In a post earlier this week, I shared the history of the Twin Inns in Carlsbad, California, with the promise of revealing its otherworldly occupants on Halloween. So here they are, along with other paranormal places in the Golden State.
The mansion dates to 1887, and in 1919 became home to the popular Twin Inns dining location that bustled for much of the 20th century. It seems to remain popular with a gaggle of ghostly girls. A number of passersby have seen them playing on the surrounding grounds.
One girl ventures inside as well. This page on haunted Carlsbad doesn’t give the era, but reports that a delivery man once was headed up to the office on the top floor, and found a girl in old-fashioned clothes sitting at the top of the stairs. She smiled at him. “Cute kid,” he told the two people in the office, handing over a package. There weren’t any little girls in the building, they said. But they knew who he was talking about. They’d seen a girl in the same old-fashioned clothes.
An unidentified woman has also been known to look out the uppermost windows.
Early visitors included Sarah Bernhardt, Henry James, and Charles Lindbergh. Another was a young woman known as the Beautiful Stranger. She checked into the hotel around Thanksgiving in November 1892, under the name Lottie A. Bernard of Detroit. Appearing ill, she confined herself to her room, telling the staff she was suffering from stomach cancer and that her brother, a doctor, was coming to treat her. Five days later, she was found dead on a stairway leading down to the beach, with a gunshot wound to the head. A gun she’d just purchased lay beside her.
Accordingly, census records show a Charlotte “Lottie” Bernard living in Detroit in 1890 and ’91, and after that, her name disappears from the U.S. census and Detroit directories. But, for reasons none of the accounts I’ve read explain, investigators arrived at the conclusion that the woman was one Kate Morgan. (Please comment if you know why!) They believed “Lottie A. Bernard” was simply an alias, making the real Detroit woman’s apparent disappearance sheer coincidence. Yet no one who knew Kate Morgan came to identify the dead woman’s body, and the photograph supplied by one of Morgan’s employers looked nothing like the Beautiful Stranger. The fact that Morgan had been working as a housemaid in Los Angeles also makes it unlikely that she would have stayed at the posh Hotel del Coronado, and there’s a Kate Morgan of matching age in the 1900 San Francisco Census, eight years after her supposed death.
It’s speculated that whoever the Beautiful Stranger was, she’d attempted to abort a pregnancy at the hotel. Again, I haven’t read any evidence to support this, but at least I can see where the idea came from–a sick young woman traveling alone, complaining of “stomach cancer,” and when no doctor (or lover) arrives, she shoots herself. This would have fit nicely with Kate Morgan’s “loose” and desperate history, being that she ran out on her husband with another man, with whom she also separated before reaching Los Angeles, where she worked in three households in two months.
The last element of the mystery was revealed nearly 100 years later in the 1980s, when a lawyer reading up on the inquest found that the coroner had casually noted that the bullet in the Beautiful Stranger’s head did not match her gun. Was she murdered, and framed to look like a suicide?
No wonder the woman’s spirit seems restless! A young Victorian woman, referred to as Kate Morgan, is known to haunt the Hotel del Coronado, particularly the room in which the Beautiful Stranger stayed her last five days.
Check out this post to learn more about “the Del.”
In Mono County on the border with Nevada, this California State Park is the best preserved ghost town in the state–perhaps the best in the country! Twenty miners and other opportunist folk settled the town after Waterman S. Body (no typo) discovered gold there in 1859. 30 gold mines were developed in the hills above the town, which grew to boast sixty-five saloons, including brothels, gambling halls and opium dens at peak population (over 10,000!) in 1879. According to local papers, townsfolk would say in the morning, “Have a man for breakfast?” meaning, “Did anyone get killed last night?” The town’s most famous saying, however, was coined by a girl when her family was moving to the pioneer town from San Francisco. She wrote in her diary, “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” Bodie persisted well into the 20th century.
In the 1910s, James S. Cain was Bodie’s leading businessman. He and his family lived in this house:
They had a Chinese maid until Mrs. Cain fired her, apparently thinking there was something between the maid and Mr. Cain. Disgraced and possibly believing she wouldn’t be able to find another job because of it, the maid took her life.
Her ghost remains at the Cain House, particularly in a bedroom upstairs. She smiles at children who visit on tours, but does not take kindly to park rangers spending the night. Rangers and their spouses have been pinned to the bed, and felt they were being suffocated.
There’s another ghost who seems to have retired from haunting, having completed his mission. This is the ghost of a man who shot his wife in Bodie’s final days. It was just after WWII, when the town’s last mine closed. The shooter and the victim were two of Bodie’s six remaining residents. Three of those residents in turn killed the shooter. But his ghost appeared to them and shook his fist. Each of the three died of strange diseases. It seems that in life and in death, the shooter finished off the town. Only one of the six residents was not involved and lived.
Bodie has a number of other ghosts, and they are united in their desire for the town to remain as it is. The park office frequently receives letters of apology to the ghosts and packages with items people took from Bodie as souvenirs only to find themselves dogged by misfortune.
The Delta King is haunted by a nine or ten year-old girl, seen bouncing a ball, but who mostly makes her presence known through giggling in the hallways, and footprints on the dew on the deck in the early morning. It is believed she was raped and murdered by a crew member.
The Delta King’s first captain is known to appear in the balcony of the theater onboard. There’s also a ghost man who walks through the lobby to an office door, but then turns around and walks away. Job interview jitters?
The most inexplicable activity, however, is that drinking glasses are constantly breaking in the lounge and restaurant. They break right in people’s hands, or when left unattended. Kyris and Bryan of Haunted Honeymoon had a standing-up menu at their table fall over and break a glass. The waiters cleaned it up, setting everything straight, and the menu keeled over again and broke another glass.
RMS Queen Mary on her maiden voyage, 1936
The infamous Queen Mary has far too much paranormal activity to cover here, so I’ll focus on the haunted areas of the ship I have postcards of–the swimming pools.
Tourist class swimming pool, 1936
In the 1940’s, a five or six year-old girl named Jacqueline Torin drowned in the Second Class (then called Tourist Class) swimming pool. This room was later converted into a movie theater (can’t find when, please comment if you know!), where Jackie’s ghost has been seen and heard. But Jackie is most active in the First Class (once called Cabin Class) swimming pool room. The Queen Mary’s most obliging ghost–answering questions, responding to requests–Jackie’s voice and footsteps have been captured on many recordings. She seems to swing from happy to sad, in the typical way of small children. Sometimes she’s singing, giggling, even splashing, and sometimes she’s crying and calling for her Mommy and Daddy. In 2010, Jackie told two paranormal investigators she was “caught.”
Cabin Class swimming pool, 1936
Jackie’s friend Sarah is more disturbed. Some sources say Sarah was just a year or two older than Jackie, some say she was a young woman. Most agree that, like the poor girl on the Delta King, she was raped and murdered…in one of the First Class pool changing rooms. Her image and sobbing seems to have been captured there on video. However, the late Queen Mary ghost expert Peter James believed she drowned in 1949. James did agree with the general consensus that Sarah is temperamental, and said she slapped him once! At least she has a friend in Jackie, with whom she is known to sing.
The First Class swimming pool is also frequented (separately) by two swim-suited women–a young woman in a 1930s suit who leaves wet footprints, and an older woman in a black and white 1950s or ’60s suit. There are the WWII soldiers Jack and Terrance, whose names are known from hearing them address each other. And there’s a husband and wife named David and Sarah looking for their two children.
A ghost referred to as Grumpy growls at people. It seems to be a joke to him. His favorite spot is a closet under the pool room stairs, which he sometimes leaves smelling like cigarettes.
These postcards of the Queen Mary are from a series, which you can see in this post.
One face of the Matterhorn, known as Side B, is haunted by a ghost named Dolly. Dolly was a woman who went on the ride with her children. She took a seat in front of them, but later wanted to check on them and undid her seatbelt…just before a drop. It’s now known as Dolly’s Drop.
A teenage boy tried to jump from Tomorrowland’s former PeopleMover tram, and got dragged under the car. Clutching for anything, he tried to grab his girlfriend’s long blonde hair, but was killed. Between the boy’s death and the PeopleMover’s decomissioning in 1995, girls on the tram with long blonde hair would feel someone tugging at their tresses.
Disneyland’s most notable ghost is Walt Disney himself. He appears in many places, but favors his old apartment over the fire station on Main Street. An employee was dusting there sometime after his death, and when she was finished, turned off the lights and went downstairs. From down there, she noticed the lights were on in the apartment, and went back up and turned them off again. By the time she was downstairs, the lights were on again. On her third trip upstairs, a voice said, “Don’t forget, I am still here.” Disney’s apartment lights stay on full-time now.
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