Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Haunted Pacheco Pass


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If you ever took a trip to Monterery, Santa Cruz, or the Bay Area there's a good chance you've taken Highway 152 through Pacheco Pass. The part of the trip from Los Banos to Gilroy is rather mundane for those who have driven it before. Or is it? Did you know it has a rather dark history? There are stories of supposed Indian massacres by the Spanish settlers in the 1700's. And from 1860 to 1880 the pass was known as Robber's Pass due to two highwaymen that robbed, raped and murdered travlers along the route. And now in modern times it's known as Blood Alley due to the numerous traffic accidents that occur along it's route. Not all these accidents are fatal, but some are. And apparently some of the victims haven't moved on.

Blood Alley seems to have several spirits on it's stretch of road. On the old Bolsa Road there's a story of a headless figure wandering aimless off the side of the road. It's said the ghost is that of a man who was in a car accident and was decapitated and now he is searching for his missing head. Another story is as you are driving towards San Juan Baustista, right after you pass the mission you drive through a small grove of trees and on your left you will see an outcropping of rocks. Sometimes late at night it's said the ghostly spectre of a woman can be seen there. Apparently her fiance was killed in an accident on this stretch of road, and despondent, she put on her wedding dress and went to the scene of the accident and climbed the rocks and jumped to her death. Unfortunately for whatever reason she did not join her beloved in the afterlife and she wanders the road looking for him to this day.

Other miscelaneous sightings include a woman searching for her child, but when you approach her for help she disappears. Witnesses have also claimed to hear the sound of a stage coach and the sound of horses but never see the source of the sounds.

There have also been reports by numerous witnesses of seeing a man in a black robe standing on the side of the highway usually between Casa De Fruta and Bell's Station. Written reports of seeing the figure go back at least several decades and the figure was always seen late at night or early in the morning before sunrise. It's theorized that the figure could be that of a Fransican Monk given the type of garb the witnesses describe seeing him in.

Another story I came across is that of young Indian girl that fell in love with one of the local monks who helped find the San Juan Baustista mission. They had a secret meeting place on a hill besides Fremonts Peak. But once the local townspeople found out about this illicit affair, the preist was excommunicated from the church and the girl was banished from her tribe. The priest went to their spot to find his beloved so they could finally be together. But when he arrived there he found her dead. Distraut, he killed himself. It's said you can see them both on the hill to this day. Whether this monk is the same spirit that was mentioned previously is unknown.

And what haunted highway would be complete without a phantom hitchhiker? Claims of a young girl wearing jeans and a plaid shirt asking for a ride from truck drivers have been reported. The girl would approach a truck with a driver in it and ask for a ride. When the driver said yes, she would walk towards the front of the truck as she was heading towards the passenger side. The driver would wait for the passenger door to open, but it never would. When they would get out of the truck to look for her, she was no where to be found. It's said that this woman is the ghost of a hitchhiker that was accidently killed by a semi-truck years ago.

And because ghosts aren't enough apparently for Blood Alley, there have been sightings of a half human half birdlike creature standing in the middle of the road. Strange lights have also been reported along the pass that have no known explanation.

So next time you are taking a trip to the bay area (or maybe Gilroy for the garlic festival) and see a person on the side of the road, double check that they are actually there. Because there's a good chance you just saw one of the many ghosts of Blood Alley.

53 comments:

Gina said...

I love ghosty stories.

Anonymous said...

I could only read three paragraphs of this. Just the parts about old California. The contemporary stuff is too scary for me and I drive too much to read about stuff like that. Also, I saw something creepy on the 41 out by Atascadero a couple weeks ago. I'll tell you when I see you at the festival this weekend.

t

TLee said...

I grew up hearing these stories from my grandma. Being on of those kind of kids who loved the paranormal I would glue my face to the window looking for the ghosts. Of course we never drove at night. I usually travel with my mom to Monterey and driving at night isn't allowed. Even though she won't tell me, I think she knew people who either have died in Blood Alley or seen spooks. Or she saw something herself.

