10 Most Terrifying Haunted Colleges in California

Why are colleges and universities so often haunted?

There are a number of possible reasons.

For one, they’re often very large.

Hundreds or even thousands of young people from all over the country come to them.

10 Most Terrifying Haunted Colleges in California

Photo credit left: flickr/8736322@N08 right: flickr/midnight-digital

Updated 2/9/2020 – Stress and emotions run very high at colleges too, with so many of those young minds just starting to find their way in the world.

It’s a very psychically potent environment, with a lot of possibilities for the sort of mental energy that attracts spirits.

Another possible reason is more down-to-Earth.

Colleges and universities need a lot of room, and they’re often built on top of older structures.

The old cliché of a school being built on top of an old Indian burial ground or haunted battlefield is more common than you might think.

This is even truer of California colleges.

There is so much drama and history in the state that it’s no wonder ghosts are everywhere.

Whatever the reason, college campuses are a great place to be spooked out.

In the nooks and crannies of the classrooms and dormitories are more stories of hauntings and paranormal activity than you can shake a stick at.

It’s just a shame that you can’t major in unexplained occurrences.

10 Most Terrifying Haunted Colleges in California

#10 – UCLA Ghost Hunters

UCLA campus - University of California at Los Angeles

Photo credit: ghosttheory.com

Actually, it wasn’t always true that you couldn’t major in ghosts.

The University of California at Los Angeles operated a parapsychology lab for nine years, from 1967 – 1978.

The lab was located in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience, and was home to a team of independent researchers.

Each was allowed to self-direct their work, investigating phenomena as they saw fit.

Today, there is little to no official record of the facility.

Researchers speak of an intense nightmare that several of them shared, just before the news came down that their funding was cut.

Why does UCLA cover up the existence of this lab?

#9 – The Secret Past of Cal State Channel Islands

Cal State Channel Islands

Photo credit: lovethesepics.com

The newest addition to the California State University system is the beautiful Cal State Channel Islands.

Not actually located on the islands, the campus is nestled in the foothills of Camarillo.

It’s a beautiful place with a great natural sciences curriculum.

It’s also built on the site of a notoriously haunted insane asylum.

The Camarillo State Mental Hospital closed in 1997, and was well known as a hotbed of paranormal activity.

The site reopened as Cal State Channel Islands in 2002.

Construction workers at the renovation complained many times of missing tools, strange sounds, or worse.

Today, several dorms and buildings are well-known to be haunted.

#8 – UCLA Dykstra Hall Ghost

UCLA Dykstra Hall

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The parapsychology lab isn’t the only place at UCLA to see ghosts.

Dykstra Hall, one of the college’s dormitories, is known to be haunted by a passive spirit.

The entity was once a student who committed suicide, hanging himself in a closet across from the third floor bathroom.

His ghost now inhabits the entire floor, but especially the bathroom.

Inexplicable moans and clanking sounds can often be heard emanating from the room.

He poses no threat other than perhaps disrupting late night study sessions.

#7 – Occidental College’s Friendly Ghost

Occidental College

Photo credit: oxy.edu

Occidental College is home to a number of spirits, but most notable is the one who resides in Erdman Hall.

In a particular room on the second floor, many students have reported unexplained occurrences.

Faucets and lights turn on and off, the shades move on their own, and the door locks and unlocks itself.

The culprit is believed to be the ghost of a young man or woman, perhaps a student, who is seeking companionship.

People who have experienced the ghost’s presence speak of a feeling of fun and humor.

The ghost is a prankster, simply seeking to whittle away a long, boring eternity spent at the college campus.

#6 – UC Berkeley’s Famous Faculty Club

University of California at Berkeley

Photo credit: berkeleyfacultyclub.com

The Faculty Club at the University of California at Berkeley is well-known to be haunted.

Visible manifestations are common, including that of Henry Morse Stephens.

Stephens was a professor at UCB in the early part of the 20th century.

He lived in the faculty club until his passing in 1919.

Visitors to the club have reported seeing Stephens sitting in a chair, and have even spoken with him.

Another ghost known to inhabit the club is the captain of the school’s 1920 football team.

He occasionally appears in the ironically named “Spirit Room”, so-called because of UC Berkeley’s school spirit.

#5 – Banana Slug Spirits

UC Santa Cruz

Photo credit: octoploid.wordpress.com

Isolated and quiet in a beautiful forest, it’s no wonder that so many ghosts and paranormal entities haunt UC Santa Cruz.

The most intense point of psychic activity is Porter College, one of the collections of buildings that makes up the university.

In building A, a suicide victim can sometimes be seen wandering the premises.

In building B, a multitude of ghosts make themselves known, sending objects flying around the room and imparting fear onto visitors.

Outside in an area known as the Meadow, a ghost woman named Lily often walks around.

She is usually wearing rags, or nothing at all.

#4 – Ghosts of Solano

Solano Community College

Photo credit: beniciaheraldonline.com

Solano Community College, near Sacramento, is a hotbed of paranormal activity.

In the attic of Martin House, a historical building directly across from the campus, a young suicide victim makes his presence known.

Nearby, the site of the old Solano Ambulance Company is famous for its ghost.

The original owner of the building was wealthy tycoon named Beck, who put in his will that the building be moved after his death.

Late in his life, Beck Avenue was named after him, and he wanted his old building to be placed on the street that bore his name.

His ghost appears to have moved with the building.

A mysterious old man is often seen around the house, speaking to no one and disappearing without a trace.

#3 – Haunted Hall of Art

UC San Francisco’s California School of Design

Photo credit: dbarchitect.com

The San Francisco Art Institute, home to UC San Francisco’s California School of Design, is a stylish, modern structure.

It has birthed many careers in the arts, and is considered one of the UC system’s finest art schools.

It was also built directly on top of a graveyard, and the ghosts are not fans of modern art.

Screams and other bizarre noises are frequently heard in the school’s tower, and students report feelings of unease and fright.

Most disturbing, renovations in the late 1960s were plagued by an impossibly coincidental series of accidents.

Several workers quit the job, fearing for their safety.

There were no fatalities, but each incident was more dangerous than the last, and came closer and closer to causing harm.

#2 – Photy the Photographer Ghost

Cypress College Photography Department

Photo credit: trendhunter.com

The Cypress College Photography Department is haunted by a friendly spirit.

Nicknamed Photy by the students, the entity roams around by an enlarging machine in the northwestern corner of the facility.

He is thought to be benign and helpful, granting a feeling of calm to stressed-out students in the area.

Photy was carried in by a student some years ago, hitching a ride on his own skull.

The student brought the skull in as a photography subject.

It had a bullet hole in it, telling us the cause of death but not the exact circumstances.

Despite his violent end, Photy doesn’t seem to blame the students for his predicament.

Perhaps he enjoys the company.

#1 – The Many Ghosts of Riverside City College

Riverside City College Campus

Photo credit: flickr/8736322@N08

Riverside City College is outright infested with spirits.

Doors frequently open and slam shut on their own.

Mysterious voices can often be heard in the Theater, discussing a variety of subjects.

A ghostly man wearing a suit roams the quad, and he’s not the only visible apparition.

A woman inhabits the lower parking lot by the automotive building.

She does not allow anyone to approach, darting around a corner and out of sight if anyone tries.

Paranormal investigators have visited the campus and detected Class A EVPs everywhere.

The place is covered with them.


Colleges and universities are a perfect place to indulge your thirst for the supernatural.

The volume of people passing through their halls ensures that any paranormal events are at least well-documented, if not explained.

College campuses are also often very beautiful, with well-maintained hiking trails and other activities nearby, making them a great component of any ghost hunting trip.