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707 W Hornet Avenue
Status: USN Essex Class Aircraft Carrier, Floating Museum
Originally named the USS Kearsarge this Essex Class aircraft carrier was renamed the USS Hornet when the 7th ship named Hornet was lost in action in October, 1942. She was launched on August 30, 1943 and after a year of sea trials she joined the US Forces in the Pacific against the forces of Imperial Japan. She participated in every major US Naval action in 1944.
In World War II she played large parts in the invasions of New Guinea, Caroline Islands and the Mariana Islands. She also took part in the Battle of The Philippine Sea, first launching aircraft to decimate Japanese land aircraft and then in the so-called Mariana's Turkey Shoot which effectively ended Japanese Naval Air ability in the war - 395 of the 430 Japanese naval aircraft were shot down.
The Hornet was also part of the aerial assaults on Indo-China and the Japanese home islands as well as supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa where her planes helped sink the mighty battleship Yamato.
Despite being in service for 16 continuous months and being subjected to 59 air attacks during the war the Hornet was not hit once. She earned 9 Battle Stars for her service in the war. After being overhauled in San Francisco her final mission in the war was Operation Magic Carpet which brought home the troops after the Japanese surrender.
In the Cold War she served with distinction in the Vietnam War and other conflicts and tensions in Indo-China. She also picked up the Apollo 11 capsule after the first mission to the Moon.
The historical ship was decommissioned on June 26, 1970 and removed from the Naval Vessel Register on July 25, 1989. In 1998 she was sailed from Puget Sound to her current berth in Alameda and opened as a public museum.
This aircraft carrier is considered the most haunted ship that served in the US Navy. Although she was never hit in battle, she and her flight crew participated in the deaths of countless thousands.
Apparitions of sailors and aviators have been seen all over the ship. Phantom World War II era planes have been seen taking off and landing on her deck. Objects move on their own and disappear only to reappear at the later time in a completely different place.
Doors open and close on their own and people have been shoved, pulled and tugged by invisible presences. Feelings of sadness, being watched, not being alone, fear and unease have been reported.
Shadow figures still walk her halls and her rooms and decks. Toilets have flushed on their own. Disembodied voices, screams, shouts, cries and other unexplained noises are heard on an almost constant basis.
Light anomalies and unexplained mists have been seen and photographed.
She has been described as having a very eerie feeling overall.
10050 Cielo Drive
Status: Famous Murder Site; Original House Demolished; New House Built; For Sale
Reader Discretion is Advised: This Article Contains the History of a Horrific Mass Murder. In No Way is This Article Meant to Seasonalize Charles Manson or His “Family” Nor the Terrible Crimes They Committed.
In 1942 the iconic French actress Michele Morgan had the architect Robert Byrd design a house for her 3.3 acre (1.2 ha) property in Benedict Canyon. The house was completed in 1944 at 3,200 square feet (213.7 metres squared) as well as a 2000 square feet (185.8 metres squared) guest house.
She paid $32,000 ($470,000 in 2020 dollars) to build the estate.
When World War II ended Morgan left the United States to move back to France. She sold the estate to Dr and Mrs Hartley and Louise Dewey who leased it to the First Lady of American Cinema Lillian Gish while she was filming Duel In The Sun.
In the early 1960’s Rudolph Altobelli purchased the house for $86,000 ($780,000 in 2020 dollars) but never moved in. Instead, he rented it out to some of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities like Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon – who honeymooned here -, Henry Fonda and Samantha Eggar.
In February of 1969 Roman Polanski and his new wife Sharon Tate began renting the house.
On the night of August 8-9, 1969 under the directions of Charles Manson 3 members of his “Family” committed the mass murder of Sharon Tate – who was pregnant at the time -, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent.
Altobelli moved into the house only 3 weeks after the murders and lived there until 1988. He claimed he felt secure, safe and loved in it.
He would sell it to a real estate developer who sold to another developer who would eventually demolish it in 1994. He did rent it out one final time to a celebrity; that being Trent Reznor who recorded his famous record “The Downward Spiral” with his band Nine Inch Nails in a recording studio in the house.
Reznor would be the last resident of the original house.
In 1996 the new 18,000 square feet (1,672 metres squared) house was completed with the claim that not one blade of grass, speck of dirt or any house has any connection to the Sharon Tate murders.
The house purchased by the creator of Full House. He has recently put it up for sale with a price tag of just over $59 million if you’re interested. That’s dropped from $85 million; the original asking price when it first hit the market in January of 2022.
Obviously, the owners and renters of the original house had it in their best interest not to openly discuss any paranormal activity in the house. All of the owners since the murders – except Altobelli who had his own reasons for not discussing any paranormal repercussions – were real estate developers; most definitely not the type to talk about haunted houses.
