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Monday, December 10, 2012

Is a hundred year old tavern in Tracy haunted by a former owner?

The Banta Inn located in Tracy, California
Photo courtesy of Running Wolf Productions

About two hours north of Fresno is the town of Tracy. Though it was incorporated into a city in 1910, the city's history goes further back. In the late 1890's it was a small, but growing town, and a two story saloon was built. The first floor was the actual saloon and the upstairs acted as an inn of sorts. It was said the owner of the place was associated with Joaquin Murrieta and the saloon also acted as a gambling parlor where the upstairs inn doubled as a bordello. The inn was a popular stop on the stagecoach line and was also a known place for gold miners and panners to trade in their tired mules for a pair of fresh ones.

In 1937 tragedy struck as the Banta Inn nearly burned to the ground. No one knows what started the fire, but when it was finally put out the bodies of a mother and her child were found. Despite this tragedy the inn was quickly rebuilt, but this time as a one story general store. Given it's history, the owners decided to keep the original name of Banta Inn despite the fact there were no longer any rooms used as lodging.

Sometime in the 1960's the owner's daughter and her husband Ton decided to turn the general store back into a bar and restaurant. Tony's favorite place was behind the bar and he was known for stacking coins at the register and playing poker by himself when business was slow. One day in 1968, while tending bar, Tony had a heart attack and collapsed and died.

Even before Tony's death the Banta Inn was said to be haunted; the mother and child from the 1938 fire were said to have been seen around the Inn for years. Soon after Tony passed away workers would find money stacked by the bar's register even though it was locked and no one was in the room. Ashtrays and other times would be found in locations different than where they had been left. And sometimes the TV would change channels even though no one would touch the remote.

What are the reasons behind these hauntings? With Tony it seems that he is still at the bar where he was the most happiest. And it seems he still likes to make his presence known. But what of the mother and child, why do they haunt the Banta Inn? Witnesses have heard the voice of a child crying and as stated before both mother and child have been seen. Could these two not realize they are ghosts and are trying to reach out for help? Or is it just part of the incident replaying over and over like a video recording, fading as the years go by? One thing is for certain; the place is definitely haunted and is one of the more known spots in the country for having paranormal activity.

Last I checked the Inn was still open as a bar/restaurant and they are very open to their history, both regular and paranormal. Perhaps next time I head up that way I'll stop by for lunch or dinner and say hi to Tony.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The top five really really really bad horror movies ever made

I love a good horror movie and I'll watch pretty much anything. And I do love a bad movie as well, which is usually of the horror genre for some reason. But yet there are horror movies out there so bad that even I can't watch them. Given all the crap Hollywood has pumped out lately mislabeled as a horror movie, it was hard to chose the top ten. After drinking a metric ton of alcohol last night to numb the pain I narrowed that list down to what I consider the five shittiest horror movies. Ever.

Number 5: Darkness

Let me preface that I fucking hate this movie. Why do you ask? Because it's what made me form the theory that any PG-13 horror movie is pure shit. When the trailers first came out for it I was stoked. Creepy kids always scare the shit out of me. Plus who isn't afraid of the dark? Yeah this movie killed it for me. As typical with any horror movie these days, they show all the scary scenes in the trailer to lure you in and then you are stuck for 90 minutes watching people running around acting scared when you know the reason why. And the ending just pissed me off, was so abrupt and made no damn sense. What makes me even more mad is I found out years later that it was originally unrated in Spain but was edited to be shown here in the States. And from what I read it was pretty damn scary. But of course we get the dumbed down version that leaves everyone at the end wondering what the fuck just happened.

Number 4: Troll 2

Oh Troll 2 where do I start? First there aren't any trolls in this movie, but goblins. And these goblins are vegetarians that want to eat people but first transform the people into plants so they can then eat said people (yeah I don't make this shit up). A family decides to head to Nilbog for summer vacation (can you guess what nilbog spelled backwards is? This movie has some fucking geniuses writing for it). I won't go into detail about plot (mostly cause there isn't much of one), but this movie has some of the worst acting ever seen. Proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by this clip.

And if you think that's bad, it gets worse. Early in the movie when the family arrives at the house they are staying at they notice a vegetarian style dinner laid out for them. As they are about to eat the main antagonist is visited by the ghost of his grandfather and is told the food will turn the family into plants for the goblins to eat. Grandpa then freezes time allowing our young hero to figure a way to stop his family from eating the doomed dinner. I could explain what happens, but watching the clip makes more sense. Or something like that. Thankfully it gives one of the greatest movie lines at the end.

Number 3: Hobgoblins

Never after watching a movie have I wanted to take a shower so hot it melts the skin off of me. This movie does that. Trying to capitalize on the success of Gremlins, Hobgoblins is a cheap knock off that involves shitty hand puppet monsters, actors probably straight from community college (except for the dude that played Maynard in Pulp Fiction), more parking cars scenes then you can count, and the most epic garden tool fight scene you'll ever see (and probably the only one). But this movie is a whole new level of skeeze. Never before have I wretched while watching a movie and yet this one made me do it at least half a dozen times. Watch the trailer below and share in my pain.

Number 2: Birdemic: Shock and Terror

I love Hitchcock, one of my favorite directors and to me the master of suspense. So when I first heard of Birdemic: Shock and Terror (yes that's it's actual title) and that the director did it as a homage of The Birds (of of my favorite Hitchcock films) I was curios  After watching just the trailer I made the assumption that the director had apparently did all the known cocaine in the world and then procured a Commodore 64 computer to do all of his special effects. Seriously I didn't know movies could be this bad. Horrible acting, horrible pacing, horrible editing, the shittiest special effects you've ever seen (I've seen swedes with better ones, no joke). I just want to know who finances these damn things. And apparently this movie has developed such cult following there there is a sequel in the works. All I can say is grab your coat hangers.

