San Francisco is a vibrant city known for its diverse culture and history. It is also famous for its several haunted houses. These haunted locations have a lot of history to them. While some of it may be a myth, it is nevertheless true that these locations make for interesting tourist spots.
Are there haunted houses in San Francisco?
Some of these haunted houses include the Winchester Mystery House, The Curran Theatre, The Fairmont Hotel, The Queen Anne Hotel, The Haight-Ashbury, Atherton House, The Scotts Valley House, The Haskell House, The Chapel on Valencia Street, The Whittier Mansion, 555 California and a few others.
These haunted places are quite fascinating, with some frightening tales that will make your hair stand. We will cover the history behind them and the ghost sightings that are often reported by people.
Most people tend to avoid haunted places, and understandably so. I have always been fascinated by them and have taken several tours of these locations.
Along with some fellow ghost aficionados, we have compiled a list of the most famous haunted houses in San Francisco by going over several articles.
Merchant Exchange Building
This historic building is said to be home to the ghost of a young girl named Emily. Emily is said to have died in a fire that broke out in the building back in 1906. Today, her spirit is said to still haunt the halls of the Merchant Exchange Building, and she has been known to interact with visitors on occasion.
This neighborhood is best known for being the birthplace of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. But it’s also said to be one of the most haunted places in San Francisco.
The area is home to a number of Victorian houses that are said to be haunted by the ghosts of former residents. The story behind it goes like this: when the 1906 earthquake hit, many of the residents of Haight-Ashbury were killed. Their ghosts are said to still haunt the area to this day.
This historic military fort is said to be one of the most haunted places in San Francisco. The fort is said to be home to the ghost of a Spanish soldier who was killed during a battle with Native Americans. The soldier’s ghost is said to still haunt the fort to this day, and he has been known to interact with visitors on occasion.
The Curran Theatre
The Curran Theatre is located in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood. The theatre is said to be haunted by the ghost of a ticket taker, Hewlett Tarr.
The story behind the haunting takes place in 1933. a guy named Eddie Anderson wanted to show his girlfriend the “Show Boat,” but he couldn’t afford the tickets.
He then proceeded to go to Curran Theatre with a gun and demanded two tickets. Somehow, the gun went off, which not only killed Hewlett Tarr on the spot but also sent him down a flight of stairs. Eddie was consequently hanged.
However, the ghost of Hewlett Tarr is still reported to be seen there. People claim to see his ghost in the entryway mirror, still in his 1930s fashion and having a morose look.
The Fairmont Hotel
This luxurious hotel is located in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood. The hotel is said to be home to a number of ghosts, including that of a young girl named Caroline.
The story goes that Caroline died in a fire that broke out in the hotel back in 1906. Today, her ghost is said to still haunt the halls of the Fairmont Hotel, and she has been known to interact with guests on occasion.
Alcatraz Island is a must-see place even if you have to take a road trip from another city. This island is best known for being the site of a former maximum-security prison.
But it’s also said to be one of the most haunted places in San Francisco. The island is said to be home to the ghosts of former prisoners and guards, as well as the ghosts of Native Americans who were killed during the island’s history.
The Queen Anne Hotel
This hotel is listed on almost all the sites for haunted locations in San Francisco. The hotel is said to be home to the ghosts of several former guests, including a young girl named Daisy who died in a fire that broke out in the hotel back in 1906.
Guests have reported seeing her ghost roaming the halls or peeking out from behind the curtains in the windows.
The hotel is also said to be home to the ghost of a former employee named Lucy. She’s said to haunt the second floor of the hotel, and she has been known to interact with guests on occasion.
The Atherton House is a historic Victorian mansion that is said to be one of the most haunted places in San Francisco. It is located in the city’s Pacific Heights neighborhood.
The mansion is said to be home to the ghost of a former owner, George Atherton. George was said to have suffered from the cruelty of both his wife and his mother.
Eventually, he had had enough and tried to escape them by setting sail to Chile with his cousin, who was a naval officer.
However, his kidneys failed before his journey wasn’t even halfway done. Contrary to the usual practice of sailors throwing dead bodies overboard (as George was quite wealthy), he was stuffed in a rum barrel and was sent back to his family.
Following this, there were constant reports of knocking on walls and doors closing and opening by themselves.
Even after his mother moved out, people could still hear whispery voices and strange drafts of cold air blowing in corridors and rattling the windows. Every time the mansion was sold to new owners, they would quickly move out after a few months due to the paranormal activity.
The mansion has now been transformed into an apartment building but the new tenants have also complained about the same activity.
The Winchester Mystery House
This Victorian mansion is located in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. It was built by Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Winchester who was a gun magnate.
The house is said to be haunted by the ghosts of all those victims who met their deaths by Winchester rifles. Sarah was said to have been plagued by nightmares of the victims of her husband’s rifles, and she believed that their ghosts were haunting her.
The house is full of oddities, such as doors and staircases that lead to nowhere, windows that look into other rooms, and secret passages.
These features were supposedly designed to confuse and trap ghosts. Sarah Winchester lived in the house for 38 years, until her death in 1922. The house then passed to her niece, who opened it to the public as a tourist attraction.
Since its opening, the Winchester Mystery House has been plagued by reports of strange noises, sightings of ghostly figures, and unexplained occurrences. These paranormal activities have only added to the allure of this already fascinating place.
If you’re feeling brave enough to visit the Winchester Mystery House, there are several tours available that will allow you to explore this spooky location. Just be sure to keep an eye out for
Today, the Winchester Mystery House is a popular tourist attraction, and it is said to be one of the most haunted places in San Francisco.
The Sutro Baths
The Sutro Baths was a public bathhouse that was built in the late 19th century. It was destroyed by fire in 1966, but the ruins still remain today. The bathhouse is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Emma Sutro, who died in a fire that broke out in the building back in 1896.
Emma’s ghost is said to haunt the ruins of the Sutro Baths, and she has been known to interact with visitors on occasion.
The haunting ties down back to the slavery days. The story behind the Haskell House haunting starts with Senator David C. Broderick and David Terry.
Broderick was an abolitionist, while Terry was a slave owner and believed in the expansion of slavery. Terry lost the elections in 1859 and challenged Broderick to a duel, popularly known as the “Last Duel in California,” in which Broderick was killed.
Broderick would then become a symbol of the anti-slavery movement.
In 1863, when the Union army captured the area around the Haskell House, several captains used to live in the building with their families. They often reported seeing shadows moving in hallways and rooms and unexplained activities happening in the house.
This Financial District building was built in 1969 and was intended to be the world headquarters of the Bank of America. It was also the tallest building in the whole city.
However, soon after its inauguration, people reported paranormal activities such as elevator doors opening and closing by themselves, strange noises, and unexplainable footsteps. Files would fly off from shelves, and there were sudden cold spots in rooms.
While there has been no confirmed theory behind these, it is generally believed that the spirits of those people who were buried in the 1906 earthquake are haunting the building. To this day, those victims are still buried there. However, after the merger of Bank of America with the Nations Bank in 1998, Bank of America was moved to North Carolina. The paranormal activities seem to have died down ever since.
The Chapel, Valencia Street
The Chapel is a hugely popular place in San Francisco for its concerts and other musical shows. However, there have been multiple sightings of a ghostly child, along with other paranormal activities.
The Chapel was once a mortuary known as the Ganter-Maison-Domergue Funeral Home. It had many incinerators under the embalming room.
Many employees have reported seeing bottles explode on their own and footsteps heard from far corners of the building. The ghost of the small child is most frequently reported, and people claim to see her haunt the building at night.
Scotts Valley Haunted House
This is one of the most popular haunted houses in San Francisco and is said to be one of the scariest as well. It is located on a piece of land that was once an old cemetery. The house is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those who were buried there, and they are said to haunt the house on a regular basis.
Visitors to the house have reported hearing strange noises, seeing strange lights, and feeling a sense of foreboding when they enter the house.
Old San Francisco Mint
The Old San Francisco Mint is said to be one of the most haunted places in the city. It was built in 1854 and was used as a mint until 1937. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a guard who was killed during a robbery attempt in 1874, and his spirit is said to still haunt the building. Visitors to the mint have reported seeing his ghost on multiple occasions, and he is said to be particularly active during the month of October.
The Whittier Mansion
The Whittier Mansion is said to be one of the most haunted houses in San Francisco. It was built in 1868 and was once home to William Franklin Whittier, an important figure in the shipping and railroad industry.
It was meant to be a grandiose house, but it is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Whittier’s wife and daughter, who both died in the house. Visitors to the mansion have reported seeing the ghost of Whittier’s wife on multiple occasions, and she is said to be particularly active during the month of October.
The Ingleside Terraces
The Ingleside Terraces is a residential neighborhood located in San Francisco’s Sunset District. The neighborhood is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Mary Ellen Pleasant.
Pleasant was a former slave who became a millionaire through her work as a maid and cooks for a wealthy family in San Francisco.
After the death of her employer, she used her fortune to help finance the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape from the Southern states to freedom in the North. Pleasant is said to haunt the Ingleside Terraces, and she has been known to interact with residents on occasion.