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A Bit of Ghost Hunting, A Bit of Myth Busting

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I did some ghost-hunting recently to dig into Orange County’s urban legends and to check out some of the area’s most haunted places. There are the usual campus legends and lore, and even some creepier places beyond our campus that are worth a visit.

Legend has it that there is a female ghost on Campus Drive who visits lonely drivers at night. According to the story, a jogger was fatally struck by a car one night, and her spirit now haunts the dark road. No reports of any sightings have been verified, and personally, I find the drive past the wildlife reserve quite relaxing. No ghosts here.

If you’ve walked through Mesa Court, you probably heard about the Prado ghost. Legend has it that a ballerina hung herself in her room in the 1970s. Natalie Johnson, a second-year resident Community Programmer, lives in this haunted ballerina’s room.

“I don’t really mind living with the ghost. She never comes out so it’s cool,” Johnson said.

I currently live in a single room in Prado and have yet to witness any paranormal activity. Mixed feelings of disappointment and relief seem to be shared amongst us first-years. The hall will, however, be turned into an open haunted house on Wednesday, October 29 at 7pm for Mesa Court’s “Haunt the Halls” event, and you can come see the “Prado Ghost” for yourself.

With the campus turning out to be disappointing, I took a drive through Laguna Canyon Road, which is rumored to host a number of secret cults and malicious ghosts. Although driving through a dark canyon while listening to ghost stories on AM radio did get pretty creepy, I saw no signs of spirits or hooded figures making satanic sacrifices.

The following night, my ghost-hunting journey led me to Top of the World Elementary School in Laguna Beach. This suburban neighborhood is called “Top of the World” because it sits on top of an immense hill that oversees the city. Locals believe that a little girl who once ran away from home to the school and died of hypothermia overnight now haunts the playground of the elementary school.

Accompanied by a few friends, I ventured through the foggy hills and into the small school. Yes, it was creepy as hell, but there was no ghost by the tetherball pole and the only eerie laughter we heard was coming from other trespassing delinquents who also had nothing better to do than spend the night waiting for ghosts to come around. At least the view was beautiful.

Those who are willing to travel a little further for some chilling adventures may come across Black Star Canyon, a remote mountain canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains. Stories of satanic cults and a resident demon called “Black Star” scare visitors off, perhaps for their own good.

Its shady history of settlements in the 1800s and mining operations have been speculated. Indian spirits and a banshee called “La Llorana” (The Wailer) are said to guard the canyon. First-year Drama and Literary Journalism major, Natalya Rahmann, recalls her trip to Black Star Canyon.

“That place is so scary. My friends and I went there once in the middle of the night and we heard all sorts of strange sounds,” said Rahmann.

The list of supposedly haunted locations throughout Orange County goes on and on. Whether or not it is worth it to pursue these cheap thrills is your decision. Happy hunting!