Number 1: House of the Dead

Oh Uwe Boll, what a piece of shit you directed. For those that don't know Uwe Boll is a German "director" (and I use that term loosely) that has a pension for making movies vaguely based off of video games and then shitting out the worst piece of crap on celluloid ever. I don't even know where to start on this thing. Ever play the video game? Remember when a zombie attacked you there would be slashes across the screen letting you know that you were hit? Apparently Boll felt compelled to insert said clips into the movie to inform the audience that a character was indeed attacked by a zombie. I shit you not. And I love that the actors in this movie, who are teens headed to a rave on an island (really?), have combat training in the use of fire arms as well as training in martial arts. Yeah.

And then there is the over use of slow motion special effects. I swear there is so much use of bullet time that the directors of The Matrix should have received a cut from this film. Though given how shitty it did at the box office I think that would add up to about enough to buy a grande white mocha frap at Starbucks. And even Michael Bay would have told Boll to tone it down on the slow motion. There are so many things wrong with this movie and no redeeming values what so ever. So of course they made a sequel just to say "fuck you" to all of us. This movie does have one shining moment in it though. You see the chick who played Lois Lane on Smallville topless. That has to count for something. But given this piece of shit movie, not much.

I looked for a while to find a clips that showed everything, figuring I'd have to find one for the video game clips, slow motion and bullet time, and teenaged Jack Bauers. Imagine my surprise when I found one clip that had all of that plus some shitty hip hop music blaring loudly. Enjoy. :)

So that's my list of what I consider the 5 worst horror movies ever. Yeah I could have included "Manos" Hands of Fate or Plan 9, but that would have been too easy. Sad thing is given the amount of shit Hollywood pumps out each year under the cheap pretense of a horror movie (Paranormal Activity 4 I'm looking at you) that next year could be an entirely new list.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Is the old Sanger High School haunted by a pair of star crossed lovers?

Apparently schools are a popular haunting spot for star crossed lovers. There's a story that the old Sanger High School (now the Washington Academic Middle School) has a pair of ghosts that haunt its theater area. Sometime in the 1990's there was a young couple madly in love like only teenagers could be. The girl's parents were very strict and she hid the fact that she had a boyfriend from them for several months as she knew they would not have approved. One day her mother finally found about the boyfriend and demanded the daughter break up with him immediately and never see him again. Defying her mother and apparently taking inspiration from Romeo and Juliet, she met her boyfriend at the high school and both committed suicide in the theater by hanging themselves.

Why they chose the theater to take their lives is never said. Perhaps it was their favorite place to spend time, or maybe they met there and it held a special place in their heart. What is known is that both ghosts have been seen in the theater since their deaths. The girl is usually seen on the second floor near the area where the balcony used to be located. A more gruesome vision of her has also been seen hanging from a rope in front of the stage. As for her boyfriend, he is usually seen near the main entrance to the theater. No one knows why he is seen here, some think he may be waiting for his love for some unknown reason.

Now whether this story has any merit to it or not is hard to say. Someone e-mailed me the story, saying they had heard it when they went to the old high school. I did the obligatory internet searches, but it's not like Google is going to find me a website with this story on it (well I guess it will now once their bots scan this page). Hopefully someone reading this will know something and it will be able to add to the story. Still an interesting story and adds yet another legend to the area.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Fresno's Chandler Airport haunted?

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a person who has an office at Fresno's Chandler Airport and is researching the history of the place. In the e-mail I was told the place had several ghosts in it and was asked if I would like to meet and investigate. I had heard stories for years that Chandler was haunted, but was never given any details so I jumped at the chance to visit.

A brief history on the airport before I delve into the paranormal part of it. Chandler Airfield started unofficially after World War I when pilots would land on an empty field owned by then State Senator Wilbur Chandler and his wife Edna. For several years the Fresno Chamber of Commerce tried to pass bond measures that would allow them to purchase land for use as an airport but with no luck. In 1929 the Chandlers gave 100 acres of their farm to the city to be used as an airport and in November of that year the airport was officially dedicated and soon after several buildings were erected to service the airport. In March of 1930 the airport received a famous visitor when Charles Lindberg and his wife landed at the airport and were greeted by a crowd of over 20,000.

In 1936 construction began on a terminal building and was designed in what was called Streamline Moderne (an architecture style popular in the 1930's). Planes flew in and out of Chandler daily (except during World War II when it was used as a military base) up to 1947. At that time airlines refused to land at Chandler anymore saying that the runway was too small and the amenities of the airport couldn't service the new type of aircraft coming out. For the most part flights ceased to occur at Chandler and most traffic was diverted to the newly built Fresno Air Terminal.

Though Chandler isn't as busy as it used to be, it still does see some traffic. The old terminal building now is the administration building for the airport. Of all the buildings there, this is the one that received the most foot traffic over the years as it would be the place passengers would enter to board their flights or the first thing one would enter after exiting a plane upon landing.

And it seems some of those that passed through its doors have never truly left.

The staff that works there have seen a variety of phenomena, but it seems the main terminal area is where most of the activity takes place. One of the workers has seen several figures emerge from a wall near where you would buy tickets, only or them to walk across the room and then vanish oblivious to the fact that he was observing them. Others have seen a figure of an older man in the old control tower (which is on the second floor of the administration building) staring out onto the field as if he's watching invisible planes taking off and landing. And still others have reported while they were outside of the building, seeing figures moving inside and upon entering the building finding it to be completely empty.

