Old Town Sacramento, California, the states capitol, is an interesting place in any event, boasting old buildings and a history of underground tunnels and opium dens in the early day of the Gold Rush fever in California. This particular building, now called the Brickside Restaurant was recently explored for our television show, INVESTIGATING THE UNKNOWN WITH GOLD RUSH GHOSTS INTERNATIONAL PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS. The building has strange and uncanny stories to tell. Located at 106 J. Street in old town Sacramento, the place has its own interesting history as well, which of course, in itself, brings on more ghosts and spirits, as well as remnants of the same.
106 J St
Sacramento, CA 95814 (Map)
Phone: (916) 476-6276
Brickside is located in the heart of Old Sacramento, across from the California Railroad Museum. Surroundings are simple, with understated wood and wrought iron accents against the brick walls that inspired the establishment’s name. While the menu is not over-laden with choices, the classic and contemporary American cuisine offered is delicious, substantial and – most importantly – reasonably priced. Other features include a full bar and a faux patio with massive skylights and a stage for live music. With a casual, old-timey feel, Brickside already feels like a part of Old Sacramento.
Originally the structure was built in 1849 by Sam Brannan, the man who gave the secret away about the original gold find at Sutter’s Mill thus starting the massive migration to California by those seeking fortune. As fate would have its way as it did with so many of the buildings of the day, it unceremoniously burned to the ground shortly thereafter in 1852. Undaunted because he was rather rich from his share of the Mormon tithing from the original gold find at Sutter’s Mill, he rebuilt the structure, this time incorporating fire resistant bricks, thinking himself a smart man.
But fire proved not to be his only enemy. In 1865 following the worse of many years of seasonal floods that plagued the area, city councilmen realized that the only way to salvage this part of Sacramento was to being earth in and raise the street level. Still willing to hang on and “go with the flow” (pun intended) Brannan built a top story to his building which would secure the top of it from flood waters, and it is just in that area that as the Brickside, caters to customers as a bar and restaurant. For us as investigators however, the downstairs, the oldest part of the building, was to prove to have the most energy. Downstairs now hosts another bar, a banquet room, kitchen and restrooms, and a slew of strange ongoing phenomena. The extraordinary energy downstairs was evident from the moment we walked down the wooden stairs to the original level.
But back to the past, Sam Brannan, going on to other endeavors, eventually sold the property and over the years the building has housed many a business. There was a Produce House, Druggist, several Auctioneers, Jewelers, Clothiers, the ever present Saloons, and a California Stage Company.
In the mid-1960’s, looking a bit grungy and worse for wear, the business folk in the area started it redevelopment stage. The current private owners of the Brickside were selected to restore and redevelop this property in 1975. It took two to three years to plan a course of action and rebuild the building to its original form. It has been a restaurant and bar for the past thirty years.
It was at one of my “Friday’s With Nancy Psychic Development Classes” that a student by the name of LaDona Mendoza asked me if I could come out and look at her Mother’s property. She stated many strange things happening in the building. I turned it over to the crew of GRG and a date was set for *********** for us to come and investigate. On this investigation would be seasoned investigators only; Wayne Peterson, Cat Noble, Millieanne Jackson, Liz Harrison, Judy Cooper, on cameras Bob King and owner and founder of Gold Rush Ghosts paranormal, Robert Reppert. Guest investigator Kelly Symone from 101.9 THE WOLF Radio was invited to join us, and three contest winners from her show, listeners that won a chance to go on the investigation. I took up to head the investigation as psychic in charge. We arrived at the building at about 7:00 pm. and began interviewing the owners and staff.
It was during this interviewing process the buildings owner Dona Mendoza told us “I have owned the business since around 1975. The strangest thing over the years was when we tried to take photos of the place, inside or out. We would experience disturbances in the pictures clouds over our heads, strange round spots and other abnormalities. Over the years we thought “not ALL this film can be bad” or “What is wrong with our flash?” Of course now we know it was likely not that at all. Over the years there were also a lot of quirky things that would happen that we would try and logic away. We would try and pass these things off because we were busy.”
Richard Mendoza, manager of the Brickside and son of Dona told us, “I have experience a few instances going in and out of the office to the banquet room downstairs. One time I vividly saw an image of a person. I grabbed a hammer and walked around to confront them but no one was there.”
Brian Burgess, the Head Chef told us “Most of the activity I have felt has been downstairs, in and around the kitchen area, and at the storage area at the same level. Once, when a fellow employee went upstairs to clock out for a break I was left alone in the building. About four minutes after he left, I saw someone walk right past me and go into the office. Thinking someone had somehow been left in the building I went in to see if someone needed help, and no one was there.
Burgess continued, “Generally there is a feeling in the downstairs office of someone
“In the back there is the storage area that we call the ‘bakery’ because in actually it was one for a previous owner. There is a couch in there now, and we often go there to relax. You always have the feeling of not being alone, the overall feeling that there might even be many people in there – watching you. Another time as I was heading out of the kitchen with other employees we heard a heavy shaking, rattling, like someone was shaking a set of keys right next to us. We instinctively turned around to see who it way and no one was there.
“When I open the door in the morning I always feel like someone is already there only not in ‘live’ human form, so I say ‘Hello’ to whomever is here and I say ‘I am here to work’. It seems respectful to do that. I have been here a short time, but it has been an interesting time.”
