The Ghost of New High Street: a True Los Angeles Haunting

In 1889, police officers spent two nights inside an empty East LA home after residents complained about strange noises emanating from it, but found no evidence of activity, paranormal or otherwise. The owner of the property, not satisfied, decided to have his own sleepover. It wasn’t long in his first evening before his spooks entered through the front door. “Then came through the bracing night air the cooing tones of a couple of lovers,” wrote the LA Times reporter. After introducing himself, the owner watched as the man and woman fled.

If only all reports of Los Angeles hauntings could be resolved so easily.

“Los Angeles has got a genuine ghost this time for certain,” claimed a reporter in the February 7, 1882 paper.

The alleged haunting was at the home of the Rose family, located near Temple and New High Street (now Spring Street) in Downtown LA, mere blocks from the Los Angeles Times offices.

They reported that the family had been visited by spirit of Mr. Rose, their father, who had died in the home two weeks prior. He’d been paralyzed by a fall at the Wilmington shipyard.

His 9 year-old daughter told her mother, “That he awakened her by blowing cold wind at her. She said he was in white clothes and made motions for her to come to him.”

The following night he appeared to an older daughter in a black suit, frightening her. “God protect me,” she exclaimed. “The ghost replied, ‘He will,’ and disappeared.”

On a third night, the ghost finally appeared to the mother, walking inside the kitchen where she was seated, taking a chair across from her. She ran out before hearing her husband say anything.

The day after this story appeared, the LA Times followed up that they had attended a spirit investigation that had taken place in the home the night before.

“Quite a number of persons were there anxious to get a glimpse at the spirit,” the Times reported.

“As soon as everybody was arranged the lights were put out and all commanded by the master of ceremonies to keep quiet. In a few minutes a clatter like the rush of forty or fifty horses was heard on the roof of the house. This lasted for a second or two when the sound was dropped to the floor and ghost and mustang were in plain view. This was too much for most of the company and they skipped out of the house.”

The ghost dismounted, blew cold air over the remaining audience, and disappeared.

A couple days later, the Times dispatched two reporters to investigate what was behind the paranormal activity. Before they ever arrived at the house they were spooked by the sound of an approaching horse.

“The newsgatherers stepped to one side to let the horseman pass. The horse, or whatever it was, did not pass, but took a circle around them, made an unearthly noise – something between the groan of a dying man and the chirping of a nighthawk. This was too much for the reporters, and they started on a run for the office… if the editor-in-chief wants the ghost interviewed tonight he will have to send the devil or go himself.”

The LA Times never reported again on the Ghost of New High Street.

For the skeptical, you can search for the articles referenced in this article in the LA Times archives, accessible at almost any library:
February 7, 1882: SPOOKS SPEAK.: A Ghost Visits Los Angeles and Talks to His Family. Somewhat Different from the General Run of Troubled Spirits–He Blows Cold Wind and Looks Sad.
February 8, 1882: A HORSE GHOST.: How Rose Appeared Last Night on New High Street.
February 10, 1882: REPORTERS ROUTED.: The Times Staff Start Out to See the Ghost and See Him.