San Jose is home to beautiful weather, great hiking trails, and… haunted houses? That’s right, the capital of Silicon Valley has its very own skeletons in the closet!
For those with the nerve to brave the uncanny and downright creepy, this Californian paradise is a must-see.
Read on to discover the six most haunted places near San Jose!
Winchester Mystery House
No list of the most haunted places near San Jose would be complete without a mention of the Winchester Mystery House.
Sarah Winchester was the widow of the gun mogul, William Wirt Winchester, and heir to much of his fortune. After the deaths of her husband and young child, Sarah bought an eight-room San Jose farmhouse in 1886 that she would spend the rest of her life renovating. Until her death on September 5, 1922, the house continued to grow, eventually becoming a luxurious, sprawling mansion.
Today, Sarah Winchester’s pet project is a popular museum immortalizing her vision. It’s also apparently the abode of numerous ghosts, including Sarah herself. Some say that the spirits of those killed by Winchester firearms haunt the mansion. The bizarre layout of the house, featuring doors that go nowhere and oddly constructed passageways, certainly lends itself to spooky imaginings.
The Winchester Mystery House offers a number of different tours. Visitors hoping for a haunted experience can opt for one of the museum’s seasonal attractions: the Walk with Spirits Tour, the Friday the 13th Flashlight Tour, or the Unhinged: Nightshade’s Curse tour. The museum also offers a general tour exploring the history of the mansion.
Visit the Winchester Mystery House at 525 S Winchester Boulevard or call 408-247-2000 for more information. Alternatively, you can check out their website here for more history and a paid virtual Immersive 360° Tour.
Just outside San Jose sits Mount Hamilton, a peak with lovely views of the city. The Grandview Restaurant occupies a prime spot on top of the mountain. Usually, locals and visitors go there for the scrumptious fare and unparalleled views of the South Bay. However, the eatery also hosts a permanent, ghostly guest.
No one is quite sure who the ghost was in life. Based on the accounts of staff and guests, she appears to be a young girl who often stands on the balcony looking out over the valley. Some attribute the restaurant’s fickle lighting to her influence.
Visit the Grandview Restaurant at 15005 Mount Hamilton Road on Mount Hamilton just outside San Jose. You can also call 408-251-8909 or check out their website here for more information.
One of the most haunted places near San Jose is Hicks Road, a pretty drive from the southern edge of San Jose into the wilderness. Part of the nearly 10-mile stretch runs alongside Guadalupe Creek, offering drivers a scenic view.
However, local legend says that all changes at night. The urban myths differ somewhat according to who tells them, but all versions are spooky. Some stories say that a cult lives in the area and practices satanic or occult rituals. Others say that ghosts or UFOs inhabit the area. Then, there are slightly more mundane explanations, like an albino family that drives off visitors at night or criminals that guard the road leading to their headquarters.
Whatever people choose to believe about Hicks Road, it has firmly cemented itself in the public’s imagination.
The north end of Hicks Road begins off Camden Avenue and ends to the southeast at Alamitos Road near the Almaden Reservoir.
By their very nature, cemeteries are frightening places to be. Still, some carry a more chilling reputation than others. The Hacienda Cemetery is a curious little graveyard in the historic New Almaden community of San Jose. It sits on Bertram Road, which is named after the family of its most famous corpse. Well… part of a corpse, anyway.
Richard Bertram Barrett, or “Bert,” was only 13 in 1893 when he lost his left arm in a hunting accident. Though the boy survived the ordeal, local law dictated that his family bury the severed limb properly. They interred it in Hacienda Cemetery, which had been around since the 1850s as a resting place for local miners and pioneers. Barrett himself wouldn’t die until 1959, and by that time, there was no room in the cemetery for the rest of him. So, they buried his remaining remains in Oak Hill Cemetery 11 miles away.
Legend says that every Halloween, Bert Barrett’s arm comes to life and tries to reunite with the rest of his body. The site of his arm’s final resting place is popular among locals and paranormal enthusiasts. The worn headstone reads, “His arm lies here. May it rest in peace.” For photos and more information on the Hacienda Cemetery, check out this article.
Visitors may enter the Hacienda Cemetery with permission at 21440 Bertram Road during regular hours. To arrange a visit or guided tour, go to the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County website.
Within shouting distance of Hacienda Cemetery stands the fine French restaurant, La Forêt. It began in 1848 as a boarding house for miners in search of the precious metal, cinnabar.
By the 1930s, its owners had converted it into the Cafe del Rio. The Cafe remained in operation for 40 years, eventually taking on its current name and switching to French cuisine.
However, some say that the miners who frequented the building so long ago have never really left. Staff and diners report seeing ghostly figures of men in the old boarding rooms and in the halls.
Visit La Forêt at 21747 Bertram Road or call for a reservation at 408-997-3458. You can also check out their website here.
Dottie’s Pond/Santa Teresa Spring
Dottie’s Pond, known formally as Santa Teresa Spring, sits on the site of the old Bernal family ranch in Santa Teresa County Park. It goes by two names for a reason: it has two very different origin stories!
The first is an Ohlone folktale about a woman in black robes who descended from the sky during a time when many of their people were dying from illness. She directed them to a rock that split open and poured out water. The people drank from the new spring and were healed. Jose Joaquin Bernal heard the story and assumed the woman was Saint Teresa, giving the pond its formal name.
A later story attributes a much creepier history to the spring. According to this tale, a girl named Dottie got into a fight with her parents. She killed them both by hanging them from the rafters of their barn. Overcome by guilt, she ran down to the water and jumped in. Ghostly hands reached up and dragged her to the bottom, drowning her. The legend says that anyone swimming in the pond or walking nearby risks the same fate.
You can find Dottie’s Pond/Santa Teresa’s Spring close to the intersection of Manila Way and Manila Drive near the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch.
Visit any of these creepy locations throughout the year for a good scare! You can find information on these and other nearby haunted spots at San Jose’s visitor’s site. For those interested in delving deeper into the history of haunted places near San Jose, emHaunted San Jose /emby Elizabeth Kile offers a thorough treatment of the city’s spooky past.
Last update on 2022-11-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API