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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Walnut Girl of Armona

Through the trees
The ghost of a young girl is said to wander through walnut orchards in Armona,
similar to these. Photo courtesy of boboroshi from Flickr

Note: I had originally written about the Walnut Girl when I first started Weird Fresno. I decided to revisit the story as I had found a new part of it and wanted to share it and the original with those who may not have read it the first time.

In the small California town of Armona, there is a legend of a nine year old girl that met a tragic end and her restless ghost haunts the area to this day. Sometime in the nineteenth century the girl and a few of her friends were skinny dipping at a local waterhole outside of town. A group of boys showed up and threatened to come into the water after them. Most of the girls ran into a nearby walnut orchard before the boys could get them. One little girl was to scared to follow the other girls and instead she dove underwater to try and trick the boys into thinking she too had followed the other girls. Unfortunately the poor girl drowned.

Legend says the restless spirit has roamed the area for years. The townsfolk named her the Walnut Girl because she was always seen in locations that contained walnuts (orchards and packing plants mostly). No male has ever seen the ghost, but stories say that girls around the same age as she were most likely to see her.

While researching this legend I came across a first hand account from a woman who saw the ghost of the girl in the old Armona Southern Pacific Depot. The Depot itself was built in 1931 and was used for several decades before it was abandoned and today stands derelict. According to the witness strange events would happen there such as strange lights at night, compass spinning around and not pointing towards north and whenever a photo was taken there would be bright spots on the pictures.

The witness continues to state that when she was about nine years of age she snuck out and went to the depot late one night. She was shining her flashlight around when the light fell on a girl similar in age to her with a Victorian hairstyle and completely nude. Startled she dropped the flashlight. When she picked it up again the girl was gone.

She later told her mother about the encounter. Her mother said she had seen the same little girl in an orchard when she was a child herself and others had seen the ghosts, always nude and usually near a large concentration of walnuts. The story the mother had been told was the same story that I initially found, but added this interesting tidbit. Apparently the ghost of the little girl has a vendetta against boys as the witness said several boys in her neighborhood suffered “ill fortune” that was attributed to her. Whether this is true or not is hard to say, but the fact that two women both saw the same ghost leads me to think that this legend may have some truth to it.

But why does her restless spirit only haunt walnut orchards? Perhaps she thinks if she can get to an orchard she will be safe from the boys she still thinks are chasing her. This is obvious as she will only appear to girls near her age. It appears even in the afterlife she is still looking for safety.


Clearly Claire said...

Awww, the poor kid! Imagine being frozen in a state of perpetual nudity and cold. *shudders*

Michael said...

@Clearly Claire: I agree. If the story is true she most likely doesn't know she is dead and that's why she keeps appearing the way she died.

A lot of ghost stories are like that. The ghost doesn't know it is dead and appears as when they died. Just in this case the poor girl was nude.

Mike Esposito said...

This is a truly sad story, I feel for this little girl.

Unknown said...

Michael, as well as the Cemetary north of Sanger, I'd like to go check this out with you. Maybe visit the depot, and a couple other places with walnut concentrations?

I mainly suggest this as to help try to put the spirit to peace, not to try to collect the next, best, new ghost evidence.

Adriel Montejano said...

The girl you mentioned by name Gloria Castillo is my great aunt my grandmother talked about her all the time and believed her spirit wanders through the area.

Anonymous said...

This was a story about my aunt

Unknown said...

You lying