Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Haunted Pacheco Pass


20080614544
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.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guest blogging in New Orleans.

March 2011 133+
A New Orleans street at night. Photo courtesy of Kimburly.


I've been doing Weird Fresno for a little over two years now and I've written more stories than I can count. But an idea I had toyed with off and on was to have other people write the occasional article, to get a different view point on any paranormal subject they wished to discuss. People had expressed interest in writing something, but didn't really have any subject they particularly wanted to write on so I let the idea fall to the back burner.

So when I ran across fellow blogger, roller derby chick, and all around kick ass person Kimbuly at a local watering hole (the Brig, where else?) and she told me she was going to New Orleans for a work related conference I knew I had to get her as my first guest blogger. You see I believe New Orleans (or NOLA as some refer to it as) is one of the most haunted cities in America. Founded in 1718 by the French, it's a city unlike no other and has more ghost stories than any other city. I had the opportunity to visit The Big Easy back when I was 18, but I was more concerned with the alcohol related spirits (and other sights) on Bourbon Street than actual ghosts. I somewhat lament that I let my teenage hormones get the best of me in one of the most richly diverse cities in the country and have wanted to go back for years. As that's not going to happen anytime soon I couldn't pass up on Kim doing a bit of guest blogging for me.

After some persuading (i.e. getting on my hands and knees and begging) she agreed to it. Now I could have just copied what she wrote, but I decided not to. Her approach was unique as she'd never been there before and didn't just blog about anything paranormal related, but the vibe of the city itself. It's an old city, but in a good way. The people there embrace their history and it's a part of them. Fresno could learn a thing or two and embrace who it is and not trying to copy other cities.

You can find Kim's blog post on New Orleans here. She's also the creator of 31 Days of Fresno where for an entire month she blogged about fun things to do in Fresno. The blog is still active with an occasional post. But her Lava blog is where she is most active.

I'm hoping this isn't the only guest blogger I have on here. If anyone is interested in doing an article (especially if you are traveling somewhere) shoot me an e-mail and we can work something out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechaun reportedly seen in suburban neighborhood


March 17th is upon us again and that only means one thing (no not getting your stomach pumped at the hospital because you drank too much Jameson, that would be March 18th), St. Patrick's Day is here. As I am half Irish (which half I will not reveal) I've celebrated it for many years and am quite familiar with Irish lore. One of my favorites has always been the Leprechaun and it's pot of gold. You would think being now in the 21st Century, this legend would die but apparently not as one was reportedly seen in a tree. The following video is a newscast on the supposed sighting.




Ok so I know this video is old and most likely a joke, but I love it. And yes I posted it last St. Patrick's Day and will post it again next year so just deal with it. There are so many things that I love about this video, but if I had to choose one it would have to be the artist's rendering. That alone is worth a pot of gold.

As luck would have it (yes I went there) I was able to find a follow up story to this where the residents still claim to see the Leprechaun. I'll keep my opinion to myself, but I really want to know what the hell these people saw.




So from us at Weird Fresno, happy St. Patrick's Day. Éirinn go brách!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

California's own Loch Ness Monster

Lake Tahoe, home of Tahoe Tessie
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.



Situated on the California/Nevada border lies Lake Tahoe. At an elevation of 6,225 ft and over 1600 feet deep, it is a major tourist attraction throughout the entire year. What most visitors to the lake don't know is that there are stories of a large serpentine creature estimated to be at least 60 feet in length and "as wide as a barrel". Residents of the area have named the creature Tahoe Tessie (a play off of Nessie from the Loch Ness in Scotland).

Stories of the creature date back to the mid-19th century where members of the Washoe and Paiute tribes claimed that a large creature resided in an underwater tunnel beneath Cave Rock and sightings have continued to this day. Most are from somewhat of a distance where people see a large serpentine body moving in the water. One interesting sighting occured in the winter of 1979 where four witnesses saw a large snake like creature feeding off a school of trout. They estimated it to be between 30 and 60 feet in length and as thick as a telephone pole. It didn't swim like a snake would (side to side), but was diving up and splashing down with it's head into the school of fish. Speechless, they watched the creature for several minutes before it finally disappeared.

