remember that it was dark and foggy
that night as I drove though the deserted
campus. The place always holds a melancholy
atmosphere for me and one that makes
the stories of ghosts here all the
more believable. I pulled into the
central square with its impressive
neo-Spanish bell tower and saw a group
of cars parked in the lot. It was
an eclectic group of vehicles from
rusting heaps to new luxury imports.
The cars reflected their drivers.
They were here because of a single
passion, an interest in ghosts and
The ghost hunters from all over had
gathered here at the university to
confirm or deign the stories of ghosts
at this place. Were the stories true
or were they the product of so much
over imagination? It would prove to
be an exciting night.
I joined the group and introduced
myself. Many were old ghost hunting
friends, others newcomers to the study.
I was pleased that the well known
Dr. Barry Taft had come out this night
to join us from Los Angeles. The investigation
wasn’t authorized by the university
and we were fully prepared to suffer
expulsion from the grounds or even
arrest. Still, some things are too
important when it comes to science,
even a new study such as parapsychology.
We hoped that something would happen
tonight, and we were not disappointed.
The campus is both new and old. It
was built in the 1930s as the Camarillo
State Mental Hospital and in this
capacity it served for many decades
until many of the patients were released
and mainstreamed into society. The
buildings were then recycled into
the new California State University
and given a new name “Channel
Islands” in hopes the new name
would keep people from remembering
it once was a mental hospital. Maybe
this is the reason so many believe
it’s haunted. Still, I have
stories of ghosts here that date back
to the hospital times.
The team members shook hands and exchanged
greetings. There was an underlying
excitement in the air as we made out
way to the buildings, lugging our
tools. Some of the group were psychics
who used their own natural gifts to
detect the presence of ghosts. My
wife Debbie is a psychic but she declined
to join us. She had visited the place
in the past and experienced too many
negative feelings and seen too many
dark apparitions to want to step onto
the campus again.
The new accounts of ghosts here come
from many sources, tips sent to my
web site as well as whispered stories
from late night telephone calls. Such
callers always hung up when I asked
for a name. Were these true tales
or mere hoaxers?
One compelling story told of encountering
a man in a tan jumpsuit. The man appeared
at a second story window and called
down for help. The man insisted that
someone was dying and needed help.
The witness rushed into the building,
searched the deserted rooms and found
them empty. They went on to say several
others had seen the man and heard
his request for help over the last
Some of the stories focus on the ornate
bell tower. One account says that
a patient hung himself in the tower
room and when the full moon is out
passersby can see the shadow of the
man. Another related story tells of
a disturbed patient somehow gaining
access to the tower and threw himself
down to his death. A check of the
records some time ago didn’t
confirm these colorful accounts.
The group searched the deserted halls
and wards to see if were could collect
data that there were ghosts here.
It was creepy, dark and cold but,
try as I might, I didn’t see
anything out of the ordinary. One
of the psychics took the lead. He’s
a well-known man with a documented
gift. He said that he could call ghosts
too him. In one of the wards he began
to act nervous. He said there was
a ghost in a dark, far away, doorway.
I peered into the dim light and couldn’t
see anything that might be a ghost.
He pointed at the doorway as video
cameras rolled and flash snap shots
were taken with blinding effect.
He then began to call to the ghost.
“Come here,” he yelled.
“We will not harm you. Come
forth.” Everyone was stone quiet.
Still I didn’t see anything.
I was standing next to the video camera
man who was documenting the expedition.
This went on for some time, the psychic
yelling and nothing happening. In
time it all grew to become a bit silly.
Then the psychic man said the ghost
had moved on.
We continued the tour as it grew late
in the night. There were cold spots,
and places where our equipment went
off the charts. Several people did
say they saw moving shadows but were
they ghosts or imagination? It was
creepy and several times I did feel
the tingle I experience when ghosts
are present but, it’s possible
I was spooking myself out.