Now, San Juan Bautista is another tale

valerie said...

I have been thru Pacheco Pass many times...a few of those times on a motorcycle. been to San Juan Batista, Hollister, Gilroy and Los Banos...but never heard or saw anything odd. I don't like the Pacheco Pass area because of the more than normal accidents at times when weather is good and traffic isn't too jammed up. It has a rep of being a very dangerous area of road.....there are some curves on Pacheco that are pretty much blind curves...don't know if that contributes to the accidents or not. From what I have heard, there have been more fatal accidents there statistic wise than other areas of CA roads....I knew about the 'rumors' prior to being on that road and that made me extra nervous. I just read the article you posted about PP and I can truly believe it. Just cos I (or others) didn't see anything, doesn't mean things (or spirits) aren't about.

Anthroslug said...

I have another variation on the vanishing hitchhiker story described here on my blog that you might find interesting:

http://sluggosghoststories.blogspot.com/2009/03/screaming-woman-of-highway-152.html

Anonymous said...

I have passed through Pacheco pass many times at night and alone and have not experienced anything out of the ordinary. I do know however that there has been many accidets there but I would not link it to any paranormal phenomena. It is a curvy road and at high speeds and maybe sleep deprived or a night of drinking, contributes to these accidents....

Ambarbituate said...

My great grandmother Kitty Irene died from a buggy accident on this pass in 1911...

deannafranke said...

I have lived in fresno and santa cruz and done a lot of traveling back and forth.
On pacheco's pass, my then boyfriend and I witnessed enormous wings over my car.
It was around 3 am., we were heading home, on route to SC from Fresno. It was a clear, winter's night of 2008. No other drivers were on the road at all.
I was driving past the water resevoir when we noticed these wings of something flying over my car as we were driving through the pass. They were white and of feathers. The span was as wide as my car.
This is a true story. I am not crazy, or a drug user.
If anyone has heard of any such creatures flying over cars like this I would like to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

I would say it was an angel guiding your car through safely. It's a positive thing.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I got stuck on Pacheco Pass because there was a car accident ahead of us. We were stuck for nearly 2 hours. People started to get out of their cars and go see what was ahead. As I waited inside the pasengers seat a person dressed in white passed by our car riding a bicycle going against traffic. As this person was riding the bike he appeared to be reading a text on his cell phone. I thought it was odd and thought we would have to return, but we waited 2 hours and the bicyclist never returned. And my husband who was standing outside said he never saw anyone on a bike. So, maybe it was a ghost.

Anonymous said...

Back in the years as a child, after the visit of Casa De Fruta I knew we were heading towards this most sicking place and not understanding why. I love nature but The Pacheco Pass made me upset and it made my head lift high trying to fight against feelings that I couldn't explain. Each time my eyes would pour from sadness that I had no control over. My Father would stop onto a curved out location for fishing and I hated it. I didn't want to be there. My feet felt like many pounds of weight & felt like being forced to no longer walking further. There wasn't many trees that was towards the waters. Years of these feelings continued each time going through. I became an adult working for a Dealership and low and behold many trips of Dealer Trade. I had seen my steering wheel turning towards on coming cars thinking how life would end with such force. I felt sick at certain points of this pass. I tried as a Child to find something I could try to look forward seeing when I had no control as a child of riding through it. There was a Rocky Mount that was up so high as I called it Eagle Nests. I tried to find the beauty of it, yet to the left side of the Pass I glanced and I felt sadness again eyes of full tears without crying. I got tired of this battle of sickness and tears and my husband at the time was taking this route. I yelled STOP THE TRUCK NOW, PULL OVER AND DON'T ASK ME WHY. I had my camera with me and was parked on the opposite side of Eagles Nest. I walked around and felt this feeling of death, I felt this land was evil. I took pictures of what I called Eagles Nest but my hands begun to shake I couldn't take pictures clearly. My legs became heavy my feet felt the weight of bricks. It was time to go as my husband at that time thought I was insane. It takes a person who is in tune with free warnings our bodies have only if we listen to them. The very next day the location I was standing I seen on PBS or some station I really never watched showed the picture of my called Eagles Nest. My heart started to race and the story for once became clear. I had stood on the soil of my forefathers I stood in place of blood shed and tears. I have Native Blood, and I always had felt sadness. Wild animals feel land of fear they feel and move away of such places just as what we have within all of us only if you listen to the warnings. This is truth as this story never has changed when this topic of The Pacheco Pass arises. My Native Name is ShininMoonlight