The owner daughter no longer works in the building, but did so about 10 years ago. LaDona Mendoza told us “When I worked here for family parties we took photos of the events and the film would not make clear pictures. We would make excuses for it. Downstairs there was cold air around you when no one was in the building. There would be tapping, walking, and chatting sounds, but I was never able to make out the voices, although it seemed they were mostly female. And at night, when I was closing up and the last one to leave, I would say ‘I’m almost done!’ I grew up here, and the one thing that I most remember was there was an iron gate and it would move by itself when no onewas around it. I often saw spirits walking through, quickly passing.”
Christopher Diringer, another chef in the building shared his experiences with us. “I did some handyman work for the owner. Downstairs tools and miscellaneous things would turn up missing. Once there was the distinct smell of garlic bread, but of course no one was there and all the appliances had been disconnected because of the remodeling. So, I went outside to see if the smell was coming from there. The town was dead so I went back inside to work. I had locked the doors and was alone in the building. Someone walked up behind me. I turned around startled, and saw a shadow run out of the room. I reluctantly checked on it, and no one was there. I got a weird feeling and thought ‘I can’t handle this right now, and so I am leaving.’ I left the tools where they were.”
He told us what happened the next day when he returned. “The next day when I returned I found the saw was not where I had left it, but in ANOTHER ROOM! No one had been in the building between the time I left and the time I returned, I locked it and had the key.” Remembering back he added, “During the remodel process tools disappeared all the time and then came back later in another place.”
Kaitlyn Conkling-Methot, the hostess had a few stories to tell also. “I was downstairs waiting for someone who went upstairs to get some keys. I heard someone scream my name. I looked around and no one was there. When the employee returned I asked if they had called my name and no one had done so.
“One day it was really slow and I had decided to play cards, Solitaire. I was placing red on black as is the way you play. When I glanced around and then came back to my game they were black on black. Thinking I had done it myself somehow, I fixed the cards and continued playing. Distracted again, I looked away, and when I looked back they were red on red. My heart pounded and I ran outside screaming ‘Oh my Gaud!’ It has not happened since, but it really frightened me. REALLY frightened me!” Okay, they had our attention!
As is custom with our group, we circled energy around the room, back and forth to energize spirits. Certainly there were many imprints, ghosts if you will, that are as a videotape of when activity was going on in the building a long time ago. Of course you cannot talk to a ghost as the person is not there, just the energy of when they were around remains. We were more interested in talking to the spirits in the room, those who had passed on and never left, or have come back for whatever reason, they either loved the building, or were revisiting a site of some unnatural or charged occurrence. We set up in the ballroom, but unfortunately we were right next door to the kitchen where it was bustling with noise as they prepared the meals for the guests upstairs. Other than that disruption, the room was eerily quiet. We were ready to begin.
A name that came forward at the séance was ELLEN. After asking around, it turned out that ELLEN was Dona Mendoza’s mother. It was lovely that she came to share the evening with the equally lovely Dona. We decided to move on and I asked this spirit to remain with us. Our camera crew alerted us to orbs they could see through their lens that began to float around, all immediately seen on the screen. Cooper saw and then felt a large bird circle the table and then land in the middle. It is recorded on tape. Chills began to engulf us, as anyone who is in the paranormal field knows a room gets chilly, starting at the lower extremities, feet and legs and works up. This is attributed to the fact that spirits do not have blood in their bodies to assure heat, so when in the presence we can feel the temperature change. Rather nice on hot summer days.
“I began to feel dizzy. It was overpowering, and I put my hand on Coopers shoulder to balance. As it dispensed it was easy to see the form of a man take shape in front of me. He smiled, whisked around, and walked through the wall. Interesting. He was then followed by a woman in a long flowing heavy looking gown, dressed nicely the colors were white and blue. She identified herself as ‘Clara’, and I asked the owner to look up the records of the building at some point to see if she could identify the entity. She stuck around for about five minutes as we went on to other things, and then was gone, no one saw her leave so we do not know if she walked away or simply disappeared. The kitchen noise started up again, and we had to stop the process for a few minutes.
When we began again, orbs filled the room. Those new to the process were getting their money’s worth. Many entities filled the room, and we were able to record several of them. One was a Michael or Miguel, and a woman that stated she made “tortias’. Possible, the restaurant prior had been a Spanish Food establishment. A man in spirit ran through called Sam, and another, a short, bald man, hefty and out of breath. Neither took the time to address us. We laughed. “Rather rude right?” We spent the better part of an hour at the séance at which time lights flickered, the room became filmy with a fog like texture, and a spirit cat and dog went through, chasing and playing with each other.
There was a young child, girl, named Amie that ran through, with a big smile on her face and a devilish look in her eye as if she had done something naughty and was not wanting to get caught. I smiled at her assuring her that her secret was safe with us.
After the investigation, core members of Investigating the Unknown with Gold Rush
According to Cat Noble” I didn’t know what to expect as I arrived at the site. It is a
“I felt the most energy in the hallway downstairs. I felt a spirit in front of me and
According to investigator Liz Harrison “The air was pretty heavy at the lower level and
Investigator Danielle Carpenter told us: “My first impression of the restaurant was that
Investigator Judy Cooper added: “For my impression when we were doing the séance,
Wayne Peterson noted; “I felt like I should stay away and from the stairwell.” Later
The guest investigator, radio personality from 101.9THE WOLF RADIO, Kelly
“I was having feelings that I didn’t mention because I didn’t even realize that they had
Winner of the 101.9TheWolf contest to accompany us, Greg Bield said “Investigating
Is the building haunted? Yes. Will GOLD RUSH GHOSTS INTERNAIONAL
Not a bad day’s work for GRG.
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