Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Is Sanger's Brehler Square Park haunted?

Brehler Square Park in Sanger, California. Image courtesy of Google Street View.

While researching something in the area I came across a story that mentioned that the Brehler Square Park in downtown Sanger is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of local Native Americans. Curious to see if this was more than urban legend I started to dig around.

The park was once the location of the Brehler Building which was built sometime during the turn of the Twentieth Century and housed several business included a bank, a post office, a bakery, the local newspaper, and a general store and pharmacy that was ran by the building's owner Oscar Brehler. Mr. Brehler would often trade with some of the local Yokut tribes, trading them either supplies or outright buying the baskets the tribe was known for. Over the years he developed quite a collection which can now be seen at the Sanger Depot Museum a few miles away. The collection is quite extensive and is considered one of the best in the country.

Oscar Brehler, the original owner of the Brehler Building
Image courtesy of the Sanger Depot Museum.

The building itself was torn down in the late 80's and the area was turned into a park. Witnesses have heard drums and chanting and one even said they saw a figure in the trees one night while walking their dog. Upon getting closer they found the park empty with no one around.

Some of the baskets that Oscar bought over the years.
Image courtesy of the Sanger Depot Museum.

Could these be the spirits of the Native Americans that traded their goods over a century ago and now they want them back? But if that was the case wouldn't the museum exhibit itself be haunted and not the park? If the park is indeed haunted perhaps the land held some significance to the local natives. Another possibility is that it is a residual haunting of those that sold their wares so long ago and for whatever reason something was imprinted on the area. Or perhaps it's just another urban legend with its genesis in facts and has morphed over time and taken on a life of its own. Whatever the case may be it seems Sanger isn't short of its ghost stories.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Small Fresno County town said to have history of cult activity.

About 40 miles east of Fresno lies the small town of Dunlap. Like most towns in eastern Fresno County it got its start as a stage coach stop in the 1800's. For the most part this small town seems to be unremarkable except for rumors of occult activity during the early history of the area.

Legend says that some time in the mid 1800's there was a small shack on the outskirts of the town that served as a meeting place for a local cult. It was rumored that this shack was used for dark rituals designed to conjure up demons and sinister supernatural entities. The goal of these rituals were to give the members supernatural powers to help them further their sinister goals.

This went on for years until for reasons unknown the sect decided to disband and the members went on to carry normal lives. Even though no longer practicing, the group were still loyal to one another and when a member died they requested to be buried in the Dunlap Cemetery in an unmarked grave despite the fact most members no longer even lived in the area. It seems one final ritual was performed and the group conjured three tall, shadowy figures and bound them to the cemetery to protect the members buried there and seemed to be seen the most near a cluster of oak trees.

People have heard whispering voices chanting "Leave us alone!" over and over. One witness decided to disobey the whispers and ventured further into the cemetery only to hear footsteps follow them despite the fact they were alone. The voices grew louder and louder until they were no longer whispers but screams in their ears. This seemed to go on for an hour until they couldn't take it anymore and fled the cemetery. 

Of course the skeptic in me questions this story and wants to chalk it up to nothing more than urban legend. People who live in the are vehemently denying the story and most claim to never even have heard of it. If it is indeed nothing more than fiction, what was the genesis of the story? That part has always interested me, that there was some story that seemed to have lasted the years and took on a life of it's own and became a living, breathing entity. People can dismiss it all they want, but the story still is out there. I'm not the only one to have written about it. And I doubt I'll be the last. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strange black ring seen floating over Disneyland

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with Disneyland (I have copies of the original Haunted Mansion blueprints framed and hanging on my wall). So when I saw this story making the rounds over the past few days about a strange black smoke ring seen floating over the Magic Kingdom back in May of 2015 I knew I had to investigate this.

Watching the above video you can see a large black ring floating in the sky somewhere near the Finding Nemo Submarine ride (you can hear the "Mine. Mine" of the seagulls in the background). As the object floats in the air you can hear several people voice their concern and one even asks if they should ask a cast member (Disneyland employee) what it is. Finally after a minute or so black ring dissipates.

