ghost story in golden gate park, 1912

Here’s a tale for Halloween, a ghostly encounter in Golden Gate Park reported by George Haviland Barron, curator of the de Young Museum, in 1912:

“As the hour approached midnight, I decided to take a turn on South Drive before retiring. I often test myself identifying astronomical phenomena, but had little hope to do so this night. The fog had crept in. Tendrils of sea mist had gripped the night tightly, muffling sight and sound. I reached the drive, which I might have missed if not for the feel of the macadam road under my feet, and in the gloom I instinctively moved toward the lonely street lamp that stands on that part of the road. How deathly quiet the park felt at the hour! Even the usual doleful moans of distant foghorns were strangely absent.

No more than a moment after noting the extreme silence, and just as I reached the street lamp, I heard the clattering of horses’ hooves approaching from the east. I turned. Out of the haze of fog yellowed by the wan reach of the lamplight there did burst a large black horse galloping at full speed.

In an instant the beast was passing my startled form, and on its back I was surprised to see a young woman wearing a straw hat. Her eyes were protruding, her mouth gaped open, and her general expression was one of strained agony and terror. They were past me in a blink. At the curve in the road west the fog swallowed up the horse and girl and the sound of their manic ride before I had even finished raising my arm to hail the rider.  .  .  ”

for the back story, and the dramatic conclusion check out:  Before Now – The Ghost Rider of Golden Gate Park | The Ocean Beach Bulletin.


About fromthethicket

I'm a landscape historian and professor emeritus of landscape architecture, UC Davis. I live in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in events in Golden Gate Park, ghosts, legends, people and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to ghost story in golden gate park, 1912

  1. Woody LaBounty says:

    Just to be clear, I adapted this story from a news article involving Barron’s supposedly seeing a ghost (San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 1912.) These aren’t his words. Just some Halloweeen fun! Hope you enjoyed it. – Woody LaBounty

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