The main terminal isn't the only area that has activity. There is a restaurant that is adjacent to the terminal area (same building) and from what the staff told me it is active in its own right. They have heard voices late at night while they were closing, yet there was no one else there. Even more interesting is that several of the kitchen staff were cleaning up one night when they heard a rattling noise. They looked to the direction to where the noise was coming from and saw a plate wobbling across a counter top until it fell over the edge and onto the floor. This was late at night and there was no aircraft or any other vehicles in the vicinity that could have caused this. And interestingly enough the plate didn't break when it hit the floor.

It's hard to say what could be causing all the activity here. Given the age of the place and the countless number of people who passed through its doors it's possible that some have decided to stay here even after death for whatever reason. This is a place I definitely need to visit again. Not just to investigate, as this does need to be done, but to interview all the witnesses as well. The stories I heard briefly were interesting and definitely need to be documented. From there the history of the location needs to be researched more. Not just from a paranormal point of view, but a historical one. I didn't even know Lindberg had landed there until I was told. It makes me wonder what other secrets the airport is hiding just waiting to be uncovered.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Strange flying creature seen near Delano

Searching one of my favorite sites for weird and strange tales I ran across a creature sighting near the small town of Delano.

The creature is described as having a bat like body with a head similar to that of a crow and covered completely in feathers. Witnesses estimated it to be about three feet tall and about the size of a large dog (between 40 and 60 pounds). It's been seen mostly near Avenue 8 between Delano and Richgrove for the past seven months or so.

Locals also think that it may be eating stray dogs as many mutilated carcasses have been found in the area with feathers similar to that seen on the creature found next to it.

As to what this creature could be, I don't know. I wish there was a description of the wing span, not the height of the creature, as that could help explain things more. My first thought is it's just nothing more than a vulture, but the description is a bit different. That and I don't think a vulture would leave feathers as it's head and neck are featherless to begin with.

So this had me thinking about a story I wrote about sometime ago of another large flying creature spotted in the Central Valley, this time in Fresno. This sighting was of a large bird like creature with a 12 foot wing span seen flying over Fresno. Could this creature and the one seen in Delano be somehow related?

To be honest I think the creature is just a misidentification of a regular bird (perhaps a hawk) and not some strange dog eating creature roaming the country side. As for the feathers found by the dogs, could be any type of bird. Crows are scavengers and the feathers could be from them.

Or I could be completely wrong and there is some unknown creature flying around the country side in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley. I'll keep my eyes and ears open for anything else regarding these sightings.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

North Fresno hotel rumored to be haunted by ghost of suicide victim

I was recently contacted by a reader asking if I had heard of the R.S. Gibson story. Apparently Gibson committed suicide at a local hotel and is said to haunt the very room in which he died.

From what I was told the incident occurred sometime in June of 1972. Gibson was having an affair with a woman named Marilyn (who was said to look like the legendary Marilyn Monroe) and they would have their rendezvous at a hotel on the outskirts (of then) Northern Fresno near Herndon and Blackstone. Gibson, who had owned a used car lot on Abby Street, had met Marilyn when she was a cocktail waitress at the old Tropicana and their affair lasted for over four years.

But their torrid affair was not meant to last. One night Marilyn met with Gibson in the hotel room they frequented and told him that she didn't want to see him any more. Distraught after she left, Gibson grabbed a pen and paper and wrote a final note to his love before grabbing a gun and ending his life with a self-inflicted gun shot to the head.

Since then guests have claimed to hear whispers in the very room where Gibson ended his life. A hoarse voice would cry out the name Marilyn over and over again scaring any guest that was in the room. Most would check out the next morning not wanting to deal with whatever is in the room.

The e-mail stated that the hotel in question is the Roadway Inn, which does lie on the corner of Herndon and Blackstone. They were unable to tell me the exact room where Gibson committed suicide but claimed that an article ran by the Fresno Bee in June of 1972 would have more information. Unfortunately I was unable to find anything to back up this claim in the Fresno Bee archives or any other online news archive. So I decided to head to the hotel and talk to the help there to see if any of these stories were true.

When I arrived at the hotel there was a lone worker at the front desk. I introduced myself and told her what I knew of the story. She told me she hadn't hear of anything in particular, but that she had only been there for four months. I left my card and thanked her for her time, but I definitely want to go back and talked to someone who has worked there longer.

So is this story true? It's hard to say. The person claimed that the story could be found in the Fresno Bee archives, but I couldn't find anything. Doing a Google search of the name "R.S. Gibson" did come up with an auto dealership, but the address was on Broadway not Abby as I was told. To verify this story I'm going to have to dig further. But still the story is an interesting one. And if it is true it is a tragic one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sacramento river boat said to be haunted

Perusing the internet for ghost stories I came across this interesting one up in Sacramento (yes I know the website isn't called Weird Sacramento, but bear with me). The location is actually an old paddle wheel boat docked on the banks of the Sacramento River in Old Town.

The boat is named the Delta King of Sacramento and was built sometime in the 1920's and plied the Sacramento River between San Francisco and Sacramento from 1929 to 1940 and was used as a troop transport ship during World War II. After the war the boat fell into disuse and roamed the Delta without any purpose. In 1982 the boat sank near Richmond in San Francisco Bay and was there for over 18 months. Finally in 1984 the Delta King was brought back to Sacramento and underwent a $9 million restoration. Today it is a floating hotel with two restaurants, two fully functional theaters, and facilities for wedding use.

