The Most Haunted Places Near San Francisco

Written by Marisa Wilson
Published: October 22, 2022
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San Francisco, CA, is one of the spookiest cities in the United States. It has several haunted places to get your scare on. While some of the true stories are unnerving, the aftermath is more disturbing out of all the places to visit when you go to San Francisco. You’ll want to see these only if you like a good scare. You may feel on edge while reading this article, but it’s okay; the ghost isn’t going to come for you. They wait for you to find them. If you search any of these places, you’re bound to see them. Just be sure it’s something you’re genuinely unafraid to do. Keep reading to explore the most haunted places in San Francisco. 


Alcatraz island and prison

Alcatraz may be haunted by some of America’s most heinous criminals.

©D Ramey Logan, CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Even the most defiant offenders were meant to be broken by Alcatraz. To cope with the worst criminals of all time, the U.S government decided to build a maximum-security, minimal-privilege jail in 1933. The strip cell was used to punish inmates who disobeyed one of the prison’s numerous rules. The detainees were stripped naked when entering the strip cell. Of course, the cell lacked a mattress, sink, and lights and the only bathroom was a hole in the floor.

What little hope remained in the criminals who earned a stay there was destroyed by the room’s bleak steel interior. It is understandable why some of their souls cannot recover from the events. One of the cells where inmates were sent as punishment is cell 14D. Visitors frequently describe experiencing a horrible coldness encircling the space as if multiple spirits were still residing there. A man passed away in cell 14D in the 1900s. The guards discovered the man dead on the floor in his cell.

According to rumors, the night before he passed away, he repeatedly screamed that a monster with luminous eyes was attempting to kill him. Explore the cell yourself. If that doesn’t frighten you, blocks A through C gets reports from visitors saying they frequently hear sobbing and wailing here. The trouble-making spirit was identified as Butcher by a psychic.

He was a hitman murdered in the laundry room by another prisoner. The psychic attempted to persuade the Butcher to leave the prison during a seance, but the ghost resisted. Even if the Butcher ultimately gets up and departs, Alcatraz will continue to be what the Native Americans have always described as an island of horrible spirits. 

Manrow House 

The Manrow House is one of San Francisco’s most violently haunted houses. J.P. Manrow had no idea that evil spirits would live with his family when he built this home in 1851. The hauntings started on the family’s first day in the residence objects were constantly being moved, and windows were opened and closed by someone or something.

The Manrow family would be awakened at all night hours by strange tapping noises coming from inside the walls. Mr. Manrow decided to stop the ghost after avoiding death from a flying ax thrown at him. He intended to do a seance to banish the ghosts permanently.

The seance did not go as expected; rather than exorcising the house of evil spirits, the participants called a horrible demonic-looking figure that would haunt them when their eyes were closed. A nearby newspaper nicknamed the manrow house the house of demons following this incident today. If you visit the manrow house’s location, you will experience the paranormal. 

1000 Lombard Street 

The magnificent home that previously belonged to jet-setter socialite and renowned hostess Pat Montandon is located at the base of San Francisco’s actually-not-most-crooked-street but undoubtedly the most frequently visited by tourists before she threw a party and gathered astrologers, palmists, tarot card specialists, and crystal ball gazers to impress her guests. Everything was good until one tarot card reader allegedly failed to receive the wine he was offered in a timely manner.

The house had a constant chill regardless of the temperature, setting doors locked from the inside, bloody stains developed on the ceilings, and something was breaking into the house. Doug, her dog, started behaving oddly by barking at night and biting and scratching at his fur while out on a date. A man also attacked Montandon. He attempted to kidnap her, but luckily, she got away.

The worst tragedy occurred while Montandon was away and Mary Louise Ward, a close friend, was staying at her residence. The doors to the main bedroom were locked when the fire service came due to a fire. When they eventually opened the door, Mary Louise was discovered dead on the bed, but it wasn’t from breathing in smoke or flames. In reality, they could never pinpoint the issue. All they could say was that it probably occurred before the fire broke out. 

Whittier Mansion 

Shot of the exterior of the Whittier Mansion, San Francisco, CA

Passersby report seeing the ghost of William Whittier in the windows.

©Andrew Heller, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

This 30-room home was constructed in 1894 as a gift for William Franklin Whittier’s wife, who passed away in a carriage incident before it was finished. Whittier was a railroad magnate. His son Billy, renowned for being slack and huge on partying, sold the house to the German Reich in the 1930s after his father died of natural causes years later. From 1938 through 1941, when it allegedly housed German spies, it served as the German consulate.

The United States took it in 1941, briefly served as the California Historical Society headquarters, and is once more private property. Don’t feel jealous of whoever lives there because while they live in a 30-room house, they also have ghosts. Some claim that it’s german spies, but most tragically, others claim to have seen a shadowy figure believed to be William Whittier’s ghost who is still awaiting his wife to join him since she could never enjoy the home he made for her. Some claim billy haunts the wine cellar to obtain just one more drink. 

Sutro Baths 

Black and white photo of Sutro Baths, San Francisco, circa 1896

Black and white photo of Sutro Baths, San Francisco, circa 1896

©W. C. Billington, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The historical artifacts initially displayed at the Sutro Baths, a renowned bathhouse from the 1800s, are said to be haunted. Sculptures, artwork, and other items from all over the world, the most notable being the mummies in their original sarcophagi, are said to have been gathered by Adolph Sutro. Some think this collection is to blame for the fires at the cliff house and the baths.

Visitors from previous generations have described seeing some older customers wandering around. They would be in vintage bathing attire, hearing faint voices, disembodied laughter, and other sounds. There are legends of a terrifying beast and Satanists performing human sacrifices in the tunnel. It was under the Sutro baths, which were constructed to pump seawater into the pools. Over the years, claw marks from some type of creature have developed on the tunnel walls. There is a belief that if you ignite a candle near the end of the tunnel, someone or something will come and throw it into the river.

Golden Gate Bridge 

Golden Gate Bridge, The United States

The Golden Gate Bridge is said to be haunted by the ghosts of people who jumped to their death into the bay.


The recognizable Golden Gate Bridge is a famous bridge to photograph and visit because of its fantastic view. However, a more sinister mystery is concealed by its veiled beauty. More than 1,500 suicides by jumping from the bridge have been documented since it opened in 1937. Approximately 222 feet, or about the height of a 19-story structure, separates the highest point of the bridge’s walkway from the water during low tide.

One of two outcomes is almost inevitable for the jumpers: hypothermic death or death from impact, and only 2% of the people who jump survive. The Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t allow foot traffic after 6:30 pm, and cops are tasked to patrol the walk. Shockingly cops have this strange patrol task not to stop crime but to prevent people from killing themselves by jumping off the bridge. Given the high death toll from suicide, it should be no surprise that the tortured spirits of those whose lives were lost to the bay’s allure might be seen wandering the pathways on gloomy, foggy evenings. 


What will you do now that you’ve learned about these spooky places? Can you walk the blocks of Alcatraz? Will you visit the haunted houses or the bathhouse where human sacrifices were allegedly made? Whatever poison you want to pick will be found here in San Francisco. If you want to believe, you need to be safe. Do what Sam and Dean from Supernatural do, and bring salt and holy water everywhere. Just don’t actually try to banish the entity. That often makes it worse. After all, how would you feel if someone tried to throw you out of your home? If you have chills and want to spook your friends, share this article.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © W. C. Billington, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original

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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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