Orange County may be known for its sun-drenched beaches and dazzling real estate, but amidst the palm tree-lined streets and Stepford-like neighborhoods lie some darker shades of orange. In these places, restless souls are known to roam and midnight candles burn indefinitely. Orange County is home to some of the region’s most notoriously haunted graveyards. So, in celebration of America’s ultimate night of fright, throw on that Halloween costume and take a tour of the cemeteries and mortuaries that go bump in the night.
Each of these haunted graveyards is just a quick car ride away. For a chilling evening tour, start in north Orange County in the city of Yorba Linda along State Route 91, then make your way southwest down State Route 55 and end up near Interstate 5 in the city of Lake Forest.
Places to See
Historic Yorba Cemetery
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 973-3190 or (714) 973-3191
As if the thought of a gated and locked 19th-century cemetery isn’t enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, Yorba Cemetery’s resident ghost, a tortured 17-year-old woman cries in anguish over her untimely demise in a buggy accident in 1910. Legend has it the “Pink Lady ghost” died after her school prom and makes her appearance every June 15 on even-numbered years. The cemetery closed in 1939 and is undergoing restoration after years of neglect and vandalism. Tours are available on the first Saturday of each month through special arrangements.
Holy Sepulcher Cemetery
7845 E. Santiago Canyon Road
Orange, CA 92869
Serving as the final resting place for many Diocesan priests, Holy Sepulcher is the largest of the Diocesan cemeteries. This Catholic cemetery is surrounded by rolling hills and has served Catholics and their families for nearly a century. What appears to be a peaceful memorial park during the day is said to be the haunted stomping ground for a woman in white at night. People have reported seeing a candle burning at all hours of the night. The candle flame is said to change colors and shapes. No one seems to know who this woman is, but in a graveyard filled with the dead, she may not be too far from home.
Fairhaven Memorial Park and Mortuary
1702 East Fairhaven Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705
This memorial park was created more than 100 years ago, in 1911, and features one of the first mausoleums and crematories in Orange County. It is in the mausoleum that the faint cry of a child can occasionally be heard in the lower level. Perhaps the child belongs to one of Orange County’s famous families as the memorial park also serves as final resting place for many of Orange County’s founders, including members of the Irvine family, the Moulton family and the Fluor family.
El Toro Memorial Park
25751 Trabuco Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
It is said the Blue Lady roams this 25-acre cemetery in south Orange County. She sobs and wails amidst the headstones while shrouded in a strange blue light. Some say she may be the ghost of Kathryn Irvine of the Irvine family, who died during childbirth in the 1920s, but it’s up to you to decide for yourself if this haunt is friend or foe.
Where to Eat
After a fright night of chills, head back up State Route 55 and exit Chapman Avenue to warm up that soul with a freshly brewed cup of joe or a quick bite to eat. In Old Towne Orange, learn about O.C. heritage and history while dining near the undead.
The Filling Station Café
201 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
This café used to be an old gas station in the 1920s and offers excellent food at a great value. While most popular during breakfast hours, it provides a full menu for dinner and offers home-baked desserts as well.
Haunted Orange County
Paranormal Tours & Events Co.
522 S. Shaffer
Orange, CA 92866
Price: $18 per person
On Halloween night, the Haunted History Ghost Walk begins at 8 p.m. The walk incorporates history, local legends and ghost stories about one of Orange County’s most haunted communities. Stroll through old town Orange to tales, true stories and general spookery, come rain or shine. Bring an umbrella and comfortable shoes as the tour lasts about an hour and a half.
Related: Most Haunted Places in Orange County
Truc Dever is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.