Do you get a thrill out of the wild and sometimes creepy history of Northern California? From the Gold Rush to the Depression Era to the present, there are some pretty colorful and disturbing tales about what used to go down in many parts of the state. We’ve compiled all of the creepiest, strangest things to see here in Northern California.
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. Preston Castle from
"A Tour Of This Haunted Prison In Northern California Is Not For The Faint Of Heart"
There is nothing more terrifying than an old abandoned prison, except for maybe a correctional facility that housed troubled youths for over half a century. The Preston School of Industry was a correctional facility in Northern California and is still open for tours to this day.
Also known as the Preston School of Industry, the Preston Castle was built in June 1894. It's the most significant example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the California Gold Country. The Preston Castle Foundation maintains the building and operates tours. Several events are hosted at the Castle throughout the year, including wine tastings, murder mysteries, a haunted house at Halloween, and holiday celebrations.
2. The small historical town of Coloma from
"There’s Nothing More Terrifying Than These 7 Truly Haunted Places In Northern California"
A haunted exploration of the Gold Country would be incomplete without stopping in the town of Coloma, which is mostly comprised of the Gold Marshall Discovery State Park. This was where John Marshall found the nugget that started the Gold Rush and many of the original buildings from the 1800s are still intact, each one rumored to be haunted. The scariest spots by far in Coloma are the old one room school house, the remains of the jail, and other eerie buildings like the Grange.
3. Gold Bug Mine from
"This Tour Though An Old Gold Mine in Northern California will Take You Back In Time"
Gold Bug Mine is a historic gold mine in Placerville. Most 49ers who flocked out to California during the early years of the Gold Rush were panners. But by the 1860s, hard rock mining, how gold was extracted in places like Gold Bug, was much more common. The miners might be gone, but their deepest hopes and fears still haunt these cave walls.
4. The Ghost Town of Bodie from
"The Abandoned Town In Northern California That Most People Stay Far, Far Away From"
During the Gold Rush, hundreds of rough and rowdy men flocked to Northern California’s most remote and rugged edges to strike it rich. They made their homes in places like Bodie, one of the most infamous but also eerie ghost towns throughout the Wild West.
Bodie was originally what was know as a boom town, a place that seemingly sprang up overnight in the late 1800s. Along with the gold miners came prostitutes, gamblers, and saloons. It was an uncouth and uncivilized place, and its ghosts do not rest easy.
There are several allegedly haunting souls that still remain in this empty town. You’ll have to visit it for yourself to see why anyone with a lick of sense stays far, far away from its creepy structures that are almost preserved in time.
5. Old Shasta City from
"These Unbelievable Ruins In Northern California Will Transport You To The Past"
Located 6 miles west of Redding, California, along Highway 299, Old Shasta City was founded in the 1850s, and was a bustling gold rush town. The shells of many of the brick building still remain. The area is preserved today as part of Shasta State Historic Park.
6. The Black Diamond Mines from
"There’s A Little Known Haunted Coal Mine In Northern California And It’s Terrifying"
Once a booming coal mine in the late 1800s, the Black Diamond Mines began churning out tons of low-grade coal for local use. Sarah Norton, a well respected widwife who lived and died here in the 1870s, reportedly haunts this land. When she was killed after being thrown from a buggy on her way to assist a neighbor in labor, storms prevented the people of this area from giving her a proper Christian burial. It's been rumored that her spirit has roamed the abandoned mines ever since.
7. The ghost town of Drawbridge from
"What This Drone Footage Captured At This Abandoned Northern California Ghost Town Is Truly Grim"
This ghost town goes by the name of “Drawbridge.” At one time, the town had over 1,000 visitors daily and 90 buildings with two family neighborhoods. If these decaying buildings could talk, oh the stories they would tell. Today we can visit by drone. The following video will take you there right now! Built in 1876, it was originally meant for just one man. His job was to manually operate a lever that brought two drawbridges up and down for trains in the area. The last known occupant left in 1979.
8. Mount Shasta from
"The Story Behind This Haunted Mountain In Northern California Is Truly Creepy"
There are an unusually large number of myths and legends about Mount Shasta. In particular, it is often said to hide a secret city beneath its peaks. In some stories the city is no longer inhabited, while in others it is inhabited by a technologically advanced society of human beings or mythical creatures. There is also a Native American legend that Mount Shasta is inhabited by the spirit chief Skell who descended from heaven to the mountain's summit.
9. The Old City Cemetery in Sacramento from
"13 Disturbing Cemeteries in Northern California That Will Give You Goosebumps"
There's a lot of history and restless spirits dwelling here. 600 victims of a cholera outbreak in 1850 are buried in a mass grave. Additionally, famous senators, railroad founders, and even a survivor of the infamous Donner Party are buried here. Proceed with caution if you plan on visiting this spooky cemetery.
10. The Little River Cemetery Sinkholefrom
"Here Are 4 Sinkholes in Northern California That Will Leave You Terrified of Earth"
This actively eroding sinkhole is extremely dangerous, so take care if you go exploring! There is a short trail down to its base for the adventurous to explore, but most people prefer to view it from above and take in the interesting geology that formed this phenomenon. Almost every winter, full grown trees fall into the abyss. The trail is managed by the Mendocino Land Trust.
What are the scariest, creepiest, or most bizarre places you have been to in Northern California? Share them with us to day on Facebook and maybe they will make the 2017 list!