Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

Friday, July 22, 2016

Southern California’s Convict Lake

Sportsmen state the fish do not bite when the ghosts are near. . .

A mile and a half up in the High Sierra Mountains in California sits a Lake named after escaped convicts.

Nevada State Penitentiary at Carson City
Convict Lake was named after a group of six convicts that escaped from the Nevada State Penitentiary in September of 1871. Twenty-nine men convicted of stagecoach and train robberies escaped this prison in the Nevada desert and headed west. They crossed the border into California.

This group of convicts split up and headed into the High Sierras, which was not a wise decision for the first snowfalls in late September were already hitting these mountains.

Convict Lake
Six men from this group headed south toward the lake that is now named after them. They found themselves without shelter or supplies.

Along the trail they encountered a local mailman, William Poor. Poor immediately recognized them from the wanted posters in his office. The convicts seeing the fear in his eyes killed him in cold blood.

When word about this murder reached the locals they became enraged and formed a posse. On September 24th they found the convicts’ hideout near the lake. A bloody gun battle ensued. Deputy Sheriff Robert Morrison was killed. 

When the fight was over three men were taken into custody, the other three escaped further into the mountains and died of exposure. Two of the men captured were hanged the third man who had testified against the other two convicts was returned to prison. He was stabbed and killed by fellow prisoners for being a snitch.

Ever since, three ghosts have been seen near this lake. Two wear nooses around their necks the third has a knife sticking out of his back—it is believed he was the one who was the informer.

All three ghosts are seen covered in snow with icicles hanging from their eyebrows. Witnesses state these men have “lifeless” eyes.

These three ghosts are seen near Convict Lake year round but they are seen more often in the fall months. Locals and fishermen state that the trout in this lake do not bite when these ghosts are seen.

Witnesses state they present a gruesome sight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Haunted B-29 Bomber

Located in the San Joaquin Valley in northern California is the Castle Air Museum. This museum is nearby the closed Castle Air Force Base.

The Castle Air Museum displays over 50 historic aircraft from the World War ll, Korean and Vietnam War eras.

Raz'n Hell
One restored aircraft at this museum has a reputation for being haunted by a ghost named Arthur. This ghost is called Arthur because of a set of dog tags found in the plane when it was first brought to the museum.

This aircraft is a B-29 Superfortress—the kind used to drop the Atomic bombs on Japan. It is called the Ran’z Hell.

Crew standing in front of
intact Raz'n Hell
during Korean War.
No one knows for sure who Arthur is because when this Boeing B-29 was restored it had to be pieced together from 3 seperate aircraft of the same model. All had served in the Pacific theater during World War ll.

One common report from witnesses is this aircraft’s landing lights are seen on at night. The problem with is all the Raz’n Hell’s wiring has been removed.

Other witnesses have reported seeing its propellers rotating even though they are locked in place.

Several visitors and workers have seen a shadowy figure moving around the cockpit area. Others have reported seeing a dark figure sitting in the cockpit.

During the time the plane was being restored, one employee while working in the cockpit stated he asked a friend to hand him a wrench. Without looking up he felt this wrench placed in his hand.

Seconds later, he looked out one window and saw his friend outside the plane. He looked around but no one was in the B-29 with him.

Other activity involving tools includes ones that are moved without explanation and others that have disappeared.

One former Castle Museum worker states that he often worked on a plane directly across from this Superfortess. On more than one occasion he noticed the co-pilot window open only to see it closed minutes later. This was when no one was working on the Raz’n Hell.

A tradition among the workers at this museum is to request permission from Arthur before they enter this B-29 bomber.

Several paranormal groups have investigated the Raz’n Hell. They have walked away with some interesting evidence.

One team recorded what they feel is the sound of Morse code. This has led many to believe that Arthur must have been a radio operator.

Other teams have heard and recorded distinct knockings on the plane’s fuselage when no one was near this area.

Here is a report done by a local news show about this haunting.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Silent Movie Theatre

This theatre has been a fixture on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California since 1942.

Its original owner, John Hampton opened the theatre just 15 years after silent films became passé. He began with his personal collection of silent film favorites and then slowly increased his film library.

His theatre showed Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, Rudolph Valentino and the Keystone Cops in all their glory.

John Hampton, 1942
What original theatre
looked like in 1942.
Hampton’s dedication to preserving these films meant he often placed his new finds in a tub above the theatre in chemicals. This over the years exposed him to deadly toxins. He was diagnosed with Cancer in the 1970s and died in 1990.