But like any old structure that has its share of history, the Delta King is said to be haunted. Patrons have reported hearing a little girl singing "ring around the rosey" and some have seen her running up and down many of the ship's hallways. She's said to be around 8 or 9 years old and has blonde hair and to have died on the boat in the early days of its use, sometime in the late 20's or early 30's.

One of the other ghosts that haunts the boat is said to be one of the former captains who committed suicide on the boat. Not much is said about the male ghost except that he likes to mess with employees from time to time and the few times he has been seen he was wearing a white shirt and dark pants and cap.

Ghosts have also been seen in the Delta King's two theaters. Not much is known but some speculate that it's either former performers or audience members that for some reason have decided to attend another show.

One of the things that I love about this location is the history involved with the boat and how even after it feel into disuse the city of Sacramento decided to restore it and make it a destination for people. The fact that it's haunted just adds to the history of it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Exploring some of Lindsay's haunted locations

I had the privilege last Saturday night to tour and investigate two haunted locations in the town of Lindsay with the Paranormal Ghost Society, who was in charge of the tour. The locations were the Mason House and the Lindsay Museum and Gallery, which was next door to the Mason House. I decided to bring along my friend Michele as she had never been ghost hunting before and wanted to see what it was like. 

Upon arrival I met several members of PGS as well as Gary our tour guide. After introducing myself I started to ask about the history of both places. I was told both have had paranormal activity in the past and included strange footsteps, voices when no one else was around, as well as being touched by an unseen presence. Now I know this doesn't sound like much, but when you get multiple witnesses reporting the same thing you start to take notice.

The first location we investigated was the Mason House, so named after the family that owned it for years. But it has history even before that. Sometime during the early 20th century, a doctor took up residence in the growing town of Lindsay and had ordered a prefab home from Sears that would serve as both his home and place of work. Unfortunately his stay there didn't last long as he had an affair with a nurse (who was said to be married) and was ran out of town. Apparently being run out of town back then meant traveling 13 miles to the South and taking up residence in Porterville. The home changed hands a few times before the Mason family took ownership before passing it to the city of Lindsay to be used as a museum of sorts.

After touring the Mason House our guide Gary took us next door to the Lindsay Museum and Gallery. This used to be the old Lindsay Museum and which was built sometime in the 1920's. But with the construction of the new library, this building was converted to a museum housing artifacts from Lindsay's past as well as having a section dedicated to showcasing local art. This right here made me happy. Instead of just tearing down an old building because it had no use anymore, the city of Lindsay found a new use for it. I wish Fresno would do the same instead of tearing down an old building instead of finding a new use for it.

After touring both locations I asked if the group new anything behind the paranormal activity. They said they didn't as of yet but were currently researching the history of both locations. They have gathered evidence such as EVP's that verify the locations are haunted, just they don't know who is behind the activity as of yet. I wanted to mention this as not every spot that is haunted has a ready made story behind it. It takes paranormal investigation groups years to determine what's causing the activity and why.

After being given a tour and a brief history lesson the group headed back to the Mason House to do some EVP work. We set up in the living room area. I didn't bring any equipment (didn't realize we'd get a chance to do an investigation) and all I had with me was my iPhone's recorder which isn't the best. Luckily PGS has several recorders and proceeded to do a session. While asking questions, one of the group members noticed some movement in the kitchen area. During that same time I heard some noises that sounded like they were coming from where the stove was at in the kitchen. After listening to the recordings we headed to the kitchen to see if we could get anything there. More strange noises were heard including what sounded like footsteps coming from right next to me.

Unfortunately time wasn't on my side as I had to work the next morning. So we then headed to the basement of the old library were most of the activity occurred. This included an unsettling presence, voices whispering, and being touched by an invisible hand. We started to do another EVP session there when I heard what sounded like a small knock on the shelf next to me. One of the group members asked if whoever was there could make the noise again, which again we did hear. Now it could have just been the old wood expending from the day's heat, but I thought this was rather coincidental that when asked a second time we received a reply. We continued recording when I heard a noise behind me, this time a louder thud. I inspected the area but couldn't find anything that had fallen over that would have made that sound. As we were looking for what made the noise we heard what sounded like several footsteps upstairs. As for it being one of the group this was unlikely as every person except one was in the basement, and as we headed back upstairs there was no one there and the group member was next door still at the Mason House.

As the night concluded I thanked the Paranormal Ghost Society, a bit bummed as I wanted to investigate more but didn't have the time. I'm curious to find out what their research uncovers for both locations and definitely want to go back when I have more time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Former Tulare County General Hospital rumored to be haunted

While doing some research for another article I'm working on I came across the story of the Hillman Health Clinic in Tulare County.

The set of buildings located on K Street and Bardsley Ave were formerly part of the old Tulare County General Hospital center. When the hospital moved to its current location on Cherry Ave, the buildings were converted to be used as a public and mental health clinic (with other services that occupy the second floor and maintenance housed in the basement).

Most activity seems to be centered on the second floor and in the basement. The elevator will move between floors and when the doors open there is no one inside. The evening cleaning crew refuse to work past 9:00 pm as heavy footsteps can be heard on the floor even when it's empty. And apparently a staff member was once taken to the basement even though they pressed the button for a different floor.

In the basement a maintenance worker reported seeing shadowy figures several times moving around and even walking through walls. The strangest incident was when they were asked by a supervisor to check on a room for something. As they approached the room the witness came across a nurse dressed in a white uniform and had a white cap with a red cross on it. Curious as to why a nurse would be in the basement, he turned around but she had disappeared. Upon returning to his supervisor he asked if any nurses were in the basement, but was told there wasn't any. When he described the uniform, the supervisor looked confused as she said that type of uniform hadn't been worn by the nurses in decades.

