Friday, June 22, 2012

Haunted Locations in North San Diego County

Here are some haunted locations in  Escondido, Del Mar, Vista & Fallbrook CA

Haunted Escondido CA
Haunted Elfin Forest Recreation Reserve (also called Harmony Grove)
This is a great place to hike, however these woods are extremely haunted. The White Lady is seen along the trails usually in broad daylight. Hikers report being touched on their shoulders and watch as she floats above the ground and passes through objects. Most see a smiling woman from a distance only to realize its a ghostly apparition. People driving along the dark, wooded road at night have reported seeing her floating in the woods as well.

Some people have reported seeing apparitions of Native Americans bodies hanging from trees. The native Northern Diegueno Indians once inhabited this land, dating back thousands of years. One theory is that this area could also be a Native American burial ground.

Locals say there are stone circles in the forest and that if you pass through them you will experience time lapses.

There was a sanitarium in this area that burnt down years ago. When the place caught on fire many of the patients were trapped and burned to death. Some ran into the woods on fire screaming in terror only to die from their wounds. There are reports of laughing, screaming and apparitions of these patients are seen lurking in the forest. Many people mistake this place with Quest Haven Retreat down the road. Questhaven Retreat has nothing to do with the sanitarium and is private property.

There are also rumors that Gypsy's lived in this area and cursed this land when they were forced to leave.

All this, and tales of a giant killer white owl, along with stories of cults performing dark rituals, makes this place a creepy place to visit.

Strange History of the area
There is evidence that possible ancestors of the Northern Diegueno Indians lived in the Harmony Grove area. An archeological bonanza, many artifacts have been found and efforts to preserve others are underway. Mortars, metates, pictographs, and petroglyphs discovered there help shed light on the Uyman language they were known to have spoken and contribute to a clearer understanding of their primitive way of life more than 9,000 years ago. There are ancient petroglyphs in rocks at the extreme western end of Ninth Avenue. These are Indian symbols and have a connection with others found in Escondido, Hemet, Borrego, and Rancho Bernardo. They seem to be direction finders similar to the magnificent rocks at Stonehenge in England.

Spook's Canyon
In the 1880s, a Welshman named Spook homesteaded in the Elfin Forest valley. As recently as 1971, remains of his orchard could be seen. It is probably because of this man that we hear the term "Spooks Canyon," which has been a nickname our valley has had for years. The meetings of spiritualist groups in Harmony Grove provide another version of the origin of that nickname. The name also fits in well with the ghosts and legends that are also part of our area. The old stage coach route is haunted by the phantom stage of Carrizo. It is seen in the Anza Borrego State Park.
Before the turn of the century, the Butterfield Stage Coach Company used Harmony Grove Road as part of its route from Escondido to San Diego. The route went from Ramona to Escondido, followed the Escondido Creek, turned west to Encinitas and then south to San Diego. A man name Parkrider had a store near the junction of Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest Roads. The road was paved in the late 1950s and after the vacation ranch closed down in the1990s, even the few remaining bricks from the store disappeared.
The area's beauty - year round stream and shade trees, as mentioned earlier, led Dr. Harvey Urban, Jack Donnelley, and George Dew to buy twenty acres at the junction of what is now Harmony Grave and Elfin Forest Roads in 1959. They built a house and a dam to create a lake and began adding spaces for trailers, campers, and mobile homes. Additional land (for a total of 97 acres) was purchased and a grocery store was opened. It was referred to as the Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch. They provided boating, fishing, movies, and square dancing. When Dr. Urban opened those acres up to public camping, the campground and the valley around it became popularly known as Elfin Forest. The campground no longer exists.


More History

Until 1977, the community was sparsely developed. In addition to Questhaven Retreat, Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association, and the Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch, there were a few older homes in the surrounding hills. Many new homes were built between 1977 and 1980. Inflation caused interest rates to rise and home building slowed until late 1984. From 1985 to 1992, there was a boom in building in the area. It is estimated that the population of the area grew to 450 homes, with 15 to 20 homes being added each year. From 1992 to 1995, the economic slowdown in San Diego caused building to almost cease. 1996 saw a pickup in the economy with some new building. The population according to the last census stood at 1,000 in 1996 with a projected population of 2,156 in the year 2015. (Ref: SANDAG)
In 1978, there were heavy rains in San Diego County. The Elfin Forest–Harmony Grove areas were severely impacted as torrents of water rushed down Escondido Creek causing a "40-year flood". The beautiful lake in the Vacation Ranch was swept away, the basin around it was severely flooded and the Ranch was devastated. Dr. Urban, who had plans to develop it into exclusive mobile home estates, died shortly afterwards, and his family was forced to sell the acreage. There were plans to develop the ranch into a "Lawrence Welk" type of mobile home park called Lake Elfin Forest, but the plans were not approved by the county.

