by Terrance Mc Arthur
HAUNT OR HOAX? YOU MAKE THE CALL
People tell stories at Halloween, lots of stories. Which ones might have a bit of truth behind them? It’s hard to tell.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I will tell you five stories of hauntings and unearthly happenings near Sanger, CA. One of them will be a story I made up. The others will be occurrences that have been witnessed and investigated. Your job is to find the phony among the frights. No prizes, just the satisfaction that you weren’t fooled.
THE HAUNTED HERALD
Every town needs a home-town newspaper, and Sanger has the Sanger Herald. The building is on property that once held a gas station next to a furniture store, which doubled as a mortuary (coffins are furniture, too, right?).
A team of paranormal investigators set up their detectors and cameras in the press room and offices for an overnight study. The group’s psychic said she detected a lady in white in one part of the building, and a baby or small child crawling on the floor of the paper-folding room.
In the morning, the newspaper’s editor arrived to let out the investigating crew. The team leader mentioned a lady in white, and the journalist turned pale. A staff member had told of momentarily seeing a white-clad woman in her office. Informed of the baby’s presence, the editor related that a baby’s cries had been heard when no children were in the building.
It’s officially Channel Road, but everyone calls it Snake Road, because it twists and turns like a snake, so you have to drive slowly. But some people say it’s called Snake Road because cars keep running over snakes. It’s also legendary to the kids of Sanger as a place to look for ghosts, especially a woman in white (I know, another woman-in-white story. They always seem to be dressed in white. I guess they don’t have a Chico’s in the afterlife.)
The story goes that a woman was driving there with her two daughters and lost control of the car on a curve. It crashed, and the mother tried to get help for her dying girls, but she was struck by a car and perished. Now the mother wanders the road in the night, crying, trying to stop cars, trying to get help.
Some people tell a different story about Snake Road, one tied to the Hispanic culture of many of Sanger’s residents. In this version, the woman drowned her children in the river for a man who didn’t really love her. She killed herself in sorrow, and wanders Snake Road as La Llorona, The Crying Woman.
THE BREHLER BREAKDOWN
Brehler Square is a nice little park in downtown Sanger, in the middle of the downtown blocks. It seems odd–but nice–to have a park in the center of town, but the park wasn’t always there. That site used to be the Brehler Block, a building that housed several businesses…until it collapsed into its basement and was torn down in 1986.
The businesses may be gone, but “something” remains. Oscar Brehler used to trade with Yokut tribal groups at his pharmacy and store, giving them supplies in exchange for native baskets that are now worth thousands of dollars. Couples in the park have heard drums and chanting Indians in the night. One man, walking his dog, thought he saw someone near the trees, and the dog started barking, but nobody was there. Are spirit revenants trying to find the baskets they gave away, the lost artifacts of their culture?
In one house on Acacia Drive, there is an odd problem: food keeps disappearing from the refrigerator. That could be blamed on someone cheating on their diet, but there is something else; the voice of a young boy is heard, begging for help and for mercy.
Back during the Depression, a wandering kid stole a pie from a farmer’s windowsill. The hungry boy was caught by the angry man, who threatened the young thief with a rifle. Trying to get away, the boy was accidentally shot and killed. His cries are still heard, and food still goes missing. Perhaps the boy never gave up his criminal activities, and is still paying the price.
DEL REY CEMETERY
Northwest of Del Rey, which is about five miles southwest of Sanger, is the Del Rey Cemetery. Whispered conversations are heard there, shadowy figures are seen, and there is a tombstone that glows in the dark. The grave marker reports may be caused by reflective rock that lights up from the headlights of distant cars.
Several paranormal investigators have gone to see if they could find out if something is haunting the cemetery, but they have all left with no ghostly evidence. The ghosthunters post pictures of their search on their websites…but they aren’t photographs of the Del Rey Cemetery. They are pictures of the Sanger Cemetery, ten miles away! I thought these people were fools who couldn’t follow a map, until I tried to locate the Del Rey Cemetery on Google Maps; it gave me the location of the Sanger Cemetery! Maybe there is something in Del Rey that does not want to be found…and is Internet-savvy.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Are these really hauntings? Are there ghosts at work? Which story was…just a story? Before I tell you which ghostly encounter I made up, I’ll give you links to some of the tales and local groups that do paranormal investigations.
The Bogus Boo is the Brehler Square haunting. Oscar Brehler did trade for baskets, and the building did collapse in the 80s, but Native American strangers in the night….? Naaah.