Mountain Haunts

Community CorrespondentOctober 22, 2013 

While the majority of phantoms making their appearance Halloween night in the Mountain Area will be humans wearing costumes, there are potentially several that could be actual ghosts of people who died long ago. Although long-time residents of California may have heard of more famous haunted locations such as the passenger liner Queen Mary, permanently docked in Long Beach, there are several in this region which can be just as spirited.

In fact, most of the Mountain Area sites exhibit many of the classic signs of a ghostly presence, such as when the air temperature drops drastically, or when the spirits take energy from electronic equipment or storms to help them manifest. Other indications include unexplained noises like footsteps, or when doors to houses, rooms, or cupboards open or close on their own.

In some occurrences people may simply feel an unexplained presence, while others have reported hearing voices, including those of children or people singing.

In addition, sometimes lights, spheres of light, or misty objects can be seen, while in the most extreme cases objects have been reportedly thrown, people are actually touched, or the full-blown apparition of a person is witnessed.

Furthermore, people reporting these hauntings are not the crackpots a skeptic might assume, but well-respected citizens. Some of the most professional paranormal investigation teams that can be found have been called in to examine the more celebrated cases. Instead of relying merely on their own five senses, these expert researchers use an impressive array of equipment, including a variety of cameras that ranges from basic consumer video and electronic devices to infra-red and night photographic apparatuses.

They typically also utilize highly accurate digital thermometers and motion detectors to trigger cameras or audible warnings when something unexpected moves. Because spirits are believed to sometimes communicate at frequencies humans cannot grasp, researchers also employ scanners that monitor a substantial portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, including a wide range of radio wavelengths.

Fresno Flats known for other-worldly inhabitants

As reported in previous Sierra Star articles, more than one such investigation team has visited the area. In Oakhurst, for example, the Two P's Paranormal team has visited the Fresno Flats Village & Park on over two dozen occasions because of how renowned it is for its other-worldly inhabitants.

Several buildings at Fresno Flats are presumed haunted, including the jail, where chains have been heard rattling unexpectedly. The Cunningham School house also appears to house ghostly children who have never left. By far the most active structure, however, is the Laramore-Lyman house. Peggy Armer, a researcher with Two P's, has termed it "one of the best spirit interactive places in the world." She also claims that the ghost of Mary Laramore has used her as a spokesperson in the past to "vent about how things were arranged in the Laramore-Lyman house."

Laura Huddleson, who along with her husband, have been caretakers of the park since 2000, has herself witnessed unexplained events "lots of times." Specifically, "Once someone passed through me, and another time I could feel somebody holding my hand while in the house."

One aspect of the spirits that Huddleson stresses is that they "are very friendly." Instead of the evil ghosts that many imagine, Fresno Flats is "a calm place. A lot of the spirits are of children or families — we've talked to several in our recordings."

Raymond Fire Station

Another location mentioned previously in the Sierra Star is the old Raymond Fire Station off Road 415. As reported in the "Chasing Ghosts" article (2/24/11), the Supernatural, Paranormal Identification, Research and Investigation Team (SPIRIT) paid a visit to the station and confirmed that it is indeed haunted. In the course of their exploration, footsteps and voices were heard, including what sounded like the moaning of a woman and someone asking for help.

Broken Bit

Aside from the sites covered by the Sierra Star, there are many more in the area. One such venue for ghostly gatherings is the Broken Bit restaurant on Highway 41, north of Coarsegold, which has been the subject of a television program covering ghostly encounters. SPIRIT, the same team that visited the Raymond fire station, has also conducted an investigation at the Broken Bit. Their report can actually be seen on the YouTube video at youtube.com/watch?v=1MysmR9fLe0?.

Sierra Sky Ranch Resort

One of the locations most well-known for its ghostly residents is the Sierra Sky Ranch Resort, off Highway 41, north of Oakhurst.

Ted Roache, who has been co-owner of the ranch for nine years, says he gets reports of paranormal events "daily." The ranch was one of the largest cattle ranches in the state (7,000 acres) in the mid-1870s.

The most frequently seen of the entities is Sarah, a nurse in the 1920s when the resort was a hospital for children with tuberculosis. Jackie Meador, a paranormal investigator said in 2008 she could "positively confirm Sky Ranch is haunted." Meador allegedly has recorded voices and has heard stories of spirits, including a cook and a ranch hand, touching people, hitting piano keys, hiding objects and knocking on walls.

"We also get lots of reports on the little girl in the hallway wanting other children to play with her," Roache added. As for Roache himself, he has personally never witnessed any ghosts, but the reason is rather simple — "I'm usually in my office."

The details of one such report was recently related by chef Frank Trudhomme, who talked with a very young guest, a girl that appeared to be only five or six years old. The girl told Trudhomme she had met another little girl in the library, which would have been impossible since the guest was the only youngster staying there at the time. Hearing of the encounter was "one of those things that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck", Trudhomme said. While one of his cooks has had a similarly eerie encounter, Trudhomme never has, although the young guest had told him a possible reason why — "Maybe they are afraid of you."

The sites described thus far certainly do not constitute a comprehensive list, however, on the "Ghosts of America" website, for example, ghost stories are told regarding many areas of the Mountain Area.

Even Highway 41 is considered haunted, at least from Fresno to Yosemite. As might be expected, one of the two reasons usually cited are all the victims of fatal crashes on the road. The other reason relates to many workers who died building the road during the Great Depression. Because of the lax building standards at the time, many workers died, and some of them have apparently never completely moved on.

Whether on Highway 41 or in practically any of the towns in the area, if you keep your eyes and other senses fully alert you just might start seeing ghosts other than those of the trick-or-treat variety.

one of those things that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck

— Chef Frank Trudhomme

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