I've always wondered if hospitals were haunted, given the amount of death that must occur here as well as the amount of emotions that the place had seen over the years. Perhaps the footsteps being heard are a residual haunting, were the same event is played over and over. But what of the incidents that happen with the elevator? Someone still trying to leave the hospital even after all these years?

And then there's the story of the nurse. Obviously the worker saw someone who worked there many years ago, but why was she still there? I know most people think that a person haunts the place where they die (and this is definitely possible with a hospital), but I've always been of the belief that someone may haunt where they were most happy. And in the case of the nurse, it was where she worked (which would explain the uniform).

Whatever the reasons may be, there is definitely something wandering the floors of the Hillman Health Clinic late at night.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chupacabra forces prom in Mendota to be canceled

Did this friendly lil guy cause the prom in Mendota to be canceled?
Photo courtesy of sapherequeen from

First off let me apologize for the lack of recent context. I've been in the process of moving and didn't have time for much else. Now that I'm settled in I can focus again on providing content for Weird Fresno. Today I thought I would do that by revisiting an early story that I had done.

According to a website called the Chupacabra Tracker, on May 10 (the year is never told) in the small farming town of Mendota a rooster is said to have died of "mysterious" circumstances. Soon after that the Fresno County Department of Agriculture started to receive reports of Chupacabra sightings in the area. This apparently alarmed the local parents so much that they had the prom canceled out of fear their children might become victims to the legendary goat sucker.

How legitimate this story is, I have no idea. When I first came across it I contacted both Mendota High School and the Fresno County Ag Commissioner (there is no county Dept. of Ag, only state) but never received a reply from either party. Still I love this story. Something had to have happened to freak out the local parents to have them go as far to cancel the local prom. I just really hope it wasn't a dog with a case of mange.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bakersfield park said to be haunted by ghost of murder victim

Covered bridge over the canal where a ghost is said to haunt
Bakersfield's Central Park.

Today I decided to share a story from the southern part of the Central Valley, from the city of Bakersfield. And if my research on this tells me anything, it's one of the more prevalent ghost stories there.

There have been tales of a lady in white wandering the grounds of Bakersfield's Central Park for as long as the park has been around. Created in 1937, Central Park is located between 21st Street and 19th Street, just east of R Street. According to local legend a woman was shot and killed in the park and her bones were found buried at an old foundry and supposedly they were riddled with bullet holes.

Witnesses have reported seeing the ghost of a woman, usually wearing a white flowing robe or gown; wander along the park's canal right before sunrise. Some think she is looking for help, hoping someone will find her murderer. Others think she is just lost and wanders the place where she was killed.

What's interesting about this story that it seems to be a mixture of the Lady in White and La Llorona stories. Now I'm not saying it's just another local urban legend (though all evidence seems to point to that being a yes), but there are questions I have about this story. For one, who was this woman and why was she murdered at this park? A jealous lover, victim of a mugging, or something else? Every telling of this story didn't have this information. As for the bones that were said to be found, I don't know how true this is. And what's to link them with the woman who is said to have been murdered in the park?

So the question is this: another local urban legend that has been passed down through the years from word of mouth (and not made popular by the internet)? Or is there some truth to this story and an innocent woman was killed at this park and wanders it to this day, either looking for help or doomed to walk it for eternity?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is a local Selma museum haunted?

It's said that if you visit the Selma Pioneer Village, located in the small town of Selma, that you can hear ghostly noises and sometimes see shadowy figures in the trees at night.

The Selma Pioneer Village started in 1980 when local resident Art Gonzales began collecting historic Selma area buildings. These included a Queen Anne style home, St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church, a railroad depot, the Unger Opera House, a doctor's office and the very first school house in Selma. There's also a large collection of ag equipment and tools as well other antique furnishings including toys and medical equipment.

The paranormal stories stem from an over night stay at the park. One witness claimed to have heard strange noises that sounded like spurs jangling while they were there late one night, but upon investigating they couldn't find where the noises were coming from or who was making them. Later that night they begin to hear what sounded like children laughing and when they went outside to see who was there, shadowy figures were seen darting from tree to tree. Another witness claimed to have heard noises coming from the area where the dutch ovens (very large, heavy oven) were at. But when a flashlight was shined on the area, there was no one there.

So that leads to the question, who or what is causing these strange incidents? Given the fact that most, if not all the buildings are over 100 years old there is a good chance that a spirit may have formed an attachment to one of them. And as far as I know, not all the buildings were originally at the same location, but were relocated there. It's a theory among paranormal investigators that when a rumored haunted spot has any work done to it, or even moved as in this case, that spirit activity increases due to the disturbances going on. Could the fact that some of the buildings aren't in the original location have awakened any spirit that was attached to them and now they make their presence known to anyone who visits the village?

Another theory is that it's a residual haunting, that the sounds of spurs and children laughing (remember there's an old school house there) are just a replay of events that happened over a century ago. For whatever these sounds get played over and over and as the years progress get fainter and fainter as the energy dissipates.

As for what really is at the Selma Pioneer Village, it's hard to say. But the rumors of it being haunted have persisted for years as a friend of mine, who has lived in Selma all her life, told me she heard it was haunted since she was a kid. So it definitely wasn't some random incident and there is definitely something there if it's known to be haunted.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weird Fresno teams up with Ghost Tripping for video series.

A few weeks ago I had mentioned both on Facebook and my Twitter feed that I was working on a new project but couldn't really go into detail. I'm glad to say that I can now reveal exactly what I was working on.

