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?


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!


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!

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

17 thoughts on “Mission San Luis Obispo”

  1. Cute photo of your grandchildren. If she is 19, it was a few years ago.
    We have a 1898 victorian farm house. I have felt a presence in the house and 2 of our children have seen ghosts. I didn’t know the house was supposed to have them until a mom in our son’s scout troop asked me if I had seen it. Evidently her family lived in the house years ago. She said there is a lady in white that appears on the upstair’s landing when someone is going to die. Don’t want to see that one any time soon, if ever. Our daughter had a rather frightening incident 18 years ago. She was house sitting for us and sleeping on the sofa in the family room in the new addition. She got up in the wee hours of the morning to take care of her baby. All of a sudden, she had the feeling someone was watching her and a sense of evil. She turned around and saw a greenish form taking shape in the hallway leading to the old part of the house. Our black lab which had been sleeping under the portacrib, got up at the same time and started growling. She headed for the form still growling and with the hairs up along her back. Before she got to the hallway, the form disappeared and with it, the feeling of evil. The dog stopped growling and curled up to go back to sleep. For some reason, she doesn’t like to spend the night in the old part of the house.

    • Oh my gosh, Patricia, I am so taken aback by your comments. Your story is truly amazing, but really very similar to some things I’ve heard about even in my hometown. Particularly in older well established/founder type homes and early businesses. Have you tried to find out about the history of the original house? Not necessarily what folk lore says, but historical facts. Who lived there in the past and if there was any high profile incidents in the home. I’d love to know more about it. And, I don’t blame your daughter, it’d probably never stay in the old part of the house again. The dog growling is proof in my eyes! This is a great story. Thanks for sharing. And, yes this picture was taken a number of years ago when my daughter and family lived in Lompoc/Santa Barbara County the first time. My little “Chili Pepper” was the only one of the kids born in California, with the rest born in Texas, but he says he’s a Texas through and through and plans to be Governor of Texas one of these days! And, knowing him, he might well be. Hugs, Phyliss

      • A daughter of the family who built the house and first lived in it was still alive when we moved here. I am curious to see what was on this property before this house. It is an area that was settled early on and is about 7 miles or so from the Davy Crockett Birth Place park. From markers put up by the state archeology department that were near a stream not far from our house, this area was the likely location of an indian village. The markers are gone now, but the farmer’s field near the river is always giving up arrow points and pot sherds, so I have heard. When digging up flower beds around an old oak in our front yard, I found chert and flint chips. I don’t think there are any deposits of it nearby. It did appear they may have been byproducts of flint napping. One of these days I will have the time to investigate a bit more. It is quite possible the village was located here and a settler’s cabin could have occupied the area before this house was built.

  2. Being a Native Californian and living around missions all my life and Elaine Camino Real especially, the Kings Highway all done by Father Junipero Serra. Growing up Catholic was not a choice we just were and went to church there and parochial school too all 6 of us kids, I am #3 and oldest girl with 2 older brothers. I and all my siblings went to St Matthews in San Mateo. My brothers graduated in 8th grade and went Serra High School a Catholic boys school, this school is named after Father Serra by the way. Funny how I just grew up around Father Serra and his Catholic influence my whole life, whether it was being raised up north in San Mateo near San Francisco or moving south to Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo SLO Counties. My oldest brother got a scholarship and went to USF The University of San Francisco a Catholic university but coed. See the picture there. I only went up to 7th grade at St Matthews with my 3 younger sisters in 5th, 3rd and 2nd grades. We moved to public schools after and moved to Santa Barbara where of course Mission Santa Barbara is. I would go by it driving all the time and even used to walk right next to Mission San BuenaVentura or the Ventura Mission in old town Ventura a lot also. But getting back to my original thought in San Mateo at St Matthews on Elaine Camino Real there is a statue of and dedicated to Father Junipero Serra. It was there everyday when you went to school and church. I will say that we never went to parochial school again just public we 4 girls, just my brothers had the full Catholic school experience in elementary and high school. Oldest brother even university at USF. My sister just under me as well as I did continue to get our Confirmation but as teens we pretty much left the Catholic church. Still Christian but only go in a Catholic church for weddings or funerals of friends and family. But that doesn’t mean I left never seeing the Missions, no those are all over California and fun Togo to wherever you are that has one. Sorry this is wordy but you needed the background of it too. Father Junipero Serra set each mission a single day’s walk between them so he built shelter and church all in California. It is such amazing history at that. I even have my mom’s sister, my aunt and her husband, my uncle buried in the Santa Barbara Mission. So it does go full circle somewhat in my family. My mom and dad are not in a mission but Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, he was a veteran and she was buried with my dad instead. Go see the Missions if you visit CA they are something and so many all towns grew up around them. Again sorry this got wordy but Fr. Serra is a big topic and so are his Missions.

    • Elaine, thank you so much such great comments. I’ve visited the Mission in Santa Barbara, but the grands were about the age as they were in the picture. I love that mission. It is beautiful. Since both times my kids have lived in California they resided in Lompoc/Santa Barbara County, I’ve spent time from LA north but I’ve really only visited missions up to SLO. By the time I got to San Jose, it was the Winchester Mansion each time! My daughter is with the ACS, so she’s been responsible for everything from the whole state of California to the national level, living out there. When I go, I don’t just visit, I move it for sometimes three months at a time, particularly when the kids have things going on. One good thing about being a writer, you can write anywhere if it feels good to you. When the kids are gone to school, you can’t beat the ocean for relaxation and writing. My favorite mission has to be La Pursima Concepcion because it’s with almost walking distance from where Kathy used to live when they were on Harris Grade. I might mention, I have Harris Grade and the old drive-in in Lompoc in my first single title book “The Troubled Texan”. It starts in LA and ends in Texas, where the series “Kasota Spring Romance” series takes place. I wrote “Troubled” out in California, so I bet you’ll know every place I wrote about. The one place I haven’t been in is Mission San Juan Capistrano, but I’ll have to plan my trip carefully to visit just at the right time. Again, Elaine, thank you for reading my blog and commenting. Yes, I’ll add your suggestions to my list. By the way, my Uncle Vic is buried as a WWII Purple Heart Recipient in California. Unfortunately, his only daughter passed last year, but I have the family records, so I should be able to find out where he’s buried and visit his grave one of these days. Thanks for the memories, and have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

