Haunted Real Estate Blog by Mary Pope-Handy mary@popehandy.com

New England haunting

Ghost pets visiting - New England haunting My friend L.C. shared her personal experience of a New England haunting with me and she’s given me permission to recount it here. What’s especially fun is that this New England haunting is not about people so much as beloved pets who come to visit!

“My uncle bought a very old farm in Connecticut countryside (where my family is from on my mom’s side). It was built in like 1771 or 1772 and I think it was a tavern at some point before or during the war. There’s reportedly a civil war soldier that has been seen on the stairs.

“As a teenager, he left me alone in the house one night — only one neighbor in a mile in either direction I think,, and I thought I was going to just freak. Every single creak of the house….I was a nervous wreck.

“In the same house, I also encountered a ghost cat one night laying in bed — it literally crawled on me while I laying awake chatting with my Aunt Sue. I asked my aunt, ‘There’s something on me, it’s crawling, I can feel it but i can’t see it!’ She said it was a cat that had died that liked to come back and crawl into bed with people. Eeek!

“They also had a small white dog ‘April’ (little poodle) that ‘came back’ and was seen by the family in the kitchen one day. My uncle died and left the house to his granddaughter who lives there now. She says she hears and feels things but hasn’t seen anything yet. ”

It’s nice to be reminded that some hauntings are friendly ones!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween house image saying "I can sell anything"Wishing all of my readers and fans of haunted homes a very happy Halloween – all treats, no tricks!

Also I want to remind everyone that I do not just collect ghost stories, but actually do sell homes in Silicon Valley. If you are in the market to buy or sell a house, townhouse, condo, etc. in Santa Clara County or nearby, please give me a call or send me an email!  My office is in Los Gatos but I sell all over the South Bay (San Francisco Bay Area).

Mary Pope-Handy
CalDRE # 01153805
(408) 204-7673

Move2SiliconValley.com  – relocation resource
SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com – neighborhood info, market posts
popehandy.com – broader Silicon Valley area, including parts of neighboring counties




Scary scene with words I'm dying to be your real estate agent

Haunted showing

Haunted showing - house with ghost and for sale sign graphicLast night I read about a haunted showing in a Facebook group for Realtors, Real Estate Mastermind. The buyer’s real estate agent, MyoungJin Joo, gave me permission to share her name and reprint her story here. She began with a question, and then shared her haunted showing story:

Has anyone experienced a paranormal incident at the showing with your clients?
This listing looked so good to be true sitting on the market over 18 days in this crazy market! My clients and I were so happy looking around this home.

While my clients were looking around one of bedrooms on the second floor, a door of dresser all of sudden swung open… I screamed like ‘Holy sxxx!’ Telling my clients to run… then the husband closed the door before leaving that room as his reaction.

After running out of that house, the wife told us that she found that same door open in the room and closed it as soon as she walked into that room before this whole thing happened…

After that, I could not focus on showing the homes to my clients… one crazy day!!!

MyoungJin (or MJ) unleased a huge number of comments about haunted showings from her colleagues on this group. Of course, a few people opined that the dresser was simply unlevel, or that screws needed tightening on the door – but the deluge of personal stories might lead one to believe that at least some Realtors have had experiences in homes, whether alone or as haunted showings with buyers.

I know that I have!


Ghost Tours 2020

Ghost Tours 2020Ghosts aren’t the only ones who seem eternally homebound this year. Many ghost walks, haunted tours, and paranormal explorations are canceled due to the pandemic. But not all. Raise your spirits and wander into the unknown with one of these ghostly excursions around the San Francisco and Santa Cruz Bay Areas and nearby.

Notice: Due to the nature of the pandemic, it is very likely there will be changes, so be sure to double check hours and availability, and follow all health and safety rules when attending any event or visiting any public place.


