Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Haunted Knott's Berry Farm


Ghosts of Knott's Berry Farm
Strange noises and eerie feelings have been described by employees of the Peanuts Playhouse in camp snoopy. It has also been reported that lights turn themselves on and off with no one else present. The old Dinosaur Ride (which was in the area now occupied roughly by the Johnny Rockets in Boardwalk) was also said to be haunted by a former maintanance employee and a young boy.

The upstairs of Virginia's Gift Shop on the exterior of the park is said to be haunted as is the Bird Cage Theater and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

The lady that was working in the Teddy Bear store told a story about the building when it was still the old Print Shop (when we were there you could still see the faded word print underneath the word shop on the sign to the Teddy Bear store). Apparantly there were stamps (not the kind you mail) on display on shelves on the wall and for no apparent reason some of them started falling off of the shelves.


Knott's Berry Farm & Calico Ghost Town
Calico Ghost Town came to life in 1881 when the Silver King Mine was claimed, just eight short years later Walter Knott was born in 1889.  Both the Town and Walter were born in California in San Bernardino County.  When Walter was young he worked for a short time as a carpenter at Calico and his uncle John King was one of the founding partners in the mine that had his name and spurned the birth of Calico.
These memories must have stuck with young Walter because in the 1920’s after he began his Berry Farm and later the Chicken Dinner Restaurant with his wife Cordelia in the City of Buena Park, California, he built a mock ghost town to entertain the guests that came to their Farm and Restaurant.  In Walter’s own words, from 1942:  “Every time I have the opportunity to get away for a couple of days I like to visit the ghost towns of the west for we are continually seeking materials with which to reconstruct the ghost town here at Knott’s Berry Place. By securing a building here, part of another there, an old bar in one place or something else somewhere else we add to the picture we are attempting to portray – a composite picture of the ghost towns of the west as they appeared in ‘49 and the early ‘50′s. We are not collecting museum pieces nor is it the intention to build a museum. Our thought is to collect a town but as that is impossible we try to do the next best thing – build or reconstruct a ghost town that will be authentic and show life as it was lived in the early days”.  This concept was a total success for the Knott’s and by 1950 they had a replica of a typical ghost town in Buena Park.  It was at this point that Walter Purchased the entire ghost town of Calico in 1951.  Walter then moved some original buildings to Knott’s Berry Farm to add to his already existing ghost town and restored and re-built other buildings at the Calico site.  There are still five original buildings still standing at Calico.  It was at this time there was much going on simultaneously at Calico and Knott’s, thus there were many similarities between the two places.  In 1966 after fully restoring Calico Ghost Town, Walter deeded the whole town to the County of San Bernardino and it became the county regional park that it still is today.
What are these so called similarities between these two places.  First let’s look at the use of the name Calico that Walter used at Knott’s after purchasing the town in 1951.  Walter used the Calico name for many attractions and areas in Knott’s, some of these names were:  The Calico Railroad, The Calico Mine Ride, The Calico Log Ride (on a side note, John Wayne was the first official person to ride this attraction), Calico Square, The Calico Saloon and they also had a scale model of Calico Ghost Town and a mural/painting in Saloon titled, “Saturday Night in Calico”.
A building that stands at both Calico and Knott’s is the Bottle House, this interesting building was not really a Calico remnant and it is doubtful that one ever existed there but Walter had one built at each site because bottle houses were known to exist in the old west.
There was an attraction that graced both places for a number of years, at Knott’s it was called The Haunted Shack and at Calico it is called The Mystery Shack.  This attraction was a walk through experience and guests are treated to the optical illusions that characterized these attractions, water runs uphill, small children tower over their older siblings and chairs stand on two legs.  The Haunted Shack at Knott’s was removed  in 2000 but the Mystery Shack at Calico is still there for all to enjoy.
Knott’s is now owned by a large corporation and It might be sheer coincidence but there is a new connection between the Calico and Knott’s at Halloween.  At Knott’s it was called Knott’s Scary Farm Haunt and at Calico it is called The Calico Ghost Haunt.  Both places decorate for this holiday and have many special “scary” events in the month of October.
Calico and Knott’s are great haunted places to visit, if you want to see what Knott’s used to be like before it became such a large amusement park, visit Calico and have a great time re-living the old west.


Haunted Calico Ghost Town

Calico Ghost Town is one of  the most haunted locations in California, with many types of ghosts & paranormal phenomenon. Calico has Shadow people, orbs, full bodied apparitions, ghost lights & more. 

Quick history
In 1881, three men, Charlie Meacham, Johnny McBride, and Larry Silvia discovered silver in the Calico Mountains. Miners from all around came to work the mines. The town of Calico sprang up, and at one time reached a population of 3,500, not including an additional 1,500 in the greater Calico Mining District. All the silver from Calico was sent to San Francisco to make coins. By 1900, the price of silver dropped half of its value, and most of the silver had been mined out. Miners left to find other fortunes and the town died.


