In 1848, the state of California was forever changed when a man named James Marshall found gold in Coloma.
Mines were created, towns were built and California became an official part of the United States.
But when the gold rush died down, several towns did not survive.
Updated 9/23/2019 – Today we examine those and other abandoned towns in Northern California where most of the remaining residents are ghosts.
Visit These Seven Haunted Northern California Towns at Your Own Risk
Table of Contents
7) Angels Camp, CA
This quaint town was nearing the point of abandonment when gold was discovered in nearby quartz veins.
The population quickly boomed and stamp mills were built to process several millions worth of gold.
Unfortunately, the town, like so many others, did eventually fail when gold was no longer found and the stamp mills were forced to shut their doors.
Recently a group of photographers set out to photograph the town when they saw a misty apparition near the abandoned stamp mill.
When they cautiously approached the building they saw a few other apparitions, seemingly moving about the mill as if it were still in operation and trying to communicate with each other.
As they fled the scene, one man swore he heard the sounds of the machines roaring back to life behind him.
6) Susanville, CA
Gold was discovered in a neighboring town in 1855, making the creation of Susanville seem like a no-brainer.
After the decline in the gold rush, this small town sat abandoned for well over a century.
However, Californians are slowly reviving the town, putting the pieces back together.
As they restore buildings, many have claimed to have heard the sounds of unseen townsfolk discussing nearby crops and the prospect of gold.
Many visitors have been spooked by the close proximity of these disembodied voices, although they don’t seem to be addressing anyone still living.
It would seem these spirits are stuck in time, back when Susanville first prospered.
5) Coloma, CA
Among gold and ghost towns of Northern California, Coloma is among the most famous.
This is where the gold rush first began when James Marshall discovered gold at his business partner’s sawmill.
While this time period made several men fairly wealthy, Marshall made no profit on his discovery.
Many local visitors today believe that because of this reason, James Marshall haunts the town of Coloma.
Some have claimed to have seen a transparent ghost bearing his likeness, walking just outside of town.
They think he is off searching for the gold and the wealth that should have been rightfully his while living.
4) Placerville, CA
Placerville, also creepily known as Hangtown, is located a short distance from Coloma, CA.
Placerville was born and declined due to the gold rush, although it remains in fantastic condition.
Recently a group of tourists came to visit Placerville, and were shocked at what happened to them.
As they wandered in the street, many of them believed they heard the sounds of boots walking along beside them.
When one of the group members spoke about the sound out loud, one of the tourists cried out in pain.
He had a burn mark, in the shape of a cattle rod, scorched lightly into his leg.
3) Coulterville, CA
The sleepy town of Coulterville was first developed in 1850, but did not have its official name until three years later.
Today, Coulterville is comprised of ramshackle shops and dust houses.
Those who dare to visit are often subjected to paranormal torment.
A resident poltergeist is said to live in Coulterville, and does not enjoy folks from out of town.
Even from a distance, folks who pass by have seen lights go on and off and random noises that don’t seem correlated with anything.
The spirit has been known to steal precious jewelry, shove people and pull on the hair of little girls who dare to enter his domain.
2) French Gulch, CA
French Gulch was established by French miners who came to seek their fortune in 1849.
The town grew quite popular and crowded when thousands of people crossed it on their way on the famous California Trail.
During the last five years, many California residents have claimed that French Gulch is haunted.
They have said that if you wander into the town late at night, you can see mysterious ghost lights floating around town.
Skeptics claim that these are reflected car lights from neighboring towns, but witnesses do not at all agree.
The ghost lights do not follow any pattern like car lights would, and they are sometimes seen in human form emanating a blue and green hue.
A few witnesses have since developed problems with their eyes, potentially leading to permanent blindness.
1) Old Shasta, CA
Of all the old gold rush towns built during the 1850s, Old Shasta is said to be in the worst physical shape as well as the most haunted.
Many California residents refuse to enter this area as hooded figures have been seen lurking in the shells of abandoned brick buildings.
A recent rumor reported that a group of tourists saw a couple approach and speak with one of these horrible figures.
When they were done speaking, the couple refused to speak or make eye contact with anyone.
When a friend went to check up on them and ask about their trip the following morning, she couldn’t find them.
Exploring new territory is always fun and adventurous, but sometimes there are serious consequences.
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Those who are wise should use caution when visiting the towns on this list…you never know what lurks behind the dusty, faded windows.