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm am SJ native who moved to Gilroy in the mid 90s, and goes over the pass once in awhile to visit my family in the Central Valley. Up until I read this, I thought the only unusual thing there was the Bell's Station Restaurant that's been closed for many years, and will it over open again.

Anonymous said...

In response to DeannaFranke:
I also saw exactly the same thing back in the early nineties and I believe it was in the same spot, probably around the same time of night. There was only one other car ahead of me and I noticed the 'wings' descend in front of it, then swoop back upwards just before the car went through them. It then did the same to my car. I couldn't think of any logical explanation for what it could be but I know it wasn't actually any kind of bird - it was too large, luminescent and lacking in solid form. I'm sure it wasn't a cloud or fog either - it moved too quickly and with apparent intentionality. It was only after I mentioned this incident to a friend that I heard that Pacheco Pass is renowned for its bloody past and frequent reports of hauntings! I believe you!! Sharon

Anonymous said...

In response to comment by DeannaFranke: I believe you! I saw exactly the same thing when I was travelling in the same area very late at night in the early nineties! The 'wings' dipped down suddenly in front of the car ahead of me, swooped upwards, then did the same to my car. I could find no logical explanation for what it was - too big, hazy and formless for a bird and too small, defined and fast-moving for a cloud or fog.

tommigirl55 said...

I grew up in the Bay Area in the 60s, but had relatives that lived in Layton (near Fresno), Atascadero, and Bakersfield. We'd take many weekend trips and travel Pacheco Pass on a Friday night. And we'd return on a Sunday, always stopping at Casa De Fruta, to buy some fresh produce on the way home. We did see bad accidents a few times, and I always thought that was the reason I dreaded going through there. But after learning more about it's history I now wonder if there was more of a reason for my dark moods than fear of seeing a car accident. I'd frantically try to find music on the radio to distract me and lighten my mood. This, of course, was impossible on a car radio during that time period in that area.

Anonymous said...

About 10 years ago my friends and I were driving east on the highway right in front of Casa De Fruta. It's a pretty straight part of the highway. Out of nowhere the car flipped over at least three times and ended up in the middle of the highway. No one was hurt at all except for the car which was totaled. The car inspectors say the tire axle broke and thats what may have cause it. But it seems really odd to me. After the crash we were taken to Casa De Fruta by a police officer (so we could wait for someone to pick us pick up) and we asked him about reports of the highway being haunted. He said that he hadn't heard that but that he has seen some very unexplainable crashes and other things on the highway.

Anonymous said...

My sister drives thru Pacheco pass almost everyday and one time she came home and said she saw a dark figure wearing black robes, hanging from a tree. She didn't believe her eyes at first but when she looked in her rear view mirror, he was still hanging, and she said on her way back home, he wasn't there anymore.

Eddie Sou said...

I saw so many things happening at once. First I got the images of a women being pregnant and then car crashing through and drifting off to the road. Very scary road.

Don Lance said...

