San Diego is a beautiful city that offers visitors everything from beaches, to fine dining, great shopping, and incredible history. San Diego is also a city that has numerous haunted locations that paranormal investigators love to visit.
Known as America’s finest city, San Diego is certainly a beautiful and varied city. With many amazing locations to visit such as the Gas Lamp Quarter, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway, San Diego is also home to some of the most haunted places in the country.
Put on your brave face and let’s explore the 11 most haunted places in San Diego.
1. El Campo Santo Cemetery
Early settlers of San Diego needed to construct a place to bury the dead. Thus the El Campo Santo Cemetery opened in 1849. Hundreds of people were buried in one of the most haunted places in San Diego.
As the city expanded, living residents decided that the graves could either be moved or simply built over. One area of the cemetery became the location for a horse-drawn streetcar. The idea sounds nice as it served a purpose; however, the line went directly over 18 graves, eventually paved over.
At one point, there was a considerable amount of paranormal activity at the cemetery. Although it has reduced dramatically, there is still some activity. People have experienced extreme cold spots in the area and cars refusing to start when parking in the cemetery parking lot.
The ghost of a former gravedigger is seen at the cemetery and a young boy who appears to be trapped and confused.
2. El Fandango
Long ago, Jose Manuel Machado moved to San Diego in 1781. Machado had three homes for his wife and 15 children. One of the homes burned to the ground.
Many things were built on the spot; currently, there is a two-story building on the site. It features office rooms, a banquet hall, along with indoor and outdoor dining areas.
There is said to be one woman who haunts the restaurant. She likes to sit at one particular corner table when the blinds are drawn. People who have seen her state that she is wearing Victorian garb and either appear angry or sad.
People have also claimed she can float through the air as well as through walls.
At the time of updating this article, the Restaurant is closed. [Nov 19, 2020]
3. Robinson-Rose House
Judge James W. Robison built had a home built for him in 1853. The building was not only his home, but it also served as an office for a newspaper and a railroad over the years. Eventually, the ravages of time destroyed the home, leaving nothing.
To preserve some of the history, it was rebuilt in 1987 using old photos of the original building and records. The rebuilt building sits in historic Old Town and serves as the visitor center.
The Robinson-Rose House not only welcomes visitors but is the home to a host of ghostly and paranormal activity. Ghost hunters and the average visitor have heard footsteps when no one is around and witness the elevator operating without the assistance of anyone.
Some female visitors have felt their hair being pulled, and lights have randomly switched on and off.
Apparition and cloudy mists have also been witnessed here!
4. Horton Grand HotelBOOK A ROOM
The Horton Grand Hotel started as two different buildings. The buildings were eventually joined together. Moving two different buildings brick by brick from different locations to come together as one was not an easy task, but the beautiful hotel still stands today.
With the history of the buildings dating back to the late 1800s, it is only natural that it is considered one of the most haunted hotels in San Diego.
Roger Whitaker is the most famous of the ghosts that haunt the Horton Grand. How he died is up for debate. Some stories state he died of a gunshot wound in room 309. Other stories claim he died on the property long before either building was built.
Regardless of how he died, he has been seen in the hallway and room 309. Room 309 experiences several mysterious incidents, such as incredibly warm temperatures randomly happening even with the window open or the air conditioning turned on.
Lights come on in the room on their own, the bed gets shaken, and the armoire door opens on its own. Other witnesses have seen the ghost of a former Madame where a brothel used to stand in the hotel.
The four of spades was found in the bathroom of one of the rooms after a couple had been up the previous night playing poker. They had left the cards on the table.
5. Casa De Bandini
The Casa de Bandini restaurant was once the home of Juan Bandini and his family, starting in 1829. Later on, the Bandini residence became the Cosmopolitan Hotel before becoming the Casa de Bandini Restaurant.
The most seen ghost reported is that of a woman. The woman wears a long dress and, at times, appears to be translucent. The woman moves through sealed doors and glides effortlessly across the balcony. The lights in the Casa de Bandini switch off and on at will, and other lights flicker frequently.
6. Hotel Del CoronadoBOOK A ROOM
The Hotel Del Coronado was, and remains, an architectural masterpiece that opened in 1888. It has an ideal seaside location that people from as far away as Europe would come and visit.
The upper-class and wealthy visitors would bring their servants and stay for extended periods, many staying for months. In more than 100 years, the Hotel Del Coronado has been host to everyone from movie stars, to business icons, to princes and presidents.
The living are not the only ones to visit the luxurious hotel. There are also ghosts that stay at the hotel. The most famous ghost at the hotel is that of Kate Morgan. Kate died at the hotel at the age of 24.
