California’s 19 Most Haunted Places: Spooky Side of the Golden State

California's 20 Most Haunted Places

California’s 19 Most Haunted Places

California, the land of sun, surf, and Hollywood glamour, is not immune to ghost stories and legends. The Golden State boasts some of America’s most haunted places, from haunted hotels to abandoned mansions. Whether you believe in ghosts, these places will send chills down your spine. In this article, we’ll investigate California’s 19 most haunted places and uncover their eerie tales.

Are you brave enough to brave the ghosts of California’s past? Then, join us as we embark on an exhilarating journey into the unknown.

1. Queen Mary’s Haunted Castle in Long Beach

The Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner now a floating hotel, is one of California’s most haunted places. Sailing from 1936 to 1967, its long and storied history includes wartime service and multiple deaths onboard. Visitors and staff have reported seeing apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling ghostly presences in various areas such as the engine room, pool area, and first-class staterooms.

2. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

The Winchester Mystery House is an enigmatic mansion constructed by Sarah Winchester, the widow of the Winchester rifle magnate in the late 1800s. Designed to confuse and thwart any ghosts Sarah believed were haunting her, this strange place is now open for tours so visitors can learn about its strange history and haunted legend.

3. Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-era beach resort that opened in 1888, has long been known as a great destination and paranormal hotspot. Over the years, several ghostly sightings have been reported, including Kate Morgan – who checked into the hotel in 1892 but never checked out; her body was discovered on a staircase leading to the beach, though how she died remains unknown today. Guests have reported seeing her ghostly figure inside rooms, on the beach, and even in elevators!

4. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco

In San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island was home to one of America’s most notorious prisons. From 1934 to 1963, Alcatraz housed some of America’s most dangerous criminals, such as Al Capone and Robert Stroud (known as “Birdman of Alcatraz”), under harsh conditions where many inmates died from disease, violence, or suicide. Visitors have reported feeling cold spots, hearing strange noises, and seeing ghostly apparitions of former inmates and guards during their visit.

5. The Whaley House in San Diego

The Whaley House, situated in San Diego’s Old Town district, is said to be one of the country’s most haunted houses. Constructed in 1857, its tragic past includes two family suicides and the execution of a criminal on its grounds. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling cold spots throughout the house, such as courtrooms or bedrooms.

6. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, established in 1927, has hosted many famous guests over the years – such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Charlie Chaplin – but it is rumored to be haunted by some of its former residents. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, hearing unexplained noises, and feeling strange presences within its hallways and rooms; one of the most well-known ghost sightings is Marilyn Monroe, who is said to haunt her former suite on the 12th floor of this iconic hotel.

7. The Preston Castle in Ione

The Preston Castle, also known as the Preston School of Industry, was an abandoned reform school from 1894 to 1960. Designed by a renowned architect, it housed juvenile delinquents and other troubled youths. Over time there were allegations of abuse, neglect, and corruption at the school. Nowadays, it is an attraction for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts who have reported seeing ghostly figures, hearing strange noises, and feeling cold spots in various parts of the building.

8. Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles

The Hotel Cecil, once a glamorous hotel in downtown Los Angeles, has a mysterious past. Over the years, it has witnessed multiple murders, suicides, and other crimes – one of the most famous being Elisa Lam’s death in 2013, being found dead inside its rooftop water tank. Her circumstances remain mysterious today, and her case has sparked numerous conspiracy theories. Due to its haunted past and connection to Elisa Lam’s case, investigators and ghost hunters flock there today.

9. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

Golden Gate Park, one of San Francisco’s most beloved attractions, is home to some eerie legends. One such tale tells of the Lady in White – a ghostly figure believed to haunt Stow Lake within the park. Legend has it that she was an innocent young woman who died in a boating accident many years ago. Her ghostly image can be seen walking along its shore or floating on the water’s surface.

