A Friendly Spirit in Black Diamond

Spirits abound across California.

It’s a very large state with an eventful history, and it’s no wonder restless souls appear so often.

Some wish us harm, but others do not.

Black Diamond was formerly a coal mining town and is now a Regional Preserve in Contra Costa County.

In the 1800s, Black Diamond was home to about 3,500 people.

A Friendly Spirit in Black Diamond

Photo credit: blackdiamondhistory.wordpress.com

Updated 9/19/2019 – Men moved to the town to work the mines, and soon a saloon, general store, and more sprang up to support them.

The miners spent working and living in Black Diamond, and many of them brought their wives and children.

The men and women of the town established a school to provide for the children’s education, and a woman known today only as “Mary” was hired as a teacher and nanny.

The people of Black Diamond lived an honest life for a time, if a little boring.

One day, though, all of the youth in the town suddenly became weak.

A mysterious illness swept through the children and only the children, and soon most of them had perished.

As often happened in those days, the townspeople blamed witchcraft.

And witchcraft means a witch hunt.

Mary, the caretaker of all the town’s children, was accused, convicted, and hanged.

The Protector of the Mines

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

Photo credit: flickr/nocturnalbob

Life went on, and after a number of years, the mines were tapped out and Black Diamond became yet another ghost town dotting the Central Coast.

Today, the land is protected as a county park.

Hikers and backpackers love exploring the wilderness and trekking to the coal mines and the old town.

Over time, a legend began to grow around Mary and her ultimate fate.

There have been countless reports of a floating white spirit patrolling the entrance to the mines.

Specific details vary, but some common descriptions include a dazzling white figure, or a lady dressed all in bright white.

The spirit takes no action against witnesses, and most believe that she is there to warn children away from the mines.

Experts agree that the spirit is Mary, still faithfully protecting the long-dead children of Black Diamond from entering the dangerous coal mines.

Should you wish to visit the park and see Mary, don’t be frightened, but don’t approach.

She means no harm, but is likely bitter about her treatment at the hands of adults.