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.
Historic Yorba Cemetery
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
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. As one of the oldest cemeteries in Orange County, the cemetery was originally established on land part of Bernardo Yorba’s 13,000 acre Rancho Cañon de Santa Ana, the Canyon of Saint Anne, granted to him in 1834. Residents of the Santa Ana Canyon community, many of them descendants of pioneering families, were buried at this cemetery from the start of the civil war till the cemetery’s closure in 1939. Today, the Yorba Cemetery is a historical site operated by Orange County Parks. The cemetery is open to the public on the first Saturday of each month from 11am to 1pm only.
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 a woman referred to as the “Blue Lady” roams this 25-acre cemetery in south Orange County at night haunting those who dare to visit the Lake Forest memorial park. 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. Aside from that, the beautiful 25-acre cemetery offers a full range of lawn crypts, niches, urn burials and scatter gardens.
Haunted History Ghost Walk
Locations In Orange & Santa Ana
Dates: Throughout October
On various nights throughout October in Orange and Santa Ana, the Haunted History Ghost Walk incorporates history, local legends and ghost stories about two of Orange County’s most haunted communities. Stroll through old town Orange to tales, true stories and general spookery, or head to Santa Ana and learn the tales of execution, and untimely deaths that have left spooky stories. The tour is a 90 minute tour which begins on the back patio of the historic Howe-Waffle Mansion in downtown Santa Ana, or in Orange, begin your tour on the front lawn of the historic Royer Mansion. Tours begin promptly at the designated start time, so make sure to get there on time! Both tours are given by experienced guides that will take you on a journey of a lifetime!
Related: Most Haunted Places in Orange County