Happy Halloween, Curbed readers! Everyone loves a good ghost story this time of year, but what if you could actually experience one firsthand? In honor of ghosts and ghouls, here now is a map of the Bay Area's most haunted locations. Did we miss one of your favorites? Drop us a line in the Curbed inbox or in the comments below.Read More
Behold, a Map of the Bay Area's Most Haunted Spots
Presidio Public Health Service Hospital
Before it's rehab and conversion to luxury apartments in 2010, the 1931 Presidio Public Health Service Hospital sat vacant since 1988. Even though it was closed up, ghost hunters used to break in and reported you could hear footsteps, see reflections of light, and sometimes a cold draft. Apparently the SFPD believed them, because they supposedly wouldn't step foot inside. Not surprisingly, there haven't been many ghost reports since the renovation.
In the 1920's a ticket booth worker was murdered in a robbery attempt. People see him as an apparition in the mirror that hangs in the lobby.
San Francisco Art Institute
The ground underneath the building was a graveyard, and there have been many stories that the tower is haunted. Unexplained footsteps and apparitions have all been reported.
Presidio Pet Cemetery
The final resting place for hundreds of animals owned by families that were stationed at the Presidio, the pet cemetery dates back to the 1950's. According to the National Park Service, there are no official records for the site, meaning it probably sprung up from the families themselves with authorization from one of the commanding officers.
Black House (Church of Satan)
From 1967 to 1997 6114 California served as the headquarters to the Church of Satan and the home to Church of Satan founder Dr. Anton "The Black Pope" Lavey. The home was a 2,205 square foot Victorian painted black. As expected, some pretty devilish activity went down during Lavey's ownership of the abode, including a highly publicized 1967 satan baptism of Lavey's 3-year-old daughter. The home was used as the HQ until Lavey's death in 1997. In 2001 it was demolished and a duplex (seen to the left) was built in its place. Rumor has it that the HOA for the building stopped purchasing and replacing the exterior's expensive house numbers and replaced them with inexpensive ones because members of the Church of Satan would occasionally swing by and tear off the 6.
This grand Victorian in Pacific Heights was built in 1887 by Silver tycoon Richard Craig Chambers. He left it to his two nieces when he died 14 years after the home's construction. Unfortunately the sisters hated each other. Claudia Chambers mysteriously died in the house because of a "farm implementation accident." She was found cut in half. Psychics have held seances in the home and claim the Claudia's ghost roams around the place. Outsiders have seen strange flashing lights from an upstairs window.
Queen Anne Hotel
The Queen Anne Hotel opened in 1890. It was originally called Miss Mary Lake's School for Girls, and offered classes to young upper class women about etiquette since they were about to enter San Francisco society. Nine years later the building was sold to the Cosmos and because an exclusive Gentlemen's Club. It had several different owners until 1980, when a private company bought the place, renovated it, and turned it into the hotel that still operates today. Rumor has it (and ghost hunters have confirmed) that Miss Mary Lake haunts the hotel because she was not ready to let someone else purchase the building. She roams the halls regularly, and has been known to haunt her room, the Mary Lake Suite, room 410.
Moss Beach Distillery
According to Coastside legend, a well-to-do young married woman met a man at the distillery and fell in love with him. She visited the restaurant often so she could see him (he was a piano player there). The couple was reportedly attacked while on a romantic walk below the restaurant. She was killed but he survived. Apparently the "The Blue Lady" (because she always wore blue dresses) ghost haunts the hotel searching for her lover.
The historic Whittier Mansion was built in 1896 by William Franklin Whittier, head of what now is PG&E. The 16,00 square foot mansion was home to Whittier and his family until his death in 1917. His heirs sold the mansion in 1938 to the Deutsche Reich and it became the German Consulate. It was used as a Philosophical Institute until 1956 when it became home to the California Historical Society. Now it's a private residence. The bulk of unexplained activity happens in the basement and wine cellar. Shadowy outlines, feeling ice cold presences, all have been reported.
There are about a bazillion stories about real ghosts, unexplained phenomenon, and frightening experiences when visiting Alcatraz Island, especially during the popular night tour. A military prison opened on Alcatraz Island from 1868 and then it was turned into a federal prison from 1933 to 1963. Hearing chains rattle, cold chills, phantom gunshots, all have been reported since tours have begun on the island. We suggest checking out the prison's night tour for some seriously spooky encounters.
Nob Hill Inn
Originally built as a townhouse after the 1906 fire, what's now the Nob Hill Inn had many different owners throughout the years before it was bought and renovated to be a hotel. Apparently the hotel is packed with at least 22 very friendly ghosts, because it's last renovation attracted the attention of different entities around the neighborhood. The ghosts like to play tricks on the guests, often moving their items around their room and playing with the locks.
Winchester Mystery House
The Wincester Mystery House was the residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. The story goes that a psychic told Sarah Winchester that the house was haunted by the ghosts of folks killed by Wincester guns, and only continued construction of the manse would keep them at bay. From 1884 to Wincester's death in 1922, construction proceeded 24 hours a day every day of the year.
The historic Atherton Mansion is irregularly haunted by three aggressive females who folks think are Gertrude Atherton, Dominga de Goni Atherton and Carrie Rousseau. There's also a male ghost who's believed to be George Atherton. Dominga de Goni Atherton built and moved into 1990 California in 1881 with her son George and his wife Gertrude. The two women were ruthless and constantly belittled George. So much so, that he planned to run away to Chile. He made it halfway there before his kidneys failed. The sailors put his body in a barrel of rum and sent it to the Atherton Mansion. He received a proper burial, but his spirit never left the house and he supposedly spent his nights haunting the place. Dominga was so troubled by his presence that she sold the house. It had several owners who came and went quickly because of George's spirit. In 1923, Carrie Rousseau bought the house and lived in the ballroom with 50 cats until her death in 1974.