Photo By: Zach Cordner, The Osider Magazine

the spooky side of o'side

5 of Oceanside’s Hidden Haunts

While many are drawn to Oceanside for its vibrant community and cultural attractions, the city holds mysteries that are waiting to be unraveled. Tucked away amidst its historic landmarks are tales that have lingered for generations. Join us on a journey into the heart of Oceanside’s most haunted locations, where history and the paranormal intertwine. 

THE STAR THEATRE

Opened in the 1950s, The Star Theatre is a gorgeous, vintage cinema space. But besides its ornate interiors and grandeur, the theater has long been rumored to be haunted. Patrons and staff alike have reported ghostly figures roaming the projection room, cold drafts in inexplicable places, and draining of electrical/camera equipment. Some attribute the hauntings to performers from days gone by, whose love for the stage keeps them returning, even in the afterlife. There’s even rumored to be a special seat in the house where the apparition of a man is continuously seen, watching on as performers grace the stage.

WATCH as The Osider Magazine does an EVP session inside the theatre during their Haunted Oceanside feature.  

HUNTER STEAKHOUSE

A popular steakhouse by day, and a hotspot for paranormal activity by night. Hunter Steakhouse is believed to be the most haunted building in Oceanside as it sits on the former Buena Vista Cemetery.  Both staff and customers have reported sightings of ghostly figures, objects moving on their own, power surges, workers hearing their names being called and mysterious cold spots. The spirit of a woman seems to enjoy spending time in the stairwell to the bar area. A floating apparition was seen on the second floor and the list goes on. The history behind this is linked to the cemetery on this site between 1888 and 1916, which had an estimated 50 bodies buried there. 

A small reminder of the Buena Vista Cemetery remains in the form of a plaque near the entrance of the restaurant, donated by the Oceanside Historical Society. Part of it reads, “Dedicated to the memories of those who were buried at Buena Vista Cemetery. While some bodies were moved before and during construction on this site many remain here or nearby.”  The names of the people found on gravestones are listed on the plaque.

Fire Station No. 1

Built in 1929 and designed by famed architect Irving Gill, Oceanside’s Fire Station No. 1 is not the typical place you’d expect to find ghost stories. But those who’ve worked long nights there have a different tale to tell. Reports have surfaced of phantom footsteps, doors mysteriously slamming shut, and the eerie feeling of being watched. The origin of these hauntings seemingly ties back to its inception as a dual-purpose fire station and police station. The firemen identify three locations as having the most paranormal activity—jail cell #1, the “drunk tank,” and the women’s holding cell. All three have been converted into bunks where the guys refuse to sleep. “The guys get messed with all the time and a lot of the guys won’t even sleep (in the bunks). That’s where the jail cells used to be. They’ll usually stay in the front room. Whatever is here holds you down, you can’t move, and you can’t speak. In the beginning it’s unnerving, but after awhile you get used to it.” – Former Captain Tim Scott

READ MORE from The Osider Magazine’s overnight ghost hunt. 

hill street house

The two-story Victorian-style home on the 101 has been a staple of Oceanside for 135 years, but before it was the home to Le Citron, it was home to a woman who still resides there in spirit. According to news reports, workers on the property reported seeing the ghost of the home’s original owner, Sarah Weitzel, cruising the hallways and sitting on the patio in a Victorian-era blue dress. The Lady in Blue was said to regularly rattle the walls, push open doors and turn off the lights whenever she was upset that the historic 1888 home was not being well cared for in her absence.

READ MORE about Sarah’s story and an investigation conducted at the home. 

SAN LUIS REY PIONEER CEMETERY

One of the city’s oldest landmarks, the San Luis Rey Pioneer Cemetery dates back to the 1800s and serves as the final resting place for many of the San Luis Rey Valley and Oceanside’s earliest inhabitants including Andrew Jackson Meyers, the founder of Oceanside. From spectral apparitions to unexplained photographic anomalies, many believe the spirits of those interred here remain, deeply attached to the land they once called home. Some claim that these lingering souls are Oceanside pioneers, still keeping watch over their beloved city.

Local Historian, Kristi Hawthorne, has taken a deeper dive into the story behind the San Luis Rey Pioneer Cemetery. “Ownership” has recently transitioned to the Oceanside Historical Society as official trustees of the cemetery in order to maintain this precious historical cemetery and preserve the history of the people buried there.

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Published: October 1, 2023

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