Most Haunted Places in Monterey

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

Monterey, California, was founded on June 3, 1770; it served as the capital of Alta California under Spain from 1804-1821 and Mexico from 1822-1846. During that time, Monterey became home to California’s first theater, public building, public library, publicly funded school, and newspaper. 

However, long before colonization, Monterey was an inhabited port. It was home to the Rumsen Ohlone tribe, one of seven linguistically distinct Ohlone groups in California that inhabited the area. The city was named after Monterey Bay, which was named after Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602. 

As the oldest city in the region, it is no surprise that there is a gaggle of ghost stories and alleged paranormal activity. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, Monterey has a great local history and chilling tales of murder and mayhem. So join us as we count down the ten most haunted places in Monterey, California

To see these places in person, take a ghost tour with Monterey Ghosts!

10) Colton Hall

One of the most historic buildings in California, Colton Hall, was built in 1847; it was initially a public school and town hall. The Monterey City Jail was built as an addition to the hall in 1854 and was used until 1956. No one ever escaped! The jail is also part of the city museum and can be toured. Prisoners were tried and sentenced at Colton. 

While sometimes a sentence might include imprisonment or hard labor, other times it meant execution. Untold numbers of criminals and soldiers were put to death here. Soldiers, in particular, were hung from the second-floor balcony for a multitude of reasons, including treason or desertion. In a place where so many have been put to death, it’s no wonder that a handful still lingers.

Hauntings in Colton Hall

Guests and staff have reported hearing footsteps and ghostly whispers, experiencing cold spots, and feeling watched while visiting the Hall. “ The Hanging Men” are said to appear nightly at dusk, always three shabby-looking prisoners in their death throws, just below that second-floor balcony.

9) The Stokes Adobe

This building was built in 1833 as the home of an influential and successful trapper named Ambrose Tomlinson. Tomlinson had made a small but luxurious one-bedroom home, flaunting his prosperity. Despite the extravagance, he sold the building to James Stokes shortly thereafter. Stokes turned out to be a military deserter posing as a doctor. 

He was a skilled con man; he succeeded with his charade for years despite a high patient mortality rate. Many of his patients died under mysterious circumstances, including the husband of a woman he ended up marrying, as well as the Governor of Alta California at the time. In the end, Stokes killed himself, allegedly in front of his children, after assaulting his youngest daughter. 

In 2017, it was sold to wine connoisseur Constance Laub, who has kept the name Stokes Adobe: Bar-Restaurant-Patio. The staff has reported seeing Stokes’ ghost on the stairs, slamming doors, or being shoved by him. Gragg appeared in the bar, playing the piano and calling staff names.  Footsteps, a baby’s cries, and glass breaking and whispering were also heard.  Unexplained cold areas were felt, and items like wine glasses were seen moving by themselves.

8) The Monterey Hotel

Constructed in 1904, a stone’s throw from the fisherman’s wharf, The Monterey Hotel is one of the most iconic buildings in California. While the staff shows guests of the hotel every courtesy, the legends and myths of the Monterey could send some running for the door. Many ghost stories take place here, and at least three well-known spirits haunt these halls. The ghost of an unknown teenage girl is often spotted roaming the staircase and the halls on the upper floors. 

The most famous ghost at this building is believed to be a former hotel manager named Fred.  He is mostly seen on the main staircase in the lobby, especially by the staff. Sometimes people will even hear him complaining about repairing broken stairs in the hotel. He is also thought to be responsible for messing with alarm clocks within guest rooms and their mobile devices.


More Hauntings at The Monterey Hotel


Another well-known ghost is a man dressed in fine early 19th-century clothing, often seen looking in the lobby mirror. Many believe this is the spirit of the hotel’s architect. In addition to these particular ghosts, staff and guests have reported hearing disembodied footsteps and voices regularly. There have even been sightings of objects such as doors and light switches moving of their own accord at this hotel.

7) The Robert Louis Stevenson House

Completed in 1832, this building was initially known as The French Hotel. Stevenson first came to stay there in 1879. At the hotel, Stevenson wrote The Amateur Emigrant, The Pavilion on the Links, Prince Otto, and essays on Henry David Thoreau and the Japanese reformer Yoshida Torajiro. 

Today, the building is said to be haunted, home to a ghost known as the” Lady in Black,” as well as other spirits and unexplained occurrences. The “Lady in Black” is said to be the former proprietress, Manuela Perez Giradin, who rented out rooms to boarders.  Her spirit is believed to be most active in December, as that was the month of her passing. The unexplained activity in the house seems to focus on the upstairs nursery where she cared for her grandchildren during the epidemic. 

This is where books fly off the shelves, empty rocking chairs rock themselves, other objects move across the floor, and there is always a strong smell of disinfectant. In recent years, the stairs leading to the nursery have been blocked off during December to avoid disturbing her. While this historic site is well worth the visit, we recommend not doing it during the holidays.

6) The Carmel Mission

The Carmel Mission was founded and built by Father Junipero Sero in 1771 using slave labor provided by indigenous people. It is one of California’s most authentically restored Catholic mission churches. There are several unmarked Native American graves on the site. Travel Channel and Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans said he has learned through interviews that there are allegedly hauntings of an aggressive nature at the famous Catholic mission where Serra is buried

Specifically, candles are known to light themselves and float about the area, and Father Serra’s ghost is known to pace the halls only to disappear when approached. The old Mission has other resident ghosts as well. A young Native American boy is said to appear wandering the grounds outside. Most terrifying is a phantom rider on a headless white horse, which has also been reportedly seen on the grounds at dusk.