San Francisco Bay Area

North Bay

Marin County

Ghost Tour: Shipwrecks of Point Reyes Saturday, October 31st, 2020 10am – 5pm (driving and walking tour)

Napa County

Downtown Napa Ghost Tour Thursdays and Saturdays 8pm year-round (walking tour)

Napa City Halloween Ghost Tour for Kids & Big Kids 2020 Select nights in October 2020 (more date information here) (walking tour)

Napa City’s Harlots, Hustlers & Hysteria – Ghosts & Legends of the Red Light District Select Wednesdays including October 7th and 21st 2020 (past event information) (walking tour)

Sonoma County

Haunted Sonoma Downtown Tour Fridays and Wednesdays 8pm year-round (walking tour)



San Francisco County

Haunted San Francisco Ghost Tour: The City After Dark Closed until November 1st 2020, Thursday to Saturday 7pm and 9pm (walking tour)

San Francisco Ghosts Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and select Saturdays and Sundays in October 2020, all-week the rest of the year 8pm (walking tour)

San Francisco Ghost Hunt New Virtual Fireside Stories Friday to Saturday September 4th to October 31st 7pm (virtual experience)

Haunted Haight Select nights (walking tour)

Haunted SF Chinatown Tour Open but contact them for ticket purchase and booking details (walking tour)

Alcatraz Day Tour Outdoor only at this point in the phased re-opening, Daily 11am to 3pm (not a ghost tour, but a famous haunted place)(walking tour)


East Bay

Alameda County

USS Hornet Museum open Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm (not a ghost tour, but a famous haunted ship) Virtual ghost hunting event Saturday, October 31st 2020 (virtual experience)

Pleasanton Museum on Main Virtual Ghost Walk October 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th, 31st at 7pm (virtual experience)


South Bay

Santa Clara County

Winchester Mystery House choose between two virtual tours and two walking tours including the seasonal evening Hallowe’en Flashlight Tours select nights in October (not a ghost tour, but a famous haunted place)(virtual experience and self-guided walking tour)

Gilroy Historical Society Monthly Walking Tours: Old St. Mary Cemetery Saturday, November 7th 2020 10am to 12pm (history tour not a ghost tour)(walking tour)


Other Regions

Monterey, CA

Ghost Tour of Old Monterey Saturdays 8pm to 10pm (walking tour)

Sacramento, CA

Death’s Inquest Sacramento Ghost Tours 2020 October 23rd, 24th, 30th at 7pm and 8:30pm (virtual experience)


Alternative Manifestations

Social Groups

Missing the company of the paranormal community? Chat with local enthusiasts about haunted locations and experiences in one of these social groups.

Bay Area Ghost Hunters

Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters


Virtual Ghost Tours

The pandemic might be keeping you from some of your favorite haunts, but it’s opened a door to another realm: the World Wide Web! Virtual tours are popping up everywhere, including at some famous ghostly locations around the world. So open a portal and travel to San Diego, Salem, or practically anywhere else in our world. Here are two you can explore today.

RMS Queen Mary Haunted Encounters Part 1

Haunted Places by Google Earth Local Guides


Make Your Own

With a little research, you can find haunted places near you and make your own original ghost tour! Be sure to check ahead to learn if you can enter a property or building or if you will explore from the sidewalk.

Is it a Cemetery or a Graveyard?

Cemetery or Graveyard?

Search for “graveyard” in a dictionary and the definition will likely be a single word – “cemetery.” When used in everyday conversation, the two words are commonly interchanged without a thought, but these two eternal resting places have their differences.

Word Origins Tell a Story

The first known use of the word cemetery predates graveyard by three centuries. It stems from a melting pot of languages, according to merriam-webster.com, and roughly translate to “sleeping chamber” or “burial place.” Graveyard, on the other hand, appears to have evolved from the much older terms “grave” and “churchyard.” Churchyards, or land belonging to a church and usually adjacent to it, were regularly used for burial grounds although it was not their exclusive purpose. Designated areas within a churchyard that were reserved for burials came to be known as graveyards.

There is a long and complex history of Western burial practices, but suffice it to say that religious organization (i.e. the Church) usually dictated the terms. This means graveyards were often exclusive final resting places for members of a shared religion, and more often than not, of a specific local parish community. While graveyards used to dominate the scene for burials in the Western world, they’re extremely uncommon in modern use. Why is that?


Haunted Victorian House for Sale

Haunted Victorian home for saleThe Whispers Estate, an old Victorian house, is for sale in Indiana.  Priced at $130,000, the home features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 3700 SF, wooden floors, the furniture, a lovely wraparound porch in front, and maybe a ghost or two.