Definitely interesting. It appeared to be some sort of smoke ring, but what caused it? Alien spacecraft going to light speed (maybe it was the Millennium Falcon since Disney owns that now)? Some speculate that it was some sort of wormhole to another dimension while others said it was proof of the government manipulating the weather. Curious, and a bit skeptical, I decided to dig further. And as luck would have it I found another video at Disneyland published on the same day as the  previous one (May 20, 2015). It seems whatever it was, it was obvious enough to get people's attention.

Both of these videos were shot at night, which had me thinking. I started digging some more and came upon another video showing the black ring, but this time in January 2016. And once again shot at night.

As I was watching this other video, craving both a churro and Dolewhip, I heard the person recording the video say it was windy. And it hit me. Nighttime is when they do the firework shows and the World of Color light show (worth waiting an hour to see) in the parks. I was there in December of 2015 (as well as Oct. 2012 and May 2014) and all three times I saw World of Color and during the show they make use of fire and the pyrotechnics are arranged in a circular space. This has to be what was recorded in the above videos. Since World of Colors is in California Adventures, those in the original Disneyland park and not familiar with the show may not know what these smoke rings are from. Even if they did they still are a bit unnerving. Disneyland is known for it's immersion. There are no newspapers, radios or Tv's, or anything else that would bring the outside world in. Walt Disney wanted it that way he was so set on people being drawn into his park. So seeing a giant black smoke ring floating over the park could seem unnerving to some. Me, I'd probably not even see it as I would riding the Haunted Mansion for the 20th time.

So sadly it wasn't a wormhole or Han and Chewie heading to KashyyyK for Life Day. Just the aftermath of some pyrotechnics.

Like I said, I love Disneyland. But not as much as my friend Heather. Check out her website Churro Kingdom for a whole new look on the Magic Kingdom.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Central Valley UFO sightings for the first part of 2016

As I write this it is June 6, 2016 and that means the year is almost halfway through already. Given that it's been a while since I've written anything and I'm currently in the midst of research I thought I'd browse the California UFO sightings on the National UFO Reporting Center and see if I could find anything in the Central Valley. And as usual I wasn't disappointed. I was able to find a few sightings going back all the way to the beginning of the year. The most interesting of them is the one that occurred in February in Fresno. I'd love to be able to interview this person. Their report is interesting to say the least.

I should note that I haven't edited any spelling or grammar of the posts. This is how they were submitted to the NUFORC.

As always if you've seen anything out of the ordinary in the skies report it the National UFO Reporting Center. You can find the link to report a sighting here.

Occurred : 1/11/2016 
Location: Kingsburg, CA
Shape: Triangle
Duration:2 minutes

Triangle objects near Kingsburg, CA.

The objects were flying in unison for the majority of the time they were viewed. They flew side by side from east to west over the 99 freeway just before the Kingsburg, CA city limits. The two objects were in site for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. 

As I stopped to look, the objects flew from the 10–2 o’clock position then disappeared. The night was clear, no fog. The lights were a constant white glow. They did not change colors or flicker.

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 2/4/2016 
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Other
Duration:3-4 minutes

02/04/2016, Fresno, CA, Doughnut, 4-5 min, hovered, then landed super quick in front of vehicle, huge round craft, brown/gold, vanished

Mr. X Documentary File # 00701 THE CRAFT This is to document the factual events that occurred on or about 02Apr16, at or about 1:40am, in Southern California in the city of Fresno. The occurrence was witnessed by, and is conveyed by sworn testimony equivalent to, and with all judicial authority, as stated under oath by the signed witness, Mr. X. There are several items preceding File #00701, including and limited to; one drawing of Object ABC articulated by Mr. X in the presence of a close kin. After explanation to kin about Object ABC, Mr. X was asked by kin if he could draw, or recite details of Object ABC. Mr. X did articulate the main features of Object ABC on an old small paper bag. That image was then destroyed. There is a second document articulated by Mr. X detailing the occurrence encountering Object ABC.

