Calico Ghost Town History
Calico is an old West mining town that’s been around since 1881. Nestled in the Mojave Desert, with around 500 silver mines in the area, it took just two years for the town’s population to reach 1200 back in the 1880s, and by 1890 it was home to just over 3500 people.
However, the dream ended almost as quickly as it began when the Silver Purchase Act of 1890 pushed down silver prices, and by 1900 Calico was abandoned entirely! It has remained so ever since despite several attempts to rejuvenate the place.
However, just because the living have abandoned Calico, that doesn’t mean that it is uninhabited! Over the years, Calico Ghost Town has built up a reputation as one of the most haunted places in California, if not the entire United States.
Most settlements of this nature have gradually fallen into disrepair and crumbled away over the years. However, Calico has been one of the lucky ones, and the town has been given a new lease of life.
In 1950, Calico was purchased by Walter Marvin Knott, who is, of course, famous for being the owner of Knott’s Berry Farm.
He had initially set up a faux ghost town at Knott’s Berry Farm by relocating several abandoned buildings from Old West towns, but he was not content and decided to buy the real thing in the form of Calico.
He would later gift the settlement to San Bernadino County, which is now part of the Regional Parks system. It has become a popular tourist attraction among visitors from all over the globe.
Some of the activities offered include mine tours, gunfight performances, gold panning, and a heritage railroad ride. Of course, it also provides its fair share of chills thanks to the resident spooks who call Calico home. After all, what would a ghost town be without a few ghosts?
Calico Ghost Town’s Top 3 Hauntings
Amid the claims of paranormal activity, three main entities have been identified as residing in Calico Ghost Town. These are the ones that visitors should be on the lookout for. Let’s get to know them a little better.
1. Lucy Lane
One of the most commonly spotted entities haunting Calico Ghost Town is said to be a woman by the name of Lucy Lane. History suggests that Lucy ran Calico’s General Store alongside her husband, John Robert Lane.
Like so many residents, the Lanes moved away from Calico when the town began rapidly depopulating.
However, they returned in 1916 after the town was abandoned and lived the rest of their days in the town. Lucy was well into her 90s when she finally passed.
It seems only natural then that she would want to stick around in the town where she lived and died. Visitors to Calico Ghost Town have frequently reported seeing Lucy walking between what was once her home and the General Store. She is easily recognizable by her attire – the beautiful black lace dress in which she was buried.
Although most of the reports describe seeing Lucy Lane walking from her home to the General Store, there have also been sightings of her inside both buildings.
See also: The Haunted Places Along Route 66
Her former home is now a museum dedicated to Lucy and John Robert Lane, and she is sometimes seen sitting in a rocking chair, slowly rocking back and forth. Some visitors also claim to have seen Lucy behind the counter in the General Store.
2. Teachers & Pupils of Calico School House
Another of the paranormal hotspots in Calico Ghost Town is the schoolhouse! The teachers’ names have long since been lost, but it is said to be their spirits who are responsible for the plethora of paranormal activity happening in the old schoolhouse.
There are frequent reports that the teachers like to stand in the windows of the schoolhouse, peering out at those passing by on the outside!
There are also reports of a red ball of light moving around inside the schoolhouse. Many visitors to Calico Ghost Town have witnessed this phenomenon.
The former teachers are certainly not the only ones who are up to mischief! There have also been reports of various ghostly students in the schoolhouse.
These children’s spirits can be seen flitting around inside the building. They seem to keep themselves to themselves most of the time, but one girl aged approximately 11 or 12 is far more outgoing.
However, she is most likely to appear to children and teens, who will often comment on seeing her, only for their parents to turn around and the girl to vanish!
3. Tumbleweed Harris
The most prominent ghost that roams around Calico Ghost Town is probably the entity known as ‘Tumbleweed’ Harris. He is the last Marshal of Calico, and it seems as though he has not yet stepped down from his duty!
He is often seen on the boardwalks on Main Street, and you will be able to recognize him by his large frame and long white beard. If you visit Calico Ghost Town, be sure to stop by Tumbleweed’s gravestone and thank him for keeping Calico’s peace even in death.
Of course, these are just the three most common reports of paranormal activity around Calico Ghost Town.
There are many other entities around town, including Dorsey, the mail-carrying dog, and an angry cowboy. He haunts Hank’s Hotel, a female spirit known as Esmeralda and a woman in a long white dress often seen wandering on the outskirts of town.
Some of the other haunted hotspots in Calico include Maggie Mine, Hank’s Hotel, and the Calico Corral. It is common for visitors to experience unexplained chills, tugging on their clothing, and their hands and faces touched.