California’s most haunted from top to bottom

The gold-mining ghost town of Bodie, California is part of the Bodie State Historic Park.

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.

“Preston Castle” was the main building of the Preston School of Industry, once one of the oldest and best-known “reform schools” in the United States, in the town of Ione, California, in Amador County…The institution was opened in June 1894 when seven wards (minors under the guardianship of the state, but not necessarily juvenile offenders), were transferred there from San Quentin State Prison. The original building is the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Mother Lode. It was vacated in 1960, shortly after new buildings had been constructed to replace it. ..The California Department of Corrections closed the facility in 2010. Ownership transferred to a foundation that began efforts to preserve and renovate the building..

Preston Castle

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.

The gold-mining ghost town of Bodie, California is part of the Bodie State Historic Park.

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).

Moaning Cavern

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.

Courtesy of Winchester Mystery House

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.

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