10. The Mission San Miguel in San Miguel.

The Mission San Miguel, founded in 1797 and believed to be haunted by the ghosts of its former inhabitants, has reportedly been visited by visitors who report hearing strange noises, feeling cold spots, and seeing ghostly figures inside its chapel and other buildings. Some even claim to hear Native American drums adding to the eerie atmosphere created. This dark past – including forced labor practices – may contribute to its eerie reputation.

11. Moss Beach Distillery in Moss Beach

Moss Beach Distillery has been around since Prohibition, serving food and drinks to visitors who’ve seen ghostly figures walking along the beach or sitting in the bar. Legend has it that The Blue Lady, a married woman who had an affair with a piano player at the distillery, was murdered on the beach outside by her jealous husband. Today visitors report seeing her ghostly figure walking along the shore or sitting inside the bar as though it were still alive.

12. Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings

The Pioneer Saloon, built in 1913 in Goodsprings, Nevada, has a reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of its former patrons. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, hearing unexplained noises, and feeling cold spots throughout the building, particularly at its upstairs apartment, men’s bathroom, and bar.

13. Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco

The Queen Anne Hotel, built in 1890 in San Francisco, is said to be haunted by Mary Lake – the former headmistress of a girls’ school that once occupied the building. Legend has it that Mary loved this building so much she never wanted to leave, even after her passing. Visitors have reported seeing Mary walking the hallways, playing piano in the lobby, and even tucking guests into bed at night.

14. The USS Hornet in Alameda

USS Hornet, a retired aircraft carrier that served in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, now resides as a museum in Alameda but is said to be haunted by the ghosts of its former crew members. Visitors have reported hearing unusual noises, cold spots, and ghostly apparitions throughout the ship – particularly around the engine room, sick bay, and flight deck areas.

15. Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill

The Hotel Leger, built-in 1851 in Mokelumne Hill during the Gold Rush, has a legendary reputation for being haunted by the ghosts of its former guests and residents. Visitors have reported hearing strange noises, seeing ghostly apparitions, and feeling cold spots throughout the building, particularly the dining room, bar area, and upstairs bedrooms.

16. The Brookdale Lodge in Brookdale

Brookdale Lodge is a historic hotel and restaurant in the Santa Cruz Mountains built in 1890. Rumors swirl about secret tunnels, underground caves, and hidden rooms within this establishment; additionally, it’s said to be haunted by several ghosts including that of a little girl who drowned in its swimming pool during the 1930s – visitors have reported hearing her laughter and footsteps along with splashing water sounds.

17. The Sacramento Theatre Company in Sacramento

The Sacramento Theatre Company, built in 1949 and located in downtown Sacramento, is said to be haunted by several ghosts – including that of former actor Pinky. Although she passed away in 1973, her ghost can still be felt around the theater; visitors have reported seeing her figure in dressing rooms and backstage areas, as well as hearing unexplained noises and feeling cold spots.

18. Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano.

The Mission San Juan Capistrano, established in 1776 in San Juan Capistrano, is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including that of a young woman who passed away in its chapel. Visitors have reported seeing her ghostly figure inside, unexplained noises, and cold spots throughout the complex.

19. Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles

Linda Vista Hospital, now abandoned in Los Angeles, has a reputation for being one of California’s most haunted places. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions, hearing unexplained noises, and feeling cold spots throughout the building – particularly in specific areas such as the morgue, surgical room, and psychiatric ward.


California is rich in history and culture, and its haunted places bear witness to the legends passed down through generations. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, visiting these haunted spots can be an exhilarating and spine-tingling experience. From Preston Castle’s haunted halls to Winchester Mystery House’s mysterious entrance, California offers no shortage of thrilling destinations for thrill-seekers and paranormal investigators alike.

Before visiting these haunted places, research and abide by the regulations in each location. Many of these spots are historical landmarks that should be treated with reverence.

In conclusion, whether you believe in the paranormal or not, exploring California’s most haunted places offers a unique and unforgettable experience that will last a lifetime. So why not gather your friends and family, and take an unforgettable ghostly journey to some of California’s most haunted destinations? Who knows, you might encounter some ghostly apparitions along the way!