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840 Powell

Ghost of Titanic Survivor Haunts Cellar on Nob Hill

Many of you will remember this headline from 1999. It appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and was written by Scott Ostler. A link to the original article appears at the bottom of this page.

As the story goes for over ten years the ghost of Dr. Henry Washington Dodge has haunted the basement apartment of resident manager Jaime Rodriguez at 840 Powell Street.

Click to enlarge 840 Powell street as it looks today

Survivor article courtesy of the Museum of the City of San Francisco

Dr. Dodge distraught over accusations of cowardice in his survival of the Titanic disaster and impropriety in his business dealings took a pistol down into the basement of his apartment building at 840 Powell Street and shot himself in the head. As unlucky as he was in his life so was his attempt to end it. The bullet merely fractured his skull. He collapsed to the ground hitting his head on the floor fracturing it again. He managed to stagger into an elevator and out into the lobby where he finally collapsed. Dr. Dodge was rushed to the hospital where he died three days later.

The Manifestations

In the late 80's apartment manager Jamie Rodriguez and his family began seeing a dark figure in a bedroom adjacent to his office. According to Mr. Rodriguez the figure would only appear when there were no lights on. They couldn't see his eyes nor make out many details but he seemed to be looking directly at them. The figure was big, tall, and had broad shoulders. It reportedly also had a "little red light blinking right here (waist level)."

The sightings always occur during the summer in June and July. He never does anything, he just stands there for a few minutes and then quietly disappears.

In the summer of 1998 Mr. Rodriguez spoke to the specter. He said, "Thank you for visiting. You are welcome to come and go as you please. This is your home." Dr. Dodge must have been satisfied with the acceptance of the Rodriguez family. After this there were no further sightings of the late Dr. Dodge.

Read Scott Ostler's original article at the SFGate site


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