By Michael Banti
I’m Michael, and I’ve been investigating the weird and strange in the San Joaquin Valley for over twenty years — and writing about it for almost ten. I’ve seen some weird things over the years, and I’d have to say, in my experience, I’ve found the following sites to be the top 10 most haunted sites in the Fresno area. To learn more about these and other local hauntings, visit my site, Weird Fresno.
1) Chandler Airport
Location: 510 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93706
Built in 1936, Chandler Airport has had countless visitors come through its doors over the years. And it seems some may not have left. From reports of shadowy figures seen walking in the main lobby, and a lone, elderly gentleman watching the air field from the old control tower, to disembodied voices heard in the diner area, Chandler Airport has its number of ghosts.
2) Kearney Mansion
Location: 7160 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93706
This Fresno landmark, built in 1903, is said to be haunted by M. Theo Kearney himself. Dismayed that his dream of an agricultural “Garden of Eden” was never completed, he wanders around the property. The ghost of a maid is said to also walk the darkened halls at night making sure everything is kept in order. And one of the stranger stories is that of a spirit called the White Witch who haunts the nearby railroad tracks. Legend has it that if you look into her eyes, you will die.
3) Channel Road
Location: Sanger, CA
Channel Road (nicknamed Snake Road due to the windy nature of the road) is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman searching for her two daughters. It seems one night she was driving down the road at a dangerous speed and took a turn too fast, driving off the road and into the adjacent canal. She was unable to get out of the car and drowned at the spot. Her two daughters were able to get out, but drowned downstream. Now, at night, she wanders the road searching for her daughters.
4) Sierra Sky Ranch
Location: 50552 Road 632, Oakhurst, CA 93644
Sierra Sky Ranch has been in existence in one form or another since the late 1800s. It originally started as a cattle ranch, but was sold off in the 1920s and became a tuberculosis hospital. In the 1940s, it was turned into a rehabilitation facility for soldiers and today, it functions as a restaurant/hotel. There are at least six documented spirits: A former ranch hand who haunts the back of the property, a nurse and two children that were under her care, and two former cooks in the kitchen who have a severe dislike for each other.
5) Zalud House
Location: 393 N. Hockett St., Porterville, CA 93257
Built in 1891 in Porterville by John Zalud, the Zalud House is today a museum that still contains all of the original furnishings. Several spirits haunt the house. One is said to be that of John’s wife, Mary Jane, who haunts the upstairs front bedroom where she died. Another is that of a “cursed chair” in which the Zaluds’ son-in-law, William Brooks, was sitting at a nearby inn when he was shot by a local woman whom he was harassing. The chair is now in the Zalud House and you can see bullet holes in it. It’s said anyone who sits in this chair has pains in their chest in the same location where Brooks was shot.
6) Fresno Central Library
Location: 2420 Mariposa St., Fresno, CA 93721
Weird things seem to happen at the downtown Fresno library. In the children’s section on the first floor, a presence has been felt and books have been seen flying off the shelves. Also, the second floor seems to be haunted by a former librarian. His presence has been felt by several employees who think he was happy there, and that’s why he is still around.
7) Friant Road
It seems the ghost of a former police officer still patrols Friant Road, even after his passing. Legend says that the officer pulls over motorists and warns them about speeding on the road, and what could happen. The officer then writes what some are calling a warning ticket and lets the motorist go.
Confused, the motorist would go to a police station to inquire about the warning only to be told that that type of ticket is no longer being used. Checking the badge number on it, they find out the officer died on that stretch of road several years ago from a motor vehicle accident. It seems even in death, he is trying to prevent the same fate that happened to him from happening to others.
8) Wawona Hotel
Location: 8308 Wawona Rd., Yosemite Valley, CA 95389
In the 1920s, there was a small plane crash outside the Wawona Hotel. The pilot was taken to one of the outlying cottages but succumbed to his wounds there. Ever since, employees have seen a ghostly figure, clad fully in flight gear, leaving the cottage and walking down the steps then disappearing. Another strange thing that has happened at the hotel include when a group of people saw a throw rug levitate three inches above the ground and float towards them. Also, fire alarms have sounded even though there is no one nearby that could have pulled the alarm.
9) Lost Lake
One night, two witnesses who were fishing along the river bank at night saw a figure moving in the bushes. They shined their flashlight on it and saw a young child wearing nothing but swim trunks. They then heard a noise and shined the light in that direction, only to find nothing. Shining their light back where the child was at, there was no one there. Many people, including children, have drowned at Lost Lake, so it seems plausible that one or more could haunt the area. Strange creatures have also been seen in the area, but that is a story for another day.
10) Roosevelt High Auditorium
Location: 4250 E Tulare Ave., Fresno, CA 93702
The Roosevelt High school auditorium is said to be haunted by Leslie Chambers who died on stage on October 10, 1960 during a school assembly. Leslie will make his presence known in different ways from objects missing and then reappearing later, to playing pranks on unsuspecting students. It seems that Leslie hasn’t been forgotten, as it seems that every production includes his name in the list of cast and crew.
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