There once was a town near Colton whose name meant ‘Gentle Water’, named for the feeling of safety the residents enjoyed. Then the waters betrayed them. Today, Agua Mansa is nothing but a cemetery, and the horrors that lurk within. Built on the usually tranquil Santa Ana River, Agua Mansa was the largest town in San Bernardino County.
The settlers truly believed that the river was their friend and source of life, and they named the town for its peaceful waters. The town was proud home to the largest cemetery in the area, which sat atop a hill overseeing the landscape.
In 1862, something changed. The Santa Ana River became angry and dark. Some say it ran red, others say this was merely the blood of those the waters claimed. Regardless of the cause, that day was the end of Agua Mansa. The river flooded the town entirely, forcing the survivors to flee the town.
The only piece of Agua Mansa that remains to this day is the cemetery itself. It stayed dry as a bone during the flood, and still stands there now. It’s no longer such a peaceful place, though. Quite the opposite.
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The Legend of La Llorona
Queen of the spirits infesting Agua Mansa is the Weeping Woman, also known as La Llorona.
La Llorona is a prominent figure in Mexican folklore, and often appears around water.
She’s spotted in Agua Mansa quite often, and she’s not happy to see visitors.
Many, many years ago, La Llorona was a beautiful woman who was married to an unfaithful man. Discovering his transgressions one day, she lost all semblance of sanity.
Vowing to take everything from the man who had betrayed her, she drowned their six children in the nearby river.
Coming to her senses and realizing what she had done, La Llorona leapt into the river after them.
Not to save them, for it was far too late, but to join them in death.
She was swept downstream, never to be seen again.
Denied entrance to Heaven, La Llorona must wander the Earth until she finds the spirits of her murdered offspring. She has lost her way, and she wanders from river to river, hoping against hope to find site of her dark crime.
She weeps continuously, hating herself for what she has become, and knowing that her punishment on Earth is eternal.
In America and especially around Agua Mansa, it is said that La Llorona seeks to replace her lost children.
Kids are warned not to venture near the cemetery after dark, or La Llorona might snatch them up.
Groups of visitors have often heard her weeping in the night, and there are reports of the youngest member of a crew feeling a gentle hand resting on their shoulder, pulling them backwards.
Turn around quickly enough, and you just might catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of your eye.
Dressed all in flowing white, hair dripping wet, and a face bloated with the river and her own rage.
If you should see her clearly, she’s likely to be the last thing you lay eyes on before your own death.
An Old West Celebrity Sighting
Along with hundreds of other lost souls, Agua Mansa was the original resting place of Morgan Earp.
Murdered brother of legendary marshal Wyatt Earp, Morgan was well-known as a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Morgan’s death was the final straw for Wyatt, causing him to set off on the infamously blood-soaked Earp Vendetta Ride.
Although his body has since been moved, his ghost has not followed. Morgan still has work to do.
Teenagers and mischief-makers hoping to visit Agua Mansa at night with spray can or other pranks have found themselves terrified into submission on more than one occasion.
Would-be vandals report feelings of fear, unease, and cold taking all the fun out of their night. Such chills and emotional projections are a hallmark of the spirit world.
Morgan, it seems, prefers to keep the cemetery a tidy place.
Some of those who have proceeded against the Deputy’s warning have received a much sterner and deadlier rebuke.
More than one nighttime visitor to Agua Mansa has felt the rough abrasion of a rope slipping around their neck. Although there is no noose is to be seen, the red marks it leaves behind are far too real.
Morgan Earp, as a US Marshal, hanged more than one criminal in his day.
Hanged them by the neck until dead, as they say. And he did it for far lesser crimes than loitering and vandalism.
Be careful of your intentions visiting Agua Mansa Cemetery. The Deputy is in.
Man’s Eternally Faithful Friend
In more recent years, a small tragedy has become a horror for all who visit Agua Mansa.
The cemetery sits on a very windy, twisted road. It’s narrow and dark, and people tend to speed along assuming nobody else will be around.
Crashes aren’t unheard of, into trees or telephone poles or even other vehicles.
So, the road really isn’t so deserted, and an old resident of the area loved to walk his dog down the road every day.
He had a few close calls, but they were a stubborn pair and didn’t give up their daily ritual. Their stubbornness is what killed them.
The identity of the man is unknown, and there wasn’t much left of either of them after the car full of teenagers struck them at high speed. The poor kids were just out for a joyride, and never meant to hurt anyone.
They killed a man that night, and his dog, and everyone who visits Agua Mansa is the worse for it.
Ever since that night, cars speeding down Agua Mansa Road have gotten a scare every so often. The ghostly, translucent forms of a man and his dog appear out of nowhere, directly in front of the cars.
They appear only for a moment, vanishing again well before they can be struck.
Continuing to speed after seeing them, drivers report feeling a sudden chill even inside a heated vehicle.
Is he attempting to warn drivers to be safe? Is he simply reenacting his own death, as spirits so often do?
There might be no way to know for sure. He appears so briefly, delivering his message and then retreating back into the ether.
Perhaps spending some time out that way might yield results, but thus far nobody has been brave enough to dare.
The best times to see the man are after dark, between the hours of 10:00pm-4:00am. Drivers are advised to be cautious, both of the ghost himself and of other drivers speeding in hopes of seeing him.
As for the dog?
He’s there of course, walking faithfully beside his master. His howls can be heard sometimes in the night, and occasionally a squirrel or raccoon is found dead on the side of the road.
The strangest thing is, although they certainly appear to have been brought down by a predator, a closer examination reveals no actual bite marks.
It’s almost as if they died of fright.
There are ghosts in Agua Mansa, to be sure.
From Morgan Earp to the victims of the flood, and even more recent spirits like the hit and run victim and his poor dog.
It’s a sure bet that visitors to the cemetery will see… something.
The question is, will you like what you see? Or will you wish you had never gone?
Directions to Agua Mansa Cemetery
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