You are here: Real Ghost Stories :: Apparitions / Voices / Touches :: Dirty Secret

Real Ghost Stories

Dirty Secret


This happened mid-October 2007. I enjoy walking down Alhambra Boulevard, mostly prompted out of fitness and because I love Autumn! The cool nights reacting with chlorophyll change the leaves to every shade of red and yellow you can imagine. It was twilight and the schoolyard seemed empty. The evening chill seemed to chase away nearly everyone, leaving just a smattering of cars, me and the susurrus of trees.

Then something caught my eye. Standing by on old oak on the west corner of the playground I saw what looked like a stock-still person staring at me. This would not be too surprising, the homeless abound in downtown. As I strolled closer the figure failed to fill in, but I am a little near sighted. This was most obviously a woman, she had bowed shoulders and large hips. Then within just steps the figure, just as I was getting ready to say, "Hello", it disintegrated into nothing.

When I got right next to the tree I couldn't find any thing that might have caused an optical illusion. This simply was not a shadow thrown by light/twilight, or anything tangible. When I got home I decided to investigate. I would not have taken the time to look into the history of this place if it was explainable, or if I had a hunch that it was. I was surprised to learn how my eerie encounter seems to correlate with the disturbing history of the site.

Where Sutter Middle School now sits, the bodies of 4,685 people were exhumed. The dead were transported in the 1950's to their new home at East lawn cemetery, across town, but this begs the question, "Did they get everyone?"

Over a hundred years ago when John Sutter, the founder of Sacramento, was alive, he donated that area as a permanent graveyard eventually called the New Helvetia. In the early days, of the New Helvetia Cemetery, many interred bodies were signified by a wooden cross only. I wonder, do we know the names on those wooden crosses? I bet the records have been lost for many and their crosses have long ago dissolved into grave dirt, leaving some dead anonymous, and unaccounted for, bodies behind.

Just pouring a playground over the cemetery may have been enough to wake the forgotten dead. I would be upset to! What was intended to be a final resting place became a casualty in the unsentimental march of progress.

Other hauntings by Athena

Hauntings with similar titles

Find ghost hunters and paranormal investigators from California

Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Athena, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
12 years ago (2011-07-24)
I was far away from the 'figure' and I'm nearsighted and think that probably this 'lady' may have just been a branch?
osyka (7 stories) (28 posts)
15 years ago (2008-08-04)
Hi Athena,

I really like your writting style, it's flowing, to the point and in detail. I still would have been scared not to approach the lady beneath the tree!
Tino (1 stories) (8 posts)
15 years ago (2008-05-06)
that was a good story... I like the description, very detailed and interesting.
whitebuffalo (guest)
15 years ago (2007-12-13)
You should know, Athena, my favorite line in this account is the second sentence. 😆
Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
15 years ago (2007-12-13)
WhiteBuffalo, Thank you for that! (smiling ear to ear) Great to get comments from you!
whitebuffalo (guest)
15 years ago (2007-12-08)
There is no way. If this had happened to me I would have been running out of there the first day, and POSSIBLY returning the next to try to figure it out. What a backbone Athena! Whew. I just know you went ahead with some more investigation on this. What did you find out if you did the intuitive investigation? Poor John Sutter, I can imagine, if he is still lurking somewhere, that he did not like these turn of events either. Thank you for a wonderfully written and researched account.
Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-22)
Hi EBW9, Yes, I think you are right.

Siddharth, Thank you for enjoying my story, I am looking forward to reading that story after you post it! I love all your stories.
siddharth (4 stories) (37 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-20)
hi, Athena! Now this is one of my favorites. You know, When I read this story for first, I was bewildered. I thought that I had heard something similar before.I've been thinking the whole night but I got nowhere. The next morning when I saw my neighbour- Mr. Sharma, I recalled. He had also experienced a similar thing which he told to everyone in my family. Your experience and his were almost similar.
Will you mind if someday I post his story?
evilblackwidow9 (6 stories) (132 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-20)
This has happened unforently many times and there has been reported cases of hauntings because the ground is unsettled. I hope you can see if she has something to tell you or she just wanted to make herself known.

Blessed Be Ye
Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-20)
Hi Bellissima, Yep, what you said! Maybe I could "help" the ghost(s)? I'm not sure I know what I mean by help though.