Another interesting story is that sometime in the 1970's, famed French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau explored the depths of Lake Tahoe. Whatever he encounted down there must have spooked him as he claimed the world was not ready for what was at the bottom of the lake. Subsequently he refused to release any of his underwater footage or any data he collected. I feel it's worth saying that Lake Tahoe was known to be a dumping ground for bodies by the mob during the 1950's. Given the depth of the lake and the near constant temperature of 39 degrees, it's most likely Cousteau found a large watery graveyard were the bodies were preserved by the near freezing water.

So what lurks just underneath the waters of Laka Tahoe? Theories include a Plesiosaur, Icthyosaur or a Mosasaur, due to fossils of the creatures being found in the surrounding area. But Tessie experts quickly dismissed this as the lake was formed in the last Ice Age, long after the creatures went extinct. Other theories claim that it could be anything from a population of sturgeon to some sort of undiscovered fresh water eel. Whatever it may be, there's something there as witnesses have seen it for over a century now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

British Ministry of Defense releases classified UFO reports


A photograph of an "unusual atmospheric occurrence," taken by a retired Royal Air Force officer in Sri Lanka in 2004

This was an article I had written for Fresno Famous. Usually I do a cross post for both Weird Fresno and FF, but I wrote this on a Saturday and am now posting this here today.

This past Thursday British officials released over 8,500 documents that pertained to UFO sightings dating all the way back to the 1950's and include reports from both civilian and military witnesses.

Examples of some of the sightings include a Royal Air Force officer and several members of the public "chewy mint shaped solid craft" (to be honest I have no idea what that means, just quoting the description) and other aerial objects that looked like a ring, a jellyfish, and a spinning silver top.

here is even one account of a London man claiming he was abducted by aliens in October of 1998 after seeing an unidentified craft hover over his home and then later finding that he could no account for an hour of missing time.

Another files released, and a rather scary incident, reveals how the RAF was inundated with calls one morning in 1967 after residents in southern England awoke to find six small beeping UFOs lying in a perfect line from the Isle of Sheppy to the Bristol Channel.

Residents were so terrified that a bomb disposal unit blew up one of the UFOs and another was airlifted to the village of Aldermaston and both the army and the defense ministry's intelligence unit were sent in in what was considered a real alien invasion.

Turns out it that engineering students at the Farnborough Technical College had constructed and positioned the UFOs in a bid to raise money for charity.

The files are free to download one month from the National Archives website for those who are interested. I wonder if the US will ever release their files. And I don't mean Project Bluebook (which in my opinion I think is a farse trying to cover up what really happened. Though given the 60 plus years of covering UFO sightings up (starting with the Roswell incident in 1947) I highly doubt the US will disclose anything anytime soon. I believe it's up to other governments like the British to reveal what's going on. Only then will the US release what they know.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The phantom hitchhiker of Browning Road


Is Browning Road in Delano, CA. home to a phantom hitchhiker?
Photo courtesy of Google Streetview

In the small town of Delano, about 30 miles north of Bakersfield there is said to be a spirit of a woman who haunts Browning Road. No one who the girl really is, but there are stories that she was a young woman who was crossing the street early one morning when she was struck by a car and killed instantly. It's said that if you drive down the road that sometimes you can see her standing on the side, as if she's waiting to cross. There have even been reports of her actually appearing in the backseat of several vehicles, undoubtedly terrifying the driver.

Most of the sightings seem to have occurred on a stretch of road south of town between Garves Highway (Hwy 155) and Woollomes Road. One witness reported seeing a shadowy figure leap in front of a car they were following and watched the figure disappear as the car swerved to avoid hitting it. Another reported that they heard the story, but not believing anything took a drive there one night. They said they were messing around and flashing their headlights trying to attract the ghost of the girl. There was one passenger in the car and they looked outside and saw the ghost standing next to the car. Terrified they sped off as they were severely shaken up.

Phantom hitchhiker stories have been around for centuries. And for some reason it was always some desolate road that the ghost chose to haunt. In the case of the Browning Road ghost, the woman seems to haunt the road she was killed on? All I know is that the legend is active as I found a Facebook page dedicated just to the legend itself. You can find it here.

Another interesting note. I was exploring the Google Streetview of the stretch of road that is said to be haunted. I noticed a roadside memorial. Hard to say if this is for the ghost of a woman or for someone else, but usually these are only at places where someone has died and I found that interesting.