There were several stories about Charlie. In one, He was wanted for murder. In another, He hanged himslf in room 18. I (Samme Gallaher, author of "Moonlight Madness") didn't believe either, though, because Charlie's Ghost was sa peaceful.
Tonsina was the first big roadhouse heading north from Valdez. We stayed there one time in the late fall, delayed by a bad storm in Thompson Pass. It was getting dark and rainning heavily, so we were glad to pull in. The real excitement came after dinner when we gathered to hear tales of trails, bear scares, and the Tonsina ghost.
"Charlie" is what they called the ghost, seen by many people over the years. He was reported to be pleasant ghost, and many believed his presence provided an atmosphere of peace and gentleness at the lodge.
There were several different stories about Charlie. One claimed that he was wanted for murder in Canada. When the authorities finally found Charlie, he resisted arrest and was shot. He died in Room 18.
Another version was that Charlie was in despair because a beloved sweetheart had rejected him. Having nothing to live for, he hanged himself in Room 18, and had been wandering up and down the hallways ever since, looking for his beloved. I didn't believe either of these violent accounts, though, because Charlie's ghost was so peaceful.
Later I heard a third version that seemed more credible. During the depression, many young boys were turned out of their homes to fend for themselves because their parents could not feed them. Charlie was one of those boys and ad a rough time. He worked when he could, but little work was to be found. One day, in Seattle, he was down by the docks where he noticed a ship getting ready to sail. He asked an officer if he could work on the crew. Fortunately for him, the regular cabin boy had just quit, so they hired Charlie.
When the ship got to Valdez, Charlie decided to stay in Alaska. Eventually he made his way to Tonsina and got a job at the roadhouse.
He loved it. Everyone was nice to him. He was at peace for the first time in his life. Many years later he died alone in Room 18. He was buried on a hill behind the roadhouse. I believed Charlie must be this man's ghost. He had been happy at Tonsina Roadhouse, and surely stayed around because he had no better place to go.
Moonlight Madness. Tall tales from the Copper river valley. By Samme Gallaher. 2009;
We have two books of Samme Gallaher in our store, and you can buy at time you visit us.