If you want to visit an area in California with a fascinating historical background, you can do no better than to take a trip to see the unincorporated township that exists in Trabuco Canyon and pay a visit to Trabuco Creek.
Updated 2/10/2020 – The site of multiple failed tin-mining operations throughout the nineteenth century, Trabuco Canyon is named for the Spanish word for blunderbuss – a type of early shotgun.
The story goes that at one time someone lost a blunderbuss somewhere in the canyon, and it was named thusly.
The site is also historically part of the ancient Acjachemen – or Juaneño – Native tribe’s territory and, at least according to local legends, is protected by them still today.
Trabuco Creek Road is on sacred grounds, so step lightly.
The catch, of course, is that those Acjachemen warriors who protect this land are not among the living.
Trabuco Creek Road, which winds its way through the canyon and follows the polluted stream for which it is named, has been the site of a number of paranormal encounters over the years.
“The tribesmen speak,” says Joseph, a member of the modern-day version of the tribe, “and they speak in the old Luiseño dialect.”
This dialect has been extinct for a long time, although members of the tribe’s council are working to revive it.
“When they speak,” says Joseph, “their voices carry on the wind, and the wind teaches me their words.”
And what do their words say?
“They speak of bringing peace back to our lands; they speak of driving out those who have taken the land for themselves away, forever into darkness.”
Ominous though Joseph’s words may sound – and they sound especially ominous when you consider that he has been traveling out into the canyon by night on a regular basis for over fifty years – they lack the ring of true terror one finds in accounts from those non-tribe members who have encountered the Acjachemen on Trabuco Creek Road.
“Me and my brother Doug, we were backpacking through the canyon last year,” says Paul, an Australian adventure junkie whose job takes him to California nearly six months out of every year, “and we ran into the buggers head-on.
“We’d got a little ways off the road because Doug had to take a piss, right?
“Neither one of us knew what was going on, but we both knew it was not good.
“Then these bastards started talking to us, mumbling in some strange language, and we knew it was time to get out of there.
“Only problem with that was they had us blocked from getting back to the road.
“I couldn’t understand what they were saying at all, but Doug told me later that he could hear some of the words, and even though they weren’t in English, he somehow understood them.
“He said they wanted to kill us, and were trying to decide the best way to do it.
“Luckily, it was about that moment that a car came down the road, and the spirits dispersed.
“Doug and I ran, screaming like banshees until we reached the road, where amazingly the girl who pulled over agreed to give us a ride into town.”
He smiles and tips me a wink.
“I think it was the accents, mate.”