Seven Haunted Sites to Put You in the Halloween ‘Spirit’
San Diego is known for many novelties, from speakeasy cocktail bars and California tacos to hidden trails and seaside escapes. But one unique aspect of San Diego that often gets overlooked is its fabled haunted history. With Halloween just around the corner, here’s a look at seven of the most popular sites to help you get your creep on.
Built in 1850 by shipping owner William Heath Davis, the home is the oldest structure in downtown San Diego. Among its residents were San Diego founder Alonzo Horton and his wife Sarah; a German spy; and others who are believed to be “lingering about” nearly two centuries later. The building’s paranormal activity might also have something to do with the numerous deaths that occurred there during the 10 years it served as a hospital. (That’s not creepy at all).
Today, visitors can tour the historic lighthouse and learn about its unique past, which began in late 1855 when the lighthouse was first lit. But beware – many who have visited have gotten a taste of the abnormal, and the paranormal. The sound of startling moans, heavy footsteps, even a a chill upon the spiral staircase, it’s all there for the taking at the Point Loma Lighthouse.
Folklore says the spirit of Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo resides here, and he’s still waiting to transition to the other side. Others say the final light keeper, Captain Robert Decatur Israel, keeps watch and tracks all who venture inside.
Any discussion about haunted San Diego has to include the Whaley House. It’s known as “America’s #1 Most Haunted House” for a reason. The beautiful mansion has a dark past, full of death and intrigue. It’s all exactly what you want in a haunted house, right? One of the more popular San Diego attractions, the Whaley House is visited by thousands of tourists each year. It has served as a courthouse, a general store and a theater and was owned by Thomas Whaley, a businessman who built a general store at the height of the Gold Rush. After a fire gutted his San Francisco store, Whaley and a business partner ventured to San Diego to set up a shop that served the local Native American tribe, the Kumeyaay.
This magnificent hotel is known for its restored architectural elegance, rich history, prime location near the San Diego Convention Center, and…a fabled history for guests who “overstay” their welcome. Looks like gambler Roger Whittaker, who legend has it met an untimely demise in Room 309, should have paid his debt. Guests have reported flickering lights, doors opening and closing, and the sound of footsteps. The hotel continues to be among San Diego’s most popular hotels despite its haunted history — or perhaps because of it.
The Hotel “del” has a storied past that rivals anyplace in San Diego. And its haunted tales go right along with it. At the center of the del’s haunted history is Katie Morgan, a.k.a. “The Beautiful Stranger.” In 1892, she checked into the hotel under a false name. She was rumored to have argued with a male companion during her stay. After that, she made some dark choices. Her apparition is said to be sighted by hotel visitors, though rumor has it she keeps to herself.
Situated in Old Town, the Cosmopolitan Hotel has a rich history born in the mid- to late 1800s. The hotel’s founder was Juan Bandini, and his youngest daughter, Ysidora, is said to have taken up residence in the hotel’s Room 11. Some have reported flickering lights, loud noises, and other signs that perhaps Ysidora is up to mischief all these years later.
Now home to the San Diego Maritime Museum’s offices and library, the Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat operated in the San Francisco Bay in the late 1800s, carrying nearly 2,000 passengers at a time. The boat has a long list of intriguing historical events and guests to its name. Those who have worked on the boat have reported seeing an apparition — a man clad in a fedora. Some believe it’s the spirit of John O. Norbom, who died in 1911 in an explosion that injured 5 others onboard. But others suspect it’s someone else, a dearly departed guest who wishes to go back onboard time and again. Why don’t you get to the bottom of it and report back to us? We trust you.
“Ghostly Goings on at the Hotel del Coronado” (www.hoteldel.com)