Humboldt Haunted Places – Ghosts of the Redwood Coast

shadowy ghostly gray hand held up with fingers spread surrounded by pale fogCalifornia’s Redwood Coast may be one of the most haunted areas along the Pacific, with ghostly tales about places in Eureka, Samoa, Ferndale, and Scotia, all within about 20 miles of The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel in Fortuna, CA. In addition to spirits in Ferndale’s Repertory Theatre and Rose Cottage, some say St. Mary’s cemetery is haunted by a girl named Sarah.
In Scotia, ghostly footsteps and voices can be heard on the third floor of the Scotia Inn, and there are reports of a young boy playing with a ball.

The area around Eureka is reported to be one of the most haunted places in California. Local historians suggest it may be attributed to Eureka’s wild and bawdy past, from which many historic buildings remain. In the 1800s, Eureka was a bustling port where crowds of sailors, lumberjacks, and gold miners gathered, and drinking, gambling, prostitution, and violence were common. Native American spirits also may linger because of the 1860 massacre of the Wiyot people at Indian Island, followed by similar attacks on other Wiyot villages.

Just across Humboldt Bay from Indian Island, the entire town of Samoa is said to be haunted, especially on Cadman Court Street.

In Eureka, the Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, the Carson Mansion, the Clarke Historical Museum, the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka Books, and the Eureka Theater all have been said to have resident ghosts. Former residents still haunt buildings that were private homes as well. One long-time Eureka resident, whose home had once been used as an orphanage, reported hearing sounds of children playing and a deep male voice that seemed to be protecting them.

According to Old Town Haunted History Tours, there are an amazing number of places in Old Town Eureka that are haunted or have reported ghost sightings – 27 in all! These two hour historical and paranormal walking tours highlight “Eureka’s other side of history”. Visitors traverse the streets of Old Town while they listen to stories of Eureka’s bawdy past and haunted present – tales of “eerie tragedy, speakeasy shootouts, unhappy spirits of harassed women” (Cahill, October 27, 2016), and more. Some of the highlights include the Vance Hotel, the Eagle House Victorian Inn, the Oberon Grill, Opera Alley, and the Hans Henry Buhne building, the oldest in Eureka. There, Captain Buhne apparently still mourns his wife who tragically drowned in Humboldt Bay. Tours are available with a minimum of five people, and reservations are required. The cost is $20 per person or $100 for a private tour. Phone: 707-672-5012 for reservations and specific departure times.

How haunted is the Redwood Coast? Tales like these come to mind at Halloween, you can explore these places any time of the year. Whether or not you hope to experience some of Humboldt’s haunted history, all of us at The Redwood look forward to welcoming you to our unique hotel with its strong sense of place that reflects its independent spirit – the only spirit that resides here!

Photo by Tertia van Rensburg on UnSplash

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