I was contacted by a local film production company by the name of Ghost Tripping who was interested in documenting on film local haunts around the valley. They wanted me to act as their expert on the story and would film me before venturing to the location itself to film and tell the story as well as recreate what is said to have happened.

For our first endeavor they wanted to tackle the ever familiar Channel Road. Having recently just gone there I had some new stories that I wanted to share. Met up with them for an hour or so and they filmed me talking about Channel Road. They told me they were then going to film the rest later and would let me know when it was ready.

Received an e-mail earlier this week saying that they were done filming and had a trailer to tease what the final project would be.

The finished product should be done sometime in early March and I will post it then. I'm looking forward to my partnership with Ghost Trippers as finally the local legends can be filmed as they should.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fresno Bee reported on Bigfoot sighting in 1986

According to an article ran in the Fresno Bee in August of 1986, a five man construction crew was spooked by what they say was Bigfoot while working on a job.

The job entailed building a foot/horse bridge near the Pacific Crest Trail on the south fork of the Kern River in the Inyo National Forrest (roughly about 25 miles south of Mt. Whitney) and given the remote location the men were camping at the site where they worked. One day, as the sun was setting the five men heard a scream so loud and described the intensity of it as something that "sounded like a stadium loudspeaker. The scream came three more times, and one of the workers used a rifle to fire a warning shot in the air.

At that moment, four of the five men saw a humanoid figure several feet away from them. They weren't able to make out any details but say the figure was at least 8 feet tall and as it walked away it look like it was "lumbering and kind of hunched over" but was traveling upright on two legs. Spooked the workers walked two miles to their vehicle and drove to the nearest ranger station to stay the night.

Several rangers think what the men heard was nothing more than a mountain lion and that then spooked a bear to rise up on two feet and that is what the men saw.

The lone member of the crew who did not see the figure, but heard it, disagrees. John Davis, a Mono Indian, said he had worked in the mountains for over four decades at the time of the sighting and claims what he heard sounded nothing like a mountain lion. And even though he never saw the figure, he says that the description sounds nothing like that of a bear.

The story doesn't end here though. It seems the original story got the attention of several bigfoot hunters. An unidentified man accompanied by two Dobermans was seen at the Blackrock ranger station informing the rangers that he was there to search for Bigfoot and wanted to know where the crew was currently at. Apparently this was the only sighting of the man. The only other incident regarding a Bigfoot hunter was when a man by the name of Danny Perez who runs at the time a newsletter called BigfooTimes (did a bit of research and he now has a website here) visited the Fresno Bee office looking for directions to the construction site and then soon left. Whether this is the same person who was seen at the Blackrock station was never stated in the article.

Personally I don't think what the men saw was a bear. Yes bears do stand on their hind legs, but I've never heard of one walking on its hind legs for more than a few feet (if I'm wrong someone please correct me). And as for the scream, I'm not sure on that. I know several Bigfoot hunters claim to have the creature's call recorded on audio. But these calls where more of a hoot, similiar to other primate calls. Whether this is the sound the workers heard is hard to say. But what I really find interesting is that the Fresno Bee ran two articles on Bigfoot, one on the sighting itself and the other on the Bigfoot hunters searching for the site. Whatever these men saw, the local newspaper felt it was a big enough story to report on it.

Below are scans of the newspaper articles I was able to get off Google News. Click on them for a larger view.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recent UFO sightings in the Central Valley

It's been a while since I posted any UFO sightings that had been reported to the National UFO Reporting Center and I decided to head on over to see if there were any new sightings that had occurred since the last time I had posted anything (which had been in August 2011) and it seems the skies over the central valley have been pretty active. Below are listing of sighings going back to late August 2011. As always these are posted as they were reported and no spelling or grammar corrections were done. Link to the original report can be found at the end of each listing.

Occurred : 1/11/2012 18:45
Location: Porterville, CA
Shape: Unknown
Duration: 5 minutes

Bright orange light in the sky and before disappearing it appeared to drop 2 bright lights or fire balls.

We exited a building facing South and up in the distance was a bright orange object slowly hovering North-East. It appeared to stop moving at times, then it would get closer, and it did not move about like a helicopter or airplane. It also had no blinking lights.

We watched this object in the sky for about 5 minutes. About a minute before it disappeared we had seen what looked like a smaller bright red light fall off or out of the UFO. Then, as we were discussing that that light may have been a tail light or a wing light, another red light fell off or out of the larger orange object.

Only this time, there was no mistaking the red light for a fixed light on the larger object. This red light was again smaller than the orange light in the sky and it fell downwards quite some distance before it faded out or disappeared. Within 10 seconds of that 2nd red light, the entire orange light/object flickered and faded out of sight.

We were also too far away to discern any shape the object may have had. To us, it appeared almost like a planet you would see in the night sky. Only this was about double the size and obviously had characteristics not of a planet!

Occurred : 12/16/2011 21:29
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Triangle
Duration: 3 min

Orange bright lights appeared in the sky

Fresno, California - Dec. 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm. I was driving home when my family and I noticed three bright orange lights shaped in a triangle. And they were moving slowly (north).

As we continued to drive we got closer and we spotted another bright orange light a head of the triangular set of lights. But the strange thing about it they were all moving at the same time and pace. It was clear that it wasn't a plane because it looked so close like as if a house near by had a very large antenna on the top of the roof.

But as we got closer we realized it was above us!! It was above the intersection of all the traffic!! Traffic had pulled over and started taking pictures of the sighting with their cellphones. And then it just vanished. It was pretty cool!!

I'm still stoked about it, my kids have so many questions...