There’s even a rumor that all renters had to sign a non-disclosure agreement agreeing to never discuss any paranormal activity witnessed in the house.
The good news is in 1999 David Oman and his father purchased land right next door and built a house only 150 feet from the location of the original house.
Oman House, as has been called since it’s completion in 2002, has years of documented paranormal activity. It also offers private investigations at a cost including loaning groups equipment for the investigation.
Unfortunately, (October 2022) the investigations are currently on hold – probably due to Covid – but hopefully they will be available again shortly.
Reported Activity: apparitions of the murder victims; shadow figures; disembodied voices; touches by unseen entities; unexplained mists; cold spots; objects moving on their own; doors opening and closing on their own; electrical disturbances; cold spots; uncountable EVP’s recorded; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being alone.
(Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital)(Hollenbeck Terrace)
610-630 South St Louis Street
Status: Former General Hospital; Operational Assisted Living for Seniors Facility - Open 8am - 5pm Monday to Friday
The original building on this site was the Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital that opened in 1905 to serve the employees of the Santa Fe Coast Lines and their families. In 1938 the original building was lost to a fire and replaced with the current building.
In the mid 1950’s the private hospital become the Linda Vista Hospital which served the surrounding area in East Los Angeles. Due to its location the hospital had an above average number of patients with injuries related to violence – gun shot wounds, stabbings, assaults – and a high number of fatalities.
This hospital closed its doors in 1991; it is rumored that one of the reasons for the closure was too many unexplainable patient deaths. It was left abandoned and was used by many film crews as sets for movies. It became a place for a place for urban explorers, vandals and those who could find no other shelter. During this time the upkeep on the building and grounds was all but non-existent and it became very run down.
In 2011 it was bought by the current owners and brought back to its former glory between 2012 and 2015. The hospital was renamed Hollenbeck Terrace a low income seniors residential building that opened in August 2015.
Apparitions of former patients and staff. The apparition of a doctor has been seen looking out of one of the corner windows across the front lawn. The apparition of a female patient in a hospital gown is reported near the entrance.
The sounds of a little girl laughing and playing by the front sign – it is said she was struck and killed by a car here.
While the hospital was in an abandoned state faint green lights were seen glowing the building. Flickers of candlelight have been seen and are followed by screams and moans. A horrible stench has been reported on the third floor.
Other activity: Cold spots, shadow figures, light anomalies, electrical disturbances, poltergeist activity, disembodied voices and phantom footsteps, feelings of being watched, unease and not being wanted.
(Preston School of Industry)(Preston Youth Correctional Facility)
900 Palm Drive
Status: Former Reform School and Youth Correctional Facility; Formerly Abandoned; Heritage Property
Open to the Public; Halloween Ghost Tours
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/18552261@N05">There is always more mystery</a> - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gofloridagators/3584021838/">Preston Castle in Ione, California</a> Uploaded by <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Killiondude" title="User:Killiondude">Killiondude</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
The State of California began construction on this building in 1890; it was one of the first reform schools created in the United States.
In 1894 the school was opened and its “students” were transferred from San Quentin Prison. The school was run in a military style with the inmates spending half their day in school and the other learning trades. The learned trades were designed to support the inmates with jobs once they got out.
This building was used until 1960 when newer buildings were constructed. At this point the building was abandoned for 40 years.
In 2001 the Preston Castle Foundation was granted a 50 year lease and began their work to restore and save the historical structure.
There are a number of stories of unexplained deaths in the castle but only one can easily be historically proven. This is the murder of Anna Corbin in 1950 whose killers were never caught. She was the head housekeeper of the castle and, apparently, well liked.
Many people believe most of the paranormal activity in the castle is Anna’s ghost. However, of all mediums who have contacted the ghosts not one has identified themselves as Anna.
Reported Paranormal Activity: objects moving on their own; shadow figures; doors slamming on their wind; unexplained winds and breezes; touches by unseen presences; mysterious mists; light anomalies; disembodied voices and feelings of being watched, not being wanted and not being alone.
1126 Queens Highway
Status: Moored Ocean Liner, Hotel
Construction began on what was called Hull 534 - as she was first known by - in December of 1930 by the Cunard Line. Although construction was delayed by the Great Depression and a loan had to secured from the British government the Queen May was launched on September 26, 1934.
She was to be the first of the 2 ship weekly (with her sister ship the RMS Queen Elizabeth) service between Southhampton to Cherbourg to New York City. She was named after the consort of King George V.
