Category: California Missions & El Camino Real

Gaviota Pass, California

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetFor the last few posts, I’ve been writing about El Camino Real and the haunted missions along the way.  Today, I’m going to discuss one area of Highway 101 that I bet just about everybody has seen on television commericals … the Gaviota Pass one and a half miles west of Gaviota, near Santa Barbara, California.

gaviota-pass-tunnel-for-pp-11-29-16It’s a place where the road narrows to just a few feet.  It’s where El Camino Real moves away from the coast and into the interior of California.  The long climb up the grade takes travelers to Mission Santa Inez and La Purisima, which I’ve previously blogged on.  The land mark is a haunted one, also.   gaviota-pass-memorial-for-pp-11-16

This bronze plaque commemorates where on Christmas day 1846 an ambush set up by Mexican loyalists to stop Lt. Col. John Fremont’s U.S. troops from moving south forcing the Americans to take a more labored approach to capture Santa Barbara where it was captured without bloodshed.

The ghosts of Gaviota Pass date to an earlier time when a detachment of Spanish Lancers were set upon by the local inhabitants. The Spanish were forced to retreat down the road and through the pass toward to coast. For a while it looked like the Natives would win the day, but as the warriors prepared to mount a charge on the exhausted Spanish Troops a strong wind came up from the sea and inland. In desperation the Spanish set fire to the dry grass in the pass. The flames fueled by the ocean’s wind roared up the pass.  The native warriors trapped in the conflagration were burned to death.

Defeated spirits haunt the pass today. Some have reported seeing a figure who wanders alone. Local legend is that this is the chief who led his people into the fiery defeat. There is no doubt this is a spooky place, especially for those who visit the place at night.  When the wind blows one may still hear the horrible wails of those warriors succumbing to fire.

Now my truth.  I’ve gone through this pass hundreds of times, during all times of the night and day, and my daughter who lives in Santa Barbara County travels to LA regularly and neither of us have seen or heard anything.  I certainly want to make it clear that I’m not discounting any of this as fact, because I just know that sole legendary chief will make sure I believe in him the next time I’m around the pass.

Those of you who have traveled the 101 and gone through this pass, have you ever had any weird sensations.

Okay, as I promised this is the month, I’m telling you all about my grandson’s experience at the La Purisima Mission not far from his home.  Last summer when I was out there for four months, he came out from college in Texas to one of his sister’s graduation.  A friend from Texas had moved out to Santa Barbara with her family, so they went ghost busting at the mission.  They climbed over the gate, as others did, and after not finding anything that interested them, they returned to his folks home.  When his friend started to leave, she couldn’t find her keys.  She was sure they were secured in her closed up shoulder bag. They looked everywhere and could find them, so as a last resort they went back to the La Purisima.

When they turned into the drive right outside the gate they saw a flash.  Checking it out, they found not only her keys but a billfold, both which had been crushed.  There was no way a car could have done it.  They came home certain that this had to be an act of one of the Mission’s ghosts.

There wasn’t a driver’s license in the billfold, but a card for a doctor’s appointment and cash.  They physician’s clerk called the gentleman and told him where his billfold was but never mentioned where it was found.  I answered the door when he showed up. He was pleasantly surprised we had his billfold but perplexed because he was sure it had been secure in his back pocket which was zipped up. “Where was it found?,” he asked.  When I told him, all he could say was “That dern ghost must have stolen it, crushed the dern thing to let us know not to go ghost busting out there again.”

Now you tell me whether you think it was just a coincidence or a reminder from our La Purisima ghosts not to bother them at night?

To one lucky person who leaves a comment, I will give away an autographed copy of the award winning anthology A Texas Christmas by sister filly, Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, the late DeWanna Pace, and me.

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Updated: November 28, 2016 — 8:06 pm

Mission San Luis Obispo

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetHappy November 1st!  I don’t know about you guys, but although I haven’t dared to step on the scales I’m sure I gained a couple of pounds testing the goodies for the little Trick or Treat visitors last night. We sure don’t want them to get any bad chocolate, or any other bad candy, do we?

