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.
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.
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.