Originally published on October 29, 2008.
Haunted Angels Camp, CA
This time of year haunted hot-spots in California The Whaley House in San Diego, or The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose get all the attention, but I’d like to share with you a ghost story a bit closer to my heart. You won’t find this one in the guidebooks, because its never been written down before now. This story comes from my own family.
Angels Camp, California around 1912. My great grandmother, Aneta Cepanich, was returning home, on foot, with her children from a town fair in the town square, Utica Park. It was late; well past the children’s bedtime, and she needed to get them home soon. So in an effort to take a short cut to their home, she decided to take a short cut past through the old cemetery that was, at the time, adjacent to their home on Old Route 49.
They were half way up the hill when the figure of a woman appeared, making her way amongst the tombstones in their direction. Before long, they all realized the figure was not that of a woman at all. They realized she was seemingly floating, as the aparition had no legs. What’s more, the apparition was headed straight for them.
Aneta, and her children (including my grandmother much as a young girl), picked up their pace, but it was of no use. The spirit, by now, had reached them. Aneta shielded her children, and as the figure passed, it brushed against my great grandmother, who by now was wildly afraid. No one had the nerve to look back, and all broke into a sprint for the cemetery gates.
I have been haunted by this story since first hearing it as a child no older than my grandmother was when it happened to her. Until her dying day, she swore she and her brothers and sister had witnessed this- a story corroborated by her siblings upon inquiry. They also said their mother suffered from rheumatism in that very shoulder for the remainder of her life.
The old cemetery no longer exists on that land, having been moved to a new location the highway was expanded years ago. But to this day, I cannot pass that stretch of land at nighttime and look in the direction where the old cemetery once stood for fear I may I just see the ghostly figure of a woman descending the hill.
Caption: The Cepanich family, Angels Camp, c. 1910. Aneta and her four oldest children: Luke, Lazar, Sophia, and Millie were together when they witnessed the spirit. This photo was taken around the time the ghostly event occured. Photo courtesy: Kristy Kosach