If there is one thing that Southern California is known for then it is probably a combination of near enough eternal sunshine and more movie stars than you can shake a stick at! However, there is a darker side to SoCal! The area is home to some of California’s – if not Americas – creepiest locations.
Are you prepared? Let’s now take a moment to explore some of the most haunted places in Southern California:
Colorado Street Bridge is a beautiful structure, but it has a dark side. It is known locally by its nickname – the suicide bridge. There are an unusually high number of suicides here. The latest figure sits at about 102, but that number is growing constantly. 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 – Mission San Miguel, San Miguel
The story surrounding Mission San Miguel is certainly an intriguing one that sounds like the plot of a blockbuster movie! 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 the 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 pea coat who could be Mr Reed.
8 – Oak Park Cemetery, Claremont
Oak Park Cemetery is said to be one of the most haunted places in Southern California and not without good reason! 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!
7 – Los Coches Adobe, Soledad
You may recognise Los Coches Adobe from recent appearances on some of the paranormal television shows and if so, then you already know that this is one terrifying place! It has been said that local gangs use the building as an initiation for new members, forcing them to spend the night locked inside! People say that they have been attacked inside and others say they simply lose time. There are reports of a lady in black walking around the grounds and the disembodied screams of miners who are trapped in the mines beneath drifting up from the old well. Those who have investigated here agree that there is a very dark presence and it is common for people to experience presences following them home.
6 – Disneyland, Anaheim
It may be known as the happiest place on Earth, but Disneyland is also one of the most haunted places in Southern California. 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 favourite rides such as Pirates of the Carribean and The Haunted Mansion. Apparently custodians have been discovering ashes, bone fragments and even a jaw bone in the park for years now. 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 here.
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.
4 – 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 happens to be built over a former cemetery! No wonder it is said to be haunted! A number of 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.
In its long life, The Queen Mary has served as a luxury cruise liner, a World War II ferry and is now a floating hotel! It is also one of the most haunted places in Southern California! Guests and staff alike have reported hearing the somewhat stereotypical rattling of chains along with various disembodied voices. There have also been sightings of apparitions believed to be former sailors who would have served on the ship while it was still sea faring.
2 – Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Downey
Over the years Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey has been known as a number of different names including Hollydale Mental Hospital and Downey Insane Asylum. Some have suggested that the frequent name changes may have been an attempt to escape a bad reputation for how patients were treated, but that is merely hearsay and there is not too much to back it up. The hospital has previously served not only as an asylum, but also as a treatment center for TB and Polio. It is difficult to gain access to the building, but those who have ventured inside the gates say that they have heard the disembodied moans and screams of former patients coming from the building and have even seen shadows in the windows. There is also a story of how some US Marines who were using the abandoned building for practice drills in 2006 only to discover an old freezer containing what they described as ‘legs, feet and bits of brain’. Now that is an unsettling discovery!
1 – The Del Monte Speakeasy, Venice
The Del Monte Speakeasy sits in the basement of the Townhouse Restaurant in Venice. It was actually a real speakeasy back in the prohibition era and did its part to keep the booze flowing by way of the underground tunnels that have since been changed to serve as utility corridors.
It is now considered to be one of if not the most haunted location in Southern California thanks to the presence of the former owner, Frank Bennett who owned the place from the early seventies right up until his death in 2003. This makes the Del Monte Speakeasy something of an anomaly. Here we have one of the oldest bars in Los Angeles, but it is haunted by one of the most recent ghosts! Bennett has been seen sitting in his favourite booth keeping watch over his beloved bar!