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.

17 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.