      • Yes you definitely have been to the tricounties Phyliss, Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo. I have been to a few missions of course but much less than you and I bet many have stories to tell and some ghosts flitting around as well. I know some make the ghosts investigations every so often. But it would be fun to encounter some when visiting. Yes I have had my share of ghostly or spirit happenings around me, maybe even angels too. Ever have to find an arrow on a 3D archery shoot climbing all over and look for your arrow, don’t see it anywhere, then yell hey up there help me find it, never expecting anything and then turnaround, go back the way you came and your arrow is sticking up out of the ground facing away from you but in the right direction you had shot from but you know it was not there the 1st time you passed the area. Of course I yelled thanks though for whoever heard and helped me.
        It would be interesting if your Uncle Vic is buried in the Golden Gate Cemetery too in San Bruno Phyliss, who knows. If you put his name in an online search you may find out. Good luck.

  3. have never seen a ghost but I love going on ghost tours with the hopes of seeing one. Next time in California, I shall visit this mission. Thanks

    • Not seen or experienced any ghosts or spirits while in a mission here but there are tales of then and everyone loves a ghost story. History you just can’t make up about real people and events. Sort of like celebrating Saint Barbara every year in the Fiesta Parade in Santa Barbara. Now that I think on it the carriage house is notably haunted and I lived just down the block from the original site when I moved there at 14, Santa Barbara or SB Courthouse also has it’s share of ghost stories. But I bet most old places anywhere with a history may have hauntings. I love them but have never seen an actual ghost I just feel or sense them around me as an empath. Ever been anywhere where there is a cold spot anytime day or night? You know someone or something is there, that happens a lot to me. Things happened to me or around me but never physically saw a ghost in person as a shape.

    • Oh, Debra, you intrigue me. I’ve never gone ghost busting but I think it’d be fun. I still owe you all the explanation as to why I think there truly are ghost at La Pursima mission in Lompoc. I’m saving it for next time. It’s something that happened to not only my grandson and his friend, but a total stranger who called my daughter the next day! It’ll be fun to tell. Hey, keep telling us of any ghost adventures you encounter. It doesn’t have to be in a mission, because they are everywhere. In Texas there are a lot in most abandoned military posts and old buildings. Let me hear from you when you see a ghost, Debra. Big hugs, Phyliss

  4. Great blog, Phyliss! I love these old historical places and go every chance I get. I can just feel the presence of the people who walked there. I especially felt that way in Deadwood, South Dakota. And I felt spirits very strongly in the Alamo where so many brave men died. Then again in the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico. But I’ve never seen them as ghosts or anything. I’d love to go tour these California missions. Sounds very interesting.

    Big hugs, friend.

    • Hi Filly Friend, Linda. Maybe we can make a trip to California one of these days. We probably need to spend more time in the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, plus no doubt we need more time in the Ecklund in Clayton, New Mexico. For those who don’t know the St. James Hotel was a popular place for outlaws and lawmen to spend time. Many met their maker there. It’s almost 100% original and Billy the Kid stayed there. Right, Linda? And the Ecklund is where Black Jack Ketchum was decapitated in his hanging. Since my husband’s family is from there, I need to write more about it. I can remember a number of places you and I have been where we could really “feel” the energy and history; like Fort Concho in San Angelo and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, amongst others. Thanks for taking time to stop by, my friend. Love you, P

  5. I’ve never seen or heard any ghosts. I feel a reverence in places like the Battleship Texas and the Alamo. I have stayed in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio which is supposed to have a couple of ghosts, but I never saw or felt them. Odd that it is so close to the Alamo. There should be ghosts aplenty.

    • Thanks, Connie, for stopping and leaving a comment. I’m totally with you about the reverence, but sometimes there’s just “something” a visitor feels without actually seeing a ghost. I know one of my long ago friends, would argue with anybody who said there weren’t ghosts. After her teenage son was killed in a car wreck, she was cooking one day and an apparition appeared at the back screen (when we kept back doors open)and told her that he was there to let her know that her son was fine and he was in Heaven. When Daddy died, Mother said he came to her one night and sat beside her on the bed to tell her he was okay and loved her. I personally have never seen a ghost but I wonder. Between their two stays in California, my kids lived in San Antonio and Amarillo. We spent many, many hours around the Menger and the Alamo and I’ve never felt anything but fun, but I know some visitors who felt “weird” things at the Alamo during our RWA convention there in San Antonio on the river walk. Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. My sister’s ghost is truly interesting… we have no idea who he is, but he has followed her around for years… even my little nephew would see him on occasion. One time I even saw his shape walked by my nephew’s door while I was babysitting… Phyliss, I was one of your winners last time… I wrote to you, but never received a response back… not sure if my email ended up in Spam.

  7. Colleen, thanks for the reminder. I believe that I read your email telling me what book you wanted, but I was traveling and ended up not saving it. I promise I’ll send you an email today.

    Your sister’s ghost is interesting to say the least. Does she live in an old house with a lot of history or a newer one? I’d love to hear more about your sister’s ghost. That is fascinating. Promise an email shortly. Thanks again and big hugs, Phyliss

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