I am a truck driver and have driven through Pacheco Pass for many years, One night I was headed across the pass and decided to pull over at the Don Pacheco Inn (parking on the courtyard side.) It was a full moon out. I was tired and decided to lay down for a little while, I had dosed off and was awakened by the sound of someone trying to open my door. I got up to check and there was no one around anywhere. I decided to sit up in the driver seat for awhile, As I sat there I was looking out over the courtyard of the Don Pacheco Inn and suddenly I seen this young girl in a long white dress standing in the courtyard of the Don Pacheco Inn, I seen this through the passenger side window. I thought how strange it was to see someone at this abandoned place at 2 o'clock in the morning, The sight of her seemed so vivid and real. then in a moment she was gone. I was so amazed by this sighting that I sat there for about another 45 minutes confused and trying to figure out was this real? was I asleep? or what? I told my sister and brother about this experience several years later and my sister looked this site up on line and there in black and white we read about the girl who had lost her fiancé due to a car wreck and being distraught went and put her wedding dress on and jumped from the mountain. I wonder, Could this have possibly been the girl I seen in the long white dress in the courtyard??? I would very much like any feedback from anyone that may have encountered something like this. Any and all feedback or other experiences would be appreciated. As I, to this day, drive through the pass on a regular basis. I will never forget that experience.

Shawnie Berry said...

Don, I'm not sure if the girl/woman that you saw was the same one that apparently committed suicide. But I believe you 100%.
I grew up in San Jose and later moved to Los Banos to raise my children . At that time I was a tow truck driver in Los Banos, and that required driving on Pacheco Pass daily.
I was coming back Gilroy one night, and coming up the pass I noticed 2 woman and a car on the lshoulder/small dirt pull out. I was trying to decifire if i should keep going or stop and help. Being a tow truck driver we know that we are not aloud to stop for anyone unless we have a call for said vehicle. Granite I had built up some speed to get up that hill, so slamming on my brakes was not an option. Going against my will something didn't seem right, so I turned around and went back to offer assistance. They were still there until I pulled up next to them and the car. Next thing I know......Poof it all disappeared. Gone. I don't know if this is the same woman or who the other woman is, and where the car comes into play. It's weird and scary. But working the fatalities/accidents on that highway I don't doubt any sightings. I believe that spirits are around due to unfinished business,or such as a tragic accident. Simply they are trying to tell us something.

Anonymous said...

As a truck driver, I would drive over Pacheco Pass on my way to Gilroy. One time, I was driving west over the pass (during the day) when the clock/time on my GPS started going backward for about five minutes. It was the weirdest thing...like I was going back in time... Something is definitely weird up there.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Last night, we were driving Pacheco at 3 am. I am 100% skeptic and don't (want to) believe in ghosts and stuff. As usual, our WiFi cut out. Then went the radio signal. Then the tule fog swept in. Seemed pretty ordinary for Pacheco Pass at 3 am. Visibility was really low almost the entire drive. What's odd is that both of us are very much non-believers of ghosts, but for a second my boyfriend thought he saw a person in his peripherals. I saw a lot of strange lights flashing in the hills, (no one lives there, right?!) and the most unsettling part was that the fog completely cleared for a few moments and we drove past what looked like a horrific accident. Car flipped over and nearly flattened. Looking like it'd been burned or was at least very dirty. No people, though. There was a single cop car and a semi truck. Looked empty at first glance. We drove through a very real pile of glass and debris strewn across the road and hauled ass home. Can't find anything online about the accident. As we passed it, the fog came at us in waves for a while, and then we were stuck in Tule fog all the way to Prunedale. It was pretty surreal. I still don't think it was ghosts so much as a trick of a nervous mind and a lack of public police reports about what I assume was a nonfatal accident, but it's neat to imagine what could have been!

Maureen Frantzich said...

Yes, it's spooky. The upright hill to the south, going West. But the terminology is wrong. This is not Blood Alley. In this region Blood Alley is the old business 101 between Morgan Hill and South San Jose.

Anonymous said...

My dad use to commute from Los banos to San Jose everyday.. He has seen some crazy stuff. My mom and him have seen a person walking in the middle of the road for a few seconds. They were scared and concerned that this person would get hit by a car. They stopped to ask him for help at a turn. As was they waited at the edge of the road, they didn't see him again.

My whole family and I were driving back from Fresno and it was getting dark. Out of no where, several cars on the road slam their breaks and we witnessed these lights hovering over us. It was this disk looking object. It was pretty big and it seemed as if time stopped as not only us started at it but the cars around us did too. The object suddenly ZONED so fast toward and disappeared behind a mountain. My mom wanted to make sure she wasn't crazy so she made my siblings and I draw pictures of the lights and object we saw.