Before the team called it a night
we reviewed the collected data. I
watched the video tape with several
others. I was surprised we caught
something odd. In the section where
the psychic was calling for the ghost
there was a strange sound on the audio
part of the video tape. At first I
thought it was a glitch of some sort.
It sounded like a slow whistle. Maybe
caused by the flash cameras recycling
after a picture was taken but, then
the sound changed pitch and took on
a more human quality.
It was a tune, a haunting melody that
sent chills down my spine. I was right
next to the camera man all night and
I am confident no one was whistling
or humming. I had never heard the
song before or anything like it. It
was truly mysterious. It did give
me solid evidence that the old mental
hospital was indeed haunted. The school
tries to suppress all stories of supernatural
events and has threatened staff if
they “spread stories and lies.”
Still, the ghosts didn’t get
the memo and continue their nightly
wanderings at what I like to call
“Spook U.” If you have
experienced anything at the Channel
Island Campus at Camarillo, California,
feel free to contact me at my web
State Mental Hospital
Camarillo State Mental
Hospital was a psychiatric hospital
for both developmentally disabled
and mentally ill patients in Camarillo,
It was located 3 miles
south of Camarillo and was in use
from 1936 to 1997. During its heyday
in the 1950s and 1960s, the hospital
was at the forefront of treating conditions
that in previously had been thought
of as un-treatable. An example of
this was the drugs and therapy procedures
doctors at that institution developed
for schizophrenia. Many of these programs
initiated at Camarillo helped patients
formerly relegated to a lifetime of
warehousing in an institution or lobotomies
be able to leave the hospital and
move to less restrictive group homes
or become (at least nearly) independent.
The hospital continued to be a leader
in the research of drugs and therapies
in subsequent years. They also had
one of the first units of any hospital
to deal with autism.
Camarillo was no stranger
to the abuses that regularly occur
in mental hospitals. These included
excessive use of restraints and poor
supervision of patients. They long
received controversy first over warehousing
mentally ill people and then of releasing
them to the community. Changing ethics
over the years meant releasing more
of these patients and putting them
in community-based group homes rather
than in large, costly, and remote
hospitals. As a result, the number
of patients at Camarillo dropped from
7000 in the 1960s to 900 in 1996.
Due to its low patient number and
the rising costs per patient, then
California governor Pete Wilson announced
in January of that year plans to close
down the hospital in July 1997. Various
members of the community, family members
of patients, and employees of Camarillo
made several last ditch efforts to
keep the hospital open, arguing in
part that the patients are already
used to Camarillo and questioned where
they would go. Some tried to get mentally
ill criminals placed in Camarillo
in an effort to save it, a proposal
that had come up several times before,
but again community members were concerned
of the risk of criminals escaping
into the community. Pete Wilson ended
up standing his ground and the hospital
closed down in late June 1997, with
the patients and research facilities
moved to other locations.
Originally it was intended
to turn Camarillo into a prison, but
community opposition in part and interest
from the Cal State Universities led
to its conversion into a university-
California State University, Channel
Islands (CSUCI). CSUCI had its first
classes in fall 2002, four years ahead
of the original schedule. Most of
the buildings of Camarillo have been
preserved and revitalized, including
all the original 1930s mission-style
buildings. The university is Ventura
County's first public university and
is quickly becoming a destination
university. It has 2300 students in
2006, but is expected to grow to 15000
A popular rumor, especially
among residents of Ventura County,
is that the Eagles' song "Hotel
California" was written about
the Camarillo State Hospital, but
this is most likely not true. Don
Henley said in a 1995 interview that
it was written about "the zeitgeist
of the time", meaning about their
lifestyle as celebrity musicians in
L.A. in the 70s. Those who believe
the rumor about it being about the
hospital point to lyrics such as "You
can check out anytime you want but
you can never leave", While these
lyrics could in theory refer to a
mental hospital, they could also refer
to being trapped in a certain lifestyle.
However, Camarillo State Hospital
has a "mission bell" which
is referenced in the song, and the
cover of the album is similar to that
of CSH (it really is The Beverly Hills
Hotel). Also, there are other lyrics
to point out that the song may have
been referencing the hospital such
as: "the voices down the corridor",
"we are programed to receive."