The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserves main trail climbs 1200 ft and has many tributary trails. The Escondido Creek marks the trailhead. The main trail is a 1.6 mile which meanders up a wall then leads up to numerous trails of varying difficulties. There is a Botanical Trail well marked describing the various plant life in the area. One can also extend the hike about 9 miles one way over the mountain to Lake Hodges.

Haunted  Vista CA
Haunted Rancho Guajome Adobe Vista CA
Rancho Guajome belonged to the Couts family for several generations. Colonel Cave Johnson Couts was originally from Tennessee, but came to California with the military in 1849. Here he married Ysidora Bandini, who was born in Old Town, San Diego, in 1829. They are said to have met when Ysidora and her sisters had climbed onto the roof of their house to better see the handsome soldiers march into town, and Ysidora slipped and slid off the roof, landing on Cave Couts.
The couple had ten children, the eight youngest born at Rancho Guajome.Ysidora was a headstrong woman who had the family chapel built in spite of objections from the Catholic church. She let the priest know in no uncertain terms that she would have her chapel whether the church like it or not, and that if he wouldn`t come bless it, she would do so herself. Ysidora is said to haunt the chapel. It has been reported to hear a woman crying, when no one is around. Also the halls and courtyard are haunted by a male figure who roams the grounds, and will disappear suddenly into thin air.
In the mid 1970`s when the Rancho was being restored human bones of a unknown male were found in the wall.

Haunted Fallbrook CA
North County Times Newspaper
This building is said to have multiple types of paranormal phenomena occur. There is a floating apparition of a little girl that scares employees, along with glowing white lights that fly around the establishment.

Haunted Del Mar
Haunted Del Mar Fairgrounds
Fairgrounds employees for years had been talking informally among themselves about strange happenings on the fifth floor of the grandstand, now private suites above the Turf Club. Furniture would somehow be in a different place than before. Patio doors would open and slam shut. The elevator one night wouldn’t stop on that floor, and its hallways would get unseasonably cold. An apparition was ever caught on tape.


  1. I've visited the Rancho Guajome adobe. This is a bunch of ludicrous because I got no vibe AT ALL when I took the tour. It was a completely normal feeling, and I am very sensitive to paranormal entities. Therefore, I find it very hard to believe in the hauntings.

  2. I am shooting a movie based on these hauntings and came upon this article during research. I was wondering if you would be interested in chatting about your findings.

    You can reach me at // you may also view our current trailer for Elfin Forest, the movie.

    Thank you!

    Erick Huff

    1. Here is the direct link //

  3. Fallbrook has alot of paranormal activity. Especially in and around Los Jigueros Perserve and near the high school. Whatever it is, its not friendly or happy. I have even caught it or them in photos, especially at Los Jigueros.

  4. I grew up in Bonsall (next to fallbrook) and went to high school there. There are no hauntings happening in the newspaper office. 90% of this is bull pucky. There was never a sanitarium in the Elfin Forest. And, that is not the history of the Rancho Guajome adobe.

    1. The Sanitarium was located on Questhaven.

  5. The Escondido public library is haunted by a Gentlemanly Mexican Vaquero dressed in period 1700's to 1800's clothing including an elaborate sombrero. Witnesses to the dapper Gent include a worker whom one night during a renovation of the library, ran into him while turning a corner into another aisle. They faced each other for a moment, then the spirit vanished.Employees working alone at night have seen books knocked from shelves and have felt the ghost's presence.Escondido was once the site of a large land grant and ranchero named, Rancho Del Diablo. Could this ghost be the 'former'wealthy land owner and could the library be built over the spot where his home once stood? It seems only the employees know of this legend, so best to seek them out for more info. They are all extremely friendly and helpful. Come "check it out" for yourself! Happy hunting!

  6. as a teen i lived in Carlsbad. we used to drive to Deep Haven by Fallbrook in search of chills and thrills. never saw a thing. tho i understand there once was a sanitarium out that way.

  7. Searching for the Best Dating Site? Create an account to find your perfect date.