Anonymous said...

I have also heard of a time warp up on the pass. That minutes are lost for no reason. I wonder if it messes up GPS

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid I remember driving home one night with my mom through Pachecho Pass, I remember seeing a large biker gang full of bearded men on harley's wearing lots of black clothing hanging out on the side of the road. Just as we passed them and I looked back over my right shoulder I could see a man or woman wearing all white walking away from them. Almost as if this person was illuminated by white light I was only about 5 years old but I still remember it vividly. Much has been explained by this article thank you.

Tina G said...

I read you comments and went to the site you added, Thank you I l I very reading about real life ghost stories..... I traveled that way a couple of times and never have seen nothing. I'll be on the look out now.

Unknown said...

I know of a story, can't remember where I learned it from, a newspaper I think. That Pacheco Pass is the location of the largest mass hallucination ever reported. Where multiple motorist pulled over and got out of the cars, reporting seeing the same thing, of cavalry men and indians.

Unknown said...

Some more history of the Pacheco Pass. In 1853, the California Legislature formed the "California Rangers," to hunt down the gang led by Joaquin Murrieta who had been terrorizing the gold fields. They picked Harry Love, and gave him the rank of Captain. Love had migrated to California during the gold rush from Texas, after serving with General Zachary Scott in the Mexican/American War of 1846. Love became a bounty hunter...and a very good one. He was a striking man. He stood 6'-2" feet tall, and had long black shoulder length hair, with penetrating blue eyes, and an attitude to match his appearance. They formed a posse of 30+ men, and left from Mariposa towards the Mission San Juan Bautista in search of Murrieta. In the middle of the Pacheco Pass is "Bells Station." In 1853, it was just an adobe stilled owned by the Pacheco family. Love and his rangers stopped there. Love dismounted, walked to the front door, and pounded on it with his fist. When the occupants came to the door, Love asked them roughly, "Where is Joaquin?" Love of course, did find him at the Arroyo De Cantua farther South, and killed him and some of his men. He brought back the head of Joaquin, and the 3 fingered hand of "3 Fingered Jack" Garcia, one of Murrieta's men. Captain Harry Love is buried in the old pioneer cemetery in San Jose, California. You can find a picture of him through Google Images.

Anonymous said...

San Juan Bautista has so many ghosts it's crazy. Between the monks and the travelers that past through.
My mom has told me stories about a girl she went to school with that committed suicide off of Devil's mountain or some call Lover's Leap. They apparently only found parts of her 3 weeks later.

Anonymous said...

I too have heard of time warps. The same car passing you twice.

Anonymous said...

my grandma who was born in the 1800's would always tell us it was an Indian woman who jumped off those rocks after her husband was killed in
battle. Grandma called it Indian rock. My family had homesteaded property in the 1800s where the reservoir is now. our family name was Harper and the ranch was in "Harper Valley" I don't really know where Grandma
came up with the history but she had a lot of knowledge of that place.

Anonymous said...

Ive seen light on the side of the road that looks like eyes anf ive seen an Indian run across the street. This all happened when i was child

Unknown said...

Shocked to read your post.....The same thing happened to me when I was coming home from Fresno, to Salinas in I believe it was 2011 or 2012...after midnight around 1am. As you mentioned the span was as wide as my car and white. Whatever it was flew directly at the windshield but never made a sound....creeped me out for sure. I have asked many folks who travel over Pacheco Pass if they have had this experience and not one of them has. I consider myself sane and like you not crazy or a drug user.

Meghan Tillery said...

I always see creepy stuff on the road from atascadero to morro. I'd love to know what it was you saw.

Unknown said...

Ive been all through San juan at all hours of the night. I havent seen a thing

Anonymous said...

Google Lover's Leap. You are probably feeling the sadness of the Indian maiden.

Anonymous said...

I have to say...my grandparents owned a store in Merced Ca when I was a child....in the 60's and early 70's we heard Pacheco Pass horror stories all the time...from people coming through there....the roads are now alot better than before....

