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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The ghosts and legends of Sierra Sky Ranch

Sierra Sky Ranch during winter.
Image courtesy of

I've been mentioning both on Facebook and Twitter (which you should be following me and if you aren't for shame!) the past few weeks about my trip up to Sierra Sky Ranch to do a live tweet of the investigation conducted by Central California Paranormal Investigators and the Paranormal 101 class from the Fresno Adult Education Center. I'll be doing some other things during the day (mostly shooting video and doing some investigating of my own) but my hopes is to have you dear readers interact with me on both social networks as I shadow the students and CCPI as they investigate and give you live updates as the group investigates the ranch. That being said, I wanted to give a brief history of the Sierra Sky Ranch. Granted I did a piece when I first started writing for Weird Fresno, but I wanted to update that with what I know now.

The Ranch was founded sometime in the 1870's and was the area's largest cattle ranch. The original ranch house was built sometime in 1900 and over the years piece by piece the land was sold off to pay off debts. Finally the last of the property was sold and that is where we get our first ghost from. There's a story of an old ranch hand that haunts the back portion of the property that went by the name Elmer's. There are two different versions of Elmer's untimely demise. One says that as he was chopping wood one day under the back tree, the ax slipped from his hands and severed the main artery in his leg. He called for help but his cries went unanswered and bled to death. The other story states that distraught over his home being sold off and having nowhere else to go, he hung himself from the back tree. Whatever the case may be, Elmer now haunts the area around the tree where he died. Some have seen Elmer himself, but most have felt a presence watching them.

Sometime in the 1930's the ranch was converted to a tuberculosis hospital (this is the time that the hotel wing was built onto the original ranch house). It's from this time period we get our next group of ghosts. A woman named Sarah, who was a nurse at the hospital, was in charge of two young children (rumored to be siblings) who had contracted the deadly disease. Unfortunately both children died from the disease and soon after Sarah followed (it's not known if she died from the disease, but given how contagious it could be this is highly likely). Guests have reported hearing children running up and down the halls late at night only to find out from the hotel staff that there are no children guests there. Others have witnessed what felt like a child's hand tugging at them, as if wanting to play. The children aren't the only ones seen. Witnesses have reported seeing a woman peering out from both the ground floor and the loft windows, as if she is watching someone. When asked who the woman is, the staff claims no one. Perhaps Sarah is still watching her two chargers she lost almost a century ago.

During World War 2 the property was converted to a rehabilitation hospital for wounded Army soldiers. There have been recent reports of a soldier seen in the hotel's library area, still in uniform. If this person was a patient here it's hard to say and more investigation needs to be done to find out.

After the war in 1946 the ranch was turned into a luxury resort and catered to such Hollywood celebrities such as John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. There are several other ghosts that are associated with the ranch, and no one knows when they were here just that they decided to stay even in death. The first is the ghost of a young man who, for whatever reason, likes to stay in the honeymoon suite and usually in the bedroom area. Psychics have sensed a very paranoid man crouching in the corner, almost like he is trying to hide something. No one knows who is he or what is his name, but many have felt his presence. It's known for people sleeping in the bed to be woken up by a gentle nudge. Why the ghost is doing this is uncertain, perhaps he wants there attention for some reason.

The final two ghosts reside in the kitchen and make it apparent that they don't like anyone else in their area or each other for that matter. Kitchen utensils are always missing (once an entire cutting board was reported missing and never found again) and kitchen equipment will turn on by itself, even when shut off for the night. One ghost tends to hang out in the main prep area, while the other tends to stay mostly in the pantry. The negative energy from both of them is easily felt as there is always a heavy presence in the kitchen and on several occasions arguments have broken out among the kitchen staff.

So that's just a bit of the legend of Sierra Sky Ranch. I've heard other stories, from a night staff person seeing a couple dancing in the main lobby only to disappear when seen, to a person peeking through a dining room window despite the fact the window is at least 7 feet off the ground, to a pear tree with such a strange energy to it that people's electronic equipment always seen to malfunction around it, the ranch has it all. The Ranch is open to their paranormal history and with it being only an hour drive away, is a great spot to have dinner and maybe even spend the night. For more info you can find their site here.

