Surf, Sun, and Spirits in San Diego-Part 2
In part one of my San Diego blog, I concentrated on the area known as Old Town. Being the birth place of California, I thought it only proper to begin this para-traveler trip in San Diego as it is the origination of the Golden State. That doesn’t mean that the rest of San Diego is devoid of spirits for the intrepid para-traveler to encounter in this wonderful sun filled city. In this installment, I will be writing about what was once called New Town San Diego and relating the rest of the ghostly goings on the city also has to offer.
We will start at what today is called the Gaslamp District. This area of San Diego was where New Town began and is today the entertainment district of the city. Here you will find trendy restaurants, clubs and other nightly entertainments for the discerning adult adventurer. There are even a couple of nice, upscale haunted hotels that never seem to disappoint the para-traveler in all of us. With all of the haunted places within the city, the ParaTraveler will most definitely need a place to spend a couple of nights. The Gaslamp District has just what you need with its two high-class hotels, the US Grant Hotel and the Horton Grand Hotel
The US Grant at 326 Broadway, built in 1910, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The rates at this luxury hotel begin around $350 a night, so make sure you can afford it before you go, but keep in mind you may just have a hell of a paranormal experience here. It is said that the unhappy spirit of a woman named Fannie haunts the hotel. Fannie was the wife of Ulysses S. Grant Jr., who built the hotel. Soon after they married, Jr. passed away and Fannie remarried. When she passed away, her second husband remarried soon after, and it would seem that Fannie is mad that he remarried so quickly. Fannie now haunts the hotel. One has to wonder if Fannie realizes that he did just what she had done after the death of her husband.
Another place you can stay, which is a bit cheaper with ParaTravelers being able to find rooms as low as $160, is the Horton Grand Hotel at 311 Island St. right in the heart of the Gaslamp District. This hotel is actually two historic hotels that were moved here, brick by brick and connected by an atrium. The Grand Horton on the left and the Khale Saddlery Brooklyn Hotel on the right. These two hotels now form the Horton Grand Hotel. The hotel is haunted by a number of spirits, but the one most famous ghost here is none other than Wyatt Earp. Earp, and his wife Josephine lived here for about seven years while Wyatt gambled and ran his own hall, and it would seem he loved the place so much he has remained and likes to play cards with the guests who stay in the room he and his wife occupied while living here. The Horton Grand, being within walking distance to numerous fine restaurants and nightlife should be on every ParaTravelers list. Did I mention that it is across the street from one of the most haunted museums you will find?
The William Heath Davis House Museum is directly across the street from the Horton Grand and is one place every adventurer should visit while in San Diego. Built by Davis who never actually lived here, the home has so many spirits that it is not unusual for the casual visitor to come across one. The spirits like to play with the lights and displays and have even been known to try and lead a few of the tour groups. With the history of the house, from hospital, to hide-out for a WWI German spy, this is one museum the ParaTraveler doesn’t want to miss.
Very near the Gaslamp District is the San Diego Maritime Museum and city wharf. Here you will find a number of haunted vessels to explore and enjoy. At the museum, you can venture onto the oldest, and some say most haunted sailing ship in the world, the Star of India. This ship is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts including her first commanding officer, Captain Story. Story died during the ships second voyage and has apparently never given up the ship. John Campbell, a child stowaway who fell from the rigging and died of his injuries still likes to play pranks on the living and will often try to hold hands with those he thinks he can trust. With a spectral captain, cook, crushed crewman and other spirits aboard the Star of India, this is one place the ParaTraveler just cannot afford to miss on their paranormal adventure.
Another ship at the museum you can visit is the Steamship Berkeley. This turn of the century ferryboat is said to be haunted by a man who accidentally, or so some say, blew himself up with a vial on nitroglycerin he just happened to have in his pocket when he entered the ship’s bathroom. Men? Keep an eye out while doing your business. The Berkeley has some amazing items to view and the museum store is here for you to browse for tourist fare, you can also pick up my book, Haunted Heart of San Diego here. There are a few more ships in the museum’s collection and you can visit them all for one admission fee.
The USS Midway aircraft carrier is within walking distance of the maritime museum and another must visit location for the ParaTraveler. The Midway is not only haunted by former crew members, but according to the ship’s curator, many spirits actually come to the ship for their own tours just like the living. The Midway, the maritime museum, along with the other places near the Gaslamp district are just a taste of the haunts of San Diego. Point Loma, across the bay has one of the most haunted lighthouses in the country, and the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, where my parents are buried, is said to be the most beautiful and most haunted national cemetery in the country.
One last place that must be mentioned in any writing about San Diego is the Hotel Del Coronado. This historic, upscale inn is a must see for any intrepid ParaTraveler. If you can, book a stay in Kate Morgan’s room. This sad and lonely spirit committed suicide with a .44 pistol and has since haunted not only her room but other areas of the hotel and resort. The hotel was built in the mid-1800s but today boasts not only fine rooms, but excellent eateries as well. Like the Queen Mary, a stay at the Hotel del Coronado is a self-contained, paranormal get away all of its own. However, for the full San Diego ParaTraveler weekend, or longer, adventurers should go forth, visit the locations mentioned here, and in the wonderfully haunted Old Town. San Diego truly has it all, sun, great beaches, great food and great hotels; it should absolutely be on every ParaTravelers list of places to visit.