of the “Russian princess” began to haunt the “Baranovsky Castle”.

In some versions of this story, it is alleged that the girl holds a candle or lantern in her hands, as if she was in search of her beloved. A bloody wound was seen on the dead beauty's chest, and before disappearing, the ghost normally lets out a terrible cry of pain.

According to folklore, the “Lady in Black” comes once every six months, preferring the north-western a part of the previous Baranów manor.

Who was the “Lady in Black”

There isn’t any historical evidence for the Sitka legend. Rumor connects the “lady in black” with the name of the primary ruler of Russian America, Alexander Baranov.

Polar explorer Frederick Svatka attributed the ghost story to the period of the sixth ruler – Baron Ferdinand von Wrangel, who was the “lord” of Sitka from 1830-1835.

And in line with the newspaper “The Boston Alaskan”, published in 1906, the bloody drama took place within the spring of 1826, when Matvei Muravyov ruled Alaska.

Journalists mentioned Muravyov's niece, Princess Olga Arbuzova, the young cadet Demetrius Davidov and the old Count Vasiliev because the heroes of this story. However, no historian of Russian America mentions such people.

There are loads of other contradictions within the legend itself. For example, from the outline it just isn’t clear why the unlucky bride is wearing a black robe, because the marriage attire of Russian aristocrats has all the time been white.

However, in some versions of the story, the ghost is named the “lady in blue”. Apparently, in the dead of night, when a ghost appears, it just isn’t easy to acknowledge the colour of his clothes. Moreover, within the presence of the spirit, the eyewitness fire mysteriously goes out.

The plot of “The Lady in Black” refers to literary tradition – particularly Walter Scott's novel “The Bride of Lammermoor”. It is due to this fact possible that the entire story is a typical invention of the yellow press of the late nineteenth century.

But even if that is so, the legend of the gorgeous spirit has finally taken on a lifetime of its own. For example, the estimated date of death of the “lady in black” – March 18 – results from the indisputable fact that on today in 1894 the “Baranof Castle” burned down.

Despite the questionable authenticity of the legend, Sitka guides still earn a living from it by showing tourists the alleged grave of the “Russian princess”.

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”