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From sightings of La Llorona outside Salinas to a murderous madam in Soledad, ghoulish tales abound in Monterey County.
When the sun goes down, there’s plenty to tantalize haunting aficionados.
Unlike other news that appears in The Californian, these tales of terror have not been verified. Proceed at your own risk.
The intersection of Crazy Horse Canyon Road and Old Stage Road lies at the center of many La Llorona sightings, locals have said.
Also known as the Wailing Woman, La Llorona is often referenced in Latin American folklore as most commonly depicting a crying woman who has been abandoned by her husband. She typically shows up along deserted roads late at night.
Salinas resident Daisy Vega said she first heard of the legend in eighth grade or so.
“Growing up, everyone talks about it,” she said.
It’s made all the scarier by the road’s pitch-black darkness, Vega said, and the twists and turns of the road that force you to slow down.
According to multiple sources, if you are driving on Crazy Horse after midnight, you may very well spot La Llorona.
Some say she is waiting for her husband on the side of the road, while others say she was murdered out there. Dressed as a bride, she appears on the side of the road, said Salinas resident Emmanuel Casas.
“If you try to get out, she disappears,” he said.
Vega had heard a different story — one much more unnerving.
“She just appears in the rear view mirror,” said Vega. “But when you turn around, she isn’t there.”
Something is weird out at Fremont Peak, located just northeast of Salinas.
Occasionally, locals have reported seeing shadows sprint across the road where shadows shouldn’t be — and Salinas resident Lisa Rodriguez has seen them in person.
“There were two cars,” said Rodriguez, “one going up and one going down at sunset. We saw something run across the road and disappear into the face of the mountain — we slammed on the brakes and so did the other car.”
When they stopped, she said, nothing was there.
Los Coches Adobe
At Los Coches Adobe in Soledad, the former inn and stagecoach stop is known as a spot where the wall between the living and the dead has worn thin.
People have reported standing inside the historic adobe and having the room regress into another time period around them — the time, perhaps, during which a woman who ran a brothel in the adobe is rumored to have murdered customers.
Randall A. Reinstedt, who wrote “Ghostly Tales and Mysterious Happenings of Old Monterey” mentions the murders at the Los Coches Adobe.
According to Reinstedt, the woman who ran the adobe — in Reinstedt’s version she ran an inn, not a brothel — murdered an untold number of miners who stayed overnight.
In the small hours of the morning, while her guests slept, she would sneak into their rooms, slit their throats and steal their gold.
According to legend, the mistress would toss their bodies down a derelict mine shaft on the property.
Some say you can see her walking the property at night.
The television show “Ghost Adventures” traveled to the Los Coches Adobe in 2015, and spoke with locals who reported being menaced in the house by a figure in black, ostensibly the adobe’s mistress.
Some reported feeling a mysterious presence pushing down on their chests as they lay in bed, holding them down while they struggled to breathe or sit up. When they awoke, they had perfect imprints of a woman’s hands on their chests.
Was it the murderous madam, or their imaginations gone wild?
No one knows for sure.
The murderous monk
Soledad has more than its fair share of spirits.
One young woman recalls her grandmother’s Soledad house as being haunted by dozens of ghosts.
“My great-grandmother bought her house really cheap. There might have been a Catholic church on that ground beforehand,” said Salinas native Diana Menchaca.
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Later, Menchaca said, her grandmother learned that, at that very spot, a monk had molested dozens of children.
Menchaca’s mother slept in the basement, and reported feeling kids getting into bed with her, perhaps to hide. When she looked, though, there was no one there.
One night, Menchaca was staying at her great-grandmother’s house. Something caught her eye, so she went to go check on her great-grandmother, who had gone to bed. When she opened the door to her great-grandmother’s room, she saw a figure in a black cloak standing over her great-grandmother, holding a knife, she said.
Menchaca turned and ran, waking her grandmother and bringing her to her great-grandmother’s bedside.
The figure was gone, she said, and her great-grandmother hadn’t seen or felt a thing.
The Steinbeck House
The Steinbeck house is rumored to be haunted; John Steinbeck himself penned a letter to a friend saying he saw ghostly apparitions.
“The house in Salinas is pretty haunted now,” he wrote. “I see things walking at night that it is not good to see.”
What, exactly, he saw, Steinbeck never committed to paper. But others have corroborated Steinbeck’s words. Reinstedt wrote in his book “Ghost Notes” that a mysterious presence has been spotted several times at the famous author’s boyhood home.
“The figure has been seen by Valley Guild members who work in the restaurant and give tours of the building. The silhouette is most often observed in front of a window in the main downstairs front room,” Reinstedt wrote.
And, a few scant years after Steinbeck’s death in the 1970s, wrote Reinstedt, there were three separate sightings of a figure in profile, surrounded by a yellowish mist.
Was it the author?
No one knows for sure.
Reinstedt said there were additional sightings when the facility was used as a dormitory for Hartnell students. One such student awoke in the middle of the night to sounds of his door being opened and closed, and he sensed the presence of someone in his room.
When he opened his eyes, though, there was no one there.
He was sleeping in what had once been Steinbeck’s bed
Kate Cimini is a multimedia journalist for The Californian. Have a tip? Call her at (831) 776-5137 or email email@example.com. Subscribeto support local journalism.
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