As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get enough reading about the ghosts in the missions along the Camino Real in California. Today, I’m gonna write about one of my favorite missions … Mission San Luis Obispo.  Just to prove I really have visited this mission, I’m gonna use the acronym SLO for the town in the future.  That’s what most of the folks in California call the area.

The fifth mission established in California was founded by Fray Junipero Serra in 1771.  It is now restored in themission-slo-old-mission-pix downtown plaza of SLO. Like all the other missions, this one has a ghostly figure wandering the grounds. He has been seen by visitors in broad daylight, instead of darkness like many other haunted buildings.

One psychic was drawn to a distinctive painting near the alter, and heard flutes playing in the chapel. They were hollow-sounding like primitive flutes.  She added later that there were more than one … at least three or four.  They were playing a slow, sad song.  The strange concert lasted two or three minutes.  It was verified that there were no musicians in the choir loft.

mission-slo-new-mission-pixTwo decades ago, another visitor heard a hushed whisper in the church. She described voices that sounded like a padre hearing a parishioner’s confession.  It was in Spanish, but was not coming from the confessionals. It was loud. You could make out each word and it echoed.  The visitor was asked what the mysterious voice said and she only replied, “I don’t know, I don’t speak Spanish.”

The new mission is at 751 Palm Street SLO and is beautiful inside, like most of the refurbished missions.

I received such good responses about ghosts around the country, that I’m gonna ask today’s readers the same question as before … do you have a ghost story you’d like to share?

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This is four of my California grands on Halloween a few years ago

and I must say a happy 19th birthday to my little poodle skirt girl!

CALLING ALL READERS LEAVING A COMMENT!

I will select the names of two readers who left comments to today’s blog

and will send them any one of my eBook (anthologies or single title ones)

on Amazon they prefer!

Updated: October 31, 2016 — 7:07 pm

Mission Santa Ines on the El Camino Real

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetIt seems like just last week I blogged with you all … well it was!  But if you can stand me one more day, I’m going to continue along the El Camino Real and write about another Mission I visited not long ago.

My youngest granddaughter came home from school and said she had an end-of-the-year school project and needed my help.  She had to select a mission and write about its history, as well as draw pictures.  Of course the Mission La Purisima was the first one to come to mind, but as she reminded me, anybody could drive the two or three miles to get a bird’s eye view.  The next choice is where we went every Wednesday to the market in Solvang … Mission Santa Inez.  It was a great choice, so we rounded up as many grands who wanted to go and my daughter and I headed towards Solvang.  We could kill three birds with one stone, go to the market, go to our favorite winery while the kids went to the ice cream shop, and visit the Mission for Addison’s project.  What a wonderful outing!front-view-of-santa-ines

But first some history.  Mission Santa Inez was founded in September 1804, and was known for their excellency in saddle making.  Today the Mission is fairly well dwarfed by the tourist town of Solvang.  This is one of the most beautiful Missions I’ve visited, but like the others I’ve written about, it has folklore to match it’s magnificence!

chapel-santa-inezOne story tells of a dark vampire that once inhabited the church when it was in ruin.  The tale says that there is a creature that will suck the blood from the toes of any hapless stranger who sleeps the night in the chapel and has the bad luck to remove his shoes.  Maybe the tale has its origin in the owls who once perched in the building long ago. Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just a myth!

Another legend caught my attention because it tells that the statue of San Antonio, that was brought by the Spanish padres, is somehow blessed and has the power to grant one prayer of an unselfish nature.

