Brushes with the Paranormal—Ghosts Part 1

We’ve all grown up with Ghost stories–of all the potential brushes with the paranormal, ghost encounters are the most common occurrence. Even if you haven’t had one yourself, you probably know someone who has. All countries have their stories/legends/folktales, and America is no exception. I found a cool site which has an interactive map of Ghost Towns in America. This site is labeled Some Real American Ghosts and has excerpts of legends or sightings from the past. Another site recounts various Ghost stories of American celebrities, including famous Hollywood actors/actresses, and well known political figures

Sigh…seems like almost everyone in my inner circle has fairly well developed psychic powers—except for ME! My daughter has visions and has had encounters with Ghosts. My brother has had a brush or two with Ghosts as well. My mother has displayed precognitive and other psychic abilities all my life. Heck, my best friend even bought a haunted historic home in the Bay Area and had numerous Ghost stories to relate! Alas, I have yet to see a Ghost and frankly, I want to keep it that way! Honestly? The idea of seeing a Ghost scares me silly! When I was a kid, we had the White Witch of Black Diamond Mines/Kirker Pass. My step dad had a Ghostly encounter in the Black Diamond mines area, and even my Grandmother, who was a reporter for a local newspaper, told a story about a picture taken of a certain tree in the Black Diamond Mines area reputed to have developed ghostly images of disembodied heads hanging from its branches!

First, my dad’s account (this occurred in the late 60’s or early 70’s and is my best recollection of what he told the family):

I was driving home from work and I had taken the shortcut from Kirker pass (near Clayton) to Antioch via the back roads near the Black Diamond Mines and Nortonville (this was in the days when that roadway was still open to the public). I had gotten most of the way through when I experienced car trouble. I managed to get the car to the side of the road and parked it. I then began walking along the road leading toward Antioch. This stretch of road is not well traveled, and I had little hope of getting a ride, and as it was getting toward dusk, I was a bit concerned, not having a flashlight or other emergency supplies. Lady luck smiled upon me that evening, for I heard a vehicle on the road behind me. I turned and spotted a horse drawn wagon and a solitary driver coming toward me. He offered me a ride, and I thanked him and got in. My driver said nothing to me and I followed suit. Soon, we arrived within sight of Antioch, and I jumped down from the wagon. I looked out toward the town and then turned back to thank my rescuer, and he was nowhere to be seen! I was then gripped by a cold chill to realize that I had just been given a ride by a ghost! I never took that shortcut again, and shortly thereafter, it was closed to general public.

In an effort to corroborate my recollection with what my Dad experienced, I emailed him and he had this to say:

“Mary, I do Remember,and it is true it scared the hell out of me. I’ll try to get on line and look at it. Miss talking to you.   love you Dad”

This particular area is known for strange paranormal occurrences, and there is a spot along a lonely stretch called “gravity hill” which pulls a car uphill even though the motor is off. Here are a few links regarding Ghost activity in the area:

This is a link about the White Witch:

This is directions to get to Gravity Hill near Antioch:

Antioch, California; on Empire Mine Road. This road has since been closed to the public. From East/West exit Highway 4 at Lone Tree Way, turn right on Deer Valley Road, turn right on Empire Mine Road. From South, take Ygnacio Valley Road, right on Clayton Road which becomes Marsh Creek Road, left on Deer Valley, left on Empire Mine Road.

I always just got there from the road that offshoots Sommersville Road, but thats just me.

this site listed all the haunted areas of Antioch:

Antioch – Black Diamond Mines – These mines are haunted by the White Witch. In life, her name was Mary. She was a nanny in the 1800’s when there was still coal mining in the mines. All of the children died of illnesses and she was accused of Witchcraft, then executed. She guards the mines and when people see her, she is all white.

Antioch – Black Diamond Mines – The Rosehill Cemetery – haunted by Sarah Norton, also known as the “White Witch”. She was a midwife and on her way to deliver a baby her carriage fell over and she was crushed. She is seen in the graveyard floating around the tombstones.

Antioch – Black Diamond Mines – Somersville – Sarah Norton – Sarah Norton was a midwife who died on the way to deliver a baby when her carriage over turned and killed her. Sarah was not a religious woman and told her kids that she did not want a funeral. So when she died the town s people of Somersville wanted to give her a funeral. The first time they went to give her a funeral a fierce storm struck up and cause the towns people to delay the funeral till the next day, the next time they tried to give her a funeral another storm came out of no where and the live stock started charging thru town, at that point the towns people stopped trying to give her a funeral and just brought her to Rosehill Cemetery, From that day her sprit has been seen around Somersville and the other locations where the mining towns use to be know as The Black Diamond Mines in eastern Contra Costa County and other locations off of marsh creek rd. Her ghost has been known to be called the White Witch.

Antioch – Brentwood – Gravity Hill – In the 1950’s a school bus was driving kids home from a field trip. It skidded into a wash and all the kids drowned. If you go there, put your car in neutral around the turn, you get pushed up the hill. It’s supposedly by the kids who died in the bus crash and they want to keep you from the same fate.

Antioch – Empire Mine Road – Gates of Hell – Fair warning – no trespassing you will get fined or arrested. Possibly torn down – In the middle of Empire Mine road, there is a Stuckko wall with a bunch of spray paint on it. If you like to take hikes, this is the place to go. There is a rumor of an old Insane Asylum at the very end of this road. You will come to another gate then behind their lies this old decrepit Structure of a hospital. Many people were killed brutally in this place, and it is VERY haunted by not so nice spirits. Things have been thrown at people, they have been pushed and screams have been heard from the people being tortured by themselves or another. – October 2003 update: Reports of it being a golf course now.

Antioch – Empire Mine Road – Rail Road Mine – Fair warning – no trespassing you will get fined or arrested. Possibly torn down – At the end of Empire mine road, there is an old railroad track tunnel that is pretty spooky inside. There are bats inside it and you can hear voices at the end of the tunnel.

Antioch – Empire Mine Road – Slaughterhouse -Fair warning – no trespassing you will get fined or arrested. – An old slaughterhouse stands in the corner of the road after the first bend. It is haunted by an old man who walks the grounds and makes sure that everything is ok, and that no one gets hurt while there. Strange noises are heard inside the first building where they chopped up the meat. Clanking inside of the circle figured tubes towards the back of the property. Chains clank all around and you can hear footsteps behind you like someone is watching over you. Just remember to watch your step!

Antioch – St. James Presbyterian Church – This old church, located on Leland Avenue in San Francisco has a history of hauntings. Late at night, footsteps can be heard walking up the stairs, doors shut, etc. Also, on more than one occasion, late at night, doors that normally open easily will be impossible to open, as if a ton of bricks is on the other side of the door. Later, the doors will be found wide open.

Antioch – Vasco road – you can hear people if you get out of your car running around. breathing and invisible people is also reported. if you don’t feel like getting out of your car, it is scary just to drive through in the dark.

This post is turning out to be a longish one so I will continue in part 2

~ by irishgrl on September 5, 2008.

14 Responses to “Brushes with the Paranormal—Ghosts Part 1”

  1. Supposedly, my house is haunted – or was, according to what someone told me my Freshman year (his grandpa had lived in the house in the 50’s or something, and supposedly, he was haunting it).
    I have yet to find this ghost, or hear from it, but weird things DO happen. Not quite sure if it is ghosts to blame, though.

  2. gosh, I’d hate to live in a house I knew was scary….Im pretty brave about most things but ghosts scare the crap out of me!

  3. Well, I didn’t know it was scary when we first moved there, and by the time I found this out, there was no proof of a ghost or anything, so it really didn’t change anything. 😛

  4. gost aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  5. […] Brushes with the Paranormal-Ghosts Part 1 September 2008 4 comments 4 […]

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  7. Do you know how many miles down empire that the asylum and hells gate are? I’m trying to find it on google maps but can see it that well, i went out there today to the house off empire closest to prewitt ranch and it was real exciting

  8. I do not, however when I briefly moved back there between 1998-2000, my daughter said she and a group of friends went down that road, so I asked her. She said she only got as far as Hell’s Gate, not the Asylum itself, but she and her friends did do the gravity hill trick (put the car in neutral at a certain place, and the car goes backward uphill)…

  9. I lived in Antioch for most of my life and I did do the Hell’s Gate thing. Its a crock. My brother and I walked all the way to the end of the road that is attached to Hell’s Gates. It dead ends around a bend to a pile of gravel (where they had obviously stopped contruction) and a burned down mobile home. It is proven that Hell’s Gates were contructed for a new housing development that was never built- it is still there, the golf course never reached that far. I also went to the “slaughter” house more times than I could count and nothign EVER happened. There were never any ghosts, KKK clans meetings, devil worshiping or anything else rumored. Someone has now done the research and proved it was a dairy farm. I did do gravity hill and it did work. They say to put flour on your bumper to see the little kids hand prints. There are never any hand prints. It is an optical illusion, they have gravity hills all over the world. I do find Empire Mine Rd to be scary and I do believe in the paranormal but when you get down to it there isnt much of anything there.

  10. Back in 2002 on Empire mine road I have seen a lot of U.F.O activity Glowing orbs and I seen 4 pure silver looking discs hovering about frequently in the early morning hours in this area. Also I have heard many people witness a half man half horse legged man running through the fields out here in a ghostly form. To increase your chances of seeing anything out here strange you really would have to go almost everynight and just look up and around at some point if you visit this area often late at night you are bound to see something strange here.

  11. Around 2002 I was visiting someone at the Twin Creeks Apartment complex on Contra Loma Blvd,in Antioch. This is bordering open farm land. My two
    daughters, who were 8 at the time waited for me in the car in the parking area which had lawns and big trees for shade. Since they had a camera they took pictures of each other. When I developed the film, I could see a faint white form developing in the pictures. It looked like a large head of an old woman wearing a hood . It reminded me of the “kitchen” witches that you find on magnets. Was this the “White Witch”? I still have the pictures.

  12. I’ve heard many explanations of who the White Witch was, with the prevailing explanation that she was a teacher of the children who lived there. Im happy to post your pictures and your narrative if you’d like? While I have no way to actually identify who your image was, I’d be willing to research it if you’d like 🙂

  13. I remember seeing a version of this story a couple of years ago in the CN&R. Apparently, among the other things they did to her, the kidnapper-couple forced their captive to sleep beneath their own bed in a coffin-like wooden box, with no light and little air. I later saw the house where this happened, which is still standing but abandoned now, with high weeds everywhere, etc. No wonder crimes of such intensity generate paranormal-type activity!

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