The Frank Zappa song "Camarillo
Brillo" was also allegedly inspired
by Camarillo State Hospital.
Legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie
Parker spent some time detoxing from
heroin at the hospital. He wrote the
composition "Relaxin' in Camarillo"
in tribute to the hospital.
'N Sync's mental hospital-set video
for "I Drive Myself Crazy"
was filmed at Camarillo after the
After it closed, Camarillo was a popular
destination for ghost hunters alleging
that the hospital is haunted. A destination
on the grounds for Ventura County
youth was an allegedly haunted dairy
used by the hospital known to locals
as "Scary Dairy".
Senate’s 13 Rules of Good
1. Let People know where
you are going so if there
is a mishap they can inform
the authorities of where you
went and with whom. Good advise
for hikers too. Try to go
in a group if possible.
2. Get permission to visit
the sites! Never trespass
as this can lead to all sorts
of problems. Because of this
some of the better places
will be closed to you but,
if you do not have permission
you will not be able to publish
your findings and evidence.
3. Wear comfortable clothing
and shoes. Dress in layers
as places can be cold or hot.
Wear a hat when in the sun.
Hiking shoes are best in an
outdoor setting, rubber soled
walking shoes best for indoor
Always take water with you
and, if possible, a cell phone
to call for help.
4. Take ways to record your
findings and evidence. Cameras,
Tape Recorders, Videos etc…are
good for this. If you are
using a film camera use high
speed film only--At least
1,000 ASA. Black and White
seems to work best. If you
have a tape recorder, use
new music quality tape. ALSO:
Carry extra batteries as ghosts
can drain energy from batteries.
5. If possible, research
the history of the site and
who lived there or what action
happened there. This will
help you in many ways. The
more you know, the better
your investigation will be.
Remember, you are there to
6. Carry a flashlight (torch)
with you to illuminate dark
places within a site or to
find your way back if you
are stranded after dark. The
flashlight is your friend
and it can be the best tool
you have in your kit.
7. Always carry with you
a pad of paper, clip board,
pencils and pens. These can
help you record interviews
and anything you experience.
Try to draw a picture of the
site, a floor plan of the
place or map. You can use
this to draw a picture of
what ever you encounter at
the site--Drawing and sketching
are skills all ghost hunters
( and archaeologists) need
8. Always be respectful in
doing investigations. Yes,
have fun and don’t be
too serious, but, respect
the ghosts and your chances
are better that you will encounter
an apparition or supernatural
sound. Don’t insult
the ghosts or mock them. Remember,
ghosts are people who just
happen to be dead.
9. Don’t drink alcoholic
spirits, take drugs or smoke
pot. Anything that might impair
your senses are strictly forbidden.
If you do these things it
will cast doubt on your findings.
Skeptics will denounce anything
you collect--even the best
evidence you have. We must
10. Don’t harm or vandalize
a site. Be like a ghost so
that no one will know you
were even there. Our goal
is to collect data to prove
the existence of ghosts not
damage property. If possible,
leave it better than when
11. If possible try to re-enact
an event that happened at
the site. If it was a Civil
War battlefield, dress as
a Civil War soldier. If the
haunting was linked to a poker
game, play poker. This is
called re-stimulation and
it can enhance your chances
of getting supernatural phenomena.
12. Music can be important,
as well, to stimulate events
but, it must be real music,
not taped. So a flute, guitar,
etc.. can be helpful. Play
songs that are linked to the
era of the ghost. This is
good for collecting spirit
voices (EVP) as well.
13. Lastly, write up a report
on all you find. Try to publish
your findings as well in a
local publication or magazine.
FATE Magazine is good for
this. If you don’t write
the report and submit it,
all you have done is spin
your wheels. Ghost hunting
is a science not a lark. Good
Luck and Good Hunting!
