Local Haunted Houses

With Halloween just around the corner, we start to see mountains of candy and cheap costumes being advertised everywhere. We assume the ghosts and goblins of Halloween are nothing but a fairy tale, but there is indeed are very real spirits right here in Santa Cruz County. It may sound like fun to dapple in the sites where the spirits roam, but once you get there, proceed at your own risk because you won’t find any “friendly ghosts” at these places.

The Brook Room in the Brookdale Lodge. Photo:consequenceofsound.net
The Brook Room in the Brookdale Lodge. Photo:consequenceofsound.net

1. Brookdale Lodge: Brookdale
The Brookdale Lodge used to be one of the most popular resorts in California and has attracted stars such as Marilyn Monroe and President Herbert Hoover. The public has long left the Brookdale Lodge, but the spirits definitely haven’t. Everyone has their own interpretation of the tragedies that have taken place there, but the most common legend says that a six-year-old girl, Sarah Logan, who was tragically drowned in the creek in the Brookroom. Decades later, her ghost roams the Lodge wearing a formal white and blue dress and pleading with guests of the Lodge to help her find her mother. She is also sighted playing near the creek, where she was killed many years before. Sarah is not the only ghost that haunts the Brookdale Lodge. Another middle- aged woman, thought to be her nanny or mother, always returns to Lodge to find the young girl. It is also said you can hear 1940’s style music playing and people talking and dancing in the Mermaid Room, but it is empty and often unused. The single most haunted spot in the Brookdale Lodge is Room 46 in the motel portion. It has been said that objects soar across the room, ghost dancers whirl around and many disturbing spirits take shelter there. Not only are there many reported sights of apparitions, but also boarders have reported something stroking them while they laid in bed. According to experts, the Brookdale Lodge is home to over 50 spirits.

The Sunshine Villa Retirement Home. Photo: www.dougforsupervisor.com
The Sunshine Villa Retirement Home. Photo: http://www.dougforsupervisor.com

2. Sunshine Villa Retirement Home: Santa Cruz
“Sunshine Villa is a beautiful Victorian historic landmark, serving the residents of the area since 1990”, the website for Sunshine Villa Retirement Home proudly states. It really makes one wonder how many of the unsuspecting elderly citizens know the true history of the retirement home they spend the remainder of their lives in. The exact reason for the paranormal activity at Sunshine Villa is unknown, but many people, residents and workers alike, have described many disturbing experiences. It is rumored that a man who once resided there, long before it become a retirement home, killed women and kept their body parts there. Another report says that the home is built on an ancient Ohlone sacred burial ground. Maybe one, or both of these occurrences have caused doors and windows to open and close with no explanation, sounds of footsteps in an empty hallway, automatic soap dispensers going off when nobody is there and even the occasional ghost sighting.

The Capitola Theatre. Photo: www.gypsyatlas.com
The Capitola Theatre. Photo: http://www.gypsyatlas.com

3. The Capitola Theater: Capitola
The Capitola Theater is another historic landmark that is known as a haunted place. Many plays have been held there, but after the mortal audience leaves, the spirits move in. Many set workers and janitors say they hear an audience cheering and clapping, only to find nobody is there. It has also been said that when a phone rings, a woman answers, “I’ll get it.” but there no woman is seen. Most hauntings in the Capitola Theater are auditory, but there is even the occasional ghost sightings.

No matter what you do or where you go this Halloween, be safe and have fun.

-Paloma Auldridge

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