The city of San Francisco has a centuries-long history with ghosts, ghouls, and all types of entities that have the power to frighten even the bravest of people.
After all, wouldn’t you cower at the thought of being grabbed firmly in the dark despite knowing that there isn’t a single living soul there?
And wouldn’t your heart skip a beat when a voodoo priestess crosses your path to curse you for taking her name in vain?
Updated 9/19/2019 – All of these spooky incidents and more are just part of another day at the most haunted places in San Francisco.
If you think you’re up to the paranormal challenges San Francisco’s insanely haunted locations have to offer, don’t linger on this page for long.
Start scrolling and clicking to discover 10 scary places where you can’t avoid crossing paths with the mysterious unknown.
Be forewarned – you won’t be able to shake off the ghosts you seek there easily.
Many have tried and failed only to become their victims over the years.
So, only head to these real haunted places if you have bravery to spare.
10 Most Insanely Haunted Places In San Francisco
Table of Contents
- 1 #10) Neptune Society Columbarium
- 2 #9) Trinity+St. Peters Episcopal Church
- 3 #8) Alcatraz
- 4 #7) The Sutro Baths
- 5 #6) Golden Gate Park
- 6 #5) UCSF Medical Center
- 7 #4) The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
- 8 #3) San Francisco Art Institute
- 9 #2) The Donaldina Cameron House
- 10 #1) Mary Ellen Pleasant Park
- 11 Choosing A Haunted Place to Visit
#10) Neptune Society Columbarium
Just the thought of walking through a graveyard, mausoleum or columbarium is bound to make you shiver.
However, the San Francisco Columbarium, a.k.a. the Neptune Society Columbarium, will send chills down your spine as you walk between the cremated ashes of over 30,000 remains.
Some of these date all the way back to 1898 when the building was part of The Odd Fellows secret society.
While the building’s condition and the remains are enough to spook visitors, there are actually ghosts who restlessly walk around the columbarium.
You can spot one if you head there at night or be one of the few people who actually felt their presence.
A woman who recently took a tour through the Columbarium felt a hand on her back, but didn’t see anyone when she turned around.
However, she discovered a white handprint on her dark blouse when she got home!
#9) Trinity+St. Peters Episcopal Church
As holy as churches may be, they’re one of the favorite places for ghosts.
Trinity+St. Peters Episcopal Church comes to prove this as it’s one of the insanely haunted places in San Francisco.
Church goers have seen a gray figure make its way out of the men’s bathroom only to disappear through a wall on the other side of the hall.
Till date, no one has been able to identify it or find out what made it haunt this specific spot.
While standing at Trinity+St. Peters Episcopal Church, you’re also bound to experience 3 directional drafts, which is weird considering how tightly closed the place is.
You may also notice the shadow of a person dancing on the walls or even be lucky (?) to come across the white suit ghost.
Expect a deathly stare and sinister face to meet your eyes.
Like the gray figure, the reason he haunts the church is unknown.
A formidable federal penitentiary in the past, Alcatraz continues to scare those coming to it.
Visit this haunted prison in San Francisco and you’ll hear the sounds of men in heated conversations, moans, sobs, screams, and clanging metal doors.
There are also stories of an entity called ‘The Thing’, which has glowing eyes and a terrible smell.
These are nothing, though, compared to the ghosts of Alcatraz themselves.
If you really want to send chills down your spine, head to D-Block.
Known as the most haunted block in all the prison, it’s where the worst inmates used to be locked up.
Even when Alcatraz was functional, the toughest criminals would scream for help.
Some say that a 19th century prisoner used to kill inmates there, adding their spirits to those already imprisoned there forever.
Go on a tour and stop by cells 12 and 14D for a truly haunting experience… if you dare!
#7) The Sutro Baths
The Sutro Baths are now ruins of what was once a large public saltwater swimming pool complex.
Burned down by a mysterious fire in the 1960s, today the Sutro Baths are haunted by the spirits of those who enjoyed its facilities the most in their lives.
You can easily spot them by their clothing, especially during nighttime as San Francisco’s weather then makes it unusual for people to flaunt sun dresses and swimming pants.
In most cases, the ghosts will ignore you.
It would seem that they’re stuck in a loop, reliving the heyday of the Sutro Baths.
You may even hear laughs and singing if you concentrate enough.
Even if you don’t believe in ghost stories, we urge you not to venture into the tunnels on your own.
The entity behind the claw marks throughout the tunnel system may not be as harmless as the ghosts on top.
#6) Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is truly one of the insanely haunted places in San Francisco as it has THREE entities waiting to interact with the living.
The first comes from the Lady of the Lake story that many locals are familiar with.
She is known as the ‘White Lady’ of Stow Lake.
