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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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Ghosts of Orange County: 8. Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm

To celebrate Halloween, Rancho Ortega Blog is counting down the ten most haunted locations in Orange County.  If you missed any of our earlier installments, you can find them at the links below:

10. Katie Wheeler Library and the “Lady in Blue.”

9.  John Wayne and the Wild Goose Yacht

No tour of Orange County would be complete with a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.  But is it also the spookiest?


8.  Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm

If you were a ghost haunting Orange County, where would you take up residence?  The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, of course!  Thousands of people visit the Haunted Mansion every day. What they may not realize is that there may be several real ghosts haunting the ride.  Two well-known ghosts are referred to as “the man with the cane” and “the man in a tuxedo,” although no one knows who or what these ghosts represent.  Each been spotted in the Mansion, either as “extras” lurking in the ride’s various ghost scenes or even, on occasion, as passengers.

“We have 999 ghosts, but room for a thousand!”

A more recent ghost story has origins that might be familiar to some of you who grew up in Southern California.  According to the tale, one year at the annual Disneyland “Grad Night” party, a high school boy is rumored to have been killed when he disembarked from his “Doom Buggy” mid-ride.  Thinking he was stepping out onto a solid surface, he actually stepped into a void and fell nearly 20 feet, breaking his neck.  It is said that you can sometimes see and hear him near the “Séance” portion of the ride.

The other documented Disney ghost inhabited the old People Mover attraction.  According to legend, a young man was riding with his girlfriend and decided, for some reason, to climb out of the moving vehicle.  He lost his footing and fell to his death, although not without first grabbing at his girlfriend’s hair in a vain attempt to regain his balance.  Thereafter, riders on the People Mover – particularly girls with long, blonde hair – would claim to have felt the fleeting sensation of their hair being gently tugged.  Even today, the ghost has been known to tug on blonde pony tails in the vicinity of the old People Mover ride.

We can’t let Disneyland have all the ghostly fun.  Knott’s Berry Farm has its share of hauntings, too!  The Ghost Town is the oldest part of the Knott’s amusement park, and includes most of the buildings Walter Knott brought to the property in the 1940s and 1950s.  Inspired by the real ghost town at Calico, Knott was determined to create an authentic wild west ghost town.  Knott brought real buildings from real ghost towns to his amusement park, no doubt bringing their paranormal inhabitants with them.  The list of ghosts and spooks inhabiting Knott’s is endless, and for the most part, they are considered harmless.  Like their colleagues at Disneyland, perhaps living in an amusement park keeps them in good spirits?

Here is a video commemorating the Haunted Mansion’s 40th anniversary:

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