Legend has it, she was originally to be named Victoria but when the Cunard officials asked the King if they could name her after Britian’s greatest Queen his reply yes Queen Mary would be delighted; so, the Queen Mary was born from Hull 534. She took 3 1/2 years to build and cost 3 1/2 million pounds sterling to build.
On her way down the slipway upon her naming ceremony she began to gather too much speed and overshot her stopping point racing toward the opposite shore before the drag chains finally took effect.
In 1938 she claimed the speed record for crossing the Atlantic, a record which held until 1952 when SS United States captured the record.
In August of 1939 she was escorted to New York by the HMS Hood due to the declining international situation that would degrade into World War II. By the time she arrived the war had begun and she was confined to port until further notice.
In 1940 she was joined by her sister ship who had made a secret dash from war torn Europe. It was then decided to turn both ships and another ocean liner trapped in New York, the Normandie, into troop ships and all three ships sailed to Sydney to ferry Australian troops to the European theater.
Highlights from Her Career
She and her sister ship earned the nickname “The Grey Ghost” as they were too fast for the Nazi U-Boats to catch.
In 1942 she accidentally sunk one of her own escorts off of the Irish coast with a loss of 338 lives. Under orders not to stop she sailed away leaving only other escorts to attempt a rescue.
Also, in 1942, she carried 16,082 American troops – a record that stands to this day as the most passengers on one ship.
While 700 miles from Scotland she was hit by a rogue wave and it was determined had she tipped a further 20 cm she would have capsized. This story would be used by Paul Gallico when he wrote his book ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ which would later be made into a movie of the same name. Scenes for the movie were actually filmed aboard the Queen Mary.
She carried British Prime Minister Winston Churchill across the Atlantic for his meetings with other Allied officials.
From 1947 to 1967 she, with her sister ship, ruled the trans-Atlantic passenger trade carrying an average of 1,000 passengers each trip.
She was retired in 1967 and the city of Long Beach, California beat out Japanese scrappers to buy the ship. She was permanently moored as a tourist attraction for their maritime museum. At this point she was ruled a building and no longer a ship and was gutted of her engines and machinery. She was officially opened as a museum, restaurant and hotel on May 8, 1971.
On February 23, 2006 she was officially saluted by her replacement the Queen Mary 2 while the new ship left Los Angeles harbor for a Mexican cruise.
The reports of hauntings started once the ship was permanently moored in Long Beach. Of course any earlier reports could have been hushed by the Cunard Line. Reportedly the number of deaths aboard ship are now just short of 50.
A sailor by the name of John Henry was crushed to death by a fire door while attempting to flee a fire. Lights and strange noises are heard around Engine Room 13 and sometimes the engine room is hot to the touch with tendrils of smoke.
A young girl from third class tried sliding down the banister in the pool area when a wave knocked her from the banister breaking her neck. She now wanders the pool area calling for her doll and Mommy. 2 other women also met their deaths in the pool area and are said to haunt the area.
A cook was pushed into his oven by troops who hated his food. His screams are heard to this day in that kitchen.
There has been reported sounds of pounding on the outside of her hull. These are said to be the men of the ship that she accidentally sunk in the war.
The Queen Mary’s in-house medium claims to have made contact with over 150 ghosts.
7000 Hollywood Boulevard
Status: Famous Historic Hotel
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/75683070@N00">Ken Lund</a> from Reno, Nevada, USA - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/2996359037/">Hollywood Boulevard from Kodak Theatre</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
The hotel was built in 1926 and named after the 26th US President – Theodore Roosevelt. It was financed by a group of the most famous people of the time including: Mary Pickford, Sid Grauman, Louis B Mayer and Douglas Fairbanks. It was constructed for a cost of $2.5 million (39 million in 2022 dollars).
The hotel is 12 stories tall and has 300 rooms including 63 suites.
It was completed on May 15, 1927 as one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and a playground for the rich and famous.
By the 1950’s the hotel had fallen on hard times and had become more of a flophouse. The owner painted over all the gorgeous murals on the walls and ceilings making the entire building sea foam green.
In 1985 Radisson Hotels bought the building and – using the original blueprints and old photos – did a $35 million renovation to bring the hotel back to it’s glamourous past. In 2005 another multi-million-dollar renovation was done.
In 2015 a $25 million renovation was done to the rooms.
Some of the most famous legendary Hollywood stars have stayed or lived in this building including: Clark Gable and Carol Lombard – who used to stay in the Penthouse now named after them for $5 a night; Marilyn Monroe lived in the hotel for the first 2 years of her career; Shirley Temple – who learned her stairstep dance routine on the hotel’s staircase; Errol Flynn; Charlie Chaplin; Ernest Hemingway; Prince; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
The one and only legendary – and one of Hollywood’s busiest ghosts – Marilyn Monroe haunts her old room; Room 1200. She is frequently seen in the mirror in the room. This room is now known as the Marilyn Suite.