You can read about the listing on the Realtor.com website 714 W Warren St, Mitchell, IN 47446, but don’t expect any open house events. Homes which are reputedly haunted are more likely to attract looky loos than serious home buyers, so for this property, potential home owners will need to be pre-approved and have an appointment to see the old mansion.

Learn more about the paranormal elements at this article on Realtor.com.

Halloween Events in Silicon Valley

We’re already halfway through October and Halloween is just around the corner. The Halloween spirit is all around, so join in the fun! Here are a few ways you can go out and celebrate.

Since this is the Haunted Real Estate Blog, I’ll begin with some ghostly get togethers. Santa Clara County Parks has put together the Whoppers and Ghostly Tales of New Almaden tour where you can learn history and hauntings of the old mining town. Check the Bay Area Ghost Hunters’ Meetup page for upcoming excursions such as the Haunted History Tour of Alum Rock Park on Saturday October 19th, or the Ghost & History Walk of Downtown San Jose on Saturday October 26th.

Looking for a pumpkin patch? San Jose has more than a few! Try Spina Farms’ Pumpkin Patch in South San Jose (Santa Teresa area) for the corn maze, or Moreland Education Foundation’s Pumpkin Patch and Haunted Trail (ranked Best in Bay Area by ABC7). Looking for a simple, neighborhood option? ABC Tree Farms has a plethora of locations for their Pick of the Patch Pumpkins.

Have some little ones ready to show off their costumes? Join in on a Halloween parade! Come to Downtown Los Gatos for the annual Halloween Pet & Kids Parade, Sunday October 27th from 3pm-5pm. Stop by the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Library in Downtown San Jose for an afternoon of family fun at their annual Halloween Parade, Friday October 25th from 3:15pm-4:30pm. Trick or treat at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo during their Green Halloween event on Saturday October 26th and Thursday October 31st from 1pm-4pm.

Looking for a scare? California Great America’s Halloween Haunt and Winchester Mystery House, this year presenting Unhinged, are staples for the local thrill seeker. Looking for a home-brew horror? How about Rebel Yell Haunted House in San Jose’s Cambrian Park neighborhood.

However you choose to celebrate, have a happy Halloween!

The Haunted Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco

If you love haunted real estate, then touring the gorgeous and spooky Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco should be on your bucket list.  I was there with my extended family as part of a ghost walk in SF some years ago, and found it to be one of the most interesting places in The City.

Queen Anne Hotel - haunted tour in San Francisco

Miss Mary Lake’s Bedroom


I’m intuitive and have sometimes had experiences that you might call paranormal, though nothing huge – and I’ve never “seen” a ghost. At the Queen Anne Hotel, though, I did feel a large cold spot – and I wasn’t the only relative to do so in that spacious Victorian.

Like any good tourist, I snapped some digital photos (and like any decent ghost hunter, I hoped there would be something of interest on the images later).  One photograph that I took of the staircase had a least 3 orbs that I can make out. I know, they could be dust…. Here’s the original photo, and after that the same one but zoomed in, with increased brightness, and the 3 orbs circled in green.

Queen Ann Hotel in San Francisco - orbs untouched


And next, zoomed in, lightened, with the round white blobs circled.

Queen Ann Hotel in San Francisco - orbs


This hotel has been written about numerous times, both because of its charming ghost hostess and because of its history and lovely accommodations.

From TripSavvy last December: Haunted Hotels: San Francisco’s Queen Anne (Check out the orb in the photo of Mary Lake’s bedroom over the right side of the bed!)

SF Gate article from last October – rather full of unproven scandal, but touching on history nicely otherwise:
The senator, the schoolteacher and the scandal of San Francisco’s famed haunted hotel

The tour we took, years ago, was via the San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, and this lovely inn was only one of a few fascinating stops along the way that we were introduced to by Jim Fassbinder, the owner of the company (there’s a different person giving the tours now, but Jim apparently continues to be the proprietor). I recall that seeing the inside of the hotel was not guaranteed then – and the site listed for the tour does not mention it at all, only that there’s an unnamed indoor location that might be a part of the tour. I’m hoping that if you do the tour, it will work out that you can see the inside of the hotel as part of it, but of course the tour is a lot of fun even without it.