The barefooted, fair-haired ghost in a dirty white dress is constantly looking for her baby who had rolled into the lake and drowned while she was busy chatting with another woman.
If you want to make your heart skip a beat for a second, watch out for the white lady near the Pioneer Women and Children statue.
While the ghost is active, the statue moves!
It comes to life and its expression changes.
Sometimes, its face changes shape or its arms or head disappear!
Just make sure you don’t get caught by the ghost cop of Golden Park Gate.
After dying on duty at the park, he tends to roam around and issue tickets to those committing traffic violations.
If you come across him, head out of the park immediately!
#5) UCSF Medical Center
The UCSF Medical Center is bustling with energy by day; but come night, the long, lonely hallways become cold and eerie with all the ghosts gliding down them.
You may come across the women who died in childbirth as they peek into the rooms of patients on the 15th floor, which is where the Intensive Care Nursery used to be.
Some new mothers have been attacked there by malevolent entities who hated them for surviving labor.
The 8th floor is the creepiest though.
Formerly the pediatric unit of UCSF Medical Center, the spirits of children haunt the place.
They used to play pranks on other patients there, many of which led to a few deaths.
As a result, the whole floor had to be exorcised.
Still, some of the younger ghosts linger on, frightening the staff, patients, and others seeking to connect with them.
#4) The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
The SF Bay Bridge has a couple of ghosts who are out to get those driving across.
There are even recent paranormal reports that come from people walking the new Bay Bridge on the Oakland side.
The first ghost is that of a man wearing a 40s style hat and raincoat.
Legend has it that his car broke down in 1948 on the San Francisco bridge side and was run over as he was walking to a phone booth.
If you ever spot him, make sure to look at him out of the corner of your eye.
He’ll disappear if you look at him directly.
If you don’t get to see him, you’ll definitely come across the headless man.
Possibly the victim of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, he tends to sneak into the back seat of unsuspecting drivers.
If you don’t see him but hear knocking on your car’s windows while driving on the lower deck, it’s maybe the Bay Bridge Troll.
In charge of guarding the bridge, locals say it used to reside in the 18-inch iron sculpture, but now hides away from the direct sun under the shallower waters of the bay.
#3) San Francisco Art Institute
The Art Institute of San Francisco has been haunted for decades.
The ghosts of the Russian Hill cemetery it was built on were angry after their forever home was disturbed.
Their screams and angry voices can be heard throughout the campus.
Many students have been terrified by the sounds of footsteps following them after the lights turned off suddenly.
You may want to stay away from the school’s tower.
There’s an evil presence there that has been known to cause health issues, personal problems, and bring on accidents.
The spirit interfered with the tower’s construction through these, screaming at times to scare off workers or breaking furniture to show its anger.
A séance in the tower revealed that there are multiple ghosts behind the hauntings there.
So, head to San Francisco Art Institute cautiously.
#2) The Donaldina Cameron House
Donaldina Cameron was an angel for hiding Chinese immigrants forced into prostitution and slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
However, burning her house along with the immigrants seeking refuge there has made this a real haunted house and one of the most haunted places in SF.
Currently a church and family service agency, the building is littered with gold and red charms that are supposed to ward off evil spirits.
Try taking a picture there and you may notice white figures floating in the background.
This is because the spirits of the women who died there in the fire never left.
Joining the women’s spirits are the ghosts of the Chinese boys who were sexually abused between 1947 and 1977.
While the Cameron House was a Presbyterian Mission, Reverend F.S. “Dick” Wichman abused the children and the enslaved Chinese women and, at times, killed them.
You can easily hear the cries of children coming from the basement during quiet nights, but that’s if you’re allowed to stay there.
#1) Mary Ellen Pleasant Park
Mary Ellen Pleasant Park is the smallest park in the city, but one of the spookiest considering who haunts it:
The Mary Ellen Pleasant ghost.
In life, Mary Ellen Pleasant was an activist who secretly sheltered people escaping slavery and found them new jobs.
Listed as a capitalist in 1890 census, she gained a reputation as a voodoo priestess as many of her colleagues, several clients, and even her Caucasian lover died suddenly and without a known cause.
However, with no evidence tying her to these deaths, Mary wasn’t convicted of crime.
If you think you’re brave enough to meet up with Mary Ellen, seek her spirit and call her name.
Just make sure to not say anything bad about her or else she’ll push you or drop something on your head.
Be especially wary of crows or sounds near the trees and bushes as these indicate that she’s nearby.
Curiously, some locals say that you can have her grant you a wish or favor, but only if you ask her nicely.
Choosing A Haunted Place to Visit
Ready to visit one, or more, of these haunted spots?
First, get directions here.
Second, round up your posse and check out the places on this list.
And be careful not to anger any of the spirits…otherwise you may never make it home.
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