Tag Archives: ghost tour

Ghost Walk in San Francisco

IMG_8971One night while Katie and I were in San Francisco we were wondering what we could do to have an entertaining night. We had seen a flyer in a hotel earlier that day for a San Francisco Ghost Hunt walking tour and decided that it could be fun, exciting and scary and that we would give it a try.

It was 6pm and with only an hour of free time to spare we had to quickly figure out how to get there. We read the bus schedule and jumped on the first MUNI bus headed in the direction of the tour’s starting point. There was so much traffic in San Francisco that evening that our bus came to a dead stop about 4 blocks away from where we needed to get off.  We asked the driver to let us off and walked the remaining blocks over to the Queen Anne Hotel at 1590 Sutter Street.

When we arrived at the hotel and people were already waiting outside for the tour to start. As the time got closer a few more people joined us from inside the hotel. Our group ended up with about 10 people in it. As soon as the clock struck 7pm our guide, Jim Fassbinder, came out of the hotel to join us. He escorted us inside into a banquet room where we waited a few more moments for any last stragglers.

He started with what only could be considered a magic trick where he picked three members of the group to pick out a card each. The first was Joy, the second Curiosity, and the last which was mine was Enchantment. He chose Fear and the remaining 4th card. Then he showed us all the cards and we had each matched the correct word with the correct card. It was a cute trick to start the night with goofy pictures on them.

He sat us down and told us a little bit about himself and how he came to be doing tours and what we were going to be doing that the night. Then we headed upstairs to start the tour in Mary Lake’s room, 410. He told us the story of the hotel and how it used to be a school for girls. Miss Mary Lake was the head of the school and she can now be felt in the rooms and halls of the hotel caring for individuals as she chooses. There are multitudes of stories where she has tucked gentlemen in at night and children have felt her presence.

We took a few minutes to explore the room and the rest of the hotel looking for Mary, but none of us found her anywhere. I thought we might get a picture with an orb in it, but no one’s pictures had any orbs either. Seems as though Mary was taking the night off the night we went. Maybe it would have helped if we had some female children with us or if some of the ladies were pregnant. We had heard she often is around when the group has a few of those people in it.

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We then headed outside for our walking tour to begin. We walked the streets of San Francisco stopping at different houses along the way. Some used to be schools, others used to be churches. They all had some story to go along with them. We learned a little about the architecture of the buildings and how the houses on the streets today used to be all very muted colors. In the 1970’s the residents started to paint them bright colors and that is why they look the way they do today. Also, the houses used to have little farms with animals where the garages are now.

We finally stopped at a large mansion that used to be owned by a woman, I can’t quite remember her name. Her sister lived right next door and they did not get along at all. They often fought. It is said that someone might have pushed her down the front steps instead of the accident that was reported back then. Our tour guide, Jim, had the original key to that mansion’s doors. While the locks have been changed since new residents currently live, this key was unique. Standing there on the other side of the street and directly across from the house Jim placed the key in his hand. The key slowly turned in his hand on its own as if someone had put it into the lock and was trying to unlock a door. Because he knew we wouldn’t believe that he wasn’t trying to trick us he then had one of the group put out her hand where the key did the same thing in her hand too. It was spooky and eery and incredibly intriguing.

We continued our tour and Jim told us about Flora, the ghost that haunts California Street, Gertrude who possibly killed her husband and put him in a barrel of rum, and last put not least, the meanest ghost of them all, Mary Ellen. She was the richest and most powerful woman in San Francisco in her day. She was thought to know magical spells or voodoo and it was believed that she possibly killed her husband for his money, even though she didn’t need it. The trees along the street were planted by her and whenever there is a person who doesn’t believe in the story nuts are thrown down on them from above. Luckily, everyone believed the night I was there so no one got hurt.

Our tour ended not far from the starting point and while we didn’t see any ghosts that night or any orbs in our pictures when checking them the next day, learning the history of San Francisco and where some ghosts still reside was quite fun. Jim was extremely entertaining with his jokes, tricks, and stories of past experiences. So, if you’re in San Francisco and looking for something to do other than spend a night drinking at the local clubs and bars this is definitely something you should check out. It’s $20 well spent.

Spooky Orbs at Jerome Ghost Town

© Caroline Foley

About 45 minutes west of Sedona is the largest Ghost Town in America, Jerome. With a population of only 450 people now and over 15,000 at it’s peak in the 1920’s, it was a copper mining community sitting above the largest copper mine in Arizona and one of the fourth largest cities in the Arizona Territory also known as the wickedest town in the west. Between 1894 and 1899 it suffered four disastrous fires destroying large sections of the town. Much of what you see there today has been rebuilt and restored since then and more buildings are planned for restoration.