5) Point Sur Lighthouse

This lighthouse was constructed and established in 1889 at the peak of the 361-foot rock at the head of the point. Point Sur is said to be one of the most haunted lighthouses on the West Coast. For over one hundred years, it has warned approaching ships of natural and manmade dangers. The lighthouse has not always been successful; many have lost their lives at Point Sur. 

According to local ghost hunters, at least 20 active ghosts inhabit this historical marker. One such ghost is a man dressed in dark blue 19th-century garb; he wanders the stairwells inside the tower. However, most spirits float above the crashing waves as if searching for their bodies, lost at sea. At least one lightkeeper’s wife died in those homes and is said to be an aggressive apparition. It is believed to be one of the most haunted lighthouses in America and one of the creepiest places in Monterey.

4) Tor House and Hawk Tower

The Tor House was built in 1919 by poet Robinson Jeffers. The imposing Hawk Tower stands beside it; experts consider both buildings haunted. Jeffers made the home for himself, his wife Una, and their children, who came along later. They are eerie buildings of craggy granite and lie on a knoll overlooking the sea. Jeffers named the tower Hawk Tower, allegedly after a hawk that often appeared while building the tower but stopped appearing after he finished construction. 

Jeffers made a statement alluding to otherworldly activity in the buildings before his passing; “We raised two boys here; all that we heard or saw was beautiful — and hardly human.” Jeffers even wrote a poem titled “ Ghost” about the place. Allegedly, he never found his voice as a poet until he began work on the house and tower. While in the final year of tower stonework, he compiled and printed a limited run of the book Tamar and Other Poems. 

The home has been featured on the TV show Ghost Adventures.  During filming, the crew captured an image they believed to be not Jeffers but Una.  An employee at the home also reported that a book about Una flew off a bookshelf by itself repeatedly. Jeffers ended up building one of the most haunted places in Monterey and one of the creepiest towers in the United States.

3) The Lara-Soto Adobe

The Lara-Soto Adobe was built in 1842 by Francisco Soberanes, also called Casa Jesus Soto (Soto was 2nd owner). Legend has it that the son of Manuel Soto and his wife, Dona Feliciana Lara, was born strangely malformed. The child died mysteriously at the age of three. Instead of burying him in the family plot at San Carlos Cemetery, Soto, grief-stricken, dug a ditch and buried the boy in the front yard.

Then, Soto planted a cypress tree above the grave, and according to legend, this led to a curse. The home fell under the effects of a “mal paso” or “ evil path” curse and was soon overrun by drunks, squatters, and outlaws. John Steinbeck purchased the house four years later from Blanch. John and Gwyn Steinbeck lived here with their first son Thom while he wrote The Pearl, coincidentally, a story about a couple who lost their son.  

After the Steinbeck family left, it was purchased by a doctor who began hearing voices, laughter, and footsteps in the adobe at night. The Monterey Institute of International Studies now owns the adobe. Several years ago, the tree roots of the cypress tree started to cause an upheaval of the brick walkway. The bones of a child were reportedly found under the bricks but were reburied.

2) Los Coches Adobe

The Los Coches Adobe was built in 1843 and expanded in 1848 by Willaim Brunner Richardson. By 1854, it had become a famous inn and stagecoach stop for passengers traveling between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and smaller communities. It had also become a brothel and is now believed to be haunted by the madame who ran it. 

As the legend goes, she would sneak into her guests’ rooms in the very early hours while they slept and slit their throats and steal their gold (her guests were usually miners.) It’s said that her ghost has been spotted wandering the grounds consistently for nearly a century. Guests and staff have seen the spirit over the years and heard screams coming from empty rooms and from an old well on the property, perhaps where she would dispose of her victims occasionally. 

One of the most extreme otherworldly events on record has occurred at this former stagecoach inn. People have reported standing inside the historic adobe and having the room regress into another time period around them — the time, perhaps, during which that madame was murdering her guests. Today the Los Coches Adobe is a designated historical landmark offering daily tours. Ghost hunters and experts have inspected the grounds, and all agree this is one of the most haunted places in Monterey.

1) Ghost Tree at Pebble Beach

Ghost Trees is a famed big wave surfing location off the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. The mysterious Ghost Tree stands over a bleak cliff overlooking a volatile sea. In the late 18th/early 19th centuries, Maria del Carmen Barreto Garcia Madariaga owned some 45,000 acres of the California Central Coast, including Pescadero Point. Pescadero Point is a dangerous and rocky outcropping just below the tree where many unexplained occurrences have taken place. 

After Maria died in 1856, people reported sightings of a mysterious woman in a white lace gown. Presumed to be her ghost, she is now known as the “Lady in Lace.” She is often seen strolling down the middle of the road before vanishing into the foggy ocean without a trace. Despite some chilling 50-ft waves in the last few decades, there has been only one surf-related death at the tree. 

Ghost Tree’s mythical aura resulted in tragic consequences and became one of the few waves in the world to claim a surfer’s life. Pebble Beach is one of the most famous golf courses in California, and as a result, the Tree sees many visitors. This single craggy and gnarly Cypress Tree overlooking a treacherous surf break is the creepiest, most haunted place in Monterey county.

Haunted Monterey

Monterey, California, has so much to offer. It is a must-see city and county for lovers of the otherworldly and spooky. To experience the city’s most haunted locations in person, book a ghost tour with Monterey Ghosts!