The stories related to her death claim she was a married woman who went to the hotel to have a rendezvous with her lover. Other stories claim her male companion abandoned her on her trip to the hotel. She committed suicide after being alone for five days.
Since her death, a broad range of unexplainable activity has occurred in the hotel. Televisions that turn off and on, lights that flicker, voices, and footsteps are just a few things that happen. Other people claim to have seen Kate’s ghost on the beach and around the hotel.
7. Old Point Loma Lighthouse
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse situated at the mouth of San Diego Bay in San Diego, California. Opening in November 1855, it is no longer in operation as a lighthouse but is open to the public as a museum. The lighthouse operated for almost 40 years before operations ceased as a better location was found that wasn’t obstructed by low-lying clouds and fog.
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse serves as both a landmark and a tourist destination today, and although many people visit to learn about the area’s magnificent past, people are intrigued by the ghostly activity that occurs there. A visit to the lighthouse is not for the faint of heart though. Reports here include disembodied heavy footsteps coming from the upper floor, unexplainable cold spots on the entry to the spiral staircase, moaning, heavy breathing, and that constant feeling that someone is watching you.
Many believe the spirit of the famed Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo lives here, waiting to transition to the other side. Others say that the lighthouse’s final lightkeeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel returned after his death, watching over his beloved lighthouse and keeping his eye on all who venture inside.
Many believe the famed explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo haunts the lighthouse and surrounding area. The ghost of the lighthouses’ final lightkeeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel also stays behind to watch over his beloved lighthouse.
8. Del Mar Racetrack
The Del Mar Racetrack has a long history that dates back to the 1930s. Everyone from the Hollywood elite to business people, to lovers of horses, the races, and more have ventured to the famous racetrack.
Many of the most common activities attributed to the paranormal have occurred at Del Mar. People have experienced lights flickering, disembodied voices, and cold spots. Other people have captured shadowy figures on camera.
The fifth floor is believed by man current and former employees to be the location of many unusual happenings. Some of these include the elevator refusing to stop at that floor, hallways quickly becoming extremely cold, and some people seeing what they believe to be ghostly figures.
9. USS Midway
At one time, the U.S.S. Midway was an aircraft carrier in the navy. It was decommissioned in 1992 after seeing action in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Today she sits docked in San Diego and is a museum.
There have been claims that as many as 30 different ghosts reside on the U.S.S. Midway. People visiting the Midway have had mannequins on the ship move and appear to speak, while others have felt they were not alone when in the sickbay.
Additional visitors claim to have smelt what they believed to be old blood and stated the air felt very heavy.
10. The Whaley House
The Whaley House is not only verified as one of the most haunted places in San Diego, but it was declared an authentic haunted house by the United States Department of Commerce. It served as the Whaley family home for many years. It was also a storage location for public records until they were stolen while Thomas Whaley was out of town.
Many tragic events occurred in the house or on the property. Jim Robinson was hung on the property on the archway between the music room and the parlor. Violet Whaley committed suicide on the property, and a young girl died on the kitchen table after a clothesline hanging outside, crushed her throat.
The amount of paranormal activity and sightings in the house is astounding. Windows open and close at will, lights flicker, pots and pans in the kitchen move on their own, and the impressions of someone laying on the beds are visible.
People who have seen figures in windows have heard the sounds of a baby crying, which people believe is the ghost of 17-month-old Thomas Whaley, who died in the home. All of the activity that occurs in the home is too extensive to list.
11. The Davis-Horton House (formerly the William Heath Davis House)
Located in downtown San Diego, the Davis-Horton House was built by Davis in 1850 as he attempted to establish “New Town”, which is now the current downtown San Diego. The home carries the honor of being not only the oldest wooden building in San Diego but also one of its most historically significant. Although many people lived in the house over the years, ironically never did Davis himself. It wasn’t until Alonzo Horton (the founder of San Diego) purchased the property that the city really started to boom.
The spirits of many of its former owners still reside here, however, a lot of the paranormal activity can be attributed to the many deaths that occurred here during the 10 year period it was used as a hospital. One of the most active spirits is a Victorian lady who has appeared in front of guests on many occasions. There’s also the apparitions of a Victorian-era couple that appear often. The woman is often seen wearing a white gown, and the gentleman a suit.
Other common reports include lights turning on and off on their own and disembodied voices.
The museum is open for tours daily, though be warned, you may just come face to face with one of the many spirits that haunted here!
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If you’re looking to take your thrill-seeking levels higher than your local haunted house or haunted maze, then spending the night in one of San Diego’s most haunted hotels is a must. If you’re feeling brave, be sure to request the most haunted room when you book!