Ruth Solis said...

My sister and I experienced this same exact thing, in the same area u described!
I blew it off saying it was probably just a huge white owl... But now I'm wondering if it was the half human half bird the article mentions?! Freaky!

Ruth Solis said...

Omg my sister and I experienced this exact thing, in the same area!
We were returning to Salinas from Modesto, probably wee hours of the morning and we both saw thing incredible white wing span almost as of it was going to land on my windshield.. All I saw were the huge white wings.. I thought it must have been an overgrown white owl? But now I wonder if it was this half human half bird the article mentions?! Freaky!

angelica_chavez said...

you're right, I looked it up too and was confused.

Anonymous said...

Usually drive back to Salinas from Fresno the later the better usually around 2am and have not experience anything. For the past two years of me going home every so often

Unknown said...

Mu sister worked by table Mountain same thing flew over her car she saw a couple of things up there this was 2001

Unknown said...

That is because there is nothing see....these are just stories by demented people......not about real things.

victoria martinez tenchavez said...

Really I can't believe it we traveled this road so many times since 2010 we go 2-3 times a year I never came across any weird things even drove in storms on this road it's a bit creepy I'm sure there have been accidents but haven't seen any ghostly people yet or anything unusual.

Helman559 said...

I believe there is a story about a couple that jumped off of the big rock right on the highway. I heard they call the rock lovers leap

Michael Angulo said...

Me and my wife and son lived in San Jose my son was about two or three .my farther lnlaw lived in Hollister we would go visit on Sundays well one Sunday we were going home it was about 10:30 pm we traveled the 25 from Hollister to gilroy to the us 101 as were were on the 25 no one else was on it going our direction then it the distance in front a car was approaching us didn't think nothing of it then about a 100 yrds in front of us the car went into my lane I slowed down fast then it got closer so l went into the parking lane and almost stop that how slow I was going he was still going to hit us head on so I put my arm across my wife bracing for impact then all of a sudden the car disappear we both looked back wards no car I asked her did you see what just happened so said yes that scared the hell out of us well after that we visit my father in law but my wife stepsister was there and we told her about it she ask us were we on the 25 and we said yes and were you by bolsa rd we said yes she said a lot people this has happened too the car try to make you run into the ditch on the side of the hwy they say its evil there they also say that there a devil dog around there so be careful you don't have to believe me but I know what happened to me and my wife P.S no drugs or alcohol either

CJ Morales said...

I went through here at night before,didn't see anything,but one could feel there was a palpable presence here.Eerie to say the least.

Anonymous said...

blood alley is monterey hwy/ the old 101 freeway

Teresa said...

I take Pacheco Pass from San Jose to Merced at least once a month (for the past 5 years). I get out of work at 3am so that's my usual traveling time, and I sometimes get a bad vibe like there's something waiting for me just around the next curve.

I only saw something ONCE about a year ago. Shortly after passing Casa de Fruta heading east, I saw 3 moving lights above me. Unusual moving patterns. Freaked me the hell out. Not so much under the category of ghosts, but maybe UFOs? Either way, Pacheco Pass is creepy.

Anonymous said...

I've spent my whole life in San Juan (40 years), my family has been here for over 90 and I can guarantee you San Juan Bautista is haunted.

Anonymous said...

There are huge condor birds in this area, I witnessed one on the ground, wing span on the Californian Condor could be 13 feet....also I have seen 2 eagles.
Thanks GW Williams
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Unknown said...

i know exactly what it was that flew over your cars. Im certain it was an owl. It is not unusual for an owl to have a 4 foot wingspan and shadows are allways larger than the thing its attached to. Many owls underside feathers will be white . One more thing is an owl is the only bird of prey with silent flight which aides thembin their hunt fir foid below. The actual structure of their wing feathers are differant from other birds of prey and this allows them to be silent as they fly. The area is full of owks and it isnt unusual for them to fly infront or above moving vehicles. Hope that helps.