Exploring OC’s dark side

By Karen Phan, Staff Writer

Haunted hotspots lurk even the most unlikely locations in Orange County and tend to attract visitors when Halloween is just around the corner. Spooky tales have plagued these haunted places for years, and are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon.

Stanley House, Garden Grove. Photo illustration by Khang Do.

Stanley House

12174 Euclid Avenue
Garden Grove, CA
United States

Located in Garden Grove, the Stanley House of the Stanley Ranch Museum is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Agnes Stanley. Agnes was an elderly woman who was unable to ascend the stairs due to her poor health. Frustrated by her inability, she is said to be felt as a force on the staircase to block people from going up and down the stairs. Visitors of the house also claim to hear a baby’s cries from a nursery on the second floor. Visitors report that two portraits in the house are said to be haunted. The first portrait is of J.G Candler who smiles randomly and the other is of an unknown man who bleeds from his throat. Psychic Science Investigators have come to inspect the Stanley house and agree that it may be haunted.



Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Photo illustration by Khang Do.


Disneyland Resort
Anaheim, California
United States

Disneyland, ironically, is a haunted hotspot in OC. Walt Disney’s apparition is believed to wander around the park. Employees have reported to have felt a ghostly presence in Walt Disney’s old apartment over the Fire Station, as well as the Magic Shop, on Main Street. One of the more popular legends is that of a boy haunting the exit to the Haunted Mansion. A mother wished to sprinkle the ashes of her son who died young, but Disneyland refused. She ignored their protests and secretly scattered her son’s ashes near the ride. Visitors and workers report seeing a young boy standing near the entrance crying. A similar legend involves the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as well, where a young child’s ashes were scattered on the ride.




Mission San Juan Capistrano. Photo illustration by Khang Do.

San Juan Capistrano

Local ghost stories lurk almost every area in San Juan Capistrano, a   very superstitious town. The town has a history that is rich with haunting, eerie folklore. The legend of la Llorona is a well known ghost story in the town. She is said to have drowned her children, and now her cries are often heard on the banks of Trabuco Creek on moonless nights. The White Lady is another popular, yet playful character that is known to tease on foggy nights. Mission San Juan Capistrano is haunted as well. The ghost of a young woman named Magdalena who died in an earthquake at the church is reported to wander near the windows of the ruins. According to locals, a faceless monk roams the corridors of the church and a headless soldiers guards the garrison building. During some nights the church bells ring on their own. 



Irvine Katie Wheeler Library 

Irvine Katie Wheeler Library, Irvine. Photo illustration by Khang Do.

13109 Old Myford Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Sightings of a lady in blue were reported long ago near Black Star Canyon, another haunted place in OC. In 1920, Kathryn Helena Irvine died due to issues during childbirth in the Irvine Ranch House. Many link the Blue Lady to Kathryn, whose spirit is believed to have roamed the house for decades after her death. The house burned down in the 1960’s and was replaced by the Irvine Katie Wheeler Library. Some report to have seen a mysterious tall man who is believed to be Kathryn’s father, James Irvine. Others say they have seen a lady in a blue dress in the bookshelf aisles of the library. The library staff also report to hear singing when no one is present.




John Wayne’s ‘Wild Goose’ yacht. Photo illustration by Khang Do.


John Wayne’s Wild Goose Yacht

3300 Newport Blvd.

Newport Beach, CA 92663

American actor John Wayne is believed to be haunting his beloved Wild Goose yacht that is docked in Newport Beach. Before Wayne died, he sold the Wild Goose was purchased by an attorney named Lynn Hutchins. Hutchins has said she has seen the and felt ghost of John Wayne multiple times during her visits to the yacht. She later sold the yacht in 1991, but the paranormal activity continued. Over the past years crew members and guests of the boat have reported that empty rooms lock from the inside, lights flicker on and off, and loud footsteps can be heard. The most chilling legend of the Wild Goose is the story of its mysterious departure from Newport Bay at night. It is said that the boat slipped from its lines and ended up in front of Wayne’s former home in OC. It returned back to Newport Bay in the morning, but there was no sign of entry or cut lines.