A ghostly hand selects the dinner music at one downtown Fullerton eatery, while at another, an unseen prankster enjoys tossing pots and pans around. At a third restaurant, a ghost has been known to belly up to the bar and hoist a few alongside his living counterparts. And at a fashionable gift shop, Lillian likes to turn the lights on in the place she once called “home.”
These and other restless spirits of Fullerton, considered by many to be one of the most haunted cities in Orange County, will soon move out of the shadows and onto center stage as the Fullerton Museum Center launches its 12th Annual “Haunted Fullerton Walking Tours” this fall. Tours will be given Wednesdays and Thursdays September 12 through November 1, with a special Halloween tour planned for October 31. Due to popularity, the tours book up fast, and persons interested in participating are strongly advised to get their registrations in early.
Locations to be visited can vary and may include the landmark Plummer Auditorium, where the spirits of Louis E. Plummer and one known only as the “angry woman” are said to watch the shows presented there; the historic California Hotel, now Villa del Sol; and the home of Fullerton’s first woman auto dealer. Even Fullerton’s Police Department apparently is not without its own hauntings, and will be one of the locations visited on the tours.
While a good ghost story appeals to most people, Aimee Aul, Fullerton Museum Center educator and tour coordinator, said the tours’ real draw is they give participants a chance to learn a little about Fullerton’s colorful history: “The tours really are a celebration of local legend,” Aul said. “We’re not making any supernatural claims; we’re just sharing stories of another facet of Fullerton’s history, particularly that of the downtown.”
The tours leave the museum promptly at 6 p.m., and last approximately two and one-half hours. Each tour is preceded by a ghost hunting open house in the museum classroom from 5-6 p.m. Visitors can meet members of North Orange County Paranormal Society and learn about the latest techniques in paranormal research. Aul said “ghost hunters” should be prepared to walk approximately 1.5 miles, and the tours will include climbing stairs. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a sense of humor with them.
The tour is not recommended for children under 13.
Cost of the tour is $15 for museum members, and $18 for the general public. Space is limited and prepaid reservations are required. “Those who don’t get their reservations in don’t stand a ghost of a chance,” quipped Aul.
Reservations and further information may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Museum Center at (714) 738-6545. Persons requiring special accommodations to participate in the tour are asked to notify the museum staff when making reservations.
The Fullerton Museum Center is located at 301 N. Pomona Ave., one block east of Harbor Boulevard, in downtown Fullerton.