13 Most Haunted Places in the Bay Area

1. Redwood Road

Redwood Rd
Castro Valley, CA

Some kids never want to leave the playground, but what if you were stuck playing forever?

Urban legend says the ghosts of murdered children in Castro Valley frequent the swings at the local preschool, which often appear to swing back and forth of their own accord.

Note: Stock image. This is not the Castro Valley playground. Photo by Five Buck Photos

2. Gravity Hill

Hundreds of towns have a variation of this Brentwood legend: The ghosts of kids killed in a bus accident in the ’50s will push stalled cars out of danger at one particular intersection.

It’s sometimes true that cars will behave strangely at spots like this and seem to roll uphill, but this is a natural phenomena known as a gravity hill rather than the work of ghostly schoolchildren. Or so we’re told.

Photo by LPS.1/Wikicommons

3. Claremont Hotel

Claremont Hotel & Spa
Berkeley, CA 94705

The original building on this site burned down in 1901 and the Claremont Hotel went up over a decade later.

There’s nothing strange about that—except maybe for the mysterious smell of smoke that some guests report in the middle of the night. The ghost of a little girl supposedly haunts the fourth floor too, particularly room 422.

4. Haskell House

3 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(559) 907-7668

The supposed ghost of the historic Haskell House—a man in a top hat seen pacing the rooms from time to time—may be Major Leonidas Haskell himself, or it may be Senator David Brock, who died here after being fatally shot in a duel by former California Supreme Court Justice David Terry near Lake Merced in 1859.

Image via Google

5. San Francisco Art Institute

800 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 771-7020

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The ground underneath the building was a graveyard, and there have been many stories that the tower is haunted. Unexplained footsteps and apparitions are also not uncommon.

Photo by Miune/Shutterstock

6. The Bay Bridge

San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge
San Francisco, CA

Although it seems like the Golden Gate Bridge would be the natural spook spot, apparently the grim grinning ghosts prefer another span.

Nighttime commuters have sometimes reported a phantom Highway Patrol officer during late crossings who vanishes after pulling cars over.

Photo by Max Pixel

7. Presidio Officers’ Club

50 Moraga Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-4323

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Of course the Presidio would be full of ghosts, or at least ghost stories. Here’s one you can actually see, as the show Ghost Hunters recorded video of a mysterious woman in black walking through the Officers’ Club during its third season.

Photo by BrokenSphere/Wikicommons

8. Whittier Mansion

2090 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94109

The historic Whittier Mansion was built in 1896 by William Franklin Whittier, head of what now is PG&E. His heirs sold the property in 1938 to the Deutsche Reich, and it became the German Consulate. Now a private residence, the bulk of unexplained activity happens in the basement and wine cellar, with shadowy figures and hot and cold running chills.

Photo by Sanfranman59/Wikicommons

9. Chambers Mansion

2220 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94115

This grand Victorian in Pacific Heights was built in 1887 by silver tycoon Richard Craig Chambers and later left it to his two nieces.

Claudia Chambers mysteriously died in the house because of an alleged farm implement accident (she was found cut in half!) and psychics have since claimed Claudia’s ghost roams around the place, while pedestrians report strange flashing lights from an upstairs window.

Photo by Douglaswth

10. St. Francis Hotel

335 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 397-7000

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Not every San Francisco hotel claims to be haunted, but it does seem to be a hotelier’s trademark.

At the Westin St. Francis, famed jazz vocalist Al Jolson (star of the 1927 movie The Jazz Singer, the world’s first talkie) died in the middle of a poker game in 1950, declaring with his dying breath, “Boys, I’m going.”

Jolson supposedly haunts suite 1219, along with fellow film star Fatty Arbuckle, whose career was ruined by a scandal in the same room.

Photo by Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

11. The Chapel

777 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 551-5157

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This Mission music hall was once a mortuary, and a few years ago employees became firmly convinced it was haunted by a little girl. This is another local ghost caught on camera, and you can even see the security recording on YouTube. (Note: Don’t watch this at night)

Unlike most so-called ghost footage, this one isn’t just a shadow or something blurry at the edge of the frame; no doubt about it, that does indeed look exactly like a little girl running around the place. It seems more likely this is a prank than a haunting—but we’d be lying if we said this clip didn’t creep us right out.


12. Water Dog Lake Park

2400 Lyall Way
Belmont, CA 94002
(650) 595-7441

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Supposedly the Water Dog of Water Dog Lake is an antagonistic spirit who occasionally drowns children. Contrary myths hold that there is no Water Dog, and that a highwayman was behind the supposed child murders, which isn’t really an improvement.

Of course, cautionary myths about drowning ghosts are common with just about any body of water, and in all likelihood no murders every really took place here at all.

13. Agnews Hospital

1250 Hope Dr
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Originally known as the State Hospital for the Chronic Insane, Agnews served a variety of psychiatric roles since 1888 but still carries some of the stigma of the tortuous therapy methods—including whipping and supposedly medicinal bloodletting—inflicted on patients here in the 19th century.

Naturally former employees circulate stories of unseen visitors in remote areas of the building.

Photo by EugeneZelenko
Source: SF Curbed

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