Podcast: The Whaley House & El Campo Santo

This is the transcript and sources for the podcast that just dropped this morning on Paranormal Housewife Podcast. You can listen to it on any streaming service you listen to your podcasts on. Please subscribe to my show to be alerted to when new episodes drop. Please let me know in comments what you thought about today’s episode! 

Hi! Hello! And welcome back to another episode of Paranormal Housewife Podcast! My name is Kelly and I am currently fighting the urge to dive into my introduction for the tours I give.

How have y’all been? Doing well? Been up to anything spooky? For the past two weeks I have been working hard to train for my new job. I finally passed my auditions and will be a tour guide soon! Thank y’all for your patience while I took a break from blogging so I could focus on memorizing the scripts. I know I said it would be a two week break but as you can tell from lack of posts this week, it turned into a three week break. Between both jobs I didn’t have time to do any writing. Everything will be back to normal next week. I have been working hard on researching topics for next week. I am also sorry that this podcast is coming out a few days later than they normally come out. Thank you again for your patience while I got everything wrapped up and put together. You have no idea how great it feels to be writing and recording after such a long break from it. I truly love doing this and I love that y’all enjoy being a part of it. 

I do have a final update for you about the investigation that happened at our house about three weeks ago. Paranormal MIT has finally put out their final video of the investigation. And well, to be honest, Jeremy and I are pissed about it. I had to have a long conversation with Amy about what’s been going on to even get this video. The video looks rushed. I know alot of evidence was left out. Nothing was really explained in the second video. None of the evidence gathered has been presented or explained to me or Jeremy. It was just published on Tiktok and I was tagged in the videos. The whole reason they put out the second video was because they were wanting to come back for a second investigation. Amy messaged me with a date in the middle of the week and didn’t bother asking if we wanted them to do a second investigation or what days or times would work for our schedules. She had a hard time understanding why Jeremy and I were upset with the lack of response from them, how long it took to get any evidence from them, and just the general customer service after the investigation. It truly felt like they used our house to get fifteen minutes of internet fame with their followers. Clients shouldn’t be made to feel like this. Since the second has come out, I haven’t reached out to them anymore. I am wiping my hands clean of them. I will link the second video in the comments if you would like to see it. This team is just another example of why I push ethical ghost hunting so hard. It not just for the sake of the spirits but for the humans as well. The things we have been dealing are potentially harmful. It shouldn’t take three months to get an answer from one investigation. Okay, rant over. 

On to happier news. I spoke with Edgar, the owner of Wild Barrel in San Marcos where I host trivia on Wednesday nights and he is okay with me and Jeremy doing an investigation at the bar one night! We have to figure out a date to do it. It will probably be in August because Jeremy leaves for a week or two in July for training. Once I have more info, I will let y’all know. 

Since there isn’t really anything else to update y’all on, I guess we should hope on into today’s topics. With as much time as I have been spending in Old Town, it was only right to talk about Whaley House and El Campo Santo. These are my two favorite places in Old Town. I have written about Whaley House a couple of times on my blog. I will link those posts in the description of this episode. 

Whaley House has always been a special place on my paranormal bucket list. Growing up, there were a few locations that my dad would tell my sister and I about that he had visited and wanted to share with us. We had hoped to be able to visit these locations together but unfortunately my dad passed away in 2015. Whaley House and Hotel Del Coronado were at the top of that list. He visited both while he was stationed at Coronado during the Vietnam war. While he didn’t experience anything paranormal, he said that the energy there is very different than any where else he has visited. Especially at the Whaley House and he was right. I have been to the Whaley House but I haven’t been inside of it yet. Just being outside of it, the energy around the house is very different than anything I have experienced. I know you’re probably wondering why I haven’t been inside of the house. Well, its for two reasons. One being I want to make sure that Mrs. Whaley and Violet are okay with coming because I would like to visit with them often if it’s okay. And two, well I know I will be emotional when I go because this place meant so much to my dad. This is one of the most talked about haunted locations between me and him. It’s one of the last places left to share with him. So yeah…

Before we can talk about the Whaley House we need to talk about what happened before the house was built. Long before the house was built, this plot of land was considered cursed by the settlers who were moving to what would now be called Old Town. They thought it was cursed because it was thought to be an Native American burial ground. Due to this, no one wanted to build a home or a business on this plot of land despite it being a prime location in the middle of town. Instead of using it for building a home or business, the townsfolk turned it into the location of the town’s gallows. I’m sure there were a few people hung on these gallows but the only person we will be talking about is Yankee Jim.

