Oakland Ghost Stories and Urban Legends

Tour curated by: Savannah Stelzer

Oakland is a city steeped in history and stories; generations of citizens have passed down the stories that they found exciting and important, and, in some cases, these people became stories themselves. In particular, tales of ghosts and supernatural creatures have endured, retold and reshaped by the people of Oakland according to the whim of the teller, but always retaining their essence. In this tour, we will visit ten locations in Oakland tied to these ghosts, monsters, and urban legends so beloved by locals and thrill seekers alike.

Locations for Tour

The Lake Merritt Monster, sometimes called the “Oak-ness Monster” due to its similarity to the famous Nessie or “Merrittzilla” as decided by a recent online poll, has acquired a dedicated local following today. A 1946 article by Jack…

An unremarkable location at best, the upper stories of this building stand empty while the ground floor is rented to the neighboring fabric shop; however, to the right person, this building represents a terrible loss to Oakland’s history. …

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…

“Now you can laugh; but that cellar is no joke by daylight, and a candle there at night is about as inspiring as a lightning-bug in the Mammoth Cave. I went along with the light, trying not to fall into the well prematurely; got to it all at once;…

Mills College is well known for being home to a wide array of ghosts, perhaps due to its long history: 160 years is a lot of time for scary stories to collect along with the campus’s history. The ghostly tradition at Mills is mainly oral, with the…

The most iconic buildings on Mills campus is, of course, also the most haunted. Mills Hall, the tall, stately building standing in front of the wide lawn where graduations are held each spring, has a long history: it has been the center of campus…

Unlike Mills Hall, Orchard Meadow is still a fully occupied residence hall, bustling with students living their lives—studying, chatting with friends, and generally enjoying their time at Mills to the fullest. But there is one inhabitant who has…

Even for a Mills residence hall, the Ethel Moore dorm building exceeds itself by having not one but two reported ghosts. The first has been part of the building since it was built: Ethel Moore herself is said to have lingered in the building that…

The Mills Carriage Ghost is one of the most famous apparitions, and also one of the most contested due to its rare appearances. It is not a human ghost, unlike the rest of the Mills paranormal community; instead, a spectral apparition of a…

This space stands as a monument to both beauty and death: gravestones, mausoleums, and stone angels mark the resting places of hundreds of Oaklanders, laid to rest among spreading oak trees and picturesque winding paths. Many stories of hauntings…