The San Francisco Bay Area is a fantastic place to go if you’re in search of some truly haunted locations. The entire area is full of reportedly haunted buildings, landmarks, and historical sites, in fact, the city of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area is considered to be one of the most haunted areas in the country!

North Bay

1. Castello di Amorosa, Napa

An image inside the courtyard of Castello di Amorosa in Napa, CaliforniaLocation: 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515

The Castello di Amorosa in Napa is well known for its Wine Club and the annual Pagan Ball that is held in the faux-medieval castle. However, what you may not know is that it is actually one of the most haunted sites in Northern California.

The castle is only about ten years old, but the materials that were used in its construction are said to date back several centuries, having been reclaimed from much older structures. It is believed that the spirits who haunt the towers, caves, and cellars of the castle may have been brought there attached to the materials, many of which were imported from Europe.

Among the most well-documented hauntings, there is a plague victim who lurks in the tunnels, a Spanish lady in the South Tower and also a young stable boy roaming the castle!

East Bay

2. USS Hornet, Alameda

An image of the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, CaliforniaLocation: 707 W Hornet Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

The USS Hornet – Once a crucial part of World War II, serving in the Pacific, the now decommissioned ship is a museum that houses a number of retired aircraft from the same period, and some exhibits from the Nasa Apollo Moon missions!

Volunteers also run regular tours of the vessel where you can hear all of the ghost stories that are linked to it!

These include stories of the various sailors’ spirits that visitors have reported seeing around the ship. In 27 years of active service, there were 300 deaths on board due to a combination of dangerous working conditions and the highest suicide rate in the US Navy!

Aside from the various apparitions that have been seen, visitors and crew alike have also reported other phenomena such as objects moving, disembodied voices, cold spots, phantom footsteps, and other paranormal activity.

3. Black Diamond Mines, Antioch

An image of the black Diamond Mines in Antioch, CaliforniaLocation: 5175 Somersville Rd, Antioch, CA 94509

It is only to be expected that an old abandoned mine would have some ghosts and that is certainly the case with the Black Diamond Mines in Antioch.

There are said to be several ghosts in the mines, but one of the most notable is known as ‘The Wailing Witch.’ It is said that she was a nanny who lost her job after it was discovered that she had been practicing witchcraft.

She later turned up dead in the Black Diamond Mines under suspicious circumstances although nobody was ever charged with the crime. It is said that her troubled spirit is now trapped there, still seeking justice. She is often heard wailing in the depths of the mine.

San Francisco

4. Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay

A view of Alcatraz in the distance from San Francisco streetLocation: San Francisco, CA 94133

Alcatraz has a long storied history. It was first used by the military as a prison as far back as 1850. Being an island in the San Francisco Bay the cold and unforgiving waters were a deterrent for those interested in trying to escape.

Alcatraz made the move from a military prison to a federal prison in 1934. It remained a federal prison until 1963. While in operation Alcatraz housed many notorious and violent criminals. The “Birdman of Alcatraz,” murderer Robert Stroud, Al “Scarface” Capone, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly were only three of those famous inmates.

There were an estimated 14 escape attempts from Alcatraz. Of those that attempted to escape the majority were captured or shot and killed. Five of the prisoners were never seen again, believed to have succumbed to the perilous conditions.

Today Alcatraz is a popular tourist spot with thousands visiting the island every week. People can take tours of the former prison during the day or at night, and even night time ghost tours! When taking into consideration the fact that there were a number of deaths that occurred in the prison during prison fights and the like, it is no surprise to hear Alcatraz is a hotbed of paranormal activity.

It is not uncommon to feel cold spots, hear footsteps, or voices. Reports of cell doors opening and slamming shut by unseen forces.

Read more about the haunted Alcatraz Prison

5. Curran Theater, San Francisco

An image of the outside of the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, CaliforniaLocation: 445 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

On the fateful evening of November 28th, 1933, a young box office attendant named Hewlett Tarr was shot dead in an attempted robbery during a busy screening of the latest screen hit at the time, Show Boat. To add to this tragedy, Tarr was due to wed his fiance a few weeks later, and was supposed to be meeting her for dinner after his shift. It’s his ghost that many staff and patrons have witnessed in the lobby mirrors, his apparition described as “wearing 1930’s clothes”, perhaps all dressed up for a wedding to his sweetheart that will never happen.

6. Queen Anne Hotel, San Francisco

An image of the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco, CaliforniaLocation: 1590 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

The exquisite Queen Anne Hotel was a school for girls after it was built back in the 1890s. The school had a number of teachers for the girls but none had as much passion for education as Miss Mary Lake, the headmistress.