Yankee Jim was known through out the town as a trouble maker. He was often caught stealing, fighting, or causing general mischief. There are even rumors that he may have started a few fires in the town to try and run off people so he could go back to prospecting for gold in peace. But even though he was the town’s troublemaker, he didn’t deserve the ending he got. Yankee Jim and two others were caught stealing a row boat. During their arrest, Yankee Jim suffered a blow to the head that left him seriously concussed. This concussion led him to not think or speak clearly and ultimately lead to his demise. He and his two accomplices were offered lawyers. The accomplices took the offer and got of relatively lightly. Yankee Jim argued that he wanted to represent himself which he ended up doing. He sat in the courtroom, with his feet up on the table, while arguing with the judge that he didn’t steal the boat he had only borrowed it. And since he borrowed it and it was returned to the owner, he would be happy to let bygones be bygones if the judge let him leave. The judge, of course, wasn’t having any of this and decided to make an example of Yankee Jim. The judge claimed that Yankee Jim was trying to use the row boat to steal a much bigger boat and therefore he committed grand larceny. The sentence for grand larceny was hanging. But this would prove to a big problem. You see the gallows that were built were made for someone about my height, five foot five to five foot seven. Mr. Yankee Jim, however, was six foot four… Clearly he wasn’t going to hang correctly on those gallows. So instead of constructing a new gallows to hang him on, the towns folk came up with a new plan. Yankee Jim would stand on one wagon cart with a noose around his neck. The rope of the noose would be tossed over the current gallows and attached to a different cart that would, in theory, pull Yankee Jim up high enough to be hung properly. Except that didn’t happen. On September 18th, 1852, Yankee Jim was brought out to the gallows. When Yankee Jim was shoved off the cart, it didn’t go as plan. Yankee Jim was able to stretch out his feet so that his toes could touch the ground allowing him to not dangle as he should have. Yankee Jim would end up dancing around on his toes, gasping cruelly for air for over forty-five minutes. Thomas Whaley, who loved to watch executions, was in attendance of the brutal hanging. He wrote to family members about how awful the hanging was. But this wouldn’t disway him from purchasing the plot of land to build his family home. 

Thomas Whaley purchased the property a few years after Yankee Jim’s death. Thomas Whaley was a businessman and knew that the location would be perfect for his needs. It was located in the center of town, the land was cheap, and it was mostly cleared out already.  He purchased the land in 1855. A year later he added a granary and then the following year, he built a two story brick home for $10,000. This would be the first brick house in San Diego. The home would also be home to a general store in the front of the house. 

When Thomas and his wife, Anna, moved into the house with their two sons, Francis and Thomas, they were plagued with paranormal activity almost right away. Thomas wrote to family members about how he would hear heavy boots stomping throughout the downstairs. Windows would also unlatch themselves and spring open of their own accord. Thomas would conclude the messages, saying that he believed it was the spirit of Yankee Jim causing the activity. 

Beginning in January of 1958, the Whaleys would begin to have a string of bad luck and tragedies. Their youngest son, Thomas, died in the house after becoming ill with scarlet fever at just eighteen months old. That summer, Anna gave birth to their first daughter, Anna Amelia. Just a few months after that joyous moment, their general store caught fire. While the store was being rebuilt, the Whaleys moved to San Francisco for a bit. While there, Anna would give birth to three move children, a son named George and two girls named Violet and Corrine. The Whaleys would make their way back to San Diego in 1868. 

Shortly after they returned to their home, Thomas Whaley would rent out a upper bedroom to a troupe of actors called Tanner Troupe. Tanner’s Troupe was San Diego’s first troupe. The show was so popular that women were asked to remove their hoops from skirts to make room for more people, something that was scandalous for that time period. Unfortunately, Thomas Tanner, the leader of the troupe would pass away a few days after the opening show. He actually passed away suddenly backstage after one of the shows. He is buried a few blocks from the in El Campo Santo, not far from Yankee Jim but more about that later. After Tanner’s Troupe disbanded and moved on, San Diego would actually rent out space in the home to serve as a courthouse and would store documents in the Whaley’s granary and other rooms in the house. 

