SAN DIEGO – It’s hard to imagine San Diego being an eerie place with its sunshine, surfers, beaches and chill vibes. But did you know parts of America’s Finest City has a spooky side as well?
There are several places in the area where legend has it spirits live on, from hotels to lighthouses to ferry boats.
San Diego Ghost Tours by Ghosts and Gravestones, located in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, takes sightseers on a trolley ride through parts of the area known for its haunted history.
Here are some of its most spooky spots:
William Heath Davis House
A Victorian woman is said to have appeared many times in front of guests, while a man dressed in a suit and a woman donning an evening gown have also been seen at the top of a staircase in downtown San Diego’s oldest structure, Ghosts and Gravestones states on its website. Built in 1850 by William Heath Davis, one of the founders of once “New Town” San Diego, the deaths over the decade the building served as a hospital may have something to do with the “abundance of paranormal activity in the building,” the website states.
“Lights have been known to turn off and back on again – even when the house was not yet wired for electricity and only used gas or coal oil lamps,” the tour agency says. “Strange and unexplained events still occur often when no one is there. Each evening the interior lights are turned off before the security alarm is set, yet many mornings a light in a back room is found back on.”
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse has been standing for over 200 years, once helping to guide ships as they entered the San Diego Bay. According to Ghosts and Gravestones, visitors who tour the historic building have reported hearing footsteps, moaning and heavy breathing, and feeling as though someone is standing behind them.
“Many believe the spirit of the famed Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo lives here, waiting to transition to the other side,” the tour group’s website says. “Others say that the lighthouse’s final light keeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel returned after his death, watching over his beloved lighthouse and keeping his eye on all who venture inside.”
Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat
Serving as the operation’s main building at the San Diego Maritime Museum, workers on the Berkeley Steam Ferry have described an encounter with an apparition that appears to be a man wearing a fedora, according to Ghosts and Gravestones’ website. He is believed to either be the spirit of John O Norbom who died in 1911 onboard the boat in a fiery explosion or “a dearly departed guest who wishes to be back onboard the boat over and over,” the tour agency says.
The boat operated in the late 1800s, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers at a time in the San Francisco Bay area, the agency’s website states.
The Whaley House
Known as “the most haunted house in America,” the Whaley House in Old Town San Diego has endured death, suicide and mystery, Ghosts and Gravestones says on its website. Since 1857, the building has served as a family home, general store, courthouse, theater and eventually a museum.
The tour agency says ghosts have been regularly seen in and around the property, such as that of James “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who was hanged there after he was found guilty of grand larceny, and Violet Whaley, “who killed herself after being ostracized by society for her divorce.”
Horton Grand Hotel
Flickering lights, bed shaking, and wardrobe doors opening are among some of the reports of paranormal activity that have been experienced inside the elegant Horton Grand Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, Ghosts and Gravestones says on its website, warning visitors of room No. 309, where one person in particular’s presence has been felt.
“One such haunt is that of Roger Whittaker, a cheating gambler who after being shot sought refuge by hiding inside an armoire in room #309,” the tour site states. “His creditors found him and shot him to death, but to this day he still resides in room #309.”
Hotel del Coronado
A young woman by the name of Kate Morgan checked into the historic Coronado hotel under a fake name, the Ghosts and Gravestones website states. The hotel’s website says Morgan, who was married but estranged from her husband, waited on a man to join her but he never showed up and she took her life five days later.
Visitors say they have witnessed flickering lights, a television that powers on and off on its own, items moving on their own, and scents and sounds they can’t explain.
The Grande Colonial
Phone calls coming from an unoccupied room late at night with the phone being off the hook has been a pretty common occurrence inside the Grande Colonial in La Jolla, the hotel states on its website. Some of the guests who have stayed there since its opening in 1913 include locals, military men and Hollywood royalty, according to Ghosts and Gravestones’ website.
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