Tragedy struck Laurence Austin, the next owner of this theatre in January of 1997. It was first thought he was shot and killed during an apparent robbery.

The police later revealed that Austin’s business partner and long time lover James Van Sickle actually hired a hit man to kill Austin. His motive was to inherit the money. He and the gunman both received life in prison.

Laurence Austin in front of
theatre in 1996.
The theatre closed in 1997. But then Charlie Lustman bought and re-opened the silent film house in 1999. After he saw the faded blood stains on the carpet and saw the posters Hampton had hung in the theatre--he stated that Hampton’s spirit inspired him to do this.

He renovated the little 158-seat theatre with fresh paint, new wooden floors, a new screen and projection booth and a neon marquee. The films were still accompanied by piano or organ music.

During the time Lustman owned the theatre it became apparent to him and startled employees that the building was haunted.

John Hampton’s spirit haunts the lounge area of the apartment upstairs where he and his wife Dorothy lived for 45 years. 

Lustman states if he strayed from the original purpose for the theatre things would go wrong. When he arranged to show a 3-D film festival in 2000, he received a black eye on a display case. Then the projector that had worked fine for a year, broke down minutes before the first 3-D film could screen.

It appeared Hampton was unhappy with his decision.

Laurence Austin’s spirit has shocked more than one witness in the theatre’s lobby—near where he was shot.

Lustman and a former publicist for the theatre would hear the repeated jingle of keys while alone in the building. Austin was known to have a nervous habit--he would jingle his keys.

To settle down the activity Lustman brought in a shaman, sage was burnt and rose crystals were placed where Austin was murdered.

In 2006, Lustman sold the theatre to the Harkham brothers. They re-opened the theatre as a rival house called the Cinefamily. They show an eclectic mix of sound and silent films.

What theatre looks like today.
The Silent Movie Theatre is located on the west side of Fairfax Avenue just north of the Farmers Market. It is rented out for special events.

Ghost teams in the area should consider renting this venue—an ideal place for a classic horror flick, conference and a ghost hunt.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Harvey House: Casa del Desierto

The Harvey House hotels and restaurants played a defining role in civilizing the West—by the 1880s there was a dinning facility located every 100 miles along the AT&SF.

Casa del Desierto in 1946
In Barstow, California on North First Street sits one of the 84 Harvey Houses that were built in the Western United States by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad to provide quality food and service for its passengers.

After the turn of the 20th century Harvey Houses were designed by professional architects to reflect the culture and natural terrain where they were built.

Casa del Desierto or House of the Desert was a train depot, hotel and restaurant designed by Los Angeles architect, Francis Wilson in 1911 after the original wooden Harvey House hotel in Barstow burnt down in 1908.

Wilson’s design reflects traditional Spanish and Native American themes with Moorish influences. The old depot is a California Historical Landmark today and is now used as a museum.

Renovated depot.
Ghost tours are given in this building because it has a lot of activity.

The waitresses tasked with serving the fine food * at Fred Harvey’s Houses ** were known as Harvey Girls. These young women—between the ages of 18 and 25 were selected carefully.

Harvey Girls at the Casa.
Many women who applied were turned down so it was considered an honor to be picked as a Harvey Girl. These women were held to a strict set of rules.

They had a 10:00 p.m. curfew that they had to adhere to everyday of the year so that they would be rested for the next day’s work. They wore a black and white uniform that had to be pressed before each shift.

A Harvey Girl by the name of Rachel worked at the Casa del Desierto in the 1920s. She haunts this old depot.

She is seen near where the formal dinning room was located. Witnesses report seeing her take orders from customers that are not there. She is also seen walking from the kitchen area holding an object in her hand.

A more recent story told is she is seen on the balcony at the Casa –it is stated she waits for her fiancé to return from the war. It is believed she committed suicide when he did not return.

Casa lobby.
Another ghost seen at this depot is of a little girl named Emily. She is seen playing peek-a-boo with visitors near the staircase in the lobby. This spirit is known to follow people around when they are upstairs.

Yet another spirit is a man by the name of Buchanan. He announces his presence with a strong aroma of smoke. He was crushed to death between two railroad cars in the depot’s yard.

His last request before he died was to see his family and have one last cigarette.

Many witnesses have experienced rapid temperature changes at the Casa. These temperatures become warmer of colder between 20 to 70 degrees within minutes.

Voices of both children and adults are heard and shadows or dark figures are seen.

People that are more sensitive have reported feeling chills on their neck and hands and a tingling sensation on their arms. Other reactions include a feeling of being uncomfortable, becoming dizzy, lightheaded or even nauseated.