A few years later, in 1882, the Whaleys celebrated the weddings of both Anna Amelia and Violet. They were married on January 5th, 1882 in a double wedding in the backyard. Anna Amelia married her first cousin, John Whaley, while Violet would marry a man named George Bertolacci. While this should have been a joyous time, it would soon end in tragedy. George would end up abandoning Violet shortly after their marriage. Turns out George was a conman who only married Violet for her money. They were soon divorced and Violet became deeply depressed as she returned back to her family’s home. She attempted to end her life by drowning herself in the cistern behind her parents’ home on July 5th, 1885 at the age of 22. When that didn’t work, her parents locked her in her room for a month thinking it would help snap her out of her depression. It, of course, didn’t help at all and honestly, probably made things worse for poor Violet. A few days after being let out of her room, Violet snuck into her parents’ bedroom and into her father’s dresser drawers where he kept a Smith & Wesson 32- caliber gun. She then went outside to the outhouse. She placed the gun where she thought her heart was and pulled the trigger. Thomas Whaley heard the shot and immediately ran out to the outhouse. He scooped up Violet and carried her into the parlor where she would quickly pass away in his arms. After Violet’s death, her parents found a letter that Violet had left. Within the letter was a quote from Thoms Hoods’ poem called The Bridge of Sighs, “Mad from life’s history, Swift to death’s mystery, Glad to be hurled, Anywhere, anywhere out of this world.” Violet passed away on August 18th, 1885. 

After Violet’s death, Thomas Whaley had a second home built in downtown San Diego for the rest of the Whaley family to live in. He would end up dying in this house on December 14th, 1890. Eighteen years later, his son, Francis would back into the original house in what is now Old Town San Diego and begins to restore it. His mother, Anna, and little sister, Corrine move back into the house with him. Anna Whaley would pass away in the house on February 24th, 1913 and Francis would soon follow her to the grave on November 19th, 1914. Corrine lived the rest of her life in a nursing home before passing away in 1953. 

The Whaley House is now considered to be the most haunted house in America do to the amount of spirits experienced in the home. We have already talked about how Yankee Jim is experienced with the raising of the windows and stomping of boots being heard through out the house. What I didn’t mention earlier is that the windows upstairs use to fly open so often that the windows had to be sealed shut in order to stop having the alarm system to go off. The police were getting really tired of responding to alarms that the spirits were setting off. But there are many more spirits there than just Yankee Jim. Thomas Whaley is often noted as being close by when you can smell cigar smoke. He has also been seen dressed in all black. His wife, Anna, has also been seen throughout the home. She is also associated with the scent of roses. Regis Philbin actually had a run in with the spirit of Mrs. Whaley back in 1964. He was staying the night in the house but when he saw he. spirit standing by a portrait of herself, he fled the house in fear. He wouldn’t return to house until 2012 because he was so freaked out by her spirit. Thomas Jr has been experienced as well. His tiny footsteps can be heard through out the house, a young child can be heard either crying or giggling. Violet is one of the most experienced spirit in the house. She is associated with the scent of lavender (a favorite smell of hers). She has been seen often on the second floor. People say that when she is near they feel much colder. Others say a sense of sorrow envelopes them. She has been photographed sitting in her bedroom window (my trainer was able to capture just such a photo). She has also been seen walking in the backyard. The sound of a gun shot has also been heard near the outhouse. Visitors and workers alike have claimed to see children running through the house. They have also seen a small dog chasing a cat through the walls. Shadow people have been seen through out the property. Disembodied voices have been heard. A man has been heard crying, laughing, or clearing his throat. Curtains move by themselves. Different people have been seen peeking out of the windows all hours of the day or night. The chandelier in the courtroom swings by itself. A woman has been seen in the courtroom wearing a long calico skirt. She is said to have a cap on her dark hair and has dark eyes. In the dining room, a long hair girl has been seen in a long dress. Clothes will be tugged on. Children seem to be able to see and interact with the spirits more than adults usually but many adults experience something within the house as well. 

As much as I love the Whaley House, that won’t be the only location we discuss today. The other place I love to visit is El Campo Santo which is the cemetery in Old Town San Diego. The cemetery was started in 1849 and was used 31 years. It was a Catholic cemetery but it is a lot smaller than it use to be. When walking around the outside and the inside of the cemetery, keep a watch out where you step. There are metal tags on the ground. Most say “gravesite” on them but a lot as rub smooth from years of being walked on. These mark where graves are located but the headstones were removed. Most were removed to widen the roads to make way for carriages and later cars. Others had their headstones removed due to vandalism, simply falling apart, and whatnot. 

