On New Year’s Eve, we tried that whole Haunted Limo thing again. This time it worked! Hooray! The only hitch was that originally we had a group of seven people, which would fit perfectly in the seven person limo they ordered for us, but then two more joined us late. Which made for a very crowded haunted limo. Luckily, after the first stop, the two young couples decided to lap-sit which made everything a lot more comfy for us, if not for them.
The Whaley House was closed that night (so was all of Old Town, it was very strange) so we didn’t go inside, but to make up for that, we got to attend a seance at some awesome old historic home. But we did stand on the porch of the Most Haunted House in San Diego and listen to some stories. And there I spied the shadow of a ghost on the door frame! Just kidding, it was the tour guide’s shadow.
Really the best part of this tour was the history. I had no idea that Wyatt Earp was linked to San Diego. Normally I have a strong aversion to cowboy-westerny things but now I’m curious to learn more about him. Our second stop was the hotel he used to stay in. This hotel, and another, were moved several blocks and combined into what is today known as the Horton Grand Hotel. Presumably formerly the Horton and the Grand, but I have a short attention span and kept forgetting to listen.
It was here that I photographed a ghost. Apparently this is the ghost of Ida Bailey, San Diego’s most famous madam, who had her brothel in this spot before the hotels were moved here. We were told she often hangs out on the stairs and that we should try snapping some photos. That’s not why I took the pictures, though – the staircase is just plain photo-worthy. As soon as I took the third one (and the only one relatively in focus) I saw the spot there on the stairs. She looks more blue and blobular now than in her photographs. I did not notice the spots in the other two photos until I got home. While these might be simply light orbs, I’m choosing to go with the supernatural because it’s more exciting that way.
And then we had to drive over the bridge. On New Year’s Eve when the streets are simply teeming with drunk people and I had no easy way to jump out of the limo in case it flew off the bridge. Hello, anxieties! You will be happy to know I lived (or maybe you’d think it would be cooler if I was a ghost writing this. Sorry to disappoint you. Asshole).
But at the end of the bridge lies the Hotel Del which is possibly my favorite place in San Diego. I am no stranger to wandering the halls there and, in fact, as a teenager I’d lead my friends on my own haunted tours of the place, telling the story of Kate Morgan and showing off her room. There were no limos involved in my tours, although we did sometimes steal toiletries. On this tour we were not, technically, allowed to go exploring the hotel, but we were given a free fifteen minutes and the room number just in case we, er, were into breaking laws. And we totally were. Well, Summer and I were. I don’t honestly think anyone else left the lobby. Chickens.
Back across the bridge (picture a sped-up scene like that of the boys racing to and from the bullies in A Christmas Story), and to the seance. This was weird. There were candles on the table and we all held hands and invited spirits to join us. The candles flickered to answer, “yes.” I’m not clear as to how they could do that, but I’m also not really buying it. I tried breathing hard to see if I’d make the candles flicker. It was unclear. Some random child ghost tried contacting Summer for no reason. Real helpful, child ghost. Thanks. The people across the table from me had lots of activity. Maybe they breathed heavier than I did.
And then we drove up to Presidio Park, had some champagne to welcome in the New Year, and climbed to the top of a little building that has a pentagram tiled into the roof. There are no ghosts here, as far as I can remember, but we were told that witches (both “black and white” – and it took me a full minute to understand that he wasn’t talking about race) hold circles there. Indeed there were stumps of wax in the center. I was, at least, happy to hear him speak nicely of the “white” witches, and to clarify that they work in love only. I don’t really feel I fit into Wicca, but, being Pagan, I do feel related to them somehow and get defensive when people misunderstand. I am still having a hard time believing “black” witches exist in any form other than annoying teenagers.
We crossed the street to the edge of the hill and were told a story of how Charlie the rainmaker came to San Diego in 1916 and gave more rain than was bargained for. Awesome. I mean. Not the flood and destruction part, but the fact that the city hired a rainmaker. Awesome. Apparently this flood was so powerful that all of Mission Valley – all.of.it – was under water. And this caused the bank of the hill we were standing on to erode. And that hill? Happened to be a graveyard. Awkward.
Our last stop was the graveyard in Old Town where I tried once again to photograph orbs, but did not succeed. We did get a photo with the tour guide, though.
Happy New Year, Ghosts of San Diego!