California, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant cities, also harbors a darker side – a realm of mystery, eerie tales, and haunted locations. With its vast and diverse landscapes spanning over 164,000 square miles, the Golden State boasts a rich history intertwined with ghostly encounters. Here are 20 of the most haunted places in California that will send shivers down your spine.
Haunted Places in California
- The Dark Watchers, Big Sur: Legends of enigmatic figures standing guard on the Santa Lucia Mountains’ inaccessible cliffs date back to 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first documented them. These shadowy sentinels, known as “Los Vigilantes Oscuros,” have been spotted by contemporary hikers, often leaving an eerie feeling of being watched.
- Preston Castle, Ione: Originally designed as an alternative to juvenile prisons, this 230-acre campus turned into a hotspot for violence and tragedy. At least 16 young men met their demise within its walls, and housekeeper Anna Corbin suffered a brutal attack. Today, paranormal investigators frequent the site, reporting disembodied voices, slamming doors, and ghostly assaults.
- The Cecil Hotel, Los Angeles: Infamous for the mysterious death of college student Elisa Lam, this hotel has a history of violence and tragedy. It witnessed multiple violent deaths since its opening in 1942 and even harbored known serial killers. The Cecil is now renowned as one of LA’s most haunted hotels, attracting true-crime enthusiasts and paranormal investigators.
- Brookdale Lodge, Santa Cruz: Once a haven for celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and President Hoover, this lodge saw its share of tragedies, leading to its closure in 2011. Guests and staff reported sightings of a little girl in a dated off-white dress, believed to be Sarah Logan, who drowned in a nearby creek in 1892. Paranormal investigators have captured Electronic Voice Phenomena felt to be Sarah’s voice.
- Cerro Gordo Ghost Town: Perched 8,500 feet above sea level in the Inyo Mountains, this former mining town witnessed the deaths of at least 30 men. Current owner Brent Underwood, who lives in the abandoned village, has encountered various unsettling events, including lights turning on and books tumbling from shelves. Visitors to the American Hotel, which burned down in 2020, often reported strange sightings and spectral energies.