EssieJ, Researching land. I guess that depends on where you are. Here in the US you can can look up the owners of city dwelling in the county public records.
My investigation was internet, very easy. I just put in "Sutter middle school" then I found a result that made me wonder if it was correlated to the event. I think a lot of looking up history depends on where you are. If you are in the wilderness of Alaska there might not be accessable records for who 'owned' the land in 1747. In contrast, if you are in the Netherlands it may be common knowledge what family owned a plot of land in the 1600's. I guess there are different tools for every investigation. I used the most simple one because that is all I needed.
Bellissima (12 stories) (792 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-20)
Hi, Athena! When you say intuitive investigating, do you mean walking around the area with your senses open? I think you should give it a go. I'd be so curious about this place, I think I'd go strolling by every chance I got. Although, I'd definitely do it in daylight hours! 😊 Thanks for responding to my comment!
essiej (guest)
16 years ago (2007-11-20)
Hello Athena. I liked your story. Could you tell me please how to research the land that things happen on? I want to check out some places where I lived, but the community site just tells of things there now.
Athena (9 stories) (222 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-19)
Hey Tanami, Thank you for your response!

Dear Bellissama, I value your reaction to my story and all your comments and stories. I'm wondering if you think I should go back there to try to do intuitive investigating? I feel like I should see if she wants anything from me. I was pretty caught off gaurd and didn't do that at the time and have found myself avoiding that area lately...
O'Sutter, hmmm, he was hard to figure out. He was alarmed by the growth of Sacramento during his lifetime, so I imagine he was 'turning in his grave' when they decided to move the New Helvetia. Thank you very much Bell!

Hi KimS. I am betting you are right about this. And I feel really sad for the people who were disturbed in death to make way for an expanding city. Thank you for praying for them. I think that may help so much for peace in the soul.

Rosemary, I never know when you will show up, thank you for choosing my story to post on!

Mustang, Thank you for writing! I thought that was a person until I got close and the figure "disintegrated". It caught me off-gaurd! Shelby, your comments carry extra meaning with the cyclone in indonesia killing countless people. It is especially sad for them because they don't have the means for locating thier dead, or giving the living a proper path for coping. We are (all people) truly realatives. I think at one point in our history, the worlds population bottle-necked to 28,000. However, my memory is not the best for numbers...

I send my most healing thoughts to everyone. And hope for humanitarian care to counterbalance personal greed of everyone, especially the most powerful.
tanami (1 stories) (8 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-19)
hey Athena,
cool story that's pretty freaky, so they like just dissapeared right in front of you,OMG! ❤ Belle
Bellissima (12 stories) (792 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-18)
Hi Athena! As always, a well written and thoroughly investigated story! I always love to read your stories, they are some of my faves! You've done a really great investigation and the facts are amazing. That seems terrible that they would move such a large graveyard. I wonder why they would do such a thing? The poor souls must be so confused. I'm sure you're right, how could they ever know if they managed to retrieve all of the bodies? I'll bet Mr. Sutter didn't have anything like this in mind when he designated the property a permanent cemetery. The woman probably showed herself to you because of your sensitivity, she knew you would care. Bless you for doing so. I'm awaiting more from you and thanks for sharing your stories with us. I'm always eager to read your accounts!
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-17)
Wow, thank you so much for sharing this story! I am so impressed that you took the time to locate the history of you experience. Many people don't do this, they simply spend their time wondering.

This poor person is probably feeling lost and displaced, she may have not crossed over for one reason or another when the 'move' occured. Now, she may be more lost than before!
I will say a prayer for her, for all of them!

God Bless!
mustang (5 stories) (749 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-17)
Hi Athena! How scary it is to have someone watching you, living or dead! I'm sure that there are so many bodies around the world that have been missed when graves were moved or ones that have been long forgotten. I wonder if spirits really do get upset when progress is made and it's not intentional for the bodies to be forgotten or graves to be somewhat desicrated(sp?)? I don't know for sure. How would you feel? How would the family feel? What if it were one of our ancestors? When you think about it, think of all of the people in the world. We all have to die sometime! When progress has to be made to suit everyone's needs where do they put all of the old graves/bodies? CREEPY! Anyway, enough babbling from me! Thanks for your story. ~Shelby ❤
Rosemary (35 posts)
16 years ago (2007-11-17)
The spirits of the dead are of course no longer in the grave, but some spirit in the spirit world may actually be hanging around to say someone misplaced their bones.

To publish a comment or vote, you need to be logged in (use the login form at the top of the page). If you don't have an account, sign up, it's free!

Search this site: