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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

5 Ghost Ships Sighted on the West Coast

The sea has always been a prime spot for terrifying tales. From the monstrously beautiful creatures that lurk in the depths of the ocean (think mermaids) to the countless people who have vanished at sea without a trace, this large body of water is as scary as it is stunning. And it’s not just human spirits that you’ll come across on the water, but also ghost ships. These urban legends have been told for centuries, with stories of sailors who disappear and mysterious ships that quite literally go passing in the night. Flying Dutchman is a classic ghostly vessel that you may have heard about at a bonfire or two, but do you know about the spirit ships that sail along the West Coast? From Washington to Alaska, here are the spooky mariner tales that will keep you away from the water. 

SS Baychimo

SS Baychimo Ghost Ship

Formerly used to trade provisions for pelts in Inuit settlements, this ghost ship cruised along the Alaskan coast for nearly four decades. There have been countless sightings of the SS Baychimo since she broke free of the ice, and her crew, in 1931… always sailing with no crew in sight. The scary part? Quite a few people have managed to board the ship, but have been unable to salvage her due to intervening factors – like the creeping ice floes that stopped Captain High Polson or the freak storm that trapped a group onboard for 10 days in 1933. It’s almost like supernatural factors always help her escape, right? The last known sighting of the SS Baychimo was in 1969, around 38 years after she initially went missing. The Alaskan government has been unsuccessfully trying to find her since 2006, and we’re sure that she’s still cruising along the ice somewhere!

Squando 

Squando Ghost Ship

There are some tales about ghost ships that are simply low-key, with the vessel escaping its crew and calmly sailing the seas solo for decades. The story of Squando is not one of them. In fact, it’s downright brutal. This Norwegian ship docked in San Francisco back in 1890, and took a violet turn when the Captain and his wife decided to murder and decapitate the first mate. The reasons for the killing vary by telling, but one fact remains the same – the headless corpse was discovered in the San Francisco bay some time later. As a result, the Captain and his wife were captured and executed. While the ship found a new crew shortly afterwards, they eventually murdered the new Captain… and the next two were also killed in violent ways. By 1893, the Squando’s reputation as a cursed ship preceded it, and the entire crew decided to desert the vessel in the Bay. However, that hasn’t stopped its legacy from sailing on. Over a century later, there are still stories about the Squando, and how you can still make out the ghostly outline of the ship sailing off the Embarcadero along the San Francisco coastline.

Siletz Bay Ship

Siletz Bay

Does the fact that this ghost ship has no name or backstory make it even scarier? Quite possibly. Siletz Bay is a scenic area in Oregon composed of gorgeous blue waters, and it’s been said that you might just get another view on foggy days: a phantom ship. Many guests have reported seeing a ghost ship sailing away at a distance, only for it to disappear within seconds. It’s quite literally a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. Not much is known about the ship or why it was seemingly abandoned, but the spiritual vessel has created quite the buzz in Oregon. It’s a top location in many haunted tours within the state, and guests arrive from all over the world to catch a glimpse of this ghostly ship. 

Lost Ship of the Desert 

Lost Ship of the Desert Ghost Ship

Spanish treasure galleons and riches buried deep beneath the desert grounds of Coachella? That’s what the urban legends say. The Lost Ship of the Desert has been a subject of folklore for centuries, with people saying that an ancient vessel is buried along the Colorado Desert in California. People have tried to dig up the remains to no avail for years, while others claim to have seen the ghostly ship in either its full or deteriorated form. Whether you believe the legends about Spanish explorers, think it’s Viking ship (many people do!), or have doubts about whether it’s there at all… the Lost Ship of the Desert will have a place in folklore for years to come.

The Queen Mary

Queen Mary ghost Ship

This legendary vessel gives a new meaning to the term “ghost ship.” The ship itself isn’t a ghostly apparition that you need to stretch to get a sight of – in fact, it’s one of the top landmarks in California. What makes it ghostly? The countless spirits and haunted experiences that happen within the halls of this 80+ year old ship. Time magazine named it one of the top 10 haunted places in America back in 2008, and people flock in from all over the world to stay in the haunted rooms and participate in the hotel’s many ghostly encounters. From the well-dressed man who appears at the end of the hall to the little girl who supposedly drowned in the pool many years ago, the spirits have made a home for themselves at The Queen Mary. And they’re dying for you to come and visit this ghostly ship. 

Another infamous ghost ship we just added to our encyclopedia of supernatural horrors is The Ghost Ship Jenny and it might be the most terrifying yet.

Sources:

http://www.weirdca.com/location.php?location=160

https://www.beachconnection.net/news/ghost_siletz061420.php

https://www.desertsun.com/story/desert-magazine/2019/12/02/5-facts-lost-ship-california-desert-what-we-know/3981175002/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Ship_of_the_Desert

https://www.travelandleisure.com/hotels-resorts/most-haunted-hotel-america-queen-mary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary#Haunting_legends

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore NA

California’s Haunted Lighthouses

Lighthouses are a common fixture in the world of horror, and there are many reasons why. Perhaps it’s the eerie crashing of the waves, or dim light that may or may not bring lost ships to safety. But there’s one aspect that definitely plays a part in the horror of lighthouses – the real-world fear of loneliness. Lighthouse keepers often choose to live in solitude, spending their days alone as they save ships from danger and witness horrific shipwrecks. It’s very common for lighthouse keepers to die alone in their chamber of solitude, and continuously haunt the area for years to come. This is the case with some of the most haunted lighthouses in California, which combine the common fears of the sea, lost spirits, and abandonment for a true horror story. Here are the top haunted lighthouses in California that you need to know….

Point Sur Haunted Lighthouse

Point Sur Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Monterey, CA

Nestled on the rocky coastline between Carmel and Big Sur, this lighthouse isn’t just one of the most haunted in California, but the entire country. That being said, you’d never know just by looking at it. It’s perched on a volcanic rock with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean, on a beach that’s more serene than spooky. It’s when you get close enough that you realize it’s haunted by the souls of all those who perished in shipwrecks near the shore. And even the families who lived here in harmony, and simply wish to return as spirits and enjoy the breathtaking ocean views. Many ghosts have been sighted throughout the years, but one of the most famous is a tall man in dark blue, 19th century attire – and you’re guaranteed to hear about him when you take a guided tour of Point Sur State Historic Park.

Battery Point Haunted Lighthouse

Battery Point Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Crescent City

Believe it or not, you can actually apply to work as a keeper at Battery Point Lighthouse. You’ll work on a one-month rotation, help upkeep the museum, and keep the ghosts at bay! Okay, maybe not. But there has been some extreme paranormal activity inside this red-bricked building. People have heard footsteps on the tower stairs during storms, slippers have moved in the middle of the night with no explanation, and strange smells of cigars are a common occurrence at the Battery Point Lighthouse, even more than 100 years after it was built. Visit the museum and learn more about the haunted history of this lighthouse!

Point Piños Haunted Lighthouse

Point Piños Haunted Lighthouse

Location: Pacific Grove, CA

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the Point Piños Lighthouse was just a cute little house… not a haunted institution. Can’t it be both? It’s still in use today as a way to warn ships of upcoming rocks and dangers, and also has museums and exhibits on the grounds. Many apparitions have been seen throughout the years, but one of the most popular spirits is that of Emily Fish, the “socialite lighthouse keeper.” She served as a keeper from 1893 to 1914, and it was quite rare at the time for women to hold such a position. She did a great job upkeeping the grounds and keeping the lighthouse in top shape, and as it turns out… she does the same thing in death. Fish is frequently seen hanging out around the lighthouse and keeping things running!

Alcatraz Island Haunted Lighthouse

Alcatraz Island Haunted Lighthouse

Location: San Francisco, CA

There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, and the prison that once housed some of the worst criminals in America. It’s hard not to be consumed by evil when you’re surrounded by murderers and thieves – many of whom were killed by other inmates or while trying to escape “The Rock.” Many of these bad vibes can also be felt in the lighthouse, which has been out of service for decades. Take a cruise to Alcatraz and discover why the island, and its lighthouse, are considered to be some of the most haunted places in California.

Categories
Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Char Man Urban Legend


Camp Comfort County Park can be found along the scenic Creek Road in Ventura County, California, not far south of Ojai. The park has been a resting spot for weary travelers for centuries, with its picturesque, oak-sheltered location and abundance of clear running water. It was commonly referred to by travelers as a “comfort spot”, which was where it got its name. Of course, even the greatest of comfort can never ensure true safety, just as the most peaceful of locations can house the darkest of secrets. The darkest perhaps being the legend of Char Man.

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Ojai

Ojai has a plethora of grim and unsettling urban legends under its belt, including the Ojai vampire which was said to have travelled there from either Italy or Spain in 1890. Another more common, and far more grisly, tale is that of the infamous Char Man. One particular bridge in Camp Comfort has been dubbed “Char Man Bridge”, legends telling that any motorist who dares get out and shout for the hideously burned spirit shall meet an agonizing death at his disfigured hand.

Char Man Legends

This particular legend is subject to far more speculation than most. Seemingly everyone has a different version of how the Char Man came to be. A few of these stories begin in a huge fire in 1948. Some surmise that a firefighter was tragically caught in that particular blaze, burning alive in his suit. Others say that a father and son were badly burned in the fire, the father being killed in the blaze while his son went mad from the pain and torment, peeling his fathers burned skin and hanging the corpse in a tree before retreating into the woods.

A third tale revolving around the same 1948 inferno was that a woman was trapped indoors while her husband, badly burned but still breathing, listened to her cries from outside as the fire slowly consumed her. Dark tales from the people of Ojai, to say the least.
That particular fire was reported to have no casualties, so unfortunately these theories into the dreaded Char Man’s origins don’t hold much weight.

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One common story told by locals is of a brutal automobile fire near Char Man Bridge, wherein a motorist escaped his car and fled into the woods, still enwreathed in flames. The unknown driver was said to survive the severe burns he endured and still stalks the roadside to this day.

Wherever the Char Man came from, his appearance is unmistakable: covered in horrific burns from head to toe, his skin blackened and peeling, clad only in a few charred bandages. Before unwary motorists see the spirit they shall smell his ghastly aroma of burned flesh, if they’re lucky. If not, the Char Man may just have another skin to replace his own.

Though for some, luck has nothing to do with it. Many locals have taken to the adrenalin-sport of stopping their cars on the bridge, getting out and calling “Help me!” to coax the flaming horror from the treeline. One thing is for sure, if an orange glow appears anywhere in the woodland by Creek Road, it would be best to keep right on driving.

References

Char Man | Creepy Urban Legends (quotev.com)
Creepy urban legends from around the USA (thevintagenews.com)

El Campo Cemetery, San Diego, CA

El Campo Haunted Cemetery

This Catholic cemetery was founded in 1849 and remains today as a state landmark in California. The site is said to have around 477 tombs however in 1851 the site was desecrated when a streetcar path was constructed through the graveyard. There are around 18 graves that were paved over in order to create the pathway. This upset many who had loved ones buried at the site and also the spirits themselves. After the site was disrupted stories of ghosts and strange occurrences began. There are stories of car alarms going off for no reason, an unexplained icy chill coming over guests, a ghost of a Native American or possibly Hispanic man has been seen as well as the spirit of a woman wearing 18th-century periodic clothing.

The site has also experienced issues with grave robbers and a fire that destroyed the chapel.

After local petitions occurred there were markers added where the gravesites had been paved over. At first, just crosses were painted in the street but eventually, the city created proper grave markers for the graves that had been displaced. Walter P. Temple filed a lawsuit against the city preventing any further desecration of the cemetery. In 1917 he purchased the land the graveyard was on to begin restoring it.

Gumberoo

Date of Discovery

First sighted in the 1900s.

Name

The Gumberoo, with a scientific name of Megalogaster repercussus.

Physical Description

This bear-like creature is described as being incredibly fat–in some cases, compared to the shape of a football–with no hair, and dark leathery skin. Oddly enough, this creature has a large grin with sharp teeth, a beard, and prominent eyebrows. Their dark complexion is said to be as black as coal, but there is speculation that this is due to rubbing up against the inside of the charred cedar tree.

Origin

The Gumberoo originated in the foggy region along the Pacific Coast from Grays Harbor, WA, the entire coast of Oregon, all the way to Humboldt Bay, CA as well as the forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Its origin is spun from the folklore of lumberjacks and forest workers–with particular emphasis on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

According to Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose, the Gumberoo belongs to a group of beings within this mythology called the Fearsome Critters. All of the Fearsome Critters are noted to have exaggerated proportions and activities which are believed to be the explanation of the strange sounds and bumps in the night when in isolated and remote locations. They also provided some amusement for the men in the camps, as they told stories to pass their down-time.

The Gumberoo is said to be a scarce creature due to the fact that it is quite combustible, and forest fires are relatively prevalent. They are said to be as flammable as celluloid film; during and after a forest fire within the heavily forested cedar region near Coos Bay, lumberjacks reported that they heard loud sounds that were not identifiable as well as the smell of burning rubber.

Mythology and Lore

When the lumberjacks, responsible for its discovery, attempted to kill it–except the Gumberoo didn’t die, its skin was apparently impenetrable. It is said to hibernate a majority of the time and it lives in old enormous, burned, and hollowed-out cedar trees. When it does come out, it only comes out at night and has an insatiable appetite when it does. The Gumberoo will devour anything that crosses its path, even reportedly a whole horse at one point, which was still not enough to discomfort nor satiate it.

Modern Pop-Culture References

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Is there anything we missed about the Gumberoo? Let us know in the comments section below!