Check back both on my Facebook and Twitter pages (you can find links to them on the right) on Saturday to find out what's going on.


Robert French said...

Like I've shared with you on Facebook, I've had the pleasure of investigating there 4 times in the last couple of years both with CCPI as well as with my own local team, Xtreme Paranormal Research. The Ranch is a great place to investigate (and relax, the place is a true resort with great atmosphere, food, and staff) whether for first time investigators or serious researchers. In Sarah's room I had a personal experience in which I believe she ( or someone)sat on the chair I was occupying at the time. I felt a numbness from my thighs to the crown of my head. At times I have heard footsteps cross the room as well. In the Kitchen, I joked about cooking and immediately felt a distinct pressure on my chest, others reported headaches at this time. After I withdrew the comment, the pressure subsided. In the shed out back ( Elmer's)we had three direct K2 responses i a row( with multiple witnesses) to my question " make this light up if you'd like us to leave". ( we left). I've never left without at least half a dozen EVP including what appears to be a little girl saying " Hi". In the apartment above the shed I recorded an EVP saying "leave now", in direct response to a question . Numerous other phenomena have been encountered and during a recent investigation with CCPI's Light Explorer youth program, these phenomena were validated by first time visitors to Sierra Sky Ranch. Anyone can check out our pictures on our website

Niece said...

His name is not Elmer it is Elee, the his room was in the bottom portion room 15.a year after he had died his wife room 16 also past away. Mr Elee is the cause of the kitchen, the picture spinning, the electrical apppliances turning on and off. My aunt and cousin use to live in the back cottage in the early 80's Mr Elee would follow my cousin and watch our every move. My cousin would tell MrElee to stop when ever he was messing with us. It was a everyday thing.he would make the bed bounce everynight.the lady in white is MrElee wife. You will get results in the rooms mentioned.

Unknown said...

HI there,
Niece- interested in your comment- my mom and i lived in the back cottage from 94-2005 my family owned the sky ranch until 2005 and still owns the back property with the cabins. just curious who your family is? neat connection- not sure if youll ever see this comment but i thought id try :) there are names and signitures under the bar top in the bottom cabin i would always sit and read them. wonder if yours is under there?
Jamie Lassen

Unknown said...

My mom and I lived in cabin from 94-2005
we still own that property. interested in who your family is? would be neat to connect and share stories!
jaime Lassen

Mike Shelton said...

I actually rented from Kim Jamie's mom in 2003. I lived in a trailer at the top pad on the property. One morning I was awakened by a loud pounding on my door only to open it to no one.and it rained that morning so I could see clearly no footprints leading to my door. And on a second occasion as I was driving out I heard a loud screech like a banshee! Yes this place is haunted. I've known people who worked there and have seen the kids playing as well as a guy getting "laid out" after kicking a pet cat in the bunk house....

Anonymous said...

My step dad used to own the hotel and restaurant and I can tell you that it is haunted. Ome noght I was staying in the corner room closest to the parking lot and woke up with my ears ringing really loud and was being held down. I'm a big guy and I couldn't move.. it was light enough in the room so I could look around and I couldn't see anything after a min or so I started getting angry and it let go. I still live on property around the hotel and never seen or experienced anything outside of hotel.

T-Shirt Fort said...

I know it’s pretty random to comment on a story that’s 4 years old but my mom’s aunt and uncle owned this place for a few years in the 50s. I visited it as a kid way after they owned it but only during the day on the way somewhere else. Didn’t stay overnight. Anyway I never knew it was supposedly haunted until it was on a TV show. One of the comments here caught my eye since their last name was Ely but sorry I don’t think they are haunting it. They only owned it for a few years. He built homes in LA area normally. Why they decided to buy what my parents described as a dude ranch is beyond me.