In 1980, after many different owners, the former school for girls became what is now the Queen Anne Hotel. Guests to the hotel have reported countless sightings of the one beloved teacher wandering about the hotel’s hallways. People have also spotted her in her former home, room 410.

Guests have reported the feeling of something playing with their hair, shadowy figures, unusual sounds, disembodied voices, and the sensation of being touched.

Read more about the Ghosts of the Queen Anne Hotel

7. Sutro Baths, San Francisco

Location: 1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

Sutro Baths were the world’s largest indoor swimming pool when it opened in 1896. They had one fresh water pool and six saltwater pools. There were swinging rings, a springboard, and waterslides. There were also dressing rooms, an amphitheater, and club rooms for families and individuals to enjoy.

The Baths saw a considerable amount of popularity for some time until the Great Depression, with that and other factors keeping people away. Between a company that started demolishing the impressive facility to replace with apartments and a fire in 1966 nothing was left of the once-great destination but ruins. People that make their way to the area now say there is a ghostly presence in the Sutro Baths tunnels. People who have visited the Baths state if you light a candle at night, it will be taken out of your hand and thrown in the water.

South Bay

8. Moss Beach Distillery, Moss Beach

an image of the Moss Beach Distillery in Moss Beach CaliforniaLocation: 140 Beach Way, Moss Beach, CA 94038

The Moss Beach Distillery was built back in 1927 and it’s known to have been a popular haunt of bootleggers, crooked politicians and silent movie stars. The property was originally known as Frank’s Place, and it was renowned for having a clientele that was made up of a broad range of characters.

One such customer is ‘The Blue Lady.’ This woman was apparently a regular in the 1940s or 1950s when she met another customer who is described as being a very dangerous man’. Despite the fact that she was already married, she apparently fell in love with the man and visited Frank’s frequently in order to see him.

The pair were walking on the beach one evening when they were attacked resulting in the death of the woman. Ever since her death the Distillery has been receiving strange phantom phone calls, people have seen doors lock on their own and small objects levitating.

The strangest occurrence that the Blue Lady is held responsible for is that several female patrons will lose one earring only for them all to show up days later in a neat pile somewhere!

9. Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

A picture of the reportedly haunted Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California
The Winchester Mystery House – the house number 525 on Winchester Boulevard in San Jose, California, USA

Location: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

Of all the reportedly haunted buildings in San Jose, the most famous one is without question is the notorious Winchester Mystery House! The house was something of a pet project for Sarah Winchester, the somewhat eccentric heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune. Sarah somehow became certain that the spirit of every single person who had ever been killed using a Winchester firearm had come to haunt her.

In order to make things more difficult for what she believed to be vengeful spirits, she continuously remodeled the house in an attempt to confuse the ghosts. This has resulted in a strange, and often maze-like home where there are twists, turns, dead ends and of course, staircases that lead to nowhere. The renovations were a constant pet project for Sarah and they continued until she died in 1922.

These days the property is said to be very haunted. Could it be that Sarah was right about the building work keeping the spirits at bay and now that Sarah is gone and tools have been set down, they are beginning to claim the building as their own? There are even reports from some visitors that some of the workmen are still there toiling away perhaps unaware that the job is over, or perhaps taking on the responsibility of driving the other spirits out! And could some of the hauntings be down to Sarah, still trying to keep the spirits at bay in her belief that she’s still very much alive?

Read more about the haunted Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

10. Hicks Road, San Jose

The reportedly haunted Hicks Road in San Jose CaliforniaLocation: Hicks Rd, San Jose, CA

Anyone who has lived in San Jose for any length of time knows the legend of Hicks Road. It’s an old and dark myth, but it is certainly a good one! There’s all manner of creepy tales associated with Hicks Road ranging from urban legends to paranormal occurrences.

The main story that you will hear about Hicks Road is about the albinos! Apparently, there is a small group or family of Albinos who live in small huts just off Hicks Road, and they are not at all happy to get visitors! There have been lots of reports of people being chased by these strange, pale figures who many people feel are not albinos at all, but some kind of spirits.

Others have claimed to be chased by men in high-speed trucks who attempt to run them off of the road. So much so, that most locals will prefer to find an alternative route even if it takes them a little bit out of their way. The Albino clan is not the only thing that frightens them. Hicks Road is also said to be haunted by a witch, and there are rumors of satanic rituals in the area leading to claims that there are demonic entities lingering as well.

So popular is the urban legend of Hicks Road, there was a movie made of the same name which came out in 2009.

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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 Francisco’s most haunted hotels is a must. If you’re feeling brave, be sure to request the most haunted room when you book!

Learn about San Francisco’s Haunted Hotels