While in Sedona, my friend and I realized that there really isn’t much to do at night time. I had noticed a groupon for Haunted Ghost Tours in Jerome and since we were so close we decided to drive over and check it out. We found one of the few places that do it and signed up for a tour at 8:00pm. We made a quick detour to get dinner at a local restaurant, Grapes, and then headed to Ghost Town Tours to meet up with our guide, Scott, received our EMF “Ghost Meters,”and to get started on our tour.

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Our tour consisted of my friend and I and a small family with 3 children ages 6 to 15. They seemed just as excited to get started as we did. We turned our phones to airplane mode, readied our cameras, and headed out to our first stop right outside the store. I can’t remember the story, but I took my first picture and after looking at it later that night realized that it was the first picture with orbs in it. Wow, orbs in the first picture! Amazing!

We walked the short trek to the original town jail that has been sliding down the mountain and used to be located about 4 streets up. This is where we were told the first story I actually remember. A cute love story about a boy and girl from different walks of life. There are often sightings of the boy through the jail window as there was a fire and he didn’t make it out alive. We didn’t see anything or get any readings so we continued through the town.

We stopped at the old copper mining machine which was three times the size of the piece of machinery we saw. Scott told us about the town’s records and how many people died but only a few were buried at the graveyard. “Where did the rest of the bodies go?” he asked us. We can only assume that many were burned in the machine and made into the walls of the town. Surprisingly, there has never been a reading at this machinery on any of the tours and we were no different that night.

We continued on and the next stop was the theater, where the eagle fell off the building and someone on a trip was pushed down the stairs. Next to that is the Hotel Conner that had two fires neither which killed Mr. Conner and where men say that they feel uneasy staying in the room closest to the theater. We still didn’t get any readings so we continued on.

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We headed to the church where Scott lives and on the way he told us about the three hospitals in town. Since medical care back then was not what we have today, when people got hurt in the mines and it was serious without any hope of healing, the person would get 10 days to live and say goodbye to their family. It was the least the town could do to honor them and their time spent working in the mines. Today, it is said that after sundown within the hospital halls screams and moans of pain can be heard. Carts are still pushed down the corridors with doors opening and closing. There is so spiritual activity it is too much for any grown man to handle and stay the night.

We arrived at the church, but didn’t get any readings outside. We went inside and Scott told us about the priest that still walks the halls and how he doesn’t like it when people visit. Still no readings so we headed out to the back where psychics have said that there is a body buried, but no readings. Sometimes they didn’t have or couldn’t afford headstones so they would plant trees instead.

We continued on and Scott seemed kind of stumped. This was the first tour that he had gotten this far and hadn’t gotten a single reading along the way. We stopped again and he talked about the saloon fire. I suggested that we go over and check it out. He agreed and we headed that way. Something had drawn me to it earlier that evening and I was hoping there was something still there. We came to the front, but no readings. One of the kids started beeping and it was just the electrical meter, but as we walked away and held our meters we started beeping. It was crazy. Soon we were beeping everywhere, high, low, left, right, even out near the street away from the building. My hunch had paid off and Scott seemed super surprised. He had never heard of anyone receiving any readings there. Maybe hearing some cries of a woman looking for her child or a baby crying, but never any readings. We had found something new. I took multiple pictures all around the area and into the saloon and found orbs in many of them. The one at the backside of the building had the most. It was insane how much activity was there.

We continued to the edge of the town where the mexicans lived further down the mountain. Jerome was very segregated and the white people didn’t even count the mexican or blacks into their town population so who really knows how many people lived there. We got a few readings at this corner as they are in the process of restoring some of the buildings.

We finished our tour through the “Cribs District” in a back alley where all the buildings were are part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row.” With both brothels and bordellos were in this area and there was lots of fighting. The police officers were often just hired help to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. We didn’t get any readings here, but did hear another story about one of the bordello’s window girls dating both the mayor’s son and chief of police’s son. I won’t give away how that ended, but you can probably guess.

The Ghost Adventure Tour was so much fun. I would recommend everyone checking it out. There’s so much history in this little town and I plan on going back for sure. I know Halloween is far away, but if you plan on checking out this town as an additional Halloween scare this year you would be best to do it soon as haunted hotel rooms are booking up and ghost tours are close to being full already.

© Caroline Foley
© Caroline Foley