'Haunted San Pedro' Oct 9, 2016 11:08:04 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 9, 2016 11:08:04 GMT -5
Haunted San Pedro by Brian Clune
Call this book a tribute to the unseen San Pedro. Just in time for Halloween, Brian Clune unmasks what lurks in the shadows in his new tome, Haunted San Pedro, offering a sometimes hair-raising peek into the ghostly legends that swirl around such places as the Warner Grand Theatre, the Point Fermin Lighthouse and an old bungalow on 11th Street.
‘Let’s go ghost hunting.’ Clune, a 32-year Torrance city employee, is no stranger to the paranormal. When his son turned 18 a decade ago, Clune was looking for new father-son bonding activities. He asked his son what he’d like to do for more togetherness.
“‘Let’s go ghost hunting,’” his son replied.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Are you serious?’” Clune said.
He was. And while his son quickly lost interest in the chase, Clune was hooked. He went on to help establish Planet Paranormal, a group that investigates reports of otherworldly activity, and has written three books on the topic. His first two were California’s Historic Haunts and Ghosts of the ‘Queen Mary.’ The Queen Mary, by the way, is “extremely” haunted, according to Clune.
In his new 150-page book, Clune takes a dark dive into the supernatural with tales both familiar and new.
The case of the haunted bungalow. Of course, no book on scary San Pedro would be complete without the events that occurred in 1989 in a turn-of-the-century bungalow near 11th Street and Pacific Avenue. Barry Conrad, who investigated that case – featured prominently on television and popularly known as “The San Pedro Haunting” – wrote the foreword to Clune’s new book.
Chapter 14, “A Haunting on Eleventh Street,” chronicles the mystery surrounding Jackie Hernandez, who moved into the bungalow after she and her husband separated. She was pregnant and had a 2-year-old son in tow. The next few months she reported hearing “strange mumblings and voices coming from her attic,” Clune, 55, writes. “Objects around her home would move on their own and she would hear strange knocking within the cottage at all hours of the day and night.” Even the cat seemed to be spooked.
The story has been debunked by some over the years, but Clune believes something was going on. In a telephone interview, he said many of the events in the home were recorded. “There was not really any controversy about the fact that it was true,” Clune related. “It’s just that there was some controversy over whether it was a ghost or telekinesis (also known as psychokinesis) – whether Ms. Hernandez was subconsciously causing the manifestations to occur.” The bungalow, according to Clune, still stands and apparently its more recent tenants have reported no issues. But the story still makes the rounds via YouTube.
Other haunted places in the book – which covers the expanded area within the original San Pedro Rancho land grant territory – include the Dominguez Rancho, the Banning Mansion, Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, Sunken City, Warner Grand Theatre, Point Fermin Lighthouse, Battleship Iowa, SS Lane Victory, Fort MacArthur Museum, Point Vicente Lighthouse, Wayfarers Chapel and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Along with the chilling campfire stories, plenty of history is mixed in, said Clune whose other passion is local history.
Waiting for ghosts? Bo-o-ring (mostly). While some really scary stuff happens, Clune explained the work of a paranormal investigator isn’t always what people imagine. “It’s a lot of boredom, mostly,” he said. “We try to tell people it’s not what you see on TV. Most of it is us sitting in a room trying to get any spirits that might happen to be there to basically communicate with us, with a recorder running. Ninety-nine percent of the time we get nothing.”
The scariest case he and his partners encountered was one they were too frightened to formally take. About five years ago, a San Diego woman pleaded with them to study “some really weird things” that had occurred to her. “We’re one of the more careful teams,” he insisted, “and we kept telling her we were not going to accept her case unless she went to a psychologist or psychiatrist and was cleared” of any mental illness or medical issues. “She’d make telephone calls to us and there would be other voices coming over the phone,” he continued. The woman refused to obtain the medical clearance they demanded and so they turned her case down. “She said she was going to get even with us,” Clune remembered. “I live in Torrance, my buddy lives in Irvine and the other guy (on the team) lived in Burbank. And all three of us had our cats die horrible deaths at the exact same time of the day – 2:08 p.m. – on Christmas Day.” They never heard from her again and vowed never to take “any case that seems like it might have nonhuman aspects” to it after that.
San Pedro spirits? Clune said he has personally investigated a few of the places in his book, specifically the Fort MacArthur Military Museum where he worked as a volunteer and the 1930s Warner Grand Theatre in downtown San Pedro. In other cases, he has related the stories that surround the landmarks that have long been popular in the Harbor Area.
“I’ve investigated the Warner Grand three times,” he said. “I have not gotten any evidence from there, although some people have sent me photographs which I’ve kind of dismissed. “Others sent me audibles (recordings) that are pretty compelling. One is from the projection room – where one of the spirts reportedly is seen the most – of a man saying, ‘Need to get this fixed.’ ”
So how do you know there’s a ghost nearby? Room temperature can go up or down in the presence of a spirit, he explained, and ghostly voices are generally lower than 25 Hertz on the decibel range. But Clune, a married father of three who works in street maintenance during the day, is no flamboyant ghost hunter. “‘Ghost Hunters’ are out there trying to get a scare and make themselves famous,” he observed. “They’re all over Facebook the next day.” They also tend to believe everything they see or hear is a ghost, he added.
As for Clune, he’s a skeptic when it comes to things like orbs – those reflections seen in some digital photographs. He stays clear of the demonic possession trends popularized in films and television shows like The Exorcist. “All a ghost is is a dead human being,” he explained. “If the person was a nice person in life, they’re going to be the same” in death.
The current creepy clown movement? “They’re clowns,” he replied.
Still, you might want to leave a light on as you read his book.
Haunted San Pedro is available at Amazon and at select Barnes & Noble stores. Copies also are available for purchase at a cost of $19.99 along with Clune’s 2014 book on the Queen Mary – at the Grand Emporium in San Pedro.
Source: Donna Littlejohn, The Daily Breeze, October 8, 2016.