Now, personally, I’d love to see Ms. Monroe but some people became upset and it is said the mirror has been removed from the room.
Montgomery Clift haunts Room 928 – where he stayed for 3 months while making From Here To Eternity – he is accused of patting today’s guests on the shoulder. Other reports say he has pinned guests down while they were lying on the bed and a shadow figure that both watches guests – and the maids – as well as pacing back and forth outside of the room door.
The phantom sounds of Clift playing the trumpet are also heard.
Carole Lombard is seen floating around on the upper floors of the hotel.
In the Blossom Ballroom – where the first Academy Awards were held – there are 2 ghosts witnessed: a man in a white suit and a man in a tuxedo. Ms. Monroe has also been dancing around this room.
A 5 year old girl in a pink jacket and jeans – who has been named Carol – forever wanders the hotel looking for her Mother. She has also told a medium that she worries about her mom getting hurt. She has been seen both crying and skipping around laughing.
There also reports of a piano being played by an unseen presence and ghost locking people out of their room and stomping around in the hallways late at night.
An apparition swimming in the pool has been seen on the security cameras.
504 W Colorado Boulevard
If you’re having any thoughts about suicide or self-harm please call a mental health care professional or your local Suicide Hot Line right now.
This historic bridge that spans Arroyo Seco was constructed in 1913 – its first suicide was in 1919.
Although fences have now been put up during its long history it has become infamous for the number of fatal jumps that have taken place. Needless to say, the statistics have become a rather large embarrassment for the city who have been accused of lowering the numbers when they get too high.
The current fence has stopped some of the jumpers but determined people still find ways to commit suicide here.
At least 102 people and counting have jumped to their deaths here. As mentioned above the number is rumored to be much higher.
The apparition of a woman in a long dress has been seen wandering on the bridge. Cars have served to avoid hitting her although she always disappears before anyone can approach her.
Lights in the tunnel beneath the bridge occasionally go out on their own leaving people stuck in pitch blackness.
The apparition of a man jumping from the rail has been seen; he vanishes before hitting the ground below.
Other activity: feelings of unease and of not being alone, light anomalies and disembodied screams and whispers.
At Keddie Resort Road and Spanish Oaks Lane
Status: Non-Operational Partially Demolished; Cabin 28 has been Completely Demolished; May be For Sale although the only Real Estate Listing confirmed to be the Resort leads to a Dead Link
Before the gruesome torture murders this location was a extremely popular resort. People came in droves and drove from as far away as San Francisco to stay at the resort and eat at the wildly popular restaurant.
Then came April 11/12, 1981:
On the morning of April 12, 1981, 14-year old Sheila Sharp slept at a next-door sleepover and returned to Cabin 28 at the popular Keddie Resort, where her family had been living for the past two months. What she found there would cast a permanent shadow over this bucolic vacation spot in the northern Sierra Nevadas of California. The walls and furniture had been destroyed and were covered with blood. Amid the chaos were the bound, mutilated and nearly unrecognizable bodies of her mother Glenna Susan "Sue" Sharp, 36, her brother John, 16, and his friend Dana Wingate, 17. Her sister Tina, 13 was missing; three younger children, her two other brothers and their friend, were unharmed in another room.
John Sharp and Dana Wingate had hitchhiked to Keddie from Quincy, Calif., the night before, possibly after a party. Either awaiting them, accompanying them, or soon to follow them were the killers, who used duct tape and electrical wire to truss Sue, John and Dana Wingate, as well as Tina Sharp. Then, over the course of ten hours, the killers brutally attacked the group—and their surroundings—with steak knives and a claw hammer. The next cabin was a mere 15 feet away, but neighbors and passersby didn't hear a thing.
Tina Sharp wasn't there when police arrived, but subsequent investigation showed that she had been there part of the night. The friend who'd been in the other room was able to convince police that Tina had indeed been there, and helped them determine that there had been two assailants and put together sketches of the pair. The killers were never caught. Some think the neighbors who'd invited Susan Sharp to a bar that night (she declined) were involved—the list of accusers at one time included one of the men's own wife. Other locals whisper about Satanic worship; yet others suggest there was a drug connection, either through the two young men or in a case of mistaken identity.
In a gruesome coda, Tina's skull and some of her bones were found three years later near a waterfall fifty miles down the hill. The case has never been solved.
