Sleeping With Ghosts in California

Death Valley

  • Amargosa Hotel, Death Valley Junction, California by Kathy Weiser

    Amargosa Hotel, Death Valley Junction, California by Kathy Weiser-Alexander

    Amargosa Opera House and Hotel – In 1923, the Pacific Coast Borax Company built a “company town” consisting of a U-shaped complex of Spanish Colonial style buildings. Today, there is little left of Death Valley Junction other than empty buildings and the historic Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. Today, it is said to be haunted by a number of spirits who called this home during its borax mining days. These unearthly spirits are said to include a crying child who drowned in a bathtub, a malevolent spirit who was hanged in one room, the presence of a ghostly cat, and others.  Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, Highway 127, PO Box 8, Death Valley, California 92328, 760-852-4441.


  • Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort – Sitting upon the glittering salt flats of Death Valley National Park sits this oasis in the desert. The mission-style inn with its thick adobe walls, opened in 1927, and not only continues to retain its vintage atmosphere, but also a vintage era ghost. This friendly phantom is thought to be that of Chef James Marquez, who worked at the hotel from 1959 to 1973. Forced to quit due to illness, he died three years later. But, Chef Marquez evidently liked his job so much, he continues roam “his” kitchen and dining room, mysteriously opening and closing doors, rearranging equipment and tools, and making all manner of odd noises in the middle of the night. Furnace Creek Inn Death Valley National Park, Hwy. 190, PO Box 1, Death Valley, California 92328, 760-786-2345, 800-236-7916


  • Dorrington Hotel – This historic hotel, built in 1852 by John and Rebecca Gardner, was once a stage stop on the Big Trees Carson Valley Road. Originally serving as a depot and summer resort for stockmen, the hotel has been fully restored today. Mrs. Gardner is said to continue to frequent the hotel, walking through the dining room and ringing the motion detector. One year, she allegedly knocked down every fake Christmas tree in the hotel every night during the holiday season. On another occasion, she allegedly warned the owner of a gas leak in the kitchen. Along with Mrs. Gardener, several ghostly children are said to lurk at the historic hotel. Dorrington Hotel, 3431 Highway 4, P. O. Box 4307, Dorrington, California  95223, 209-795-5800 or 866-995-5800


  • Durgan Flat Inn (formerly Downieville River Inn) – The inn is surrounded by Tahoe National Forest and nestled in the historic gold rush town of Downieville. This charming resort is also said to be home to a former boarding house resident. In Room 1, water spigots have been known to turn on by themselves, and this ghostly spirit is even said to sometimes climb into bed with started guests. Durgan Flat Inn, 121 River Street Downieville, California 95936, 530-289-3308 or 800-696-3308.

Fort Bragg California

Fort Bragg

  • Glass Beach Inn – Built as a private home in the 1920’s, the building was fully renovated in 1980 as a guest house which today offers nine distinctively styled rooms.  However, inside the inn is a chair that is evidently not so good for guests. According to the tale, many who have sat in it mysteriously die afterwards. Glass Beach Inn, 726 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, California 95437, 707-964-6774.


  • The Grey Whale Inn – This 1915 building once served as the Redwood Hospital in Fort Bragg. However, since 1978 it has been providing accommodations as a bread and breakfast inn. The inn is said to be haunted by a woman who roams the garden areas, as well as a man who has often been seen peering from the windows. Gray Whale Inn, 615 North Main St. Fort Bragg, California 95437, 800-382-7244 or 707-964-0640.


  • The Lodge at Noyo River – Atop the bluff above Noyo Harbor, this historic home, converted to a bed and breakfast ahs been providing a commanding overlook of the river, harbor and Pacific Ocean beyond since the 1860’s. Today, it is said to be haunted by an unfortunate honeymoon couple who lost their lives in a car accident near the hotel. Immediately after the accident, the groom was said to have been heard crying for help just outside the lodge, an image that continues to replay itself today. His bride, dressed all in red is said to pace within the lodge. Other strange occurrences also occur including the sounds of ghostly voices and laughing, and well as lights that mysteriously turn on and off by themselves. Lodge at Noyo River, 500 Casa Del Noyo Drive, Fort Bragg, California 95437, 800-628-1126.


  • Lord Bradley’s Bed & Breakfast Inn – This charming Victorian B&B is located in the heart of historic Mission San Jose, California. Heavy footsteps and strange noises have been heard here during the night and the apparitions of other era figures have been seen wearing Victorian style clothing. 43344 Mission Boulevard, Fremont, California 94539, 510-490-0520

Grass Valley

  • The Holbrooke Hotel – Established in 1851 to cater to the needs of the Gold Rush pioneers, this historic hotel has hosted such dignitaries as Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, James A. Garfield and Grover Cleveland, as well as other famous guests, including Mark Twain and infamous outlaw Black Bart. Today the historic hotel is said to remain home to a number of former guests. In the reception hall, they supposedly have been known to drag chairs across the floor, turn lights on and off. Guests and staff have often heard voices in the hall when no one is there. Holbrooke Hotel, 212 W. Main Street, Grass Valley, California, 95945, 530-273-1353 or 800-933-7077.


  • Groveland Hotel

    The Groveland Hotel – This 1949 adobe hotel was known as “The Best House on the Hill” during the height of the Gold Rush. Fully restored to retain its 19th century character, the hotel not only caters to today’s travelers, but also to a resident ghost. Lyle, as he is known, was a miner who died mysteriously in his sleep long ago and has evidently never left. A friendly spirit, Lyle has been seen all over the hotel and likes to play impish pranks on the hotel’s guests, including turning the water on and off, watching over guests as they fall asleep, turning on and off the lights, and politely popping open the oven when the bread is done. The Groveland Hotel, 18767 Main Street, Groveland, California 95321, 800-273-3314 209-962-4000

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