Sacramento, the capital of California, has buried some dark secrets. Literally. The Old Sacramento Tunnels, as they are known, are home to history both mundane and bizarre. In 1861-1862, it suffered the worst rainstorm in the recorded history of the state.
The state government fled the city for fear of drowning, and steamboats traversed the streets, evacuating citizens.
The city was practically transformed into an inland sea. Christmas was canceled. Thousands of people lost their livelihoods, and many lost their lives.
Dire times called for drastic measures, and over time the streets of Sacramento were physically raised up, an average of 10 feet. This created a vast system of underground tunnels beneath the city, which remains to this day.
These tunnels are a city beneath the city. They are the original streets of Sacramento, and the dead still walk them.
Meanwhile, Civil War continued to claim countless lives each day, and the violent excesses of the Gold Rush still haunted the landscape.
Over time, the Old Sacramento Tunnels unsurprisingly became a hotbed of crime, murder, and depravity.
Bodies were stored there. Organized crime bosses treasured the tunnels for their myriad dark corners in which to dispose of enemies and victims.
People would enter the tunnels, seeking thrills or adventure or simply to satisfy their curiosity, and never return.
Dark corners are attractive to the paranormal, and the area is undoubtedly haunted.
Various cryptids, seeking solace from the prying eyes of humanity, skitter and lurk in the darkness.
There’s so much happening down there, right below the feet of an unsuspecting populace.
The Old Sacramento Tunnels are now part of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, and tours are available to the brave.
Would you dare enter a pitch black tunnel, filled with ghosts and specters and who knows what else?
Godspeed if you do.
Ghosts of the Old Sacramento Tunnels
People died in the Old Sacramento Tunnels. They drowned during the Flood, and they were murdered or were lost in later years.
Today, many businesses above the tunnels have the dubious privilege of an entryway into the drowned city. They take the form of a moldy staircase or a trapdoor, or a steep drop in an alley.
Most new owners of these businesses quickly choose to close them off, with bricks and boards and sometimes with prayers and ritual.
Many speak of a dark energy emanating from below. People feel inexplicably uneasy or even frightened when nearing the depths.
Cold spots are common, intensifying the closer one gets to the underground area.
The team entered the tunnels and spent quite a long time down there. They didn’t speak much of what they found after they finally emerged, but they strongly advised against ever entering the Old Sacramento Tunnels again.
For their part, the business owners do their best to put the experience out of their minds. Some say that the looks on the ghost hunters’ faces was enough to convince them some things should remain unknown.
The offices and shops in the area come and go, but the boarded up tunnels remain. When a new tenant enquires about them, they are implored to leave the barriers alone. If they should find a strange symbol on the wall, inscribed or drawn in chalk, they are asked not to question it and never to remove it.
What did these men and women see down there? What frightened them so, these seasoned professional ghost hunters?
Is it still there, lurking below the city?
Some the best and most accurate psychic mediums say they have sensed very real entities there.
Are you brave enough to learn the truth? All it takes is one step down.
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Although ghost hunters approach the supernatural with a scientific, critical eye, some take another path to knowledge of the beyond.
The Old Sacramento Tunnels are infamous for so-called occult activity. People enter the underground to enact rituals and séances, summonings and spells.
Explorers speak of strange figures in robes moving quickly through the buried streets. They have in the past been mistaken for members of the Ku Klux Klan, but today it is thought that they are something much stranger, and perhaps even more dangerous.
There are always those people who embrace the supernatural to an unhealthy degree. They wish to bring spirits onto our plane, not to learn about them or help them, but simply because they can.
Whether their methods are sound or not, they have been known to attract the attention of supernatural beings. Stirring up the spirits is rarely safe, even with the best of intentions and even for the most well-equipped.
What are these people doing?
Would you risk finding out?
An Inhuman Hunger
Other than those who feel a connection to the paranormal, the homeless population of Sacramento are the only ones who truly desire to explore the depths.
Seeking shelter, these unfortunate souls sometimes travel down into the Old Sacramento Tunnels alone or in groups. They set up camps, they spend the night.
Rarely do they spend more than one.
There are countless tales from the Sacramento homeless of voices and apparitions in the old town beneath the city.
Few choose to listen to their ravings, but there is much truth to be found in what they say.
They will tell you about the White Lady who floats just out sight around every corner. They will speak of the hate-filled screams of a man dressed like a cowboy, shrieking and raging at anyone who approaches.
Most disturbing, they will tell you about the rats.
The rats, they say, “don’t act natural”. They follow you, stalk you, creeping through every nook and cranny.
Sometimes their eyes are far too red to be explained by the darkness, and carry a glint of intelligence no animal should.
Legends speak of a rat/human hybrid, a cryptid composed of dozens or more rats entwined by their tails.
Their flesh grows together, and over time, a single consciousness emerges.
It is inhuman and unnatural, and it hates humankind.
Some say the beast has somehow developed the power of human speech, and will whisper threats and curses in the night.
Others say that the rat thing has dominion over its lesser brethren, and will send them to attack, kill, and consume any who encroach on its territory.
The homeless people don’t like to go into the Old Sacramento Tunnels anymore. Some of them don’t come back.
But what about a well-equipped crew of explorers, fascinated with the paranormal?
Exploring the Old Sacramento Tunnels
As part of a State Historic Park, access to the Old Sacramento Tunnels is permitted but regulated. There are a number of tours available in the area, some focusing on the supernatural, others not.
In whatever way you choose to experience this town below the city, keep an eye out for the inexplicable.
Ghosts inhabit the tunnels, without a doubt, and things stranger still. Ghosts of the Gold Rush, ghosts from later years, and supernatural entities as yet unknown to the modern discipline of ghost hunting.
In many ways, the Old Sacramento Tunnels represent a frontier in paranormal investigation. It’s a large space that literally did not exist until less than two centuries ago, and it’s fully known to be haunted.
There are opportunities down there to make a new discovery, and that’s a rare thing these days.
The paranormal enthusiast can learn a lot down there, but there is always the risk of losing one’s sanity or worse. Step carefully through the shadows, keep an open mind, and be ready for anything.
And should you see a multitude of red eyes peering at you from the darkness…
Scheduling a Tour
Tours through the tunnels are run by the Sacramento History Museum.
To schedule a group tour (family friendly), go here.
To schedule an adult tour, go here.
To schedule a ghost tour, go here.
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