With Halloween around the corner, and San Diego resting just eighty miles south of our present location, a trip to San Diego California became a goal. San Diego is bordered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Laguna Mountains and it is steeped in early and present day history - leading to plenty of haunting sites.
The first stop is historic “Old Town” San Diego. With over 250 years of souls spending their earthly life in this mission town turned historical park, there is bound to be a few that have declined the invitation to cross over.
The Whaley House Museum, Old Town San Diego (Photo courtesy of museum)
One of the most popular spots for ghostly sighting is The Whaley House. Now a museum, the house has been home to a Whaley family member since the mid-1800 until the death of Corinne Whaley, the last of Thomas Whaley’s children, who died in 1953.
Thomas left in 1890, and his wife followed in 1913 – or did they?
According to spookologists the Whaley House Museum is the most haunted house in America. The properties most noted continual guest is Yankee Jim; a man convicted to die and hung on the property before the house was built.
El Campo Cemetery, located just up the road from the Whaley house, was dedicated as a Catholic Cemetery in 1849, becoming the not so final resting place of many early San Diego residents.
El Campo today has only a few of the original four hundred and forty-seven graves still visible, causing some un-earthly disquiet from residents who were built upon, as San Diego began to grow and the land was needed for roads and building.
It is said that cars parked in front of the cemetery, where twelve or more of the dearly departed now rest beneath San Diego Avenue, often find that their car alarms are set off or that their cars will not start.
El Campo is said to be a great place for ghostly disturbance and, it is reported, that many of the businesses built on what was originally cemetery grounds, suffer from frequent, and unexplained, electric and alarm malfunctions.
As a side note, the grave of Yankee Jim Robinson, who continues to live at the Whaley house, can still be found at El Campo Cemetery.
The distinctive Horton Grand Hotel is located in the Gaslamp Quarter District and is a beautifully refurbished Victorian era property.
Gambler Roger Whitaker who was shot as a cheater during a game of cards haunts this property. If you wish to share Roger’s room, ask for 309 when you register.
The Horton Grand Hotel’s other specter is Madam Ida Bailey, who owned the brothel that once occupied the land the hotel was built on. Both Mr. Whitaker and Madam Bailey are said to be quite friendly ghosts, causing the occasional flickering light and temperature increase, an occasional glimpse in the hallway or on the grand stair, but never any real frights or scares.
Historical Photo of Kate Morgan
One of the most famous haunted hotel guests is Katie Morgan, also known as The Beautiful Stranger, who continues to live at the equally beautiful historic Hotel del Coronado, located across the bay from San Diego.
This wedding cake example of classic Victorian architecture served as the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Emerald City. The building is massive and remarkable to behold.
It was finished in 1888 without a single nail – the entire property being built using wooden pegs, including the remarkable wooden domed ceiling of the Crown Room, where King Edward VIII was said to have met, and later abdicated his throne to marry, Coronado divorcee Wallis Spencer Simpson in 1936.
The Hotel Del, as it is affectionately known, has played host to Kings and Queens, Princes and Legends, Presidents and some of Hollywood’s greatest names, including Marilyn Monroe who filmed “Some Like It Hot” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon on the Del’s sandy shores (1958).
The story of Kate Morgan, however, brings many visitors to this very busy property. Documented in the book, “The Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and The Hotel Del Coronado” (a Hotel Del Coronado Official heritage Dept. Book/Christine Donovan) to see the staircase where a young woman tragically ended her life.
The Hotel Del Coronado beach where The Beautiful Stranger died (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)
The Heritage book does not lie to rest exactly who the ghost of The Hotel Del really is. The official record reports that it was Kate Morgan and suicide the cause of death is officially challenged by San Diego author John T. Cullen in his book “Dead Move: Kate Morgan and the Haunting Mystery of Coronado” and by Bonnie Vent of the San Diego Paranormal Research Project. Ms. Vent is a research medium that lives in San Diego who claims that “Kate” revealed her true name, Lottie Bernard. (Read Donne Tempo’s exclusive interview with Ms. Hunt here)
Either way, no one knows for sure the identity of The Hotel Del’s Beautiful Stranger, but she is still a verifiable presence at the Hotel Del.
The waiting list for Kate’s room, Room 3327, can be long, however, it is said that some of the most active paranormal instances happen in the gift shop.
For more on the ghost of Kate Morgan/Lottie Bernard, visit our exclusive interview with research medium Bonnie Vent.
You Tube Video Courtesy of Whetstinerock_YT