When most people think about California, the first thing that comes to mind is usually sunshine, Hollywood and golden beaches! However, The Golden State has a much darker side to it as well and it is home to some of the most haunted locations in the country!
Are you prepared? Let’s now take a moment to explore the 12 most haunted places in California!
1. The Glen Tavern Inn, Santa PaulaStay Here
The Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula was built in 1911 in the old English Tudor style. It is a beautiful building, but it could be described as having a somewhat ugly past! The history of The Glen Tavern Inn is rich and colorful, with a large dose of dark and seedy moments.
It is a fascinating building once frequented by the stars, which fell on hard times after prohibition was introduced, and the 3rd floor became a speakeasy, brothel, and gambling den. It is this that is likely to have triggered the majority of the paranormal activity reported here.
One of the most well known hot spots is Room 307, which is said to be haunted by two ghosts, a cowboy known as Calvin and a prostitute.
Calvin is tall and thin, wearing a white shirt and sporting long hair and a goatee beard. He has been seen walking through walls and is often captured in photographs taken by guests.
2. East 8 Mile Road, Stockton
One of California’s most haunted sites is not a building but a stretch of road – Eat 8 Mile Road, to be exact. It is said that there is the spirit of a witch who appears on the road. Many a heavy goods vehicle driver has reported a scary woman in a tattered white dress standing in the middle of the carriageway!
Legend states that if you turn back to take a second look at the phantom, then you will see the spirit sitting in your back seat. There are also reports of a Native American girl wandering the road on the night of the full moon, and locals say she can be heard screaming in the night. It’s no wonder paranormal fans loved the idea of a haunted road trip along East 8 Mile Road!
3. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose
The Winchester Mystery House is one property that certainly lives up to its fearsome reputation! Construction began in 1884, and it never really stopped until the owner, Sarah Winchester, passed away on September 5, 1922.
It is believed that she spent around $5 million on construction. Why? Well, because Sarah was convinced that her home was haunted by all of the victims killed by a Winchester Rifle and that the only way to quiet the spirits was to keep on building!
Sarah may well have been correct because since the mansion was opened up to the public in 1923, staff and visitors alike have reported several mischievous spirits in the building.
4. Los Coches Adobe, Soledad
Los Coches Adobe might be one of the most terrifying places in California. In the early days, Los Coches Adobe was the site of a mine. However, one day a horrific accident caused over 30 mine workers to be trapped in a collapse. All of them lost their lives. A tragedy like that has to leave a stain on the very land, so it is little wonder this place is haunted!
Locals and visitors alike have heard the screams of trapped miners emanating from an old well on the property, and there are also numerous reports of a lady in black and a male phantom walking around the grounds. Some even claim to have seen the ghost of a man hanging from a tree just on the property’s boundary!
5. Alcatraz, San Francisco
Few structures in this world are as infamous as Alcatraz! Prisons are often a haven for restless spirits, and Alcatraz is no different. This former high-security prison is probably even more likely to be haunted, given what the conditions were like when it was in operation coupled with the dangerous criminals who were housed within its walls.
The entire building is soaked in fear, regret, anger, pain, and death – the perfect recipe for restless souls and much darker entities!
The prison is like a breeding ground for the paranormal. One of the most feared presences on the island is known simply as ‘The Thing.’ This entity is said to have red glowing eyes, and it has been seen not only by visitors today but by prisoners and staff when Alcatraz was in operation.
Other common reports detail disembodied voices, sobbing, screams, banging of cell doors, and putrid smells, which some say indicate a demonic presence. Visitors have experienced being touched, feeling cold spots, and even having emotional outbursts of either sadness or anger.
Some have even said that they encounter apparitions who spoke to them of abuse at the hands of guards and other inmates!
6. Queen Mary Hotel, Long BeachRoom Availability
The Queen Mary Hotel is recognized as not only one of the most haunted places in the state; many believe it to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world. The former ocean liner is now permanently docked at Long Beach, where it serves as a very popular hotel with paranormal researchers and others interested in the paranormal.
The ship is incredibly haunted, and we could not even begin to document all of the strange events that have occurred there in this one summary. However, we can touch on some of the most common hauntings.
The First Class Swimming Pool is haunted by two female spirits who are said to have drowned in the 1930s and 1960s, respectively. They have both been seen as apparitions, and visiting psychics have said that they feel a negative presence coming from the changing rooms.
There are also reports of a lady in white in the Queen’s Salon, a male in 1930s attired in the First Class suites, and the sounds of children playing near the storage room. These are the only handful of reports of paranormal disturbances on board!
7. Mission San Miguel, San Miguel
The story surrounding Mission San Miguel is certainly an intriguing one that sounds like a blockbuster movie’s plot! The mission was founded in 1797 but was secularized in 1836 and sold to The Reed Family in 1846 for the tiny sum of just $250!
