The Pike Place Market is the number one tourist destination in Washington, attracting more than ten million visitors a year. Very few of them see it at night. The ghost stories illustrate the history of the district. Within the Market there are the remnants of several graveyards, a former brothel that still stands with its original sign, and the nation's first Mortuary.
In 2002, Mercedes Yaeger gave her first ghost tour with her father, the Mayor of Pike Place Market, Michael Yaeger. On that Halloween night they wove stories together effortlessly. Michael passed away in August 2016 and Mercedes closed the tours down for the remainder of 2016.
After 2002, Mercedes began heavily researching the ghost stories and crafting them into a formal year round business. Her experience as a film archivist with PBS lent itself well to the research. She spent hours going through former leases, health department records and archives in the libraries around Seattle. By 2010, when ghost hunting became popular on television, she aligned herself with TV personalities and paranormal researchers to delve even further into the stories. Mercedes always maintained a simple mission; to connect people with the individuals that have impacted the Market's growth. Her development of the company led to relationships with descendants of the people she was researching, to speaking engagements about the history of the Market, and to writing a book about the subject. Her book, Seattle's Market Ghost Stories, received a Literary Lion Award in 2011 from the King County Library System. Her volunteer work along side Gregg Olsen (author of Starvation Heights) and WSPIR Paranormal helped raise over $30,000 for the Kitsap Library System in 2011. In preserving and researching the stories of the Pike Place Market she has always hoped to inspire people to see not only the Market, but their own neighborhoods and cities, in a new way.
Mercedes opened a coffee shop, Ghost Alley Espresso, in 2012. All tours start at Ghost Alley and you can find copies of her book, Market Ghost Stories, for sale at the shop.