What The Ghosts of California Is and Is Not
This documentary covers some of the most haunted places in California, such as The Winchester Mystery House, Alcatraz, Bodie Ghost Town, Hotel Del Coronado and The Whaley House.
If you’re looking for a high-quality (good sound effects and cinematography), you will be disappointed. The music has the quality of a bad B-horror flick. As far as the special effects . . . well, let’s just say that I didn’t receive any chills. Another thing that you should know is that this documentary does not contain in-depth paranormal investigations of the most haunted places in California.
What you’ll learn is a brief history of these places and what types of hauntings are known to have occurred there.
The Winchester Mystery House
The documentary begins with a tour of The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. A cheerful young woman explains why Sarah Winchester built her strange mansion, her fascination with the number 13 and her dinners with thirteen ghosts in a locked room where only she was allowed to go.
Numerous visitors have reported seeing Sarah Winchester during their tours through the mansion, as well as orbs.
I was surprised to see the amount of rust and broken glass on the property. You would think that with the amount of money they receive from tourists, the state would care more about its upkeep. I guess that adds to the spookiness.
According to a paranormal investigator, five spirits occupy Alcatraz. One of them is Robert Franklin Stroud, a.k.a. Birdman, a psychotic killer that was kept in confinement until he died. Several people have tried to sleep in his cell overnight but were allegedly chased out by his angry spirit.
Ghost Town of Bodie
This segment was basically a tour of the town and second-hand stories from the park ranger. The history of Bodie was interesting, as were the ranger’s accounts of the ghosts that allegedly haunt the town.
Hotel Del Coronado
Kate Morgan checked in to the Hotel Del Coronado under the alias of Lottie Bernard before Thanksgiving of 1892. Her body was found on the steps that led out to the beach a few days later. At first, they had no idea who she was and dubbed her The Beautiful Stranger. Her body was identified after the police drew a sketch of her and posted it to the newspapers. She haunts the hotel to this day, surprising visitors with her presence.
This was one of the more interesting segments in this collection because it gives first-person accounts of the hauntings. Towards the end, my husband and I were watching the screen as the paranormal investigator talked. I don’t remember what he was saying, but I do remember seeing a woman rush down the sidewalk behind him, dressed in black period clothing. My husband and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes because we knew the woman was an actress.
The Whaley House
Also located in San Diego is The Whaley House, deemed the most haunted house in the United States. This segment was the best in the collection because the host talked about the spirits who still live in the house, how they haunted the house, his and his wife’s experiences. Even more intriguing were the photographs that he showed of a ghost that was caught on film.
This wasn’t a bad documentary. I learned enough about the history of these places that I would like to visit them. What made this documentary worth watching was the coverage of The Whaley House and the types of hauntings that go on all day there. If you’re curious, rent the DVD on NetFlix.