The resort quickly fell into disrepair. The long time owner, Gary Molaith, renovated the site but the ghosts and terrible memories of the tragedy could not be forgotten and this location is stil known as the former resort of Keddie. Some of the cabins were eventually rented out again but Cabin 28 remained empty - it began to gain a truly evil reputation and soon the stories of the hauntings would emerge.
In 2004 Mr Molaith razed Cabin 28 to the ground, only a space of (some would say cursed) ground remains where it once stood. Despite the owners best intentions the resort is now listed as closed and completely abandoned.
These murders were the inspiration of the 2008 movie - The Strangers.
People have seen portions of the gruesome crime re-enacted before their eyes. Phantom moans have been heard. Doors open and slam on their own. The word "No' was seen etched into the front door with a pitchfork leaning nearby - minutes later both the word and the tool had completely disappeared. A famous psychic said the word was the victims still crying out against their attackers - she also warned that demolishing the cabin will not quiet the ghosts.
There have also been reports of seeing the apparitions of the victims hung in mid-air twisting violently. Symbols have been seen scrawled into the walls reappearing and disappearing in an endless cycle.
Other reports include: light anomalies, feelings of anger, hate and darkness, intense feelings of unease to point of causing physical illness and mysterious mists.
Curio Collection by Hilton
(The Del)(Hotel Del)
1500 Orange Avenue
Status: Historical 4 Star Hotel
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Armandoartist&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Armandoartist (page does not exist)">Armandoartist</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Public Domain Photo of Kate Morgan
During the 1880’s California was going through a huge real estate boom. Many developers were transforming the then barren landscape of the State into massive resorts each trying to outdo the others.
The jewel of the contest was built in San Diego. In 1885 a group of investors bought about 400 acres in Coronado and the North Island for $110,000 (just over $3,000,000.00 in 2023 dollars). Here they began construction on what would ultimately be largest resort not just in the United States but in the entire world when it opened in 1888.
Construction began in 1887 on spit of sand with nothing more than some coyotes and jackrabbits.
They even had a fresh water pipe built from the San Diego River under San Diego Bay to the hotel. A ferry service (no bridges had yet been built) from San Diego to Coronado created.
In the last decade of the 19th century there was simply no greater vacation experience than the Del. For the wealthy of course.
The world’s first oil furnace was built in the basement. It was also the first hotel in the world built wired for electricity. At the time the electrical wires were spun inside the oil pipes.
By the roaring 1920’s the hotel had not only hosted 4 US Presidents but it had become the playground of Hollywood’s elite including Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Mae West, Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers to name drop but a few.
Although the US Navy never took over the hotel in World War II – as it did with many other west coast resorts – the hotel did house pilots training to fly off the aircraft carriers in the Pacific War. Priority was also given to the families and spouses of officers going to war because there was the real danger it would be the last time they’d see their husbands and fathers.
By the early 1960’s the hotel was really beginning to show its age and nearly demolished after being bought by a local millionaire. Instead, he sunk $150 million (nearly 1.5 billion in 2023 dollars) into the hotel bringing it up to date.
In 1996 the Traveler’s Group bought the hotel and in 2001 and they did another $55 million (just over $90 million in 2023 dollars) renovation on the resort including seismic retrofitting.
They hotel went through a number of owners until 2017 when it was bought by Hilton Hotels who did a 3 year renovation beginning in 2019 at a cost of $400 million.
On March 26, 2020 the hotel for the first time in it’s long history due to lowered revenue because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The hotel is currently open again to the public.
2476 San Diego Avenue
Status: Former Courthouse; Former Residence; Historical Landmark and Museum
The Whaley House is one of only 30 recognized haunted houses by the US Department of Commerce (1 of only 2 in California).
The house was built and designed by Thomas Whaley in 1857; it was built with bricks from his own brickyard at a cost of $10,000.00. It was built on a site once used for hanging criminal at the gallows.
As well as being the Whaley family home it was also used as the County Courthouse, San Diego’s first commercial theater and a general store. 6 members of the Whaley family are known to have died in the house including Violet who committed suicide by shooting herself in the heart in 1885 after her divorce.
After Violet’s tragedy the family moved out of the house leaving it abandoned and it soon fell into disrepair. Francis Whaley began extensive renovations in 1909 returning the home to its former grandeur and turning the family home into a tourist attraction. The last member of the Whaley family to live in the home passed away in 1953 and the house was turned into a museum in May of 1960.
Since November 2020 the Whaley House has been closed in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is normally open for historical tours and for rental events.
According to the Travel Channel this house is the most haunted house in the United States.