Ghosts of Calico
One of the most often sighted spirits is that of Lucy Bell King Lane, a woman who spent nearly seventy years of her life in Calico. When Lucy was just ten years old, she moved with her parents, two brothers, and a sister to nearby Bismarck, which overlooked the town of Calico. To get to school, Lucy would have to slide down the steep slope in the morning and make the long tiring hike up the hill afterwards. When she was 18 years old, she married John Robert Lane and the two opened a general store that provided not only provisions to the mining population, but also cloth, nails, and hardware. They prospered briefly but when the silver market began to decline, the couple left Calico in 1899. However, the couple returned in 1916, making their old store their home. Four years later, they moved into the old courthouse and post office building. Her husband John died in 1934, but Lucy would continue to live a long life, staying in the same house until she died in 1967 at the age of 93.
Today, their old home has become a museum, that exhibits the life the Lanes lived, as well as a collection of mining materials, photographs, and Native American displays from the times before Calico's silver deposits were discovered. 

Though Lucy died four decades ago, she is evidently fond of her old home town as she is frequently still sighted there. Most often she has been seen walking between their old store and the home that she lived in until her death. When she is spied, she is described as wearing a long black dress, most likely the very lace one that she was buried in. Her favorite rocking chair has also been said to rock of its own accord and often pictures are taken off the wall at night, only to found the next morning in a neat pile on the floor. At Lane’s old store, clerks have often heard unexplainable noises and catch movement out of the corners of their eyes, which they also attribute to Lucy. The Lane house was the longest occupied original structure in Calico.
But, favorite resident Lucy Lane is not the only phantom that lurks in Calico. At that very same school house sitting atop the hill in Calico, a number of people have reported seeing a little girl about 11 or 12 years, most often old smiling through a window. Sometimes she even leans out and waves at passers by.
 
Others have allegedly seen phantom school teachers and another small child who has been known to grab people’s legs or pinch their ankles. Some visitors have also reported seeing a floating red light inside the school. Also a shadow person has been seen on the roof of the school house.

Though the hills surrounding Calico once held dozens of mines, and the many pits and ruins continue to attest to this, Calico features the Maggie Mine, that once produced some $13 million in silver ore, and now its tunnels can be explored by visitors. In the 1,000 feet of tunnels that are open to the public, it should come as no surprise that many believe that spirits lurk within the mine’s depths.
number of visitors have reported extreme cold spots throughout the mine and feelings of "one's hair standing up" in various places, but most particularly where two miners known as the Mulcahey Brothers made their home in the mine. Though portions of the mine are blocked off behind grates, macabre mannequins add to the spooky feeling in the mine.

Near the Maggie’s Mine is Hank’s Hotel, which once belonged to an angry old cowboy whose spirit allegedly once punched a man in the leg who was standing on his fence. But more commonly, people have reported something tugging on their wrists, hands and clothing along the boardwalk in front of the hotel. These antics; however, are not generally blamed on the angry cowboy, but rather on a 4-5 year old child who has been seen roaming the boardwalk and the surrounding area.  


Also said to haunt Calico's boardwalks on Main Street is that of its last marshal, Tumbleweed Harris. A number of visitors have described seeing a big man with a white beard which fits the description of the man who kept the peace in Calico for seven years.
 
At the Calico Corral, a number of people have often heard the voices of crowds and celebration coming from the barn that once hosted regular Saturday night dances.  At Lil’s Saloon, one of Calico's original buildings, sounds of an old-style piano and rowdy crowds have been heard when no one was in the building. Employees have also often reported hearing the jingle of spurs and other noises that can’t be explained.  Another spectral lady in a long white dress has frequently been seen walking near the outskirts of the ghost town and at the building that once housed the town theater, which is now the R&D Fossils & Minerals Shop, a another female ghost named Esmeralda, has allegedly has taken up residence. 

Calico had another famous resident – that of Dorsey, the "mail carrying dog.” Dorsey was found in 1883 by Postmaster Jim Stacy, when the hungry and footsore black and white shepherd was lying on his porch. Stacy quickly adopted him and Dorsey became his faithful friend. In addition to his postmaster duties, Stacy also had an interest in a mine in nearby Bismarck. On one occasion, when Stacy needed to get an urgent message to his partner at the mine, he tied a note to Dorsey’s neck and sent him up there. Before long, Dorsey returned with a reply. Dorsey was soon carrying messages back and forth to the mine frequently, when Stacy had the idea to make the dog a regular mail carrier. Soon, the dog was carrying all the mail from Calico to Bismarck, bearing his load in little pouches strapped to his back. For three years, Dorsey covered the mail route between the two camps and became so valuable that Stacy was offered $500 for the dog, to which Stacy replied: "I'd rather sell a grandson."
Dorsey's legend was revived in a 1972 album entitled "The Ballad of Calico” by Kenny Rogers. The song was called "Dorsey, the Mail Carrying Dog.” And, of course, in haunted Calico, he has been revived in another way – the "spectral dog." On several occasions, Dorsey has been seen as a shadow-like apparition at the cemetery and near the Print Shop that stands near the original location of the post office.

