Ghosts are everywhere in California this Halloween season. From commercial scare experiences at theme parks such as Knotts Berry Farm and Disneyland to ghost tours, haunted mansions and hotel accommodations with ghosts provided free of charge, itt’s the perfect time to venture out and experience haunted California.

Where’s the ghost? While it isn’t clear what ghosts are, thousands of people report seeing them and feeling their presence. Scientists search for methods to effectively test theories about reported paranormal phenomena such as ghost hauntings but have refrained from drawing solid conclusions and explanations to this mystery.

One woman named Mary Ann is among the list of priests, psychics and ghost hunters called to release spirits believed to inhabit houses and businesses. Mary Ann claims that when a person dies, he or she has three or four days to enter a "white light" that is the path to judgment. Somewhere inside the light, she believes, a person's ultimate fate is decided. Some people aren't ready to leave earth yet, though, and use their free will to hang around, she said.

"That white light is presented to you the very second that you die," Mary Ann said. "In your last breath, that white light is there. And everybody stays around for their funeral, everybody. That person in the casket—their spirit is right above the feet. They hear everything that goes on, they see everything that goes on. They check out their flowers, see who's there, who's not there."

Some ghosts stick around to say goodbye to those they love. Some, like a young father who dies suddenly, want to take care of the living, she said. While they don't all cause trouble, they usually are unwelcome. She claims to have cleansed churches, courthouses and hospital surgical rooms. She says she also has worked for police departments, helping to solve murders by communicating with the dead victim.

If such claims seem crazy or unbelievable, there's incredible fascination with ghosts and it doesn't seem to be disappearing.

Here’s a list of ghost ideas for you to brave on your next vacation outing:

Alcatraz
The prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay was opened in 1933 as a maximum-security facility for America's most dangerous criminals. Inmates were lucky to spend one hour a day outside their cells, and those violating prison rules could spend months of solitary confinement, sometimes in the Hole, a tiny cell with no light. Though the prison closed in 1963, it re-opened to the public as a national park site with guided tours that sometimes include unexplained sounds and eerie areas consumed with blasts of cold air. Several visitors have reported hearing moans, agonized cries and chains rattling in cell blocks. A psychic who visited reported seeing the ghost of Abie Maldowitz, a mob hitman nicknamed Butcher, who was killed by a fellow inmate in the laundry area of cell block C. Visitors have reported the sound of phantom banjo music coming from rooms that once housed Al Capone. Tickets for day and night tours are available from www.blueandgoldfleet.com

Calico Ghost Town
Yermo, CA. 92398. Call: (800) TO-CALICO. www.calicotown.com
Visit Maggies Haunted Mine (if you dare), China Town's Haunted Ruins, & Calico's Terror Silver Train. The last weekend in October includes a special Ghost Haunt event with Pumpkin Carving, Costume Contests, Trick-or-Treat, Halloween Characters and Inflatables and Ghost Stories in the afternoon and evening hours.

The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, Ca 90802. Call: Phone (562) 435-3511. www.queenmary.com
Throughout the years, Queen Mary employees, guests and visiting psychics have reported unexplainable events and paranormal activity aboard the ship. The grandest ocean liner ever built was host to the world's rich and famous during the 1930s. With the outbreak of World War II, the Queen Mary was transformed into a troopship overnight. By the end of the war, "The Grey Ghost," as she was fondly called, had carried more than 800,000 troops, traveled more than 600,000 miles and played a significant role in virtually every major Allied campaign. In February 1946 she began her "Bride and Baby Voyages" and transported more than 22,000 war brides and their children to the United States and Canada. She even set a standing record for the most passengers carried in one crossing - more than 16,000 troops and crew! Tours include information and locations of ghostly occurrences in this massive haunted vessel!  Every October the Queen Mary in Long Beach transforms into “The Most Terrifying Place On Earth” for Shipwreck, the Queen Mary’s Halloween Terror Fest. Admission includes unlimited entry to all Mazes, the Boiler Room Club, featuring Live Bands, plus the huge 3 level Dance Party in the Queen Mary’s Exhibit Hall.

