This Halloween season marks the Fullerton’s 17th annual Haunted Walking Tours, a guided excursion throughout Downtown Fullerton that combines local history with the paranormal.
“We focus on the historic buildings and sites, and their histories of ghosts and hauntings,” said Aimee Aul, education coordinator for the Fullerton Museum.
The tour begins at the Fullerton Museum at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitors walk approximately 1.5 miles and can stop at several of the city’s most famous buildings.
“Every tour is a little different, and that’s kind of the fun of the tours,” Aul said.
This year’s tour includes stops at the Villa Del Sol in Downtown Fullerton, as well as the historic Fox Theatre and the Le Potager gift and antique shop.
Aul said that Le Potager is also one of the most haunted spots on the tour. It was the home of Lillian Yeager, a founding pioneer in Fullerton who started a business there in the early 1900s.
“It’s just so clearly a haunted site that has her spirit stamped all over it, and there’s always new activity and unexplained occurrences,” Aul said.
The North Orange County Paranormal Society partners with the Fullerton Museum each year to host the Haunted Walking Tours and try to find scientific evidence to debunk ghost myths. Thirty minutes before the tour begins, a “Paranormal Open House” is presented by NOPS, where they show video and audio evidence of paranormal activity.
The types of activity include hearing unexplainable footsteps, a woman humming and sounds of objects moving on their own, according to the NOPS website.
“A lot of it supports claims of paranormal activity … Some of it is debunking what people think are ghosts and hauntings,” Aul said.
Sam Neill, co-founder and lead investigator of NOPS, presented evidence of the paranormal activity that he and NOPS had recently recorded at Le Potager: A 45-minute video of a crystal ornament swinging on its own, no breeze or open window nearby.
“We’re dealing with something that really does exist. It isn’t just what you see on TV,” Neill said. “Our motto for the group is to educate the public on what really happens.”
Christina Garner, a tour guide with the Fullerton Museum, has hosted the Haunted Walking Tours for over 13 years.
“There’s a mood to the fall evenings: The Halloween sky, the harvest moon comes and all over the city, people begin to feel this psychic energy,” Garner said. “(People) want to have this kind of experience, they want to get in touch with something that’s not quite explainable.”
Garner said that her tour guests are also often left with a newfound appreciation for Downtown Fullerton.
“They were looking around going, ‘We’re so lucky we have this classic downtown,’ and they were imagining, ‘What would we do if they tear it all down, tell ghost stories about McDonald’s?’” Garner said.
A special tour is also offered on Halloween which ends a little differently than the regular tours. Guests get to look inside Fox Theatre and go to Angelo and Vinci’s for drinks. Tickets are $20 for museum members and $25 for non-members.
In the upcoming weeks, the Haunted Walking Tours will also have four dates with special guest speakers who are set to talk about multicultural paranormal topics.
Each tour is two and a half hours long, with groups of 20 people. A second tour is often added if the first one fills up quickly. The haunted walking tours are offered until Nov. 2, with tickets priced at $15 for museum members and $18 for non-members.
Aul said that volunteers and workers at the museum believe in building a community through the tours.
Garner noticed that locals were brought together by the haunted walking tours.
“People just love to get together and share this folklore,” Garner said. “Everybody loves to share ghost stories with each other.”