San Francisco has plenty of well-documented hauntings to unnerve and mystify. Fog City has a colorful present, but a dark and stormy past. There are hundreds of stories that range from mysterious disappearances to untimely deaths. This is why many people are curious about the most haunted places in San Francisco. Here are the 10 best places to spot a ghost, and some of the popular and common locations may surprise you.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Alcatraz Island and Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
Ghost hunters have witnessed and are convinced that sections of the island and areas of the prison conjure a certain strangeness. Why? There have been claims of footsteps and the sounds of cell doors opening and people have reported feeling "cold spots" in certain areas and the feeling that they are not alone, even when they are. Therefore, not hard to believe, Alcatraz is cited as one of the most haunted places in America, and also as the most haunted prison in the USA!
2. The Palace Hotel: 2 New Montgomery Street
Several world leaders died here including President Warren Harding. Many ghosts are said to inhabit San Francisco's 101-year-old Palace Hotel. And though it may not be the President gliding through the hallways, there has certainly been plenty of paranormal activity reported at this luxurious accommodation.
3. Chambers Mansion: 2220 Sacramento, Pacific Heights
The ghost of Claudia Chambers haunts this stately manor featuring two towers. Claudia’s ghost is rumored to flip light switches, slam doors, and even answer to "yes" or "no" questions.
4. Sutro Baths: Ocean Beach
Rumors abound about the crumbling and famous baths of San Francisco. At one time, the baths were part of the world's largest indoor swimming establishment. However, some rumors abound that the Baths was once used for human sacrifices. Woah! However, the most frequently retold story involves candles being thrown to the ocean, snatched from visitors or blown out.
5. Bay Bridge
The SF Bay Bridge may be haunted by several ghosts, those most notably from accidents and even the 1989 earthquake. Drivers have complained of hearing knocking on their car windows. Others say that they saw a headless man, believed to be a victim of the 1989 earthquake, running next to their cars at the same speed. Another story involves a ghost of a man who broke down driving in 1948 on the San Francisco side of the bridge and was run over as he was walking to a phone booth. Be cautious while driving ...
6. The San Francisco Art Institute - 800 Chestnut St., Russian Hill
Built in 1926 on the North slope of Russian Hill, the San Francisco Art Institute was built on a graveyard. Students and workers have encountered apparitions climbing the stairs of the tower. Also, during the remodeling of the tower, workers reported an evil presence that caused "breaking sounds," and three near-fatal accidents occurred.
Overall, more hauntings are reported in the Russian Hill area than any other section of the city.
7. Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is purportedly haunted by several ghosts. One, a police officer, pulls over drivers and issues speeding tickets. When the tickets go through the court system it’s discovered that the police officer has been dead more than 10 years. Another story tells of a woman who can be seen wandering Stow Lake's shore at night. A similar myth alleges that the Pioneer Woman and Children statue in the park will move its stone face to a different position when a ghost is nearby.
8. San Francisco City Hall
Unearthed remains, assassinations, and other ghostly superstition surround San Francisco City Hall. Also, at one time a cemetery once covered Civic Center. Ghosts have been heard and seen in hallways in the massive City Hall structure, as well paranormal activity circling around City Hall.
9. Market Street Cinema - 1077 Market St
Market Street Cinema is haunted by ghosts of homeless people who stayed and died in the theater at night. The Cinema is closed today, but when it was open up to 10 homeless people and former employees died in the basement of the theater. The ghosts of the dead come to the theater to check out the shows. The Travel Channel ghost hunters filmed an episode at the cinema as well.
10. Neptune Society's Columbarium
The Columbarium holds remains of nearly 30,000 people, some from over a century ago. Stories from visitors show that not all of the dead are resting peacefully, as ghost sightings and other paranormal encounters have been reported by caretakers and visitors alike. The Columbarium has been the site of some creepy stuff. A visitor once felt the sensation of a hand on her back, but no one was there. Afterward, a white handprint remained on her blouse. Ghost stories and theories are common.