Winchester Mystery House
525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA 95128. Phone: (408) 247-2101 www.winchestermysteryhouse.com
Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is named after a wealthy widow Sarah L. Winchester. She began a construction project of such magnitude in 1884 that it was to occupy the lives of carpenters and craftsmen until her death thirty-eight years later. The Victorian mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress, is filled with so many unexplained oddities, that it has come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House. Sarah Winchester built a home that is an architectural marvel. This 160-room Victorian mansion had three working elevators and 47 fireplaces. Sarah held séances to receive instructions on building the mansion from spirits of those killed by Winchester guns. Many visitors to the house and staff report unusual and unexplained sightings and sounds. The mansion is open year round and includes special events such as flashlight tours on Friday the 13th (Sara Winchester's favorite number).

Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620. Phone: (714) 220-5200. www.knotts.com/park/calendar/halloweenhaunt.shtml
Every October since 1973, Knott's Berry Farm has hideously transformed itself into Knott's Scary Farm® to host the world's first and most famous theme park Halloween event. Knott's employs a staff of professional "scare-masters" whose primary responsibility is to come up with novel new ways to scare, startle and severely terrify our guests.

Haunted Historic Miners’ Cabin
The Historic Miners’ Cabin on Highway 49 in Grizzly Flatts.
Available for rent on a daily basis. Call: Innkeepers Scott and Laurie at 530-626-0307.
Grizzly Flats, California is located along Highway 49 that winds through California Gold Country where gold was discovered and mined over 150 years ago. Built in 1879, Historic Miners’ Cabin has been officially certified haunted. Nancy Bradley, renown psychic, visited the cabin and reported it “very haunted with lots of activity.” Bradley observed the ghostly presence of several men, a couple of women and a child. “There is a vortex in the kitchen,” she said.

San Juan Capistrano, California
Los Rios Street, one of the oldest residential streets in California still in existence, receives many reports of ghosts including the white lady who appears near the giant pepper tree north of the Rios Adobe and O'Neill Museum, where the ghost of Albert Pryor is sometimes seen wearing a gray sweater, rocking on the front porch. The Rios Adobe has ghostly footsteps and The Ramos House, now a restaurant, was once known for its "cold room" and poltergeist activity. In Mission San Juan Capistrano, a faceless monk roams the corridors at night, his sandals echoing through the stillness as he hurries away. There's even a headless soldier standing guard near the garrison building, sounding bells that ring mysteriously in the night.

Ventura Haunted Ghost Tours
Ventura is home to the prolific ghost researcher and author, Richard Senate. For years, he's provided tours of Ventura's many haunted buildings and told visitors about the ghosts that inhabit them. While Senate recently retired and also became ill, the City of Ventura continues to support his research through ghost tours. Events include Ghost Bus Tour of Haunted Roadways sponsored by the City of Ventura on October 23. Tour starts at City Hall steps, 501 Poli St. Call:  805-658-4726. Revel in stories of ghosts and poltergeists from Ventura's past in this bus tour to purported ghost sites, including Olivas and Ortega Adobes as well as Cemetery Park. Bring a warm coat and a flashlight. Admission:$12.  Ventura's Haunted Heritage will be held on October 30, 2004 from 7 to 9 p.m. Phone: 805-658-4726. Admission: $9. www.ci.ventura.ca.us
Richard Senate's web site: www.ghost-stalker.com


 

California Ghost Haunting Tours
Ghosts
Halloween Costumes
Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Haunt
October Ghost & Halloween Fairs, Festivals and Events

Auburn Ghosts
Calico Ghost Town in Yermo
Gaviota State Park
Ghosts of Placerville
Greystone Mansion - Beverly Hills
Monterey Hotel
Moss Beach Distiller (Blue Lady ghost)
San Diego - Thomas Whaley Mansion
San Francisco’s Alcatraz
San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House
Queen Mary Ship in Long Beach
San Juan Capistrano Mission District
Ventura’s City-Sponsored Ghost Tours


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