The first ghost reported was that of “Yankee Jim”. He was hung in 1852 at the gallows that occupied the site before Thomas Whaley purchased the land and built the house. James Robinson (Yankee Jim’s real name) was hung from the back of a wagon for committing grand larceny and had to pulled from the wagon in order to be hanged. Thomas Whaley was a witness to the hanging but that did not seem to deter him from building a house on the same site.
Activity recorded as being caused by “Yankee Jim” includes heavy footsteps throughout the house which was reported from the first days that the Whaley moved into the house, windows latching and unlatching themselves as well his apparition has been seen many times beginning in the 19th century and continuing to this day.
The apparition of Thomas Whaley has also been seen many times. He is often seen by children but has been seen by adults as well appearing to fade in and out of reality.
His wife, Anna Whaley, also appears in the downstairs rooms and the garden. She was once witnessed by TV personality Regis Philbin.
Many visitors have seen or sensed the presence of a small woman with a swarthy complexion in the courtroom. Her description fits none of the Whaleys but may have been tenant of the house at some point.
A young girl is sometimes seen in the dining room or smelling flowers in the garden. Legend has it that she was a playmate of the Whaley girls by the name of Carrie or Annabel and broke her neck on a low clothesline in the backyard and died in the kitchen. There is no historical proof that this girl ever existed.
Even the ghost of the Whaley’s fox terrier, Dolly Varden, has been seen in the house and around the property.
Other activity: sounds of music and singing, sounds of children laughing, sound of a toddler crying, smell of cigar smoke, smells of perfume and the smell of baking around Christmas time. The toddler crying is believed to the infant son of Thomas and Anna who died of Scarlett Fever.
I close with Regis Philbin’s quote concerning the house. “You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it because they can’t see it. But there is something going on in that house.”
(Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary)(The Rock)
San Francisco Bay
Status: Former Military Base, Former Military Prison, Former Federal Penitentiary, Formerly Abandoned, National Recreation Area
All Photos Courtesy of Kim H
Often referred to as “The Rock” this small island located 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco in the bay has had many has had many uses including a lighthouse, a military fort, a military prison and a federal maximum security prison. The island is now operated by the National Parks Service and day and night tours are given from a ferry departing from Pier 33 in San Francisco Harbor.
The island now contains the abandoned prison, the oldest lighthouse on the west coast of the United States, ruins of military fortifications and a seabird colony.
During the day Alcatraz is filled with tourists and guides but when the sun goes down the island becomes what has been described as one giant haunted house.
The utility corridor leading from the visitor’s room where two prisoners were killed by machine guns and grenades during a failed escape attempt in 1946 has become one of the locations of focused activity. Clanging noises have often been heard that stop immediately when the door is opened; in fact, this door was welded shut for a period of time possibly due to this activity.
Sounds of man running on the upper levels in the main cell block have been heard. Voices and screams have been heard coming the dungeon and the hospital ward. Cell 14D has been found to be constantly much colder than other cells as well as an overwhelming feeling of anxiety is felt inside the cell.
When the prison was open a prisoner was found dead in cell 14D after screaming about seeing something with glowing eyes that was in there with him and kept attacking him. A few days after the incident guards doing a head count saw the dead man at the end of the line up before he disappeared right before their eyes. The sound of banjo music has been heard coming from the shower room where “Al Capone” used to be allowed to practice fearing that his instrument would be broken if he took it into the exercise yard.
All manner of other paranormal activity has been reported in this location over the years including: apparitions of prisoners and soldiers, sounds of crying, moaning and gunshots, light anomalies, cold and warm spots, mysterious mists and phantom smells including that of smoke from the laundry room.
525 South Winchester Boulevard
Status: Former Residence; World Famous Landmark and Haunted Tourist Attraction
The house that Sarah built. . . Or the house that ghosts built.
Sarah Winchester was the widow of William Wirt Winchester – treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company until his death – and heiress of 50% of said company.
When her husband and infant daughter passed Sarah moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose, California. Legend says a medium in Boston, in communication with her deceased husband, told Sarah to move west or she may have just been looking for a change after so much tragedy in her life. Her 50% ownership of Winchester Arms made her worth $20.5 million ($543 million in today’s dollars) with an income of $1,000 ($26,000 in today’s dollars) a day.
In 1884 she bought an 8 room farmhouse sitting on 162 acres in the Santa Clara Valley and the legacy of the Winchester Mystery House began. It is widely believed that Sarah was contacted by the spirits of the people killed by the Winchester rifle – it was known as the gun “that won the West” and it’s victims were countless – and the mansion was her way of atoning for the killings that made her a rich woman. It is even more commonly believed that Sarah spoke with other spirits who instructed her how to build the house so she could hide from the guns’ victims. Of course, none of this can be proven as Sarah left this Earth many decades ago.
