Before becoming the known Wilder Ranch State Park, this portion of Californian land standing on the Pacific Ocean coast went through a big number of hands and men who fought intensely for its ownership.
The story goes far back to 1839, when the Governor of Alta California, Juan Bautista Alvarado, gave the land to the three daughters of prominent Mexica José Joaquín Castro: María Candida, Jacinta and María de los Ángeles Castro.
A Story Of Family Betrayal
The oldest sister, María Candida Castro, had married a mysterious Siberian man in 1822 who deserted a Russian ship in California and soon adopted the Spanish culture and name of José Antonio Bolcoff.
By the year 1852, María de los Ángeles and her husband filed a request for the one-third of the ranch land that belonged to them, but the claim was rejected.
What Bolcoff did next was a wicked move: he destroyed every proof and paper stating that the land belonged to the three sisters and eventually fabricated a grant of the ranch for his sons in 1860, snatching two-thirds of the ranch that belonged to the two powerless younger sisters.
Rumor has it that both of them, but María de los Ángeles with unusual ferocity, grew a grudge for the Bolcoff family and even now, more than a century later, are still roaming in the ranch area demanding their land to be given back.
Rancho Refugio (as it was called before) turned into the actual Wilder Ranch when the property was sold to a dairy partnership, Baldwin Wilder. After its dissolution, it became the home of the Wilder family until the state purchased the land in 1974 and kept the former owner’s name.
The Ghost Sisters That Walk Around Wilder Ranch State Park in California
Now open to the public, some of the park’s visitors have stated seeing a figure of a lone woman walking the fields and around the ranch’s houses. They also tell that, when called or addressed, the woman never turns back but keeps drifting away.
Recognized by the nun-clothing one of them wears when visitors have caught a sight of her, people believe they are Jacinta and María de los Ángeles, who still walk what should have been their lands if Balcoff wouldn’t have stolen it from them.
A young mountain biker who ran into one of them retells:
“I saw a lady walking from afar, out of the path. I biked towards here to see if she needed help getting back on track but when I tried to talk to her, she didn’t seem to hear me. She never stopped walking, either”.
“Her pace was very slow. I called out for her a few times but when I took a better look at her clothing, I saw she was wearing a very old, puffed dressed. Like those you see in old history books."
“Chills went through my body. When I started biking away as fast as I could, I looked back one last time. She was looking right at me. She seemed angry and her eyes were all black”.
The young man later heard the story about the Castro sisters and says “I believe the woman I saw was one of them. I still bike in the Wilder Ranch sometimes, but if I ever run into her again, I definitely won’t be talking to her this time."