San Diego is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, mild climate and abundance of points of interest. But the city’s long history of unnerving deaths, mysterious occurrences and its dark, ominous side is what many visitors are dying to discover.
Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone -
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
This opening line from Edgar Allen’s poem begins your journey through San Diego’s darker side on the Ghosts & Gravestones tour.
2) Pioneer Park
Adjacent to Grant School, Mission Hills Park, also known as Pioneer Park, is located in the middle of Mission Hills and Hillcrest, above Old Town. The park was one of the first cemeteries in San Diego. The park is said to go back as far as the late 1800s. Today, the park is full of life with a fairly large grass area for family picnics, walking the dog, summer community concerts and an area with a kid’s playground. However, most neighbors and children of Grant School don’t know of the park’s history and darker side. “I get the creepiest feelings when I go there,” said Sally Richards, founder of Ghosts Happen, a local group that investigates paranormal activity throughout San Diego County. “I feel like I’m being watched.” She said her electromagnetic field readers, a paranormal investigative device, “go off the charts."
3) Walk through El Campo Santo Cemetery - Icy Chills - Even on a Warm Night
Located in Old Town, El Campo Santo Cemetery has a long history of chilling encounters. 477 of San Diego’s dearly departed were buried there; but progress caused part of the burial ground to be paved over, trapping 18 bodies underneath. Alarms of vehicles parked on the street above these graves are known to go off inexplicably and are difficult to start when their owners return. Many who tour the cemetery have felt an icy presence in various places on the grounds, seen shimmering images floating about and have witnessed other paranormal beings dressed in clothing reminiscent of the 19th century.
4) Visit America’s #1 Most Haunted House: The Whaley House
The Whaley House is significant to San Diego for many reasons. Its history includes serving as San Diego’s County Court House, being the location of the city’s first commercial theater, a general store, a ballroom and of course the home of the Whaley family. But it’s the stately mansion’s dreadful reputation that’s shrouded in death that prevails today - causing it to be deemed as the #1 Most Haunted House in America. Several poltergeists have been encountered within the walls of the Whaley House. Reports of heavy footsteps, believed to belong to Yankee Jim Robinson who was hanged on the property before the house was built, have been heard walking through the hallways. Other visitors say they’ve seen Thomas Whaley in his frock coat and pantaloons and the spirit of his wife Anna drifting in the gardens among other apparitions.
5) Gravedigger Guides Take You on a Hauntingly Good Time
If you’re one who is curious about ghosts, you’ll be in good company with our Gravedigger Guides. They are more than San Diego history experts. They’re actors who have a passion for drama and mystery. Along the tour, they’ll thrill you almost as much as the supernatural stories and paranormal activity you’ll be experiencing. Relive stories and poems you heard from the past. Sing a ghastly song and hear stories about being buried alive. Gravediggers know all the dirt - and they cannot wait to share the ghastly accounts of the places and people that haunt San Diego.
If tales of ghosts and restless spirits intrigue you, a ride aboard the Trolley of the Doomed is definitely in order. Our San Diego Ghost Tours fill up fast, so make reservations in advance.