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Ghostly Visits

Located in historic Old Town in San Diego, California at the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street is the Whaley House. Today it is a museum. The house is inhabited by various ghosts and some pictures that have been taken of some of these ghosts are on display in the courthouse room.

San Diego Pioneer Thomas Whaley built the house in 1857. It was built on land that was partially once a cemetery. Whaley was a prominent man and entertained San Diego’s high society at his home. Later on, the house was used as a theater by The Tanner Troupe and for a while, it was the San Diego County Court House at which time Mr. Whaley rented the first-floor living room as a courtroom.

Thomas Whaley died on December 4, 1890, and his wife Anna on February 24, 1913. Both husband and wife are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.  The last Whaley who lived in the house was Corinne Lillian Whaley. She was the youngest of Whaley’s six children. Corinne died in 1953.

Over the years the Whaley House fell into disrepair but was prevented from demolition in 1956 by the formation of the Historical Shrine Foundation of San Diego County. The foundation bought the land and house and eventually preserved the house as a historical museum.

When the Whaley House was opened to the public around 1960 supernatural events started taking place.  The oldest known manifestation is that of Yankee Jim who was a convicted man hung on the property before Mr. Whaley purchased it. Corinne Whaley recollected that when heavy footfalls could be heard running across the second floor Mr. Whaley would say, “Don’t worry that’s just Yankee Jim.” When Mrs. Kirbey of New Westminster, B.C., Canada entered the courtroom on the first floor on October 9, 1960, the first thing she saw was the small figure of a woman with a swarthy complexion. The woman was wearing a long full skirt that reached to the floor. There was a cap on her head and she had dark hair and eyes. The woman had gold hoops in her ears. Mrs. Kirbey had the impression that she was intruding on her privacy. It is thought that this apparition came from the days when this was officially a courtroom.

The owners of the house Mr. and Mrs. Whaley have been seen going about their daily routines. A clear picture was taken of an apparition of Mr. Whaley smoking his pipe by the window in the upstairs bedroom. He has also been seen walking about the house. Mrs. Whaley has been seen rocking in a chair with a baby, folding clothes and putting a child to bed. Sometimes the rocking chair moves by itself. In the winter when the doors are kept closed and the heat is on staff members have felt cold spots move past them when they have gone upstairs.

The staff has seen a little red-haired girl who is dressed in the clothing of the late 1800s. She has been seen outside in the garden, smelling the flowers. One moment she would be there and then gone the next. The little girl has been seen playing with the toys in the playroom. She is thought to be the child who strangled on a clothesline in the yard and died in the kitchen afterward. There has also been seen a ghostly apparition in a frock coat and pantaloons which quickly fades away and the apparition of a ghostly spotted dog. Visitors and staff members have heard the sounds of music and singing, children laughing, a toddler crying in an upstairs bedroom, and whistling, Smells of cigar smoke, perfume and the aroma of baking from the kitchen during Christmas have permeated the air.

 The Moss Beach Distillery is located in Moss Beach, California and it is a well-known place on the San Mateo Coast for its great food, scenery, and spirits – the ghostly kind. It originally opened in 1927 and was a speakeasy known as Frank’s Place. It has been visited by movie stars, San Francisco politicians and gangsters and at one time it may possibly have served as a brothel.

The most famous ghost isThe Blue Lady. Legend has it that over 70 years ago a beautiful young woman named Mary Ellen who loved to dress in blue met John Contina who was a piano player at a local bar. The two started a romance even though Mary Ellen was already married and had a small boy named Jack. They would meet for walks on the beach in the moonlight and at the Marine View Hotel which at that time was located next to the Distillery. However long this went on it ended tragically when Mary Ellen died in an awful automobile accident on a stormy November night on the old Bayshore Highway. It also became known that at the time John Contina was having his romance with Mary Ellen he was also seeing a woman called Anna Philbrick who after discovering that she was being deceived jumped from the cliffs near the Distillery. Contina himself came to a bad end when his decapitated body was found washed ashore near the Distillery.

During the mid1980s the Distillery had a storeroom for wine which had only one door and there were no windows. There was no way to get out of the room if one didn’t use the door. An employee went to get some wine late at night and found that try as he might he could not open the door to the room. He called for assistance and the door was pushed open so that someone could squeeze in. It was amazing, to say the least when they saw that all the wine boxes had been stacked up against the door. If anyone human had done this they themselves could never get out of the room.

The Blue Lady has a way of looking after children. Her apparition has warned children to stay away from the edge of the cliffs. It’s said she whispers to them to be careful and to stay away. There have been children who have said that they have seen the Blue Lady in rooms that are dimly lit and in the Men’s Room only to find that she has disappeared when adults have been called to investigate.

An odd and unusual incident occurred some years ago when it seemed that the point of sale computer system had contracted a virus causing all the dates to show as 1927. This was the year that the speakeasy Frank’s Place opened for business. A technician was sent to reset the date but he couldn’t find a logical cause for the strange date change. Whatever the reason or cause the Moss Beach Distillery is waiting to serve you a most delicious dinner and perhaps the Blue Lady will dine with you.


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