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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: 4. Plummer Auditorium and the Tunnel Ghosts

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

5. Yorba Cemetery and the Pink Lady

Tonight, we head to Fullerton for a Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece that attracts students of architecture by day, and ghost-hunters by night!


4. Plummer Auditorium and the Tunnel Ghosts (Fullerton)

The Louis E. Plummer Auditorium is a historic landmark in the City of Fullerton and an outstanding example of the use of the Spanish Colonial Revival style in public architecture.   Designed by noted architect Carlton Winslow, Plummer Auditorium was completed in 1930 and is currently used by Fullerton Union High School, the Fullerton Civic Light Opera and other community events.  It is located on East Chapman Avenue.  Within this historic structure is another historic work of art – a 75 foot long and 15 foot high fresco mural entitled “Pastoral California” painted in 1934 by Charles Kassler and restored (having been completely painted over) in 1997.  The City of Fullerton has some additional information on the Plummer Auditorium here.

The Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton is an architectural masterpiece…

Beyond its architectural pedigree, though, the Plummer Auditorium is also one of Southern California’s most famous destinations for ghost hunters.  Witnesses report strange lights and unexplained noises from within the Auditorium.  Some say that the spirit of the auditorium’s namesake, former school superintendent Louis Plummer, still roams the building.  Another theater ghost is the “angry woman” who sometimes plays mischief on theater productions.  But most blame the tunnel ghosts.

…it is also a mecca for ghost-hunters in search of the tunnel ghosts!

It is said that a mysterious network of underground tunnels lies below Fullerton.  These tunnels had various access points, including the basement of the Plummer Auditorium.  We have been unable to ascertain the original purpose of these tunnels, but they have served various purposes — both official and illicit — over the decades.  It is rumored that criminals hid in the tunnels, bootleggers used them to escape the law and from time to time a body or two may have been dumped there.  Long closed to the public for safety reasons, the tunnels have become a bit of an urban legend in Orange County.  Some thrill-seekers claim to have snuck into and even spent the night in these tunnels, and some of them tell of some spine-chilling encounters: sinister whispers echoing through the tunnels, otherworldly voices and lonely apparitions that followed visitors through the tunnels, stopping at the point where sunlight entered the tunnels.  One ghost that has been encountered on multiple occasions is a man dressed in a World War II-era military uniform who has silently watched tunnel trespassers, disappearing into the darkness before they could reach him.

The Plummer Auditorium is one of the highlights of the Haunted Fullerton Ghost Walk.  Just don’t wander off into the tunnels by yourself!

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