As Mr. X was exiting the freeway into Fresno, California, using GPS from his phone as he navigated to his destination. The GPS on the phone he was using began giving false readings, and performing out of its normal functional character. Mr. X attempted to adjust the GPS as he drove on the off-ramp from Freeway 99 into Modesto, CA. About 50 to 100 feet from completing the exit ramp, Mr. X saw a strange thing seemingly hovering off to the left of the exit over-pass. As he began to focus on the object, the object seemed to flip, or slip, or shape-shift, landing in the middle of the road, on top of the over pass, directly in front of Mr. X’s vehicle. He stopped the vehicle before running into the object.

Mr. X stopped the vehicle, and tried to comprehend the sight of the huge craft, and make sense of what he was seeing. He tried to wake his children, and co-passenger. One 16-year old son sitting in the front passenger seat, one 14-year old son sitting in the rear passenger seat on the left side, and one female 18-year old female passenger sitting behind the driver’s seat. All passengers were asleep at the time of the sighting. Mr. X tried to wake everyone up, and even shook his son sitting next to him. Mr. X began to speak aloud thinking that someone may be awake and listening, “what is it? Look at this you guys. What do I do? I don’t understand. What am I supposed to do?” He asked. When no one responded, he tried once again to wake his son, then decided to do something he thought might be stupid. He thought that he couldn’t leave this moment without being absolutely sure that what he was seeing was real, and with no obstruction between his own eyes and the strange object. (He didn’t want to wonder in the future, because he knew he was seeing something that he never had seen before.) He stepped out the vehicle with one leg, and stared at the huge object, with one hand on the door as he stood straight up. He looked at the object for about what seemed to be 7 to 11 seconds, only looking into the vehicle for a split second at his passengers, and asking if they could wake up, then looking back at the object. Just then a vehicle horn honked and when he looked back, he noticed there were two vehicles stopped behind him, and a third pulled off to the right. The Third car was the vehicle that was honking. At first, Mr. X thought that they were honking at him to get back in his vehicle before the strange craft did something to hurt him. (like he was crazy for standing out in front of the craft like that, so close.) Mr. X looked again at the craft as he got back into his vehicle, and as he clasped his seat belt, the huge craft just vanished in the plume of faint smoke or gasses, which quickly dissipated. The Thing that Mr. X is calling smoke, or gassed, can a! lso be called a mist, and even visible fumes, or a cloud of something. This action of the gasses had a visual effect something akin to a visible fume, without a smell, and was all around the craft.

Mr. X then began to proceed the remaining 15 yards, or less on the off-ramp to the light. He continued to look for the object, and look at his GPS to find his way. The GPS still did not give correct magnetic north, flipping and changing routes sporadically. He drove from memory, until calling his friend that he was going to visit, and having the friend guide him to his friend’s home.

Mr. X pulled into his friend’s driveway in about 8 minutes after that. As soon as Mr. X passengers began to awake, he began talking about the Strange Craft. The first thing he said to his friend after saying a brief “Hi.” Was “I just saw an Alien Space Craft”. The friend just thought he was joking, but he wasn’t joking at all, and as Mr. X began to walk, he lost control of his legs, and became weak. The friend had to hold Mr. X up and assist him in regaining balance. The passengers, Mr. X, and the friend all entered the home, and went out back to sit in a rest area of the home for a moment.

The Craft was huge, Brownish-Gold, with tints of Green, Red, and Lots of Black. The texture was Hexed, or X / cross hatched, with some kind of braces running vertical along either side curving with the surface of the craft from top to bottom. The braces were of the same color, and were about three and a half lanes apart, on either side from the center where I was. The craft was about 50 to 60 feet high, and obscured at the top and sides with the strange black cloud, or fumes. At the bottom of the craft, about a foot and a half off the ground was pitch black, where the outline of the craft could be seen as it hovered close to the road. The craft did block the view of anything behind it, and the street under it. The craft made no sound, and had no smell. Just an eerie silence. Mr. X did get out of the vehicle, and look at the craft with his own eyes, and he did have glasses on so he could see the craft very clearly.

