If a horror movie tried to capture all of the insane stuff that has happened around San Francisco's Cliff House and Sutro Baths over the years, the end result would be utterly preposterous. Not even the over-killers of American Horror Story would try to squeeze apparitions, satanists, explosions, dead children, secret cemeteries, disastrous fires, mummies (yes, actual mummies), shipwrecks, and Native American legends into a single season. (Give it a try, Ryan Murphy -- we dare you!) Yet this one tiny corner of San Francisco has seen it all.
A good place to start is the abundance of ghost-sightings reported in the area -- the most famous of which is the forlorn woman who wanders the rocks below the Cliff House. Legend has it, the restless spirit is that of Natalie Salina Harrison, who, in life, reportedly waited on the shore in vain for her fiancé to return from World War I. She died broken-hearted, and people have been seeing her ghostly form since 1917. When the Paranormal Ghost Society investigated the area, they claimed to pick up the sound of weeping on their instruments.
Across the way, what remains of the Sutro Baths has also had its fair share of ghostly goings-on. The host of Amy's Crypt, an online paranormal show, picked up a voice recording of someone telling her to “move it” when she searched the area one night. Most investigators are fixated on the tunnel at the Baths, once used to pump sea water into the indoor pools. Not only have inverted pentagrams been found painted in there -- suggesting Satanic activity (there have even been rumors about human sacrifice) -- legend has it that the spirits of a drowned woman and an older man frequent the spot. Stories say that if you leave a lit candle in the tunnel, the spirit of the woman is summoned, and she throws the candle into the ocean.
It's not just the tunnel that's spooky either. The Baths themselves have been a place of interest for strange occurrences for decades. Multiple people have reported seeing Victorian ladies strolling along the beach with parasols, as well as turn-of-the-century bathers hanging around where the seven impressive pools used to be. One of the spirits is rumored to be Frank Denvin, who died in 1896, at the age of 16, having fallen head-first from the ladder of a water slide into an empty, cement tank.
Mediums have claimed that the area has always been overwhelmed by a strange energy, though none of them can say why. It was six years after he'd purchased the Cliff House, that mining engineer, philanthropist, and Sutro Baths owner Adolph Sutro first got a taste of it. It was then that his ongoing battle to keep his grand property from burning to the ground commenced.