17 comments:

  1. Thats freakin scary i see knotts differently now

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  2. I used to work there around 2003-2004. To be honest, I never believed in ghosts until I worked at Knotts. In Camp Snoopy, we heard child laughter an hour before the park opened, trash barrels moving in the queue, the kid's train bell would ring on its own. Before opening, I'd see and hear the metal ramps shake, like they do when a child stomps off a ride, sometimes with the sound of a child giggling. One evening, our shift lead came out of the Playhouse white as a sheet. She was a tough cookie, not someone who scares easy, and she was in hysterics from "blood on the walls." We had to search the whole place (yay overtime) but we found nothing. Other areas of the park had other ghosts. Each location had its stories. I was stationed at Ghost Rider, and I saw a full apparition in the tourist shop across from the handicap entrance, a tall gent in jean overalls with a blurred face. No one else seemed to see it, I tried to dismiss it as maybe overheating, a mere hallucination (I didn't believe in ghosts) but when I mentioned it to a coworker, he said he'd seen the same ghost, same spot.

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  3. I also worked there..didn't ever expeiece your Ghost but I believe you. The one at Berry Tales or Dinasaur ride they said was a boy. I remember a little laughing girl who would slam the door to let us know she was there...The Chicken Dinner restaurant used to have the house attached and late after the restaurant closed you could hear foot steps as we guessed Cordelia Knott made herself back up stairs to her room. That was the purchasing offices and employees said Ghosts could be heard in the day as well. It head the former Knott residence with attachments to both the Chicken Dinner Resiaurant and to the upstairs rooms above The Berry Market which no longer their is access . The house head torn down...I once was working at Independence Hall also haunted and head with by felloe worker at 230 in the morning when through the door comes an elderly MSN in a black suit and he proceeds up the stairs to the top landing and is looking out the window..He seemed harmless enough so we go to dee what he wants and he disappears. We didn't tell anyone but a week later a guard tells me he went into the hall because he saw a little old man inside..he thought that he was from the bus stop and just went inside but the Man also disappeared on him...Could this old MSN in the suit have been Walter Knott..Independence Hall was his Dream. I believe his last project.

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    1. Let me know if you want more of my
      personal accounts...

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    2. While I was working at the park. I was assigned to Independence Hall for the prep work for the filming of National Treasure. I was waiting for another officer to bring the keys to the upstairs theater. When one of the park painters came running out to tell me that there was an elderly couple that had come in and went to where they had been storing the antiques. I went to check and found no one inside. I checked with the production manager from the film who was sitting on the stairs waiting for me. He told me he saw no one.

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  4. I don't know if this was some kind of apparition, a part of the park theme, or just some random guy, but i went to knottsberry's last year around spring, and it was my first time on the big wooden roller coaster, and at the top where you wait to board the ride in the corner by himself was this weird old guy with a big dirty beard and old pioneer lookin clothes on. it was weird cause as soon as i saw him he just stared at me blankly, i thought he might be a worker at the park but he seemed too serious to me, i just boarded the ride with my uncle and little sister but i didnt say anything about the man.

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  5. Ohhhh, trust me when I say the building where KOD use to be is definitely haunted. I work the brand new ride that replaced KOD which is now Voyage to the Iron Reef and freaky things always happen to us. Especially in our washroom where we wash the 3D glasses. That's where the most activity happens. I've had a door open before when no one else was in there and the door can only be opened from the inside. We've all seen shadow people. Another coworker heard a child giggle in the room and another worker had a door close on them. Brooms fall all the time and we have a motion sensor light in the hallway that only turns on when someone walks in. Well, it'll turn on when no one is in the hallways and we're in the washroom.
    That building is crazy haunted and every single one of us who works that ride has had an experience there.
    Not quite sure if it's a little boy though. But, he's definitely mischievous.

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    1. Omfg this makes me so happy. I want to be cross trained to reef so badly now.

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    2. Omfg this makes me so happy. I want to be cross trained to reef so badly now.

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    3. Oh really? So the paranormal stuff still haunts the building? It's crazy that with all the history it had with Knott's Bear-y Tales and Kingdom of The Dinosaurs, it still has the creepy stuff going on in there.

