It’s time for another preliminary scouting mission. It’s time for me to head over and pick up a lady who met me first through my articles and later became a ghosthunter with HPI. Her name is Carrina Hanson aka Swedish Carrina. Carrina has been to Volcano before and knows every short cut to get to this small town. Believe me, there are many forks on the road and no road signs, it’s easy to get lost. Carrina is a walking, talking GPS system and got us there safely. Let me tell you a bit about Carrina.
Carrina is a Wiccan with flowing blonde hair to her waist and sparkling blue eyes. She is ready to do her first preliminary. We arrive at our first stop, the town of Volcano. Volcano started in 1848 by soldiers of Colonel Stevensons’ regiment. They named the town Volcano, because the miners told them it had a volcanic appearance, due to low settling fog.
Volcano is also know as the town with the first astronomical observatory built in 1860 by miner and astronomer George Madeira. As we entered into the town of Volcano after driving up some winding roads, we immediately saw St. George Hotel, built in 1863. The frame of this hotel was actually began in 1852 by John Meyers. The hotel was originally called the Eureka House, at that time it was a boarding house.
It burned down 3 times and rebuilt 3 times and each time it had a new name that went from Empire Hotel, George Hotel and finally the St. George Hotel. The first person I interviewed was lovely bartender named Megan Scott at the Whiskey Flat Saloon that is located inside the hotel. She explains that she was smacked in the arm with a flying quarter. The quarter came at her like a line drive and pelted her good on the arm.
That was her first paranormal experience she ever had in the hotel. A guest once told her that they saw an old man sitting on a chair wearing confederate clothes and singing a song that resembled a Civil War ballad. The smell of cigar smoke resonated through the room when the apparition was sitting on the chair. As the guest watched, the apparition dissipated.
The next person I interviewed was Victoria Wertheimer, she is the head housekeeper. With a big smile, she tells me that on the third floor the lights dimmed out in all the rooms one time. Then on each bed, there was an imprint as if someone had sat on all the beds or laid on them. She had guests tell her that they have seen a little girl apparition and also have felt cold spots in certain areas of the hotel. Some guests believe the little girl is from the Union Hotel which is only a block away.
The guests feel she visits both hotels. Victoria tells me that this is not the first time she has experienced the paranormal, while in a boarding school in Redding called the Bar 717 Ranch. She learned that the former owner of this ranch named Grover Gates was buried on the property. Many times as a little girl she remembers the rocking chair moving back and forth on its own accord and the doors opening by themselves. Victoria heads back to do her chores and comes back with one more story, she tells me that in the Jim Town Room of the hotel, she constantly feels like she is being watched. Richard Winters the owner of the hotel confirmed everything that his employees told me.
While Carrina makes a sweep of the hotel to see if she can get any photographic evidence, we reconvene to decide where we will scout out next. While we make our decision, I ask my HPI ghosthunter-in-training if she ever had a paranormal experience. She tells me that when she lived in an apartment on Antelope in Sacramento, she had many experiences. Her two year old daughter once was pointing to the ceiling and yelled. “There is a dead baby on the ceiling”. While sleeping on the couch, she saw her deceased grandmother.
When she saw her grandmother, she felt like it was an out-of-body experience. Another time a salt shaker fell off the shelf by itself. She saw a man with a blurry face sitting in front of her apartment and in a surreal mode of reality, the entity followed her into the apartment and went into her child’s room and then just sat there and watched her. When this occurred, she felt a paralysis come upon her, where she was unable to move.
She has seen weird shadows move around in that apartment. She felt so relieved when moving out of this apartment. Now the only thing she has experienced recently is that the store that she works at, is reputed to be haunted. Employees have smelled cologne in the room and some times things fly off the shelves.
Carrina and I, explored the town of Volcano and discovered some of the history. The Unionist Volcano Blues fought against the Confederate Knights of the Golden Circle at an area of the town of Volcano. The Adolph Meyers Cigar Emporium was established in Volcano in 1855. They sold retail cigars for $10.00 and $125.00 for a thousand cigars. Post Civil War it became the Lavezzo Wine Shop.
One of the most interesting places in Volcano are the historic cemeteries. There is the Catholic Volcano Pioneer Cemetery that is across the way from the Methodist Volcano Pioneer Cemetery. The earliest internment in these cemeteries was on 11 November, 1850.
After our cemetery visit, we headed over to the Volcano Union Inn. We talked with Laurie Lockhart (Owner/Proprietress). She tells me that things move around and disappear all the time. Sarah the little ghost girl will make her appearance known to patrons and staff. Once she felt she got poked by Sarah. She tells me that the first murder of Amador County happened at this hotel. They took the murderer into the town of Jackson and hung him on the town’s hanging tree.
The hotel sometimes has strange giggling, sneezing and laughter coming out from the rooms or hallway. She has heard her name called by a man and sometimes by a woman. She has heard pool balls breaking and there is no one in the lobby of the hotel. Chris Chastain, the head chef has heard conversations and has heard ghostly footsteps in the hallway. Chris actually lives in the hotel. Once a man fell off the balcony to his death, he was a cigar smoker. Sometimes guests smell his cigar from the balcony he fell off.
Laurie has experienced the paranormal at this hotel, but the one experience she will never forget is when in 1988 she saw a full body apparition of a cowboy in Room 1 of the Imperial Hotel in Amador City. Now that she told us about the Imperial Hotel, Carrina looks at me and says. “When we head back home, let’s stop at this hotel”. Finally Laurie told us that her daughter has seen the ghosts of the hotel and has pointed at an entity that only she could see. Laurie shows us an old Civil War shirt she found inside the hotel war, it was tattered and torn and smelled moldy. This hotel has a lot of history.
As we headed back home, we made our stop at the Imperial Hotel in Amador City. The address is: 14202 State Highway 49. We talked with the owner Mary Ann McCamant. When she came to this establishment there was this moving odor that would go from one room to another. The odor is now gone, because she leaves out a shot of whiskey for the entity.
Genevieve Allen, an employee of the hotel has smelled the same “funk” and claims it has left the hotel, because of the shots of whiskey that is left out for the smelly entity. A woman with a long white dress has been seen by guests of the hotel. She has been seen mostly in the cellar. If they don’t see the lady in the long white dress, they see a white mist. Another employee said that they saw a crouched down apparition on top of the cabinet.