In a busy urban area like Oakland, the idea of a haunted wood seems far removed from the reality of the lives of its inhabitants. However, that is just what you can find at Joaquin Miller Park; the trails are beautiful and a perfect place for hiking or dog-walking, but when night approaches and fog sets in the lovely Sequoia Bayview trail transforms into something that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale—or a horror movie.
Late-night adventurers, whether they’re ghost hunters looking for thrills or simply tourists who lost track of the time, are menaced by the ghostly figure of a woman who appears only at night, tall and spectral. The stories say that she was hit by a car somewhere in the park and for some reason her spirit lingered there, unable to rest and making the park into her new home instead. While she seems to be unable to exist in daylight, she controls the night, turning the cultivated park paths back into something primal and threatening to human intruders. Perhaps she was drawn to stay in this place by that inherent wildness, or perhaps it was the violence of her death that bound her there; or perhaps this woman with her unfinished business was drawn to a park that was founded by and named after a writer and poet. Maybe she hopes that enough of Joaquin Miller lingers in his park and his preserved house to give her an ending to her story, and set her free.