San Francisco is an old soul. With such an long history, there are of course skeletons in our closets and ghosts in our midst.
And being in such a gorgeous place may mean that some spirits delay crossing over, choosing to hang around just a little bit longer. (We get it—we don't want to leave either.) Halloween is coming, so get spooked with a look at some local haunted places.
Queen Anne Hotel
via of Eventbrite
Located at 1590 Sutter Street, the Queen Anne Hotel was once Mary Lake's School for Girls. Headmistress Miss Mary Lake is said to haunt the hotel--especially her room, 410. She tends to guests like she did her girls, kindly tucking them into bed and arranging their clothes.
Moss Beach Distillery
There is a Blue Lady ghost who inhabits the Moss Beach Distillery. In life, she was said to have been a married woman who was carrying on an affair with the speakeasy-turned-restaurant's piano player. Allegedly, she was killed during an assault, while walking on the beach below the restaurant with her beau. The Blue Lady continues to hang around the area to this day, causing mischief in one of her signature blue dresses. Female diners at the restaurant will lose one earring, which will reappear some time later, checkbooks have levitated, and other eerie, yet harmless things have occured.
Golden Gate Park is home to a variety of ghosts. Probably the best known is the White Lady of Stow Lake. The legend goes that a mother was walking her baby in a stroller near the lake. She began talking to another mother, and when she went to check on her baby, saw that the stroller was gone. It had rolled into the lake, and the mother went in after, never to be seen again. Her ghost continues to look for the child, asking people if they have seen her baby.
Sunnyvale Toys “R” Us
A ghost roams the aisles of a Toys "R" Us in Sunnyvale. The locale, in the 1800s was Martin Murphy's ranch, where Johnny/Yonny/Johan Johnson worked as a preacher and farm hand. Johnny was in love with Martin's daughter Elizabeth, who in turn, was in love with another. After Johnny accidentally killed himself with ax while chopping wood (one news clipping says he accidentally hacked his leg, while another says he was found dead in the orchard with an ax wound in his neck), he continued to haunt the place, looking for Elizabeth. He is known to playfully move toys around, call people's names, and turn the water on in the women's bathroom. The photo above allegedly shows his ghost, standing against the wall, during a seance by psychic Sylvia Browne.
Kohl Mansion today is part of Mercy High School Burlingame (alma mater of yours truly). Before then, it was "The Oaks," home to Bessie and Freddie Kohl. A crazed maid named Adele shot Freddie at the entrance of the Grant Building in San Francisco; he managed to survive. The marriage between Bessie and Freddie, however, did not, and Freddie moved to the St. Francis Hotel for a while. In 1921, Charles Frederick Kohl shot himself, after living in fear that Adele was still after him; his ghost has been known to reside at Kohl Mansion ever since. White powder, limping footsteps (Freddie limped in life), and an eerie fourth floor are some of the ways he lets his presence be known.
The Burlington Hotel
Port Costa's Burlington Hotel is one of the oldest operating hotels in California (some say the oldest). Rumor is that the old Victorian was once a bordello, and was definitely a place for a cheap drink and rowdy party. Each room is named after a woman, perhaps one of the night. Ghosts here have been known to tap guests on the shoulder.