Sarah did sleep in a different room almost every night which makes the legend she was hiding from vengeful ghosts sound more believable.
What cannot be disputed is the mansion she built is perhaps the most bizarre structure on Earth. Stairways to nowhere, dead end hallways, stained glass windows that no light can ever shine through, windows that look into other rooms and many more oddities. Sarah never used an architect and she designed every square inch of the house herself with a little help from the Great Beyond – or so the story goes.
The house, itself, is so strange environmental psychologists have suggested that it’s almost twisting of reality accounts for the experiences visitors have had in the house that are labeled as paranormal.
Legend says the additions and changes to the house started shortly after Sarah bought it and continued day and night until the day she died – September 5, 1922 – when work stopped abruptly. According to her biographer this was simply not true and many times Sarah dismissed all workers for months at a time before work continued again.
Upon Sarah’s death work did stop on the house and all of her possessions – excepting the house which was never mentioned in her will – were passed on to her niece and her personal secretary.
The house was sold to a private developer for $135,00 who then leased it to John and Mayme Brown. 5 months after Sarah’s death the house was opened to the public for tours with Mrs. Brown as the first tour guide. The Browns would eventually buy the house.
Today the house is owned by Winchester Investments LLC a privately owned company owned by the descendants of the Browns. Public tours are given including a daytime one started in 2017 which allows access to many rooms that were previously closed to the public.
Hauntings may be an inexact description of this section of the article. Yes, this house makes many of the main stream lists of the most haunted places in the US, in North America and in the world. But is it really haunted? Is there any real paranormal activity here at all?
Sarah was an enigma for her time; she was a recluse – she even failed to answer the door when President Teddy Roosevelt came calling – and she was a rich woman who did perfectly fine with no man to administer her affairs. That was practically unheard of in her time and viewed very suspiciously.
It has also been postulated that Sarah had no reason to feel guilty about the guns that had made her rich. Guns did not have the reputation that they do now. A gun was simply considered a household item much like a broom or an ice box.
The problem with looking at this location this way is that it is pushing 21st Century values and morals on the late 19th, early 20th Century. Not to mention that every person and individual has their own beliefs and its already been said that Sarah did follow the social customs considered normal for the time. Can anyone really know the mind of Sarah Winchester other than Sarah Winchester?
There is no other house like this house and the builders did follow the directions of Sarah in building such a unique and unexplained mansion. Who’s to say that the souls killed by a Winchester firearm didn’t direct Sarah what to build and or that she did build the house in a maze in an attempt to fool the ghosts looking for her – in fact, to hide from them.
If you don’t put faith in what you believe you’ll go nowhere.
The following is a list of paranormal activity that has been witnessed in the house and on the grounds:
Apparitions in period clothing, figures looking out of the windows when the house is known to be empty, apparitions of animals, shadow figures, disembodied voices, unexplained noises, phantom touches, tugs and pushes, cold and warm spots, feelings of not being alone, feeling of being watched, feelings of unease.
Sarah was wrapped in mystery when she was alive, and her house remains so.
Turnbull Canyon Road
Los Angeles County
Status: Natural Wonder and Seemingly Catalyst and Conduit for Negative Energy
History and Paranormal Activity
Turnbull Canyon is a 4-mile loop trail near Whittier in the Puente Hills Reserve.
It has become the subject of numerous Urban Legends related to burned insane asylums, a plane crash, ritual sacrifice and numerous murders to name a few. Many people consider it just another story to scare children with tales of the local haunted house; or, in this case, canyon. In many cases the legends can be dismissed easily – it is doubtful there is a doorway to Hell or that children were sacrificed here – but some of the legends are actually more in line with history.
Numerous people have met their tragic end in the canyon and one massive casualty event is nothing short of a recorded historical event.
Tragic events continue in this area up to today. A violent crime which resulted in one man’s death and a severe injury to a woman took place in May 2021.
Many believe the bloody history of the haunted canyon begins almost 200 years ago when European colonizers clashed with the native population. An entire tribe of Gabrielino Natives were not slaughtered in the canyon but some of the men of the tribe were shot by Spanish Conquistadors while trying to defend their women from rape. These men could certainly be the source of the stories of “angry spirits” chasing people out of the canyon – more specifically white males who could easily be seen as interlopers given the history.
Much of the lands now encompassing Southern California – including Turnbull Canyon – was forcibly taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War. This time period may be this catalyst for the phantom sound of war drums reported in the canyon.
William Workman was awarded 49,000 acres of land – again, including the canyon – by the Governor of Alta California for his service during the war. Mr Workman, initially, had clashes with the Gabrielinos and his ghost has been sighted in the canyon. He committed suicide after his bank collapsed when the economy of California went belly up in the late 19th Century. However, there is no proof Workman was anywhere near or in the canyon when he killed himself.
