The Most Haunted Places in the Greater Sacramento Area
Halloween will soon be here, and little ghosts and goblins will take to the streets for a bit of trick-or-treating. But once they’ve turned in for the night, who’s left behind? Ghosts and goblins who can’t take off their masks, perhaps? Those poor souls who are trapped between this world and the other side?
The greater Sacramento area is said to be rife with troubled spirits who haunt the region’s historic buildings and landscapes. From the earliest settlers to the Gold Rush, the region has a long and storied history. It is believed that some of our predecessors still walk among us, rattling the nerves of the living with their mischievous shenanigans.
From cemeteries to hotels, restaurants to entire city streets, following are some of the most haunted places in the greater Sacramento area.
Located off of Broadway, the Sacramento Old City Cemetery is said to be one of the most haunted places in the greater Sacramento area. And it’s no wonder — it’s the oldest cemetery in the city, with tens of thousands of souls laid to rest here. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions of a young girl playing, a railroad engineer standing over his own grave, even a black pitbull who appears and disappears at will. The cemetery even hosts nighttime ghost tours for those interested in learning more about the undead apparitions.
With its Gold Rush-era buildings, cobbled streets and series of underground tunnels, Old Sacramento is another of Sacramento’s haunted hotspots. In fact, sightings have been reported in just about every corner of the historic district. For starters, the River City Saloon, which dates to the 1800s, is said to be haunted by a former saloon girl and a young child. There have been reports of glass breaking and furniture moving on its own. Another supposedly haunted spot is the Delta King, a moored riverboat that has a hotel and restaurant and was once used as a floating hospital during World War II. Visitors have reported footsteps on the creaky old decks, water glasses flying off the tables and a mysterious captain wandering the ship
Ghosts are also said to wander the tunnels beneath Old Sacramento, created when the original city was raised up in the 1860s–70s due to repeated flooding. Workers have reported hearing voices, laughter and footsteps, as well as seeing apparitions, including a cowboy and a woman in a white gown. Visitors can take a tour of the tunnels through the Sacramento History Museum, and can even participate in a paranormal investigation.
Many urban legends surround the rural, tree-lined road that is Dyer Lane in Placer County. Legend has it that numerous murders have taken place here, and the victims still haunt the road. Reports include a ghostly farmer on his tractor, a police cruiser following travelers down the lonely lane, a group of witches, and a hitchhiker. The road has even been the subject of several paranormal investigations.
Commercial Street | Old Town Auburn
Old Town Auburn is a bustling tourist destination lined with restaurants and shops. During the 1800s, it was equally vibrant, with prospectors stopping here on their way to the gold fields. But one stretch — Commercial Street — was known for a different reason: it was home to undertaking and embalming operations. Today, the buildings are believed to house the spirits of those whose corporeal selves passed through, including an old-timey man smoking a cigar. Nearby restaurants have reported hooded, shadowy figures and ethereal wisps. You can check it out for yourself by joining in a Gold Country Ghost Tour.
El Dorado County
Cary House Hotel | Placerville
Downtown Placerville is a window into the past, with Gold Rush-era buildings lining the streets. The Cary House Hotel, built in 1857, is especially charming, with period furnishings and antiques, not to mention a guest registry that includes such notable names as Buffalo Bill, Mark Twain and Elvis Presley. In fact, some of the former guests and employees are said to still be lingering about. Guests have reported objects moving around the room, the elevator going up and down on its own and disembodied voices. Some have even seen the spirit of a former front desk clerk named Stan hanging out in the lobby. Ghost tours take visitors to the hotel and other locations in town and include a paranormal investigation.
Georgetown Hotel & Saloon | Georgetown
Another historic hotel with a colorful past in El Dorado County is the Georgetown Hotel & Saloon. Today, it’s a hotspot for live music and hearty food. During the Gold Rush, it was a fixture of the community. Built in 1856, it was destroyed twice by fire and rebuilt in 1896. One of the regulars said to haunt the hotel is a lady of the night named Myrna who died here. Guests have reported seeing faint apparitions of a woman in period clothing, as well as voices and swaying curtains.
Woodland Opera House | Woodland
Built in 1885, the Woodland Opera House is a registered historic landmark that continues to host theatrical productions. Along with much of Woodland, the structure was destroyed in a massive fire in 1892, but it was rebuilt in 1896. During the fire, a local fireman, William Porter, died while trying to save the building. His spirit lives on, not just through his heroism, but in odd happenings occurring in the opera house. Visitors have seen his ghost and even smelled smoke on occasion, which faded out as quickly as it arose. Other people have seen the ghost of an actress who performed here, and have witnessed objects moving on their own, including a grand piano.
Old City Hall | Davis
City offices in Davis were previously housed in a downtown building built in 1938. The offices have since moved, and the building has been used as a fire station, police station and most recently, a restaurant. Rumor has it that the building, known as the Old City Hall, is occupied by a wild red-headed woman, who often makes her appearance in the women’s restroom. Some people have reported that she tears her face off before disappearing into the second stall.