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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.

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Ghosts of Orange County: 5. Yorba Cemetery and the Pink Lady

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

8. Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm

7. Fox Theater

6. El Adobe de Capistrano Restaurant

We enter our top five most haunted locations with a visit to a legendary Orange County graveyard.


4.         Yorba Cemetery and the Pink Lady (Yorba Linda)

Although the backstory is disputed, many Orange County old timers are familiar with the legend of the Pink Lady in the old Yorba Cemetery.  The Yorba Cemetery was once the private family cemetery of the prominent Orange County family by the same name.  It is now maintained by the Orange County Parks Department as a historical site.  According to the OC Parks web site:

The history of the Yorba Cemetery dates back to 1834. Don Bernardo Yorba petitioned Mexican Governor Figueroa for 13,000 acres of land on the northern side of the banks of the Santa Ana River. He was granted the land and named it Rancho Canon de Santa Ana, the Canyon of Saint Anne.

In 1858 Bernardo deeded to the Bishop of the Catholic Church a plot of land 1/4 miles west of his adobe ranch house. The land, the La Mesita, was a gently sloping hill with some corrals located on it. It would become the oldest private cemetery in Orange County predated only by the Mission Cemetery in Capistrano.

The cemetery closed in 1939. It fell victim of vandals who defaced and stole many of the rustic markers and marble headstones. As part of their dedication to the preservation of Orange County’s cultural history, the Board of Supervisors in 1967 accepted the deed of the cemetery from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Ranger staff and volunteers are currently trying to restore the damage caused by these vandals and years of neglect prior to the county’s acquisition.

Yorba Cemetery (photo courtesy of OC Parks)

The history of the Yorba Cemetery would be incomplete without mentioning the Pink Lady.  She is said to be the ghost of a 17 year old girl who died in a buggy accident on the way home from a formal dance.  Her ghost still wears her fancy pink dress from that fateful night.  Some have identified the Pink Lady as Alvina de Los Reyes, but historians have disproven that version of the story by establishing that de Los Reyes died at a much older age.  Whoever she was…or is…the Pink Lady is rumored to appear in the cemetery every June 15th on even numbered years.  On that night, ghost-seekers have been known to sneak into the deserted cemetery for a chance to glimpse the Pink Lady.

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