The canyon was named after Robert Turnbull; a Scottish immigrant who was very rarely seen sober. Turnball took advantage of the crashed economy to buy the canyon at next to nothing. His plan was the cultivate sheep there and make his fortune from their wool. Two Quaker men soon tried to buy the canyon land as they owned the surrounding lands. Turnbull refused them repeatedly but finally gave in for the price $30,000. Shortly thereafter Turnbull fell off his horse – due to drunkenness – and spent the night in jail. The next morning, he returned home bruised and beaten but could not recall what had happened to him. The beating would lead to a brain aneurism which would lead to him falling off of a bridge to his death into what is now called the LA River. To end an increasingly convoluted story the 2 Quakers took pity on Turnbull and named the canyon after him – Turnbull’s death was ruled a homicide.
Fast forward to the mid-20th Century. Yes, I’m skipping entirely over the 1930s when an insane asylum is said to have built in the canyon which then burned down in the 1940s presumably with a high mortality rate. This story is probably a complete fabrication relegated to the annals of Urban Legends – this includes the story of a teen finding and frying himself to death with an electro-shock machine despite their being no power at the site.
I’m going straight to the early morning hours of April 18, 1952 when Flight 416 was inbound to Los Angeles International Airport. The last contact with the plane was made at 3:33 am and indicated it was over the city of La Habra on approach. Despite repeated attempts no further contact was made and the plane never landed.
Apparently, the Captain of the plane was flying 10 feet below the recommended flight level – probably due to the heavy fog in the area. One wing made contact with the canyon wall spinning it out of control and smashing into the ground. The plane exploded immediately instantly killing all 29 people on board.
The apparitions of the passengers and crew of Flight 416 have been seen in the canyon. They are commonly described as confused perhaps still looking for help after a crash that they are unaware took their lives. An overwhelming feeling of helpless and fear is felt by some at or near the crash site. On the annual anniversary of the crash the phantom sounds of the crash – which has been likened to hearing a bomb explode – are heard.
Between Skyline Drive and Descending Drive, a path is said to lead to the Gates of Hell – also rumored to lead to the gates of the aforementioned insane asylum ruins. The path is not paved with the skulls of unbaptised babies, filled with Satanic symbols nor covered with the blood of innocents as the legends would have you believe. Rather the path ends at a rusted gate with a No Trespassing and Beware of Dog signs.
Dense bushes mask anything behind the rusted chain holding the ramshackle gates shut. For the curious who have crossed they have found assorted garbage and other discarded items. There is a chimney-like structure that can be seen at a distance lending credence to the old asylum legends. I know its disappointing but no has ever found the Gates to Hell or if they have, they didn’t return to tell their tales.
Tragic events in the 21st Century have further led to the canyon’s haunted and evil reputation.
On October 12, 2002 the body of 17-year-old Gloria Gaxiola was found at a road intersection. She had been shot in the head and – apparently unknown to her killers – her foot had gotten caught in the seatbelt and she was dragged by the car.
For 5 years there was no arrests made until a witness came forth and identified her 3 killers who had been her friends. All 3 were sentenced to life in prison.
On August 4, 2009 Christine Martinez was stabbed and slashed with needles before being left to die in the canyon. This brave young lady survived and sought help. She able to identify her attackers and testified so they could all be incarcerated.
In March of 2011 the remains of a partially decomposed woman was found in the canyon. She has yet to be identified.
No proof – either historical or physical from explorers – can be found of any insane asylum anywhere in the vicinity of the canyon. The same goes for the stories of a cult that sacrificed children on inverted crosses in the 1930s or at any time. The Legend of the Hanging Tree also has no basis or foundation in truth that can be uncovered by serious researchers. Of course, its no great reach to disregard the Gates to Hell as well.
Despite some Urban Legends being easily dismissed there are historical records of numerous tragic and terrible events happening the canyon. But; there will always be those who say hey terrible things have happened everywhere Turnball Canyon is no different.
Other activity felt and witnessed in the canyon: apparitions including shadow people, feelings of not being alone, being watched, not being wanted, sadness, anger and pure malevolence, electrical disturbances, light anomalies, touches, pokes and pulls from unseen presences, unexplained mists, phantom sounds of laughter, screams, voices and many other unexplained noises.
The canyon has a history of Urban Legends but not all of stories are tales only told around the campfire. Even the ones that cannot verified cannot be proven completely untrue either. Is there an evil force at play in the canyon or just the echoes of a series of tragic events?