In my experience the above feelings are classic examples that a place is truly haunted.

*  Passengers heading west could order off this menu in the Harvey Houses:

Click to enlarge.
Blue Points on Shell, English Peas Au Gratin, Filets of Whitefish with Madeira Sauce, Potatoes Francaise, Roast Sirloin of Beef au jus, Salmon or Duck, Mashed potatoes, Boiled Sweet Potatoes, Turkey Stuffed, Cranberry Sauce, Baked Veal Pie English Style, Pork with Applesauce, Pickled Lamb Tongue.

French Slaw, Queen Olives, Elgin Sugar Corn, Charlotte of Peaches in Cognac Sauce, Prairie Chicken, Current Jelly, Lobster Salad au Mayonnaise, Sugar Cured Ham, Beets, Celery.

Apple Pie, Assorted Cakes, Bananas, Cold Custard la Chantilly, Catawaba Wine Jelly, Edam and Roquefort Cheese, New York Ice Cream, Grapes, Bent’s Water Crackers, French Coffee.

A meal cost 75 cents.

Fred Harvey
** Fred Harvey while working for the railroad in the late 1800s noted “a decent lack of food for railroad travelers.” He then pitched his idea to the company to open fine dinning restaurants.

His Harvey Houses were the first restaurant chain in America. They introduced the concept of Blue Plate Specials.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Olivas Adobe Family Ghosts

Located south of Ventura, California near Highway 101 is an adobe home built by Don Raymundo Olivas in 1841.

Ranch house at Rancho San Miguel.
Olivas was given 2,250 acres from a land grant by the Mexican Governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado in appreciation for his service in the Mexican Army.

Olivas called his new home Rancho San Miguel. In 1849 he had a second story built onto his home-- making it a one of a kind in the region. He and his wife, Teodora had 21 children.

Teodora Olivas
Being the wealthiest cattle rancher in Alta, Don Raymundo held fiestas at his home that often lasted 3 to 4 days. But this attracted undue attention, which resulted in bandits rounding up the family and holding them captive as they looked for valuables.

In one version of this story it is stated Don Raymundo sent a servant with a box containing gold coins worth upwards of $75,000. This servant buried it while Don Raymundo stalled.

Unfortunately when this servant returned the robbers killed him, before finding out the location, so to this day no one has ever found where this gold is hidden.

When Don Raymundo died in 1879, his land was parceled off to his heirs. By 1899, the property was no longer owned by the family.

Max Fleischaman

Front view of Olivas Adobe.
In 1927, Max Fleischman—of the yeast and butter fame—bought the ranch house and restored it. When he died in 1972 he gifted the property to the city of Ventura.

The Olivas Adobe was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The home is run as a museum today and tours are offered on the weekends.

Employees, volunteers and visitors all feel the old home is haunted.

The most active ghost is a female known as the Lady in Black. Many feel this spirit that is dressed in black mourning is the ghost of Don Raymundo’s wife, Teodora.

Numerous witnesses have spotted her ghost over the years. She is often seen pacing back and forth. She is seen both day and night moving from one room to the next or on the upper porch at the rear of the house—many have watched as she disappeared in mid-stride.

It is stated she wrings her hands nervously—a throwback to the time she and her family were held captive by bandits. It is said they ruthlessly ripped her earrings out.

Nicolas Olivas
Another ghost seen is that of a man with a beard. His face * is seen hovering outside a second story window. It is said it resembles, Nicolas Olivas, Don Raymundo’s eldest son.

This ghost is seen looking in at the room that once was the “Children’s Room.” This window is 16 feet above the ground and has no ledge or balcony attached to it. Some speculate he is looking for his finger—chopped off by the bandits.

The ghost of a little girl has also been spotted in the home--it is believed she was Nicolas' daughter, Rebecca. On one Halloween over 100 people witnessed her at the same time.

Rebecca Olivas 
* In 2004, Richard Senate the manager of Olivas Adobe who is a ghost hunter, captured this bearded face angrily peering into this window on his digital camera.

The Lady in Black has also been seen gazing out of this same window onto the courtyard below. She has startled more than one visitor.

Volunteers at the museum report hearing footsteps going up the stairs and on the floorboards above. When these sounds are investigated no one is ever found.

Other activity includes rocking chairs in the home moving on their own and the dolls in the Children's Room have been moved around overnight when the home is closed.

The following 5-minute video is Richard Senate talking about the ghosts that have been captured in EVPs and photos in the Olivas Adobe. 

Here is another more recent video Senate did about this haunting.