Hunt - going to a place
were there have been no sightings
of ghosts and trying to catch
some on film (video and photos),
sounds, eyewitness, etc. And
of course your local haunted
graveyards are often the number
one place to start.
to check out some reported real ghost
photos start here! Free
Ghost Photo Gallery
QUESTIONS WITH Richard Senate
One of the top ghost investigators
of our generation. He is an "Historian
And Ghost Stalker" author of
several prominent books on ghosts
and paranormal phenomenon, and has
appeared on just about every paranormal
television and radio show there is.
PLEASE VISIT TO
READ MORE HERE!
Senates Web Site here now!
World's 100 Most Haunted Places
So please read these
very haunted ghost stories and watch
a real ghost video or two. And be
sure to visit our to
find more then your heart should
take. This web site is not for the
squeamish. These Very real Haunted
places are sid to be the best places
to capture a real ghost on film,
video, or digital voice recorder
or have a real paranormal encounter.
HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS
Official Web Site is a ghost tour
information site; our information
is only as reliable as readers'
contributed ghost and haunted reports.
We assume no credit for your adventures,
and accept no liability for your
misadventures. Use common sense.
Read our ghost hunting recommendations.
Before visiting any "haunted"
site, verify the location, accessibility,
safety, and other important information.
Never trespass on private and/or
posted property without permission
from the proper authorities.
The Real Haunted
Hotels In America
Hotels, like airlines, overbook
reservations because they know that
not everyone is going to show up.
But some of their inventory goes
to third-party travel sites like
which contract with hotels ahead
of time to sell a preset block of
Book your haunted
Montgomery - Tutwiler Hotel
Skagway - Golden North Hotel
Eureka Springs - Crescent Hotel
Flagstaff - Monte Vista Hotel
Douglas - Gadsden Hotel
Phoenix - Hotel San Carlos
Prescott - Hotel Vendome; Hassayampa
Scottsdale - The Hermosa Inn
Carmel-by-the-Sea - La Playa Hotel
Coloma - Sierra Nevada House
Coronado - Hotel del Coronado
Grass Valley - Holbrooke Hotel
Groveland - Groveland Hotel
Healdsburg - Madrona Manor
Hollywood - Hollywood Roosevelt
La Jolla - Grande Colonial Hotel
Long Beach - Queen Mary Hotel
Mendocino - Mendocino Hotel and
Napa - Napa River Inn
San Jose - Hyatt Hotel St. Claire
Mendocino's Sea Rock Inn
San Luis Obispo - Paso Robles Inn
Santa Monica - Georgian Hotel
Ventura - Pierpont Inn
Denver - Brown Palace Hotel
Estes Park - Stanley Hotel
Griswald - Homespun Farm
New London - Lighthouse Inn
St. Augustine - Casa de la Paz
Tampa/St. Petersburg - Don Cesar
Beach Resort and Spa
Augusta - The Partridge Inn
Jekyll Island - Jekyll Island Club
St. Charles - Hotel Baker
Bentonsport - Mason House Inn
New Orleans - 1891 Castle Inn; Hotel
Maison de Ville; Le Pavilion; Delta
St. Francisville - Myrtles Plantation
Boston - The Omni Parker House
Salem - The Hawthorne Hotel
Marquette - The Landmark Inn
Natchez - Monmouth Plantation
Bolton Landing - The Sagamore
Grand Island - Holiday Inn
Asheville - Grove Park Inn Resort
Chapel Hill - Carolina Inn
Cincinnati - Hilton Cincinnati Netherland
Portland - The Heathman Hotel
Bethlehem - Hotel Bethlehem
Gettysburg - Farnsworth House Inn
San Antonio - Menger Hotel
Galvez Hotel - Galveston
Manchester Village - The Equinox
San Juan Islands - Rosario Resort
Omni Shoreham Hotel; Hay-Adams Hotel;
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Fond du Lac - Ramada Plaza Hotel
Milwaukee - Pfister Hotel
Casper - Ivy House Inn
Cheyenne - The Plains Hotel
Jackon Hole - The Wort Hotel