Most Haunted Places in San Diego

The most haunted places in San Diego

There may be entities lurking around the unsuspecting at many of these San Diego attractions

A lot can happen in San Diego from the time Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the bay for the Spanish Empire in 1542 until now. Why is San Diego an interest for many historians? Well, San Diego was founded in 1769 and was the birthplace of California... specifically, Old Town San Diego. With great history comes great haunts.

Here are a few key haunts in America's Finest City.

The Whaley House

The Whaley House is verified as one of the most haunted places in San Diego and by the United States Department of Commerce.  

The house was once occupied by the Whaley Family in 1855. Thomas Whaley was a successful businessman from New York who bought the property and had a brick house built. The home was once known as the "finest new brick block in Southern California" by the San Diego Herald

Many visitors have experienced a brush in with Violet Whaley who committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest after divorcing her husband. Thomas Whaley will sometimes make himself known to visitors with the scent of his cigar. Some say the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, a man who was hung near the premises in 1856 when the building used to be a courthouse still haunts the property. 

Hotel Del Coronado

Back in 1888, The Hotel Del Coronado was a popular hotel for wealthy visitors. Many stayed for long periods of time, sometimes for months. Everyone from movie actors, authors, business tycoons, presidents, and even princes have stayed at the hotel. 

One guest, in particular, will forever be a popular legend with the Del. Back in 1892, a guest by the name of Kate Morgan, a young woman in her mid-twenties, checked into her hotel, alone, while she waited for her "lover" to arrive. Well, he never arrived. She ended up committing suicide by gunshot to the head. Some guests have experienced seeing Kate roam the halls around her former room. She's pretty harmless for the most part, but she does make herself known by making TVs turn on and off, lights flicker, and the occasional footsteps and mysterious voices. 

William Heath Davis House

William Heath Davis had the house built in 1850. The house served as a home, hospital, and more. The founder of San Diego, Alonzo Horton, once stayed at the home, as well as other dignitaries. Some say the ghosts of its former inhabitants still haunt the property to this day. There is an unknown Victorian woman who has made herself known to a few visitors that also haunts the premises. Back when the house wasn't yet wired for electricity, there were reports of lights flickering. 

Horton Grand Hotel

Besides the Whaley House, some San Diego visitors even claim that the Horton Grand Hotel is THE most haunted place in San Diego. 

The hotel is still in operation today and is one of the most magnificent hotels in the city. Some say that a few past guests still haunt the property.  One is the ghost of Roger Whittaker. He was a gambler who was shot one day and tried to hide in room #309. Some guests of the room have reported the armoire doors (where Mr. Whittaker was hiding) opening and closing in the middle of the night. There are also reports of the bed shaking, and unknown noises and lights in the room. 

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Point Loma Lighthouse operated for 40 years after 1855. Guests have reported feeling a sensation of someone standing behind them when visiting, footsteps, code spots, noises, and more. Some believe it's the ghost of Captain Robert Decatur Israel, a man who once occupied the lighthouse. 

Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat

The Berkeley Ferry Boat is currently docked at the San Diego Bay as part of the San Diego Maritime Museum. It was used in San Francisco around the late 1800s as a ferry boat. Some who have visited the museum reported seeing a John O’Norbom, often wearing a fedora hat. He died in a fiery explosion in 1911. 

El Campo Santo Cemetery

The cemetery (around the 2410 San Diego Ave area) was originally opened in 1849 and was constructed over around 1880 when the city of San Diego was expanding. The cemetery was built a few blocks away from the famous Whaley House. There has been a lot of paranormal activity experienced by people as they passed by. Some are unable to start their cars when parked in the parking lot that was built over the original cemetery. 

El Fandango

El Fandango, a restaurant, is sometimes visited by the ghost of a Victorian woman often wearing white. There's a certain corner table that she usually sits at in the restaurant before she disappears. As it turns out, the restaurant was built on the site of the Machado home that was destroyed by a fire in 1858. 

Robinson-Rose House

In 1853, Judge James W. Robison built a home in Old Town San Diego where he often entertained guests and community events. Till this day, there seems to be a pretty good amount of paranormal activity from a few party guests who refuse to leave. Visitors have heard random footsteps, seen lights flickering, and even seen the elevator move up and down on its own. 

Cosmopolitan Hotel/Casa De Bandini

One of the first hotel buildings in San Diego, The Cosmopolitan is a hotel and restaurant located in Old Town San Diego. The building was originally built in a Spanish Colonial style by Juan Lorenzo Bandini around 1829. It was the largest home in San Diego at the time. 

After Bandini died, Albert Seeley purchased the home and turned it into a 2 story stagecoach hotel with 20 rooms from the 1850s until 1888.

In 1928 Cave J. Couts Jr., Juan Bandini's grandson purchased the property and restored it as a memorial to his mother, Ysidora Bandini de Couts. Electricity and gas were added to the building and was renamed, "The Miramar," hotel and restaurant. The building served as a motel until 1968 when it was sold to the State of California at the same time that Old Town San Diego became a historic landmark.

Visitors say that there is a ghost of a cat who roams the hallways. Other sightings include Ysidora Bandini’s ghost (daughter of Juan Lorenzo Bandini) in room 11 and the spirit of a Lady in Red in rooms 4/5.

USS Midway

The USS Midway is a retired Navy aircraft carrier docked on the San Diego Bay as a museum. Visitors have reported seeing different ghosts inside the ship. Some claim to have seen the mannequins move and speak. 

Villa Montezuma

The former home of 1913 pianist and author, Jesse Shepard. There are rumors that the pianist had an interest in conjuring the dead by hosting seances at his Victorian home. People claim to see faces staring out of the windows and even hearing Mr. Shepard himself playing the piano as they pass by. 

Pioneer Park

This Mission Hills park was built on top of an 1870 cemetery. This 10-acre section of land was set aside for what was then Calvary Cemetary and it is said that around 1,650 people were buried there. Before the park was built on over it, a few plots were moved to Mt. Hope Cemetary. The rest of the tombstones were moved to a corner of the park before the playground and elementary school was built near it. Visitors claim to see various paranormal activity, such as orbs of lights, as they pass by the park at night. 

Star of India

This former cargo ship from 1863 traveled the world before it settled in The San Diego Bay in 1976. During its hay day, an officer had committed suicide and is said to still haunt the ship to this day. A young boy who snuck on the boat also died during one of its journeys when he fell from the mast. There was also a Chinese fisherman who died when an anchor chain fell on him.