      That reminds me, do you think there are any remnants from those rides before Iron Reef that could be the cause, if you don't mind asking?

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  6. I work Infected at scary farm and I can definitely tell you there's activity in camp snoopy. The bathrooms under the balcony of the restaurant have activity (noises, things moving etc.) And there are shadow people that walk around.

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  7. I work the night shift at Knott's, maintenance and cleaning the park up for the next day. All the crew I work with says that a little girl died in the playhouse where Lucy's lunchbox(now grizzly Creek) used to be. Second story collapsed or something of the sort. And she supposedly had a white balloon. Few months before I got the job, I was driving down Western Ave, and right in the middle of the crosswalk was a white balloon. Floating about four feet off the ground with the string in the air. Still as a log, even when I drove by. Tripped me out so much that I stopped in the middle of the street to look at it. Maybe it's unrelated,maybe not. Anyways, alot of the crew says they feel someone watching them in snoopy, from where grizzly Lodge starts till after the rocks. I Never experienced anything strange or out of the ordinary, or even that feeling for that matter when assigned snoopy. Till last night. Started the night as usual but had an uneasy feeling I couldn't shake. Not a scared feeling, just kinda...unsure, not myself. Around the stage I heard a small yell. Thought maybe it was a stray cat (since there's tons of em around the park) and didn't think anything else. About thirty minutes later I was standing near the ferris wheel looking towards the bridge area. Stared for about three seconds then a shadow of a head went behind a tree in my view. That I tried shrugging off but couldn't, it was too clear. Whatever it was had been staring at me while I was staring at the bridge. Literally no more than two minutes later I hear a distinct young girl laugh come from the back staircase area leading up to the waterfall. After that I realized I couldn't keep pretending like these things weren't happening. Backed away into fiesta till break haha never gonna feel the same in snoopy anymore. Or anywhere after viewing this sight for that matter.

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    1. just for clarification Grizzly Creek Lodge has always been a restaurant. started out as grizzly creek then became Lucy's lunchbox then changed back to the original name. then playhouse was just to the north of the restaurant across from the lucy's tugboat and it originally had the bears from knotts bearly tales in it. then it was changed to the peanuts playhouse. there is your knots history lesson from a former employee who worked at the park in the 80's and then in the 2000's until 2013 I have seen a lot and have photographic proof of somethings going bump in the night.

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    2. I just started working at camp snoopy my first week

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  8. My family and I visited Knott's Berry Park yesterday. First, I want to mention that I had no idea this park was haunted until yesterday's visit. We've taken our daughters there several times and I've never experienced anything out of the ordinary. Yesterday evening, we attended a Bluegrass show at the Birdcage around 7:30pm. We were sitting in the front row. I was wearing a thin jacket with a hood attached. As we were clapping and singing along to the band (which were excellent by the way), I felt a tug at the back of my jacket and it felt like someone was tugging on my hood. I turned around expecting to see someone leaning forward and trying to get my attention. However, the family behind we were sitting back in their seats enjoying the music. They were also clapping their hands and nobody was near the back of my seat. The entertainment was so enjoyable, that I chose to quickly forget about it and get back to singing and clapping with my family. However, moments later I felt another tug and then this time it felt like little hands went into the hood of my jacket. So this time I abruptly turned around, expecting to see a small child playing with my hood. I wasn't mad, I just wanted to know who was doing it. I figured once I caught the child doing it, they would quit messing with my hood. However, nobody was messing with me. But I know what I felt and I know "something" was messing with me. There is no doubt in my mind. I didn't mention this occurrence to my husband until this morning. I told him that I was going to go online and see if anyone else experienced paranormal activity at this location, which is when I came across this site. In my personal opinion the Bird Cage Theatre is definitely a haunted location at Knott's.

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  9. The are so many stories of ghostly goings on at Knott's...I used to work at the original Berry stand when it was located directly across from the church of reflections next to the dentist's cabin Long before Silver Bullet. Allow me to tell you, that little plywood shack (and yes, it was the original Berry stand started by Walter and Cordelia) was the most terrifying place in the world. I believe now that the person (spirit) I saw most frequently at OBS, was Walter Knott himself. The shack wasn't very big and in order to get into the shack itself you had to go through a gate that let the employee into a little patio area that was used to store mops and brooms, cleaning supplies. Well, there was always this elderly man, dressed in overalls that would smile and say hello and go through the gate like he was coming into the shack, I thought frequently that he was maintenance or custodial because the kept their supplies there too, well, I would wait for the man to make his appearance in the back of the shack but he would never show up. This happened multiple times. On more than one occasion the man would ask me to open the gate, but would be gone by the time I got there to open it for him.

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