The craft did appear from hovering off to the left of the freeway, and did move very quickly (impossibly quick), and stopped on a dead stop in the center of the roadway. The craft did vanish, with the gas or smoke leaving a few seconds after the craft vanished. The roadway became clear and lit, and the yellow center, and white lane lines became visible all the way across the overpass, where Mr. X was to drive.

This is the sworn testimony, and statement of Mr. X, who is identified yet requests to remain anonymous for as long as possible. The events described within this report are true and accurate to the best of my recollection, and in in no way fabricated, or made-up. I swear to what I saw, and I am MR. X. I have no understanding for what I saw, and I know that the nature, and actions of this strange craft was not of anything that I have seen on Earth.

I hope this report helps, as I was asked to document the events of the evening on which I saw this Strange Unidentified Craft.

Signed: Mr. X

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 3/1/2016 
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:2 minutes

White lights in Fresno sky.

I was looking south, and noticed what I thought was a bright star or planet in my peripheral vision above a large tree. Turning to look south-southwest, I noticed that the light was not one but two lights, and they were traveling parallel to the horizon, in an apparent western direction. The lights were bright white, similar in intensity to an aircraft landing light at a distance, but no sound was noted. I called to my wife, who was standing inside the house, and turned back just in time to see the lights blink out, one by one. 

My wife did not see them.

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 3/16/2016 
Location: Turlock, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:30 seconds

light flashed in 3 durations moving short distance over head then dramatically accelerated and continue to flash as it traveled.

March 16, 2016. At around 9:40 pm, I had stepped out to smoke on the back patio as is typical, in my peripheral vision I saw a flash of white light at around 20 degrees from overhead in a north – west direction. I continue to watch that area knowing from past experience some satellites flash from the sun, and again it flashed as expected a little ways away from the original flash, then flashed a third time and dramatically had moved much farther away to my surprise… this thing had accelerated much faster then any fast satellite I had ever seen and in fact continue to flash periodical like skipping light on water sort of speak. It moved so fast I had to open the gate and run around to the front of the house to continue watching, as I refocused my eyes this skipping white flashing light was passing an airline on its left side about 40-50 miles away.

The direction of travel was just south of true west (~250-260 azimuth ). There was no fire trail behind as it flashed. I have seen skipping meteors before with fire trails. 

I must say, it’s the seeming acceleration that is puzzling

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 4/7/2016 
Location: Bass Lake, CA
Shape: Fireball
Duration:3 seconds

Large green fireball flashing across the tree line. Did not look like anything I have seem up here before. Went out of view.

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 5/4/2016 
Location: Clovis, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:5 seconds

Fast white light moving through the sky.

I saw a light in the sky traveling from the north east to the south west. The light looked to be about the same size as the white light you see on a helicopter. The light was moving across the sky so fast that it managed to get my attention. I said to my wife who was facing me, “look at that behind you” and as she turned around the light suddenly made what looked like a 90 degree turn and dart off to the east so fast that my wife was not able to see it.

Original post can be found here.

Occurred : 5/19/2016
Location: Dos Palos, CA
Shape: Light

I pulled over at 3 am i looked out and seen a bright light there was a bright white one and a bright red one. They were flashing it looked like they were talking I have lived in this town for 40 years and have never seen anything like this.

Original post can be found here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Revisiting the ghosts of Roosevelt High School

It occurred to me the other day that I have been doing Weird Fresno for over seven years now and in that time I have written hundreds of stories about the weird and unusual in the Fresno area. Looking back at some of the early stories made me want to revisit them and share them with anyone new to the site. Looking through some I did in the first year I came across one of my favorite (and most popular stories). The ghosts of Roosevelt High School.

