The paranormal may roam city

Maryann Kopp

If you’re considering chasing ghosts in Bakersfield this Halloween, bear in mind that you might end up chasing your tail.
While scores of stories have circulated throughout the years, whether from word of mouth or online, very little stands to substantiate any actual happenings. The amount of people who are actually willing to talk about such things is even smaller.
Tamera Mahan, member of the Golden Empire Paranormal Research Society (GEPRS), knows this all too well, but is still fairly optimistic.
“People seem to be more open now than before,” said Mahan. “But a lot of [the refusal to speak about paranormal activity] is because of religious beliefs, social acceptance and plain fear, which hinders people from coming forward when they do experience something.
“It is much easier sometimes to just ignore the occurrence or not accept that there could be more to it.”
All other attempted interviews to discuss any hauntings were refused, but Mahan was able to provide background stories and GEPRS issued ratings on some of Bakersfield’s most talked about haunted spots.
This information is also available in the most current edition of “Bakotopia.”
Although The Rip was unable to receive any official word regarding the haunted happenings rumored to be taking place at the Kern County Museum (except for one employee who denied all rumors, but did not want to be quoted), the GEPRS notes it as “one of the most concentrated areas of active houses and buildings ever assembled.”
With a rating of “high” in regards to the “severity of haunting,” people have reported having heard children singing and felt as though they were being watched. The general belief is that, though the houses and buildings were removed from their original spots, the deceased occupants decided to stick around.
Another site cited, was the Bakersfield High School campus. Bones of medical amputees have reportedly been discovered during construction at this area, as an alleged hospital used to be where the campus now stands. A young couple can also be seen “on the upper part of the bleachers” at times.
BHS received a “fair to high” rating, as the GEPRS claims to have received “many reports of sightings and activity here.” The Harvey Auditorium is said to be especially haunted, although no specifics were given as to what exactly has been seen in that particular building.
Downtown Bakersfield, according to Mahan, has had plenty of reported sightings and paranormal experiences, which may be due to the area, itself, having once been an actual cemetery.
“Most of [the cemetery’s] inhabitants had been exhumed and moved to Union Cemetery,” the GEPRS reports. “But obviously not all of them. Bones are still reported as being found when construction takes place, as well as sightings of ghostly figures.”
As many reports came from business owners and private residences, actual locations could not be named, but the area was given a “high” rating.
Garces Circle, at 30th St. and Chester Ave., is home to the popular alleged haunted statue of Father Garces.
Said to gesticulate as a means to warn drivers of “an impending car accident or fender bender,” the statue has been given a “low to fair” rating of haunted activity.
The Oleander area (located just south of California Ave., between Oak St. and H St.) has its share of hauntings, and Mahan spoke of one particular story.
“It was 1942, and there were about five houses in this area, and most of them were being rented out to Japanese families,” Mahan began. “This was a time of war, and there was a lot of suspicion and mistrust towards the Japanese people. Therefore, the majority of the Japanese families in Bakersfield were relocated to internment camps all over the United States, and there were a couple of camps in the desert areas of California.”
Two of the relocated people were an elderly Japanese couple, who, unfortunately, did not make it back to their beloved home after the war.
The current residents of this home have reported lots of activity from the couple, especially the woman.
“Most of the family members report actually seeing the little old woman and on many occasions have had full conversations with her while sitting at the dining table,” Mahan stated. “They still see and talk to her to this day.”
Mahan also said that the family residing in this home do not feel that this is a threatening energy, but moreover, “an element of gentleness and love, as if the couple returned and are caring for the house, as well as the family that lives there now.”
The GEPRS cautions curious ghost hunting amateurs that, while there are plenty of sightings to go around, it may be wise to respect the property and hours of operation of the locations listed.