Occurred : 12/6/2011 20:34
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Unknown
Duration: 15-20 seconds

My first sighting of a UFO

On the night of December 6, 2011, as I am traveling North of Chestnut Ave. coming from Alluvial in Fresno, CA heading to Sonic to buy food for my son, I seen an unidentified aircraft coming at me. It was around 8:30ish. There were hardly any stars in the sky, it was dark. There were no cars in front of me or behind me, but cars coming from my opposite direction. As I was driving up North towards Nees Ave on Chestnut, I saw a light coming somewhat straight at me. At first, the thought came to my mind that it is an airplane crashing down, I felt somewhat scared. I did not want to witness anything extreme at that moment. The flying object as it descended from the sky, started slowing down and got bigger. As it was getting bigger and getting close to me (feelings: very scared), I began praying for it to stop or just be close enough that I could see it, but not close to me as to like being in front of me. I really did not want to get abducted, that was the next thought in my mind. The UFO aircraft stopped and hovered for a few seconds. As I was staring at it, my thoughts were “Am I really seeing this?” the feelings of being shocked was trembling in my body. My eyes were stuck at this unidentified aircraft, trying to figure out what this thing could look like, but all I seen was 3 circular lights, somewhat close together, shaped like a triangle, the lights looked as if it was spinning at a rapid rate, from red and blue, with traces of yellow light as it was glittering and spinning at a rapid rate. The bottom of the craft looked like it had some rigid form structure around the lights. The UFO aircraft did not look large; it seemed somewhat medium/small size. That was all that I seen from that... After a couple of seconds, maybe 15-20 seconds, it gradually started to move, to the right of my view, and curved up towards the sky. It was lighting speed, it made traces of white light (like a tail of a star falling from the ! sky, except it was going up) as it ascended to the heavens. I! never s een anything like it, or have I seen an aircraft as fast as that UFO craft traveled. I’m still in shocked. Today is December 8, 2011, 10:31AM. I’m trying to recall my story of my first encounter of the flying object.

Occurred : 11/22/2011 17:22
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Sphere
Duration: 3-4 minutes

Strange stationary red light in the northwest sky in Fresno

I was driving west on Shaw Ave on observed a redish light in the northwest sky. It appeared to be stationary and was a constant light. I drove a approximately one mile and turned off on a side street to stop and observe.

Within a few seconds after parking I observed the light move as if it were dropping, blink one or two times, vanish and then two bright much smaller white lights flashed in a line. After this there was nothing in that area of the sky

Occurred : 11/21/2011 13:00
Location: Visalia, CA
Shape: Fireball
Duration: 4 minutes

A fireball with a tail that seemed to me maybe a comet? But as I kept looking it slowed down, and turned a direction, then disappeared. Four or five jets were seen in the same location moments later.

Occurred : 11/16/2011 19:30
Location: Madera, CA
Shape: Other
Duration: 30 seconds

large angel hair mass floating above county road.

My wife and I drove directly under a large angel hair mass floating over a country road. We both saw it and we didn't stop. It was very big and just floating above the road. Maybe six feet wide and three feet tall. On Ave 20 1/2 near road 28.

Note: Angel's Hair is a phenomema linked to UFO sightings where a very fine material described sometimes as being like a cobweb or jelly and is named Angel's Hair given its similarity to fine hair or spiderwebs. Interestingly enough it has also been reported to be at Virgin Mary sightings.

Occurred : 10/31/2011 19:15
Location: Clovis, CA
Shape: Sphere
Duration: 60 seconds

Two glowing spheres observed hovering then moving in the night sky Halloween night.

On October 31st, 2011 at approx. 1915 hrs (7:15pm PST), I was walking my kids around an affluent neighborhood in NW Clovis when an adult in a separate group pointed up toward the southern star filled sky and stated loudly, "Look, there they are again." I looked up and observed two (2) glowing objects. One was blue the other orange. They were at least five (5) times larger than the visible stars.

At first they hovered then slowly separated. The blue one remained stationary while the orange one moved further south. As it slowed, the blue one also began to move south then both changed direction and faded into the night. I wasn’t sure if the disappearance was due to the light source going out or they sped away so fast that they appeared to fade?

I am unaware if there were any documentations of the event. My cell phone camera would not have been able to capture anything due to the lighting conditions and the other group mixed in with the rest of the family groups. I was unable to reestablish contact with this individual.

Occurred : 10/15/2011 19:30
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Oval
Duration: 3 mins.

Four oval objects 15" x 20" emitting beams with bright orange read glow suspended 100 ft. overhead for 15 secs. took off N-east

my wife and i were liesurely walking in the dark. It was a clear october night- 10/15/11@19:30 hr. We saw four oval bright objects 15"x20" emitting beams with a bright orange read glow passed overhead about 100 ft. high.

My wife shouted at this object- " who are you". It got suspeended for about 15 secs. then they all took off soundlessly together going northeast in the same direction towards the stars. Duration of events 3 minutes.

No fireworks,no celebrations , no aircrafts nearby during the sighting

Occurred : 10/3/2011 04:35
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Circle
Duration: 4 min

Circle of bright lights hovering slowly and than disappearing.

At aprox 4 am I heard my dogs barking frantically so i rushed to the window facing the south end of my house and immediately saw a round shape with numerous bright lights immersing from the object,

it was hovering slowly east in the empty field and was not stopping or making any noise.

I watched it as it floated 100 more feet or so and than vanished.

It was about 5 feet around.

Occurred : 9/4/2011 01:00
Location: Visalia, CA
Shape: Disk
Duration: 2.5 hours

One main craft with bright rotating lights and orange light crafts flying in and out of and around the main craft.

