Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Haunted Catalina

Avalon Bay
This island is just off the coast of southern California near Long Beach.

Its first inhabitants were the Gabrielino Indians that first arrived at this location around 500 B.C. The island provided them with an abundance of fish in the clear waters just offshore.

The plentiful fish also attracted sea otters to the Avalon Bay.

In 1811, Russian fur traders that had come south from Alaska slaughtered many of these sea otters for their sleek fur. When the local Indians objected the Russians slaughtered them as well.

In 1542, a Spanish explorer, Juan Cabrillo discovered the island--he named it Santa Catalina or Saint Catherine.

Juan Cabrillo
The islands close proximity to the mainland--it is just 21 miles across the channel to reach Catalina from Long Beach--made an ideal location for smugglers.

These illegal traders often fought among themselves, which resulted in more deaths in the area.

In 1863, during the Gold Rush, greedy miners extended tunnels under the seabed in their quest for gold. Many of these tunnels collapsed and flooded with water. The result was even more deaths.

The island is haunted today partly because of its violent past.

Shades of the Past

The ghosts of murdered Indians, smugglers and gold miners have all been seen or heard on or near Catalina.

Indians have been known to materialize in the hills behind the town of Avalon. They are seen standing quietly shoulder-to-shoulder. They stare out to sea. Some feel they await the return of the Russians that murdered them.

Boaters in the vicinity of Catalina Island over the years have reported catching a glimpse of a mysterious sloop at dawn or dusk. This craft flies no flag and has no running lights. Some feel it carries the phantoms of smugglers.

Scuba divers while exploring the underwater gardens near the island have reported hearing the eerie screams of the miners trapped by the collapsed gold-mine tunnels.

More Recent Ghosts

There are two ghosts seen on Catalina that achieved fame while alive.

The first is William Wrigley, Jr. Wrigley made his fortune from manufacturing and selling chewing gum. Catalina’s isolation and charm so enthralled him at one point he bought the whole island.

Wrigley home on Catalina
His ghost materializes at his grand home at the head of Avalon Canyon. People state this entity is easy to identify for he is always seen-- chewing gum.

The second ghost seen is of Natalie Wood. She was an actress who first gained fame as a child in the film, Miracle of 34th Street. She later starred in such hits as Rebel without a Cause and West Side Story.

One evening as her yacht was anchored off Catalina, she either attempted to dive overboard or fell off the deck. She plunged headfirst into a dinghy tied alongside which killed her instantly.

Her ghost is seen strolling along a nearby beach. Some witnesses have stated she was unclothed. When the accident * occurred she was supposedly naked.

*  There has been much speculation since her death--that it actually was not an accident.

I talk about another California ghost seen on Coronado Island here. This female ghost is seen at the world famous Hotel del Coronado.

No comments: