Everyone loves a good ghost story, and here in the wild wild West, we’ve got many of them. Some of them are pretty unsubstantiated and likely the stuff of fiction, but even so, there are still a few locations around the East Bay with a spirited past that are actually pretty easy to visit.
Check out seven locations around the East Bay that you can go visit pretty much any time (without having to trespass) to get your ghost story fill just in time for Halloween.
Sweeney’s has been around since 1876, when its original owner Jimmy Torres was rumored to have been murdered here over a hand of poker worth a whopping total of 11 cents. As the story goes, a mystery person snuck in through a back alley and shot Torres in the back of the head. The crime was never solved, and Torres reportedly still haunts the joint. The staff has long been reporting spotting the original owner around the bar (though usually on his favorite stool), and finding the 11 cents on the bar all of a sudden when the bar is closed.
According to an old legend, Sarah Norton was a midwife who was killed when her carriage overturned when she was on her way to deliver a baby. Sarah had told her kids that she did not want a funeral, however, the townspeople tried to plan one anyway. The first time they tried to hold a funeral a huge storm began, causing a delay of the funeral until the next day. The following day another storm came out of nowhere, so the townsfolk instead buried her in the Rose Hill Cemetery. From that day her form has been seen around Somersville Road and the other locations that the mining towns use to be know as The Black Diamond Mines and other locations off of Marsh Creek Road. Her ghost has been dubbed “the White Witch”.
According to Diablo Magazine who interviewed the business’ owner in 2009, the Oakland bar is haunted by a charming French man named François. “He was a beautiful man who died in the building from a heroin overdose in the mid-1970s,” says owner Peter Van Kleef. “If he wants me to leave, he’ll turn the stereo off. The stereo is on the same circuit as the lights, yet the lights will stay on.”
When it was called the Eagle Saloon in the mid 1800s, a Union Captain was reportedly shot out of his saddle in front of the bar. Today the saloon has reported mysteriously moving objects, lights that go one and off by themselves, and cold spots throughout the bar. In addition, there’s allegedly a full Native American skeleton preserved in the stone walls of the nearby Keller House basement.
Probably the most famously haunted location on this list, the Hornet offers mystery tours exploring its many historical legends, including stories of long deceased sailors’ spirits who are frequently seen around the aircraft carrier.
The movie theater’s employees have reported hearing sounds of a man’s laughter past closing. Though there are no reported instances of foul play at the theater, visitors and workers have seen shadows and moving lights in odd places.
Before turning into the pizza company it is today, this building, which was constructed in 1864 was one of the first commercially operated in town. It served several purposes—a general store, a Walls Fargo stagecoach stop (yep, that old), and a bar for instance—but its most infamous business was a brothel. Pleasanton residents who frequent the area have reported seeing a “full-figured ghost lady” in the second story window, whom they believe is the brothel’s madam. Owner Rob Earnest has a great story about the first time meeting her himself. “She was dressed how you would picture a saloon dance hall girl. There was a lot of cleavage showing and a feather boa around her neck. Her hair was big and curly,” he recalled. “[My parents and I] just stared with our mouths hanging open, then she turned around and vanished.”