Welcome back to #TravelTuesday, a summer series on Spooky Little Halloween where we put a spooky twist on this popular hashtag and travel to haunted destinations across the globe.
This week Sarah from The Spooky Vegan takes us to five spooky haunts in her neck of the woods, Orange County, California. Yes, even the brightest, beachiest spots have their ghosts! Keep reading to find out where…
5 spooky haunts in Orange County, California
By Sarah E. Jahier, The Spooky Vegan
Fear lurks in the most unlikely places, even under the perpetual sunshine and suburban sprawl of Orange County, California. If you’re not familiar with Orange County, it is located right between Los Angeles and San Diego, with its most note-worthy attractions being Disneyland, its popular beaches, and as the namesake and setting of the TV show “The O.C.”.
To many, Orange County is viewed as just a sprawling suburbia populated by McMansions and strip malls, but if you scratch its polished veneer you might uncover a dark history that has left its mark and places where locals still fear to tread.
How did Orange County become my own personal haunting grounds? My mom grew up a flower child in SoCal, and when I was younger my grandparents and most of my extended family lived in or near Orange County, so family vacations to Orange County were a regular occurrence. I moved down here from Northern California to attend college and ever since graduating I’ve been lurking in the shadows here.
I admit, the bright sunshine doesn’t make Orange County seem like the spookiest of places, but you’d be surprised how many reputedly haunted places there are here. Of course, I needed to inject some spookiness into my haunting grounds, so ever since I moved down here I’ve researched scary stories and haunted places.
There are so many urban legends about untimely ends that lead to spirits returning from the grave as well as tragedies that seem to taint the areas where they occurred, like a massacre of indigenous peoples or bloody battles over land rights, but sometimes even the happiest place on earth gets a reputation for grim grinning ghosts!
There are far too many reportedly haunted places in Orange County to list them all, so instead, I’ll be sharing my five favorite spooky haunts, everything from spooky cemeteries to creepy canyons to happy and historical haunts!
Black Star Canyon – Silverado, CA
Tucked away in the Santa Ana Mountains, this is a popular hiking spot, but when night falls you’ll find locals avoiding this place. At night, people have reported seeing strange lights and orbs, hearing blood-curdling screams, and feeling uneasy and/or like they are being watched.
A group of Shoshone Indians was massacred in the area in the 1800s, and several other murders and deaths in the canyon over the years, not to mention rumors of occult rituals and the like, have all added to the belief that spirits or even darker entities haunt the area. Ghosts aren’t the only thing to worry about – the locals who live in the canyon aren’t very friendly to visitors, either, so be wary if you decide to explore the area at night.
Disneyland – Anaheim, CA
Who would have guessed that the “happiest place on earth” had some ghost stories of its own? The first is that Walt Disney himself haunts his favorite place, notably his old apartment above the fire station on Main Street. Employees said that a light was seen in the apartment when no one was up there and they attributed it to Walt. In honor, a light was placed in the window for him and it now burns 24/7.
Another supposedly haunted spot is the Haunted Mansion, where many bereaved guests have attempted to scatter their loved one’s ashes in hopes they join the other 999 haunts.
Cemetery of the Holy Sepulcher – Orange, CA
This isolated cemetery is the final resting place of many Diocesan priests and sits on the hills overlooking the suburban sprawl of Orange County. Though it is quite peaceful during the day, at night it is supposedly haunted by a woman in white, though no one knows who this ghostly woman is or why she haunts the cemetery after-hours. Supposedly, a flickering candle has been seen at night that doesn’t extinguish even when the brutal Santa Ana winds pick up.
Mission San Juan Capistrano – San Juan Capistrano, CA
This crumbling old mission is one of the most beautiful in the state of California and has undergone many renovations to preserve it. It is said that some of these renovations have disturbed the spirits who call the mission home, as more people have reported seeing numerous apparitions, including a faceless monk and headless soldier that roam the grounds.
Another spirit that calls the mission home is a young woman who was one of the 42 victims that perished in an earthquake in 1812 inside the Great Stone Church (which you can still see the ruins of in the photo above) at the mission.
Historic Yorba Cemetery – Yorba Linda, CA
This is the one place on the list I have not visited yet (but is next on my list), as this cemetery is closed to the public and only opens a few hours for tours the first Saturday of most months. This is one of the oldest preserved cemeteries in Orange County, dating back to the 1800s when it was established on the land of Bernardo Yorba’s Rancho Cañon de Santa Ana.
This cemetery is said to be haunted by the “Pink Lady,” who was on her way home from a dance wearing a pink dress when her carriage overturned and she was killed. She returns to the cemetery on the night of June 15th and has reportedly been seen weeping next to her grave.
While Orange County isn’t well-known for its haunted destinations, it still has some special and spooky places to explore if you do visit. Besides the five mentioned above, there are many more haunted places to be discovered if you take a moment to peek behind the orange curtain.
Sarah E. Jahier is The Spooky Vegan, an Orange County-based blogger who wanders the night in search of vegan options and spooky things. She writes about the vegan lifestyle and her other two obsessions, Halloween and horror, on her website, The Spooky Vegan. You can follow her haunted happenings on Instagram and Twitter.
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