The forlorn spirit of a lovely young woman, a headless friar, a bevy of prehistoric phantoms: frightful sightings abound in these paranormal hotspots across California. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, a visit to these 10 spooky spots is sure to deliver a thrill. Listed from north to south, here are a handful of reportedly haunted houses, hotels, ocean liners and more.
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
3431 Fort Ave., Eureka
Overlooking a rugged bluff in Humboldt Bay, this former fort’s remote location in Humboldt County lends an eerie air. The real draw, however, is the supposed ghost of a deceased commander who succumbed to malaria in 1897 and now stares out hospital windows as hikers stroll past.
At the end of Palm Drive, off of Highway 104, Ione
The castle’s foreboding facade looks straight out of a horror film. Once a reform school for unruly youth and abandoned children, the structure’s sinister history includes corporal punishment, toxic dunking baths and a housekeeper’s murder. Open for tours year-round, the Amador County castle turns into a full-fledged haunted house in October.
Bodie State Historic Park
Located northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, Bridgeport
Spanning 500 acres in Mono County, about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, Bodie is a Gold Rush-era ghost town frozen in time. More than 100 structures remain, as do the supposed spirits of prospectors. While dishware shards and nails can be found on the streets, anyone who takes home a souvenir risks the curse of Bodie (and it’s also against park rules).
5350 Moaning Cave Road, Vallecito
Named for the wailing sound air once made passing through the cave (prior to its eventual widening), this Calaveras County wonder is also a site for some of America’s most ancient remains. Bones up to 12,000 years old have been discovered here and many believe that the cavern is home to paranormal activity with prehistoric origins.
Winchester Mystery House
525 S Winchester Blvd., San Jose, 95128
A door that leads to nowhere and a staircase that dead-ends into the ceiling? It’s said that widow Sarah Winchester designed the house this peculiar way to confuse the ghosts: men killed by her late husband’s creation, the Winchester rifle.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 90028
Stay at this swanky hotel for a chance to glimpse one of the most glamorous ghosts of all time. It’s said that Marilyn Monroe still haunts the halls. Guests have also reported mysterious trumpet music believed to be the spirit of Montgomery Clift who liked to practice in suite 928.
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway Long Beach
Once known as the “Grey Ghost,” the Queen Mary serves up chills in the form of screams from a decapitated sailor in the boiler room, visions of a lady in white roaming the halls and various children located throughout the ship including the 1st Class Pool. Visitors can choose from a handful of haunted tours, or book a stay in Stateroom B340 for overnight thrills. Stateroom B340 has a large volume of recorded paranormal activity with many stories of haunted encounters noted in the ship’s logs.
El Adobe de Capistrano Restaurant
31891 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
The site of this restaurant has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark. Go for the chips and guacamole; stay for the headless friar sometimes seen at the restaurant’s door. This Mexican eatery sits atop the town’s old jail. A spirit of a former prisoner reportedly haunts the wine cellar, converted from a cell.
Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave., Coronado
In 1892, 24-year-old Kate Morgan checked into this luxurious waterfront resort alone and then ended her life on the hotel’s staircase. Kate’s original third-floor guestroom is the hub of the activity where visitors have experienced flickering lights, a television that turns itself on and off, breezes coming from nowhere, inexplicable scents and sounds, items moving of their own accord, doors that randomly open and close, abrupt changes in room temperature and unexplained footsteps and voices. The room, number 3327, is the most requested guestroom at the hotel. There have also been Kate sightings in hotel hallways and along the seashore. Another very “active” area is the resort’s gift shop, established in 1888, where visitors and employees routinely witness giftware mysteriously flying off shelves, oftentimes falling upright and always unbroken.