When I first wrote about Roosevelt High I had only heard of two locations that were haunted, the boys restroom in the East Hall and the school’s auditorium. Since I’ve written that article I’ve received nearly forty comments (as I write this) of people who have witnessed things in these locations as well as others I didn’t know about at the time. Now if these stories are true or not, it’s not my place to say. I’m just here to share what I’ve heard and add to the legend of Roosevelt High.

East Hall at Roosevelt High School - photo courtesy of Historic Fresno
With the boys restroom in the East Hall no one knows who it really is but it’s been rumored for years that it is the ghost of a student who committed suicide there. I’ve looked for any news article to add some validity to this but have been unable to find anything to substantiate it. That being said something has been felt there over the years and the stories cannot be discounted. One night a janitor was working late and heard coughing coming from the restroom. Thinking it was a student who had somehow snuck in and was hiding, he went to investigate the noise. Upon entering the bathroom it was completely empty and there was no way that anyone could have left it without him seeing them exit the restroom from where he standing in the hallway that he was cleaning.

For a while the restroom was closed and used for storage but was finally reopened in the 2007-2008 school year. Cold chills are sometimes felt when the door is opened even though the air is warmer everywhere else. Many students said they have felt a presence in the area and some have even heard noises as if someone was in there with them even though they were all alone.

Some of the other stories talk about how a girl supposedly jumped from the bell tower to her death and haunts the location to this day. Other stories say that she hung herself there. If either are true it’s hard to say. Another story was told to me by a student that heard from the kitchen staff that a spirit supposedly haunts the kitchen area but nothing specific was really said to them.

As I said, whether there is any truth to the above stories it’s hard to say. But the next one does have itself grounded in a true story, albeit a sad one.

Roosevelt High School Auditorium - photo courtesy of Historic Fresno
The school’s auditorium is said to be haunted by a student who was performing on stage, collapsed due to a heart attack and died. The spirit was called “Lester” and was said to roam the auditorium and sometimes play pranks on people by letting his presence be known. That was all I had heard and from the comments it seemed there was nothing more to the story. That changed a few months after I wrote the original article when a cousin of Lester’s, or Leslie as he was actually known as, contacted me to tell me the story was true.

It was October 10, 1960 and Leslie Chambers was six days away from his sixteenth birthday. It was a school assembly day and Leslie was performing a cheer on the stage of the auditorium in front of all the assembled students and faculty when he collapsed mid-performance and died on the spot. The doctors later found out he had a congenital heart defect and that was what led to his death. The school was obviously grief stricken and a memorial was quickly formed near one of the trees where Leslie and his girlfriend shared lunch each day.

It was a sad story to say the least and his cousin had contacted me so Leslie's story could be shared. I found interesting in that right after I posted that story I received some comments saying that the students in the auditorium still remember “Lester” and never forgot about him and they still consider him one of their own. One student said they were told by faculty that things would always wind up missing and they said he supposedly played pranks on students (the commentor doubted this as they felt the teacher was just messing with them but still wanted to share it). But what was said next brought a smile to my face (and maybe a tear to my eye). The students have always included him in every production done there since his death by listing his name in the cast/crew sign in sheet and it is a tradition that has been passed down over the years from student to student, class to class. Seems Leslie Chambers memory continues on, even over fifty years later.

Leslie Chambers
October 16, 1944 - October 10, 1960

As I post this it will be October 13, 2015, three days before Leslie would have turned 71. I hope someone from Roosevelt sees this before Friday October 16 and gets the word out to the RSA at Roosevelt and they wish Leslie a happy birthday. I know it would make him happy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Does the specter of James Dean's car haunt the site of his tragic death?

James Dean Memorial Junction - Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

If you have ever taken Highway 41 headed towards the coast there’s a good chance you've driven by where Highway 41 becomes Highway 46 and the infamous spot  where James Dean lost his life in a tragic automobile accident in 1955.

