Halloween is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with some of the best Santa Barbara ghost stories? Check out these spooky tales that embody the best of Santa Barbara’s haunted history!
In the Santa Maria area of Santa Barbara County, there are plenty of ghost stories and spooky tales. Two of the most popular are the White Lady of Santa Maria and the Santa Maria High School hauntings.
White Lady of Santa Maria
The White Lady of Santa Maria is one of the most popular stories of the area. The White Lady legend says that a young woman was murdered in the area and buried amongst the eucalyptus trees near the corner of Foster and Blosser, by Pioneer Park. Legend has it that this woman will walk along the road and disappear among the trees, or show up in the backseat of someone’s car, laughing at the driver who realizes she’s there before disappearing.
Santa Maria High School
The Santa Maria High School’s haunting is one of the best Santa Barbara ghost stories. It is well known throughout the area as the high school’s ghost has been seen by many people. Locals call the ghost “Ethel” or “Ethel Pope” after the name of the auditorium she haunts, but the story says a young girl auditioned for the role of Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” even though she was always cast in background roles. Here’s where the story splits: one version says she got the role, another says she didn’t.
In the version where she didn’t get the role, the girl was so distraught she hanged herself in the auditorium, where her spirit lingers to this day.
In the version where she did get the role, she performed excellently on opening night, giving an outstanding performance. So the next day when the girl’s mother called the school to give the news that the girl had died on her way to the performance, everyone was confused. As the legend goes, the girl was hit by a car and killed on her way to the auditorium, but felt “the show must go on” and her ghost played Juliet. In this version, too, she still haunts the auditorium.
At Elings Park, you might run into a ghost named “Queen Maab” after the Shakespeare character. This spirit will linger in the park at dusk and after nightfall, whispering to park goers about her life. The creepy haunted feeling will linger with you long after you leave the park, so beware!
Las Tres Hermanas
The story of Las Tres Hermanas is one of the best Santa Barbara ghost stories around. It tells of three nuns, who were supposedly tortured and killed, and now haunt the area. On the Ortega Ridge Road, you might run into the three nuns who will stand three across, arms crossed, dressed in their habits. Many people have reported seeing their glowing blue eyes and shining faces watching cars drive by.