A Haunted History of Lake County

October 30, 2016

The spooky season is upon us in the northern California wine country region of Lake County, where the fall color change and recent Halloween celebration remind us of some of the best ghost stories we’ve heard. Even Bigfoot has made an appearance in Lake County, according to local legend.

The recent Halloween celebration scared up some fun and spooky tales that we thought we’d pass along.

Ghost Stories

Any place in the U.S. with as rich a history as Lake County is bound to have a few ghost stories floating around its hallowed and historic houses. Indeed, several historic structures that have been converted to Lake County museums do have quirky stories of a friendly ghost known to make an appearance from time to time.

At Hidden Valley Lake’s Stone House Museum, the oldest building in Lake County, resident curators have claimed encounters with a spirit they’ve nicknamed Camphor, who is known to swing lamps or fiddle with Christmas decorations.

Over at the Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum, they say someone is sometimes heard tip-toeing across the empty auditorium. This is attributed to the late Isabella Lee, whose husband’s piano-tuning tools are still on display at the museum today. 

If you’d like to hear more of these ghost stories, tours of these museums are available on a regular basis.

Staff at the Lakeport English Inn say they’ve seen lights acting strangely or doors closing by themselves, and attribute this to a little girl named Myrtle who lived there in the 19th century—and perhaps still does.

Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast Resort
Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast

Guests at the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast resort in Nice have often shared stories of seeing a man in a striped suit in their room. Other haunted happenings include Strange occurrences in the cabooses include lights going on or off, items being moved or rearranged, the sound of an invisible someone or something walking up caboose steps late at night and windows opening and closing on their own.


There have been two alleged Bigfoot sightings in Lake County over the years, according to Bigfoot blogs and message boards (yes, there are such things!).

A 2012 video shows some photos taken near Clear Lake in which some hikers insist they caught a glimpse of the big fellow wandering the woods of Lake County. Furthermore, the National Bigfoot Sightings Database lists a 1976 encounter wherein two Clear Lake fishermen claim to have encountered an 8-foot tall creature.

Neither account offers any trustworthy or verifiable evidence of an actual Sasquatch encounter. But if you’re up for an amateur Bigfoot hunt, the hiking trails in Lake County certainly have some remarkable phenomena afoot.

The Horror Movie Legend of Lake County

One of the most recognized faces in Hollywood horror movies calls Lake County home. You may not know the name Michael Berryman, but you’ve surely seen his face in dozens of horror and B-movie classics like The Hills Have Eyes and Weird Science plus the Academy Award–winning classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Berryman has made a legendary career from his unusual appearance caused by a genetic condition, and he’s played scary monsters and gentle giant roles in nearly 100 films and TV shows. Now Berryman makes his home in Lake County, still appearing in the occasional horror flick and lending his fame to raise awareness of environmental and wildlife issues.

Some Lake County legends are real and some are just tall tales, but it’s a proven fact that Lake County is definitely a favorite haunt for lots of adventure seekers. If you really want to scare up a ghoulishly good time this Halloween season, look to Lake County to scare up some paranormal activity this October.