On the night of September 30, 1955 Dean was driving along then U.S. Route 466 towards Salinas in his Porsche 550 Spyder nicknamed "Lil Bastard". At a little bit after 5:00 pm, a 2950 Ford Tuder was trying to turn away from an intersection and was in the center of the road. Dean was unable to stop at the time and slammed into the driver side of the Ford and skidded across the road onto the side of the highway. The Ford driver was relatively uninjured. Dean's mechanic, who had been in the passenger seat, was ejected from the car and suffered major injuries and survived. Dean wasn't as lucky and suffered a broken neck and died at the scene.

Although Dean passed onto legend peacefully, Lil Bastard has a bit of a sinister legend of it's own. The car was supposedly cursed and George Barris bought the wrecked vehicle for parts. When the car arrived at his garage it fell off the trailer and broke his mechanic's leg.

Soon after that the engine and transmission were sold to some doctors who wanted to used the parts in their own race cars. In their first race, one car spun out of control and hit a tree killing the driver. The other car rolled taking a turn, yet this driver was lucky (relatively speaking) and was only severely injured.

Most of what I just said is common knowledge regarding Dean's death and the car. But the other day I came across a story of Lil Bastard sometimes still being seen on Hwy 46 where that tragic accident occurred. Could Dean be damned for all eternity to drive this stretch of road? Most likely not. If the car is indeed seen, it's most likely a residual haunting where something so tragic happens and imprints itself onto the surrounding area. That and countless James Dean fans have journeyed to the site to pay their respects, no doubt adding to the energy that's already there.

Next time you are heading towards the coast, stop at the memorial if you can. There's even a small restaurant called Jack Ranch cafe has good food and even some Dean memorabilia. And if you are driving along the road and see a Porsche Spyder in your rear view mirror, make sure to let them pass. And then take a photo for me please.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Does the ghost of a murdered girl haunt an oak tree near Sanger?

A reader shared this with me last week about a weird encounter that happened to his cousin outside of Sanger late one night. This is what he sent me:

Alright so here's a true story that happened to my cousin. He's about 14 years older than me, I'm 35. This happened to him in the early 90's. He was going to college and was working graveyard part time at one of those convenient gas stations that's open 24 hours. He lives in Parlier but he used to work that job in Sanger. This happened one night in the winter. He got off around 1 in the morning and he would take Newmark to get from Sanger to Parlier. He was driving and it was foggy so he was going slow. He was going down Newmark when he sees what looks like a young girl walking down the side of the road. My cousin is genuinely a good guy, a good Samaritan type. He pulls over and lowers the window and asks "hey did you need a ride" the girl keeps walking and doesn't even turn around. He tries one last time, and he asks again "are you okay, do you need a ride." He said he turned the light on in his car for whatever reason, but after he asked that 2nd time, she poked her head in the car and repeated verbatim what he asked her. He said she had the ugliest face ever, like someone over did it or got crazy with black make up. After she spoke she started laughing and he said that laugh sent shivers down his spine. He freaked out and sped off. He said after that he NEVER took Newmark to get home when he was getting off late. 

Creepy story to say the least and it reminds me of the stories I've heard that happened on Channel Road. Talking to the person some more they told me of a local Sanger story of a young girl that was supposedly raped and killed by an oak tree on Newmark and Central and haunts the road where she was killed. He thinks this is what his cousin saw driving on Newmark late that one night.

The oak tree in question. Just south of Newmark and Central. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

Looking at a map I saw this was very close to Snake Road. I'm still researching this story, but if it's true could this be the actual origin for the Snake Road ghost? Granted they are very different stories, but is it more than just coincidence that two haunts are near each other? I've already been on record saying that I think the Snake Road story is nothing more than a retelling of La Llorona. But I've witnessed weird things on that road and know others who have as well. Could the things I and others have witnessed actually be this poor woman haunting the area and people used her story to spin a cautionary tale for Snake Road? Or is Sanger cursed with two ghosts that both share tragic, but different tales?