There was one main one that was a disk shape that had bright individual lights that would sporadically turn on and sometimes rotate and for various amounts of time. After some time yellowish/orange lights shot in and out of the main craft and would fly/move around in unpredictable movements. Some of theses lights shot towards the ground others around the main craft. As the hours went on the craft moved father away with the lights continuing to shoot in, out, and around it. We believe the lights to be smaller crafts that were able to fly into the main craft. The first person to sight the main craft says she saw the main craft have 5 or 6 windows. This was all seen from a second story house and the craft(s) were low in sky and above fields/ bird land.

Occurred : 8/27/2011 21:00
Location: Atwater, CA
Shape: Changing
Duration: 10-15 sec

UFO changed colors/shape over Atwater, California

I was sitting in my cousin's back yard talking with a friend when a red light in the sky that I thought must have been a firework caught my eye. I automatically assumed it was a firework due to the richness of the color and it was descending just above the top of a wooden fence that separates his property from the next. I stood up, and informed my friend, who immediately turned around to look. The entire sighting lasting 10 to 15 seconds.

Just as I was asking him what it was it changed course and began to increase altitude and rapidly descended and ascended in successive fashion, too fast for me to count how many times. All the while, the object changed color in a very fluid motion from red at first, to gold, green, amber and possibly blue, but not too sure. While the object was changing colors, it was also changing shapes, going from what I would describe as a teardrop, to a sphere, to almost seeming to flatten out. It then proceeded to head west away from our location towards and probably past CA-99. I caught about 10 seconds or so of this object on my cell phone camera, although by the time I began recording, It was already heading away and had stopped changing colors/shape. I could not identify the object, and it was COMPLETELY inaudible.

Shortly after the event, other witnesses that had gathered, along with myself, saw multiple conventional aircraft with flashing lights following the same general flightpath of the object.

Occurred : 8/25/2011 20:55
Location: Fresno, CA
Shape: Triangle
Duration: 2min

Large cheese shape triangle flying over fresno

This object was a very large thick triangle shape it was about 150 -200 ft long and about 75-100 feet thick. On each point it had a white light and each side had 3 to 5 red lights and the back side had 5 to 10 red lights that moved in a clockwise pattern.

The craft seemed to be in a dark gray or black shade of color.

The flight path of travel was very quite and was heading in a direction of south west movement and a speed was fast but not to fast almost the same speed of a airliner crossing the sky at there cursing speed.I believe it was between 1000 −1500 feet in alt.

What was actually seen on these days is up for speculation. But whatever it was, it left the witness(es) compelled to file a report. I'm hoping by posting these that others who may have seen the same object(s) will see this and share what they have seen as well.

Hopefully one day I will have my own report on NUFORC (that isn't a mistaken case of an airplane, don't ask). But until then I'll settle for reading other's sightings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More strange creature sightings at Millerton Lake

P3290007adj Millerton Lake

Millerton Lake during the spring time. Photo courtesy of David Prasad via Flickr.

The focus on Weird Fresno lately has been heavy on the haunted spots throughout the Central Valley, as they seem to be the most prolific. But I love a good creature sighting and when I received an e-mail the other night (while I was at Channel Road no less) about yet another creature sighting that occurred at Millerton Lake, I knew I had to share.

According to the person who e-mailed me, it was 1975 and he and his wife went on a camping trip up at Millerton Lake one weekday. He describes the lake as being very calm and the water was "smooth as glass". As he and his wife were enjoying the view they noticed a wake forming on the surface of the water. Suddenly a large head surfaces and then dives back down into the water quickly followed by the back of the creature (the witness said he didn't see a tail). As it completed it's dive it left a huge wake behind. He goes on to estimate that it was at least 30 feet in length and that the only way he could describe it was it appeared similar to the descriptions of the Loch Ness monster.

The next day as they were leaving the couple came across a gas station and decided to gas up. There he noticed a bulletin board with news clippings with telling about different sightings of the creature he saw the previous day.

Now I know I've reported on giant catfish sightings in the past, but the description of the wake seems similar to this story I wrote about back in March of 2010 where another witness saw a large mass swimming around leaving a big wake behind it. Could this be the same thing that was seen back in '76? And if so, what the hell is beneath the surface of Millerton Lake?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Barn Theater in Porterville said to be haunted

The Barn Theater in Portervile, CA
Image courtesy of the Porterville Ghost Society

About 16 miles east of Tulare is the small town of Porterville. Located on the Tule River at the base of the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada and was founded sometime in the 1820's. The town has a long history with a rich culture and tradition. One of those traditions is The Barn Theater. And if story is to be believed, it's said to be haunted.

The Barn Theater was founded in 1948 by Peter Tewksbury, who would later find work in Hollywood, and was originally in a barn that belonged to a Annie Smith who supported the local arts. Sometime in 1952 a new addition was added onto the barn and it's what currently is there today. The theater has had many an actor come through it's door over the years (including Ann B. Davis who played Alice on the Brady Bunch). But it seems that not all have left as several strange occurrences have been reported throughout the years.

People have reported feeling an audience in the room even though the theater was empty. According to the Porterville Ghost Society, others have reported hearing clapping and laughter as well as seeing shadowy figures.

Like many a haunted theater, it seems that some of its patrons linger on after passing from this life. Could the allure of the stage and still draw them there? Or was this where they were most happy and for whatever reason choose to remain here instead of moving on to the next plane of existence? It's hard to say really, but there is definitely a presence there that has been felt over the years.

Source: Porterville Ghost Society - The Barn Theater Investigation.