It’s September, a time for cooler weather, vibrant leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. But things aren’t always so pleasant this time of year. From catastrophic hurricanes to blood-soaked battles, here are seven September events that led to famous (and not-so-famous) hauntings.
Golden Dragon Massacre – San Francisco, CA
On September 4, 1977, a gang-related shooting killed five people and injured 11 others at Chinatown’s Golden Dragon restaurant. No gang members were struck, and the five shooters were later convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Now the victims’ ghosts allegedly haunt the site of their slaying, known today as the Imperial Palace. Some visitors sense a dark energy within the building while others are nearly bowled over by the restaurant’s oppressive atmosphere. At times, old blood stains from the shooting seemingly emerge from the floor only to quickly disappear.
Lady Elgin Sinking – Lake Michigan
In the early hours of September 8, 1860, a schooner rammed into the side of the PS Lady Elgin during a violent storm. The schooner was fine, but the Lady Elgin sustained catastrophic damage and sank soon after the collision. More than 300 people died in the sinking that came to be known as “the Titanic of the Great Lakes,” and legend has it some of them are still around. The rumors claim that people dressed in period clothing occasionally stumble ashore, looking dazed and calling out for lost loved ones. The ghost of a victim is also said to haunt her burial site, pleading and crying out for help.
Death of Virginia Rappe – San Francisco, CA
On September 9, 1921, silent film actress Virginia Rappe died after attending a party with film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Fatty was accused of raping and mistakenly killing Rappe and stood trial for the crime three times, though he was ultimately acquitted in 1922. During the trials, Virgnia’s name was repeatedly dragged through the mud with many calling her a wicked party girl who got what she deserved. Legend has it that Rappe now haunts her burial plot at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, sobbing for her lost life and tarnished reputation.
Great Galveston Hurricane – Galveston, TX
The Great Galveston Hurricane made landfall on September 8, 1900 and was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. More than 8,000 people lost their lives with some historians placing the number at 12,000. Regardless of the final death toll, it’s certain that at least 90 of those lost were children at St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum. The Hotel Galvez now sits at the site of the old orphanage, and legend has it ghosts walk the property.
Activity at the hotel includes lights that turn on and off, dishes that mysteriously break, disembodied laughter, and a ghost bride in Room 501. Some people believe that a ghostly nun walks up and down the beach whenever a powerful storm draws near, as if to warn Galveston of danger.
Chatsworth Train Collision – Los Angeles, CA
On September 12, 2008, two trains collided in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, killing 25 people and injuring countless others. One of the victims was a man named Charles E. Peck.
During the first eleven hours after the crash, Peck’s fiancée and several of his family members received numerous calls from his cell phone. However each time they answered, they heard only static. Calls to Peck’s phone went straight to voice mail.
Twelve hours after the accident, rescuers traced the signal from Peck’s phone and discovered his body in the lead passenger car. Authorities reported that Peck’s body “showed no sign that he lived even for a short time after the crash,” and that he couldn’t have possibly called his loved ones. His phone was never found. So who, or what, made the calls?
Battle of Antietam – Sharpsburg, MD
The bloodiest battle in U.S. history played out on September 17, 1862. More than 5,000 men lost their lives during the four-hour Battle of Antietam, so it’s hardly surprising the soldiers’ ghosts reportedly haunt the area.
Visitors at the old battlefield report smelling gun powder and seeing men in Confederate uniforms. Many visitors assume they’re witnessing a reenactment but abandon this notion when the uniformed men abruptly disappear. Other eerie events include blue balls of light that zip around and wink out and the faint sounds of drums beating in the distance.
James Dean Dies, Curse of the Little Bastard Begins – Cholame, CA
James Dean, the iconic star of Rebel Without a Cause, died in a high-speed crash on September 30, 1955. Parts of Dean’s mangled Porsche 550 Spyder, a.k.a. the “Little Bastard,” made their way to the star’s friends, and the Curse of the Little Bastard was born.
In 1956, a man named Troy McHenry died after losing control in a race and crashing into a tree. Another driver, William F. Eschrich, was seriously injured in the same race. McHenry’s car contained the engine from Little Bastard, while Eschrich’s vehicle had Dean’s former drive train.
Dean’s mangled Porsche also appeared at various car shows and community centers throughout California. Legend has it the car harmed many people during its travels, including a high school student who suffered a broken hip and a truck driver who perished when Little Bastard fell off a transport truck. Most of the stories are impossible to verify, but the legend of the curse lives on.
Do you know of any September events that triggered hauntings? Get in touch with me here!