Reed set up the mission as a bed and breakfast requiring payment in gold – as it was the height of the gold rush, he managed to amass a small fortune, which he apparently decided to bury somewhere on the mission grounds.
It is believed that the buried treasure was worth roughly $200,000 at the time. However, Reed was a boastful man, and it seems that he may have boasted to the wrong people!
In 1848 some British pirates staying at the mission learned of Reed’s gold and ended up laying waste to the Mission, slaughtering everyone in the building. They never did find it, and they were soon rounded up and executed for their crimes.
Somewhere between 10 and 13 people were murdered that night, so it is no surprise that the place is haunted. Most commonly, sighted spirits include a lady in white believed to be Mrs. Reed and a man in a blue peacoat who could be Mr. Reed.
8. Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena
Colorado Street Bridge is a beautiful structure, but it has a dark side. It is known locally by its nickname – the suicide bridge. There is an unusually high number of suicides here. The latest figure sits at about 102, but that number is constantly growing. The bridge was built in 1913 and claimed its first death in 1919, so that’s a rate of more than one suicide per year. However, some say that this ‘official’ number is not actually accurate because the local authorities have been known to knock off a few numbers whenever they get too high.
As you might expect, given the death toll, the bridge is also said to be incredibly haunted. There are many reports of a man jumping off of the railing, but he vanishes before hitting the water. It is also fairly common to see a female apparition crossing the bridge. Drivers often have to swerve to avoid her, but she always disappears when they come too close! Some have suggested that not only could spirits be trapped here due to the nature of their passing, but also because of the authorities perhaps having denied their existence by fudging the suicide figures!
9. Oak Park Cemetery, Claremont
The Oakwood Cemetery in Claremont has quite a terrifying reputation. There are all sorts of reports of small grey apparitions running around the cemetery in the hours of darkness, and some witnesses say that these apparitions are prone to attacking people.
There have also been countless sightings of shadow men lurking in the burial ground. Visitors have captured strangely light anomalies on camera, and there is said to be a tall winged apparition that walks down the driveway that leads to the cemetery!
10. Disneyland, Anaheim
It may be known as the happiest place on Earth, but Disneyland in Anaheim has its haunted secrets. There are lots of tales of the animatronics moving when the rides are turned off, and apparently, it is traditional for some families to scatter the ashes of their loved ones (without permission) on favorite rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.
Apparently, custodians have been discovering ashes, bone fragments, and even a jaw bone in the park for years. There are also real human bones used in the décor at The Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
There are also several ghost sightings around the park, including Walt Disney himself, who has been seen in his former apartment above the Fire Station on Main Street.
There have also been sightings of various spirits believed to be people who either died in the park or have had their ashes scattered there.
11. Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los AngelesBook a Room
One of the most haunted places in Southern California is also one of the most iconic hotels in the state. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles has played host to some big names since opening its doors in 1927, and some say that a few of those stars may well have stuck around!
One of the hotel’s most famous ghosts is claimed to be Marilyn Monroe. She has been seen appearing in the mirror of room number 229 and also dancing in the hotel’s ballroom.
However, she is not the only famous spirit that is said to haunt the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. There have also been reports of actor Montgomery Clift’s ghost haunting room number 928, which is the room that he occupied while filming ‘From Here to Eternity’ in 1953.
12. The Whaley House, San Diego
The Whaley House in San Diego has long held a reputation for being one of the scariest haunted places in Southern California. It was built in 1957 by Thomas Whaley, and over the years, it has served as a general store, a granary, Crowdie Theater, and even the town’s courthouse.
It also included a morgue at one time and happened to be built over a former cemetery! No wonder it is said to be haunted!
Several suicides and hangings have taken place in the property, and the two most commonly sighted spirits here include a young girl who died in an accident while playing with the Whaley children, Yankee Jom Robinson, who hung himself on the property, and also the Whaley family themselves.
Find Haunted Hotels Near You!
Haunted Hotels in California
If you’re ready to take your ghost hunting or thrill-seeking to the very next level, then you’re going to want to spend the night in a haunted hotel!
California is home to some of the most historic and infamously haunted hotels in the country. So if you’re feeling brave, book your room now!
Popular Haunted Cities
For such a relatively young city, L.A. is filled with haunted spots, and it’s not just the typical old mansions or abandoned buildings either. Maybe it’s the emotion and the tragedy surrounding the actor’s struggle that makes it so intense. But one thing is for certain; there are countless haunted locations to choose from here.
Affectionately known as America’s Finest City, San Diego is certainly beautiful with a buzzing culture, but what’s perhaps not known so well is its haunted reputation. Some of the country’s most haunted places are located here, such as the infamous Whaley House and the very haunted Horton Grand Hotel!
You can be forgiven for being taken aback by the breathtaking beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the area of San Francisco. It truly is a stunning place to visit or to live. You may not know, however, is it’s home to a long and storied history of ghosts! The City and the Bay Area combine to make this one of the most haunted places in the U.S.