There are still dozens of graves located in the cemetery. Some of the folks in the cemetery have interesting stories. I talked about earlier about how awful Yankee Jim’s hanging was. Sadly, the injustices against him didn’t stop there. When his body was brought to the cemetery to be buried, the hole dug for him to buried in had been dug to fit an average sized male and not his six foot four frame. Instead of doing the common decency thing of digging a larger hole, those burying him decided to break his knees so that his legs could be bent behind him in the grave. Yankee Jim’s spirit has been seen in the cemetery often. He has been seen walking around the cemetery and walking down the road towards the Whaley House. 

Another spirit experienced in the cemetery is Antonio Garra. He was the leader of a local Cupeño tribe. He lead a revolt because was tired of how his people were being taxed but receiving no rights. Since he lead the revolt, the judge made an example out of him. Antonio was marched down to the cemetery after his trial where he was made to dig his own grave. Once the grave was dug, he was instructed to kneel at the foot of the open grave while the firing squad lined up. Before he was killed he spoke to the crowd saying, “Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for all of my offenses and expect yours in return.” Then the firing squad open fired, killing him. His spirit has been seen floating angrily in the cemetery. Probably because the judge that sentenced him is buried just a few feet from his grave. Antonio has also been seen running across the roof tops of businesses across the street with a lit torch in his hand. 

Those that visit the cemetery or the surrounding business have experienced a variety of different paranormal activity. Cars parked along the street by the cemetery can have their batteries drained, headlights turn on by themselves, car alarm get triggered by nothing. People have also said that they will get back into their locked cars to find that their glove box contents have been thrown through out the car. Cold spots have been felt even on swelteringly hot days. People in period clothing have been seen to vanish. People will be grabbed. Women walking in the back of the cemetery may have their butts pinched. There is a child spirit that will try to hold people’s hands. Balls of light have been seen in the cemetery at night. 

I mentioned in the previous episode of this podcast about the grave of the Unknown German who likes to smoke cigarettes. If you missed that story, its in the beginning of the Ferry Plantation episode. There are a few more spirits that are rumored to be seen in and around the cemetery but before I share their stories, I need to do some more research before I do so. So you have a part two to look forward to in the future. 

If you go to El Campo Santo, please treat the spirits there with respect. They are not preforming monkeys. Don’t make demands of them. Yankee Jim loves whiskey. The children there, especially Jayme in the back, loves candy. If you give the Unknown German a cigarette, don’t leave the cigarette lit on the cross for a long period of time. We don’t need another fire in here in California. In the very back corner, there is a flat grave tucked in by the wall. That’s my buddy Mr. Fredrick (or it might be Fredriksen). He is a jokester but he is also a sweetheart. He likes sweet drinks. He also likes it when people hang out with him so if you want someone to chat with, I recommend sitting by his grave for that. 

I truly love being in Old Town. The energy I feel there is amazing. The dead are very active and it is surprisingly easy to experience something there. If you check out my social media, you can see of some the experiences we had just during training. I know the more time I spend down there, I will have more experiences to share with you.

By the way, can you believe that there is only one episode left in our first season of Paranormal Housewife??? That blows my mind. I can’t believe how fast this season has flown by. Thank you all for your support and involvement with this podcast. It means the world to me. 

On this week coming up on the blog is haunted locations in Nevada! There are so many haunted places in Nevada that I had a hard time narrowing it down to topics to write about. Be sure to check it on Paranormal Housewife dot com. 

If you would like to read the transcripts of this podcast and check out the sources used for this episode, check out my blog for the post about this episode. If you have any suggestions for future blog posts or podcast topics please let me know. Also if you have any questions about the paranormal world or ghost hunting, I would be more than happy to answer them. You can either contact me through my blog, Paranormal Housewife dot com, email me at kelly at paranormal housewife dot com, or on social media I am paranormal housewife except twitter which is paranormal hw. Also feel free to reach out just to say “hi” if you want. I love hearing from y’all. I know I am new podcast but if you are enjoying this podcast so far, please leave a rating and comment on the streaming app you are using to listen to this episode. It would really help me out. Well, this has been fun. Thanks for listening. Y’all have a good one and stay spooky. Bye y’all! 

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