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Is This Seattle Vending Machine Haunted?

By:  Leila Olsen Apr 14, 2014
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Mystery Machine

There it sits, a testament to food and pop culture that has (barely) stood the test of time. I’ve walked past this 1970s Coke vending machine for years now and never thought anything of it. Unassuming, beat up and marked with graffiti, it sits lonely outside a locksmith’s shop that I swear is never open.

Slideshow: Coke Mystery Vending Machine

Every time I passed the derelict machine I dismissively assumed it was an empty shell, left off the cross streets of 10 th and John as a nostalgic look back at what once was or, perhaps, simply forgotten. Then it happened.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, skimming for a glimmer of something interesting, when the headline jumped out, “ Seattle Has a Haunted Soda Machine.” I was bored, so I clicked on the link and saw an image that had become as banal as my own apartment door: the mysterious Coke vending machine.

After reading the article and performing a quick online search, I gathered the following pieces of intel:


  • The machine is believed to be haunted. It’s been spitting out sodas for 15-plus years, but no one has ever seen it refilled.
  • Just like the mysterious "refiller", the machine's buttons are labeled "?Mystery?"

When quarters are entered ($0.75 to be exact) a multitude of Coke and non-Coke products are dispensed.

The Internet is great, but I decided the only way to get to the bottom of this was to do some digging of my own. I headed over to the vending machine to snap some pictures and investigate. During my 10-minute sleuthing session, three different groups of people stopped by, all slightly embarrassed that they, too, had been lured by the mystique of the mysterious machine.

Each time someone pushed one of the "Mystery" buttons, a different drink popped out, some Coke-affiliated and some not. And each time they laughed, shrugged and walked away happy they got a drink and had a little fun.

In the end, I did the same. In a world where all the answers are a mouse click away, it’s nice to have a little mystery. So cheers to the unseen "refiller" of the Coke Mystery Vending Machine.