This is the time of year, with Halloween and Day of the Dead approaching, that people start to think about “spooky stuff.” During this season questions about what lies on the “other side” abound. Many seek answers and embark on their own investigative journey. As the author of two “Haunted Long Beach” books, let me share my quest to uncover eerie happenings in Long Beach and Signal Hill, and provide some tips to “unearth” information.
My search began in 1989, while I was on the Publications Committee of the Historical Society of Long Beach. After debating what the committee should publish next, I mentioned having been in Gettysburg, and how amazed I was to see so many books about Gettysburg ghosts.
In talking with the manager, I found the shop could barely keep books about ghosts on the shelves. Sharing this information with the Publications Committee, I mentioned I already had several allegedly true ghost stories gathered from indexing early area newspapers. I went on to add that a book on Long Beach hauntings might be a way to raise needed revenue. We decided to go ahead with the project, but realized we needed to gather additional stories. We put up posters, along with forms to fill out, in area libraries and around town asking, “Have You Seen a Ghost Lately.” The advertising resulted in two money making books.
The Haunted Long Beach books are different from other ghost books because several of the stories can possibly be traced to actual events. For over 20 years I spent whatever free time I could find working on Long Beach Public Library’s Long Beach History Index. Chronicled were human interest stories, war, politics, crime, social happenings, obituaries and much more. Up until about 1962 newspapers included the address of the person or event being written about. Since the library received so many requests about the history of a house or business, the address found in the article was also included in the index. That way someone could do a keyword search by putting in an address and perhaps find information. That’s how I was able to uncover stories which seemed to give possible validly to some ghostly happenings.
Let me share one story from Haunted Long Beach 2, and what the Long Beach History Index helped lead to. It’s about mysterious happenings at the Bundy house on Cedar Avenue.
“The unseen housemate manifested itself first as a cold spot in the middle of summer. The room became almost unbearably cold, and Gail Bundy jokingly addressed the cold spot, asking that it go away because it was making everyone uncomfortable. Within minutes, the cold spot vanished. It wasn’t too long after this that the family dining table conversation turned to the possibility that their house could be haunted. When this subject was voiced, every window on the bottom floor, including a pair of huge glass doors, flew open. This convinced the family that they weren’t alone in their new home.
The Bundy’s began to routinely talk to the presence, especially when something turned up missing. It seemed that household items, clothing and other things would frequently disappear. Hunting for them did no good, they couldn’t be found. Instead, the family just asked their “presence” politely to return the lost article. In no time the lost whatever would be found lying in the middle of the hall, on the kitchen table or in some other conspicuous place.
It began to appear as if some of the spooky happenings were caused as the ghost went about her daily chores. The Bundy’s began to think that the entity was cleaning up after them and that the lost items had been removed while she “tidied up.” She always returned them when asked and nothing was ever damaged or destroyed.
There were signs she was going about her business when, every so often, the two-way door to the kitchen would swing back and forth, as if somebody had just breezed through. Lights would often turn on when they sensed the entity entering a room, and they would turn off when she left. She wasn’t always so energy conservation conscious, sometimes forgetting to close the refrigerator door.
It seemed the entity had no set cleaning schedule. One evening, the Bundy’s reported, there was a terrible noise downstairs. It sounded as if the dining room chairs were being moved all over the place. As the sleepy family raced downstairs, they were shocked to find the chairs in perfect order at the table, not a speck of dust on them. Had the family ghost been cleaning?
There was one thing the family’s housemate wasn’t fond of — candles. Candles lit in the house tended to go out mysteriously, and any left burning in an upstairs bedroom were quickly extinguished. Eerily, in more than one instance, the wicks were ripped completely out of the candle. Was their ghost afraid there would be a fire?
The family asked psychic researchers to come to the house, and they confirmed there was a spirit, and that she once lived there. Later the Bundy’s daughter Amber did a little research of her own with friends and a Ouija board.
The girls directed questions to the “presence” and the board responded. Amber couldn’t believe it, especially when she asked the spirit moving the board to perform a specific act, such as turn off the lights, and it did. Amber then and there became a lifelong believer in ghosts.”
Who was the ghost haunting the Cedar Street address? One possibility surfaced when I checked the Long Beach History Index. I found a woman who had died in the house — Miss Mary Abrams. The 80-year-old woman had passed away in the home of her brother, Dr. J. H. Abrams, on March 18, 1923. She had kept house for him for nearly 60 years. Was it her spirit that was still trying to keep the house tidy?
One question prospective ghost hunters may ask is when can you expect a ghost to appear? My research led me to the conclusion that a ghost may show itself once in a hundred years or once every Tuesday.
Seth, an entity who speaks though medium Jane Roberts gives an explanation in the book The “Unknown” Reality: volume 2. Seth describes “psychological” atmospheres that surround the earth which allow him access to our world: “My mental or psychic journeys must occur in a medium of some kind. There are rhythmic activities in the atmosphere that I count upon and use, as for example a sea captain might use the rhythm of the waves for his voyages. Those inner atmospheric ‘waves’ have a certain regularity. They are more intense at certain times than other.”
Seth’s statement might explain what Mollie and her daughter Holly experienced in their little two-bedroom house on California Avenue. They seem to have a “cyclical” ghost, one who appears in regular cycles, every few years at Christmas. It’s almost as though whatever is necessary to cause the ghost to manifest itself takes a set time to build up enough energy to show itself again. You’ll find this and other stories in Haunted Long Beach 2.
I hope this brief explanation will help any prospective ghost hunters out there. Of course, there is equipment you may use to aid in your search — spirit boxes, electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors, digital voice recorders.
However, if you have already experienced an eerie occurrence in Long Beach or Signal Hill a simple, free research tool would be to use the Long Beach History Index. Even if your house or business was built after 1962 (when addresses were no longer published in the newspapers), you may still find a “ghostly” link. One example is a haunting at the Hyatt reported to me by a hotel employee in 2019. The hotel was built on the site of the Pine Avenue Pier, in which 38 died and over 200 were injured when the pier collapsed during Empire Day celebrations in 1913. Could one of these victims still haunt the site? Another example is the unexplained happenings at the Long Beach Towne Center, built on the site of the former Navy Hospital, where many died.