News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.


By Joe Castillo


Haunting Tails ….. It’s October and time for stories of ghosts and spirits in places we pass by everyday right here in the San Gabriel Valley. The Los Angeles County Arboretum is home to a number of ghostly visions which perhaps you may have seen. Going back to the late 20’s, the Arboretum was used for a number of movies. The Queen Anne Cottage, an 1885 Victorian built by E.J. Elias ‘Lucky’ Baldwin was the centerpiece of a number of sightings. In the days when everyone was trying to get into movies, the demand for Native American actors was high but the lack of qualified actors kept most roles unfilled. A young African-American actor saw an opportunity to get into the acting field by imitating a Native American chief. The fraudulent actor learned the ways of the Native Americans, learned their language and culture and even changed his name to Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. The Chief became so good in his role that soon he was used as a ‘technical consultant’ for Western movies and the movie industry. His involvement with a number of movies at the Arboretum allowed him to finagle his way to stay in the Queen Anne Cottage.  The Chief continued to fool everyone for over a year until a reporter found out about his secret.  Not wanting to be exposed as a fraud, the Chief decided to take matters into his own hands and shot himself in the Parlor of the Queen Anne Cottage. Within a short period of time, ghostly images of the Chief were seen in the parlor, walking around practicing his movie lines. When the TV show, Fantasy Island, was filmed at the Arboretum, actors and stage crews members told of seeing the ghost of Chief Long Lance in the cottage. Ghost hunters have also sensed ghosts of the Gabrielenos around Baldwin Lake and ‘Lucky ‘Baldwin himself in the Hugo Reid Adobe…. The San Gabriel Mission is home to a number of ghostly images of floating candles.  In the days when the Mission was being built, a number of priests, craftsman, teachers and travelers died while either working or staying as a guest in the Mission. Numerous Gabrielenos were either killed or fatally abused while working at the Mission. As is a Catholic tradition, a candle is lit when a baptized Catholic dies. The image of floating candles has been seen moving from the altar down the aisle at a height of 4 feet and out to the garden area. Around the Mission, numerous sightings have appeared in houses and residences of a Gabrieleno man. The image lasts a few seconds and then disappears, waiting for a reason to re-appear again…. The Aztec Hotel on Foothill Boulevard in Monrovia was home to a suicide of a young lady named Jerry Lynn, who was either a prostitute or resident of the Hotel. That same night Prohibition was repealed and ghost hunters suggest that Lynn’s ghost was caught in the hotel between the celebrations. She has been seen wearing the same clothes as when she committed suicide… Whether at the Mission, the Arboretum or the Aztec Hotel, the San Gabriel Valley is haunted by its own unique collection of ghosts…

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