This quiet and beautiful place wasn’t always so peaceful, for it was here in 1824 that the Great Revolt started.  The Chumash native converts grew tired of the cruel treatment afforded them by the Spanish soldiers, and revolted in a bloody rampage which lasted a month.  According to folklore, A Chumash woman  warned the padres of the uprising saving many lives.  As the legend goes, she was buried under the alter in a special site reserved for padres and political leaders.  Maybe it is this woman who haunts the grounds of the old graveyard-santa-inezchurch.  Some say they feel her presence near the old laundry basin.  It is said that tape recordings made at the cemetery and laundry area always seems to pick up stray whispers and the mournful wail of a Native American flute.

The site is calm now, but if its memories do replay to the visitor, this should be a very haunted site indeed.

santa-inez-back-yardNow for where Addison and I worked.  This is the backside of the Mission.  We sat on the wishing well and I helped her vocalize the mission, without the ghosts, but it’s history.  She did a fantastically beautiful drawing from this view.  She’s like her PawPa, an artist at heart.  I lost five dollars in coins to the wishing  well.

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my visit to California a few months ago.  Stick with me because I’m still going to revisit the Mission La Purisima and tell you about my college grandson’s real adventure with what could have been a ghost.  I’ll let you all decide.

And, yes we all had ice cream, got some beautiful vegetables along with strawberries, blueberries, and some wonderful mulberries, as well as a couple of bouquets of flowers and headed home … no Lucas and Lewellen Tasting Room for us that day.

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  To two readers who leave a comment, I’ll put your names in one of my

lady Stetson hats direct from Solvang and you can select

your choice of one of my eBooks from Amazon.

Hugs from Texas to all you all, Phyliss

Updated: October 3, 2016 — 7:00 pm

Ortega Adobe

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetIn my last blog I wrote about the Mission La Purisima on the Camino Real in California.  I promised to write more about it and some personal things that have happened in the ol’ haunted mission.  Before I publish, what I think is an intriguing finish to my personal story about the La Purisima, I wanted to explore some more places along the King’s Highway that I’ve visited or became intrigued with.Ortega Taco Pix

I’m gonna bet if you make any Tex-Mex or even Mexican dishes you’ve used Ortega brand products.  Here’s my story about Ortega Adobe, Ortega Chili Company, and a mysterious little girl.

Ortega Old Pix use

The picture to the left is one of the middle class adobe homes and also one of the last houses of its type still standing in California.  Built in 1857 by local rancher Emedigio Ortega, he raised nine of his children.

In 1897, one of his sons began the Ortega Chili Company that exists today.  Obviously, the international company has outgrown the small three room house.

The building has been used as a Mexican restaurant, a Chinese laundry, a pottery shop, an employment agency, a VFW hall, a speakeasy, the Ventura police state, and lastly, a boy’s and girl’s club.  In the 1960’s it became an historic museum.  The tiles on the roof were purchasedOrtega Old Pix from the Old Mission San Buenaventura after the earthquake of 1857.

Now for the more interesting part of this mission, as I promised.

Supernatural events have become a part of the adobe museum’s crew’s jobs. Staff have caught a glimpse of a man with a derby hat standing on the porch. A visitor who believes she has a psychic gift saw a ghostly little girl in the house standing in the doorway. She had a dark shawl over her head. The house also has a very cold spot in the largest of the rooms where some have heard voices! The story of soft music emanating from a phantom guitar remind us of the history and many different lives that have passed through this house and of some spirits that may have chosen to stick around.

The Ortega Adobe isn’t a mission but I found its story very interesting.  I love going to California and this year, as many of you all know, I spent over two months in central California in order to celebrate graduation and birthdays for my grandchildren.  I’m eager to write more about my adventures.

Earlier this month when I wrote about the Mission La Pursima, which you haven’t heard the last of, I received a lot of wonderful comments on missions, so I’ll ask you the same question … please share with us any of your experiences on missions, the Camino Real, and ghosts.

The Troubled Texan GoodTo one lucky reader who comments, I’ll give you a choice of one of my eBook’s, including any anthology I’m in or one of my short stories. I’m looking forward to reading all of your comments.

Updated: August 29, 2016 — 6:53 pm
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