The Secret Sadness at the Olivas Adobe

Posted: May 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Paranormal Housewives were fortunate indeed to have been invited to investigate the Olivas Adobe, as guests of Rob Wlodarski (founder of the International Paranormal Research Organization) and Richard Senate. This was a dream come true for us, since we had always wanted to conduct a formal investigation of the first and second floors. As a team and as individuals, we had experienced odd phenomena on the grounds themselves (and I had my first ghost sighting there), and we had always wondered what would happen if we could wander the rooms themselves. As it turned out, there was intense activity that none of us expected.

The Olivas Adobe was completed in 1851 by Don Raymundo Olivas. He and his wife, Teodora, lived there with their 21 children until 1899. More information on the history of the Olivas Adobe is available at There are many stories of days-long fiestas at the adobe, bandit attacks and the requisite buried treasure (some say on the property, others say somewhere between Ventura and Santa Barbara), mistreatment of servants and other domestic scandals. Of course, there are ghost stories; usually the ‘lady in black’ appears either in the children’s bedroom upstairs or along the front of the house on the second floor. The authority both on the Olivas’ history and the ghost stories is Richard Senate. Here is a link to one of his pages:’hauntedPlace.php

I don’t have the decades of experience that Mr. Senate does, but my ghost story parallels one of his own in interesting ways. A few years back, my husband and I paid a visit to the Olivas Adobe around dusk. He had always wanted to see it, and I was curious what impressions I could pick up from the grounds. The bathrooms were locked, and my dear husband needed to relieve an overly full bladder. He chose to water the 120+ year-old fuchsia bush. As he was thusly engaged, I looked towards the end of the first floor, open hallway and down by the door I saw woman dressed in black, with a high collar made of lace. She wore her hair back in a severe bun. She was clearly from the Victorian era, and even though this was a flash, almost something akin to a mental impression or projection, I  made note of her features. Later, I looked up information on the adobe for the first time, and there she was: Teordora Olivas, looking as stern in her picture on the Internet as she did back at her home.

 That night, Richard Senate was telling ghost stories to the Paranormal Housewives and related one in particular that sent chills up my spine. A group of investigators were wandering the grounds when one of them–a police officer from Oxnard–relieved his overly full bladder on the 120 year-old fuchsia bush. At that moment, he saw an angry woman dressed in black glaring at him from the window of the sewing room. He thought at first that she was an actual living person, but discovered later that no one was in the rooms. Apparently, Teodora Olivas was mightily unhappy that her prized fuchsia was treated in such a brute manner. It is so rare for one’s stories to find corroboration, but this was definitely one of those moments.

The investigation itself had some fascinating moments. The PHW focused on the sewing room downstairs before joining the ITC session in the living room. The first odd phenomenon that we noticed was the intense EMF energy emanating–from all places–the “laying out couch,” where bodies were laid to rest for the ‘velorio’ or wake. The meter spiked to red and stayed there. We noticed that this overwhelming energy extended upwards in a kind of column to the second floor. Mr. Senate confirmed that the adobe has no internal wiring that would explain that reading, nor do any of the automatic lights emit enough EMF to affect the meters. The readings fluctuate everywhere except on the couch itself, which remains a solid red. How this happens is a mystery to us all. We simply are at a loss to explain it.

This also happens to be the only room where we captured our EVPs. Both consist of labored whispering under our voices, apparently close to the recorder. Even though there were people in the other room, they never approached the recorder and their voices sound nothing like what we hear in these two audio clips. If you can make out a sentence, please let us know what you hear. This room was buzzing with emotion. It makes sense if one considers the number of people who passed on in the adobe and were “laid out” on that sofa. If the soul lingers by its body for a short time after physical death, we might be picking up remnants of those fragmented consciousness.

In addition to heavy, disorienting feelings in the sewing room (which might be due to the high EMF readings), both Marsha and I felt similar emotions in the pantry just off the kitchen. Although we didn’t expect this or understand it, we experienced both anger and sadness. Why we would pick that up in the pantry didn’t make sense until Mr. Senate confirmed (without us communicating our impressions) that there was a rape and assault in that very area.

 One of the most impressive personal experiences occurred while we were sitting in the chapel, facing the bedroom. Marsha and Erin saw figures peering around the door to the children’s bedroom. They were half adult height, leading them to believe that these were child spirits. Later, Mr. Senate told us that there was once a staircase leading from the ‘laying out’ room up to the main bedroom, which would explain the location of the forms we were witnessing. It’s as if a column of spiritual energy rose from the bottom floor near the active couch up through the master bedroom. All of our experiences happened in that area.

 Erin and Marsha heard a little girl’s voice in the chapel. Since they both have little girls, I think that they are specially attuned for that kind of manifestation. As for myself and other team members, we can say that the entire property has an energy to it that pops into existence in various forms. Lately, my abilities have been more of an empathetic nature, which has its down side. The feelings in the pantry area were almost unbearable.

It was not all parties and domestic bliss at the Olivas. In fact, there is a considerable heaviness to the property and surrounding gardens that belies any notion of peace and harmony. Its very history is testament to that fact. I think about Teodora and her 22 children, frustrated and lashing out at her servant girls (as Mr. Senate recounted, she would pull their hair and slap them when displeased), wondering when her husband was planning on returning home and desperately trying to protect her home and small fortune from marauders and thieves. No, that was certainly not an easy life, and remnants of that life continue to haunt the Olivas to this day.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, Ph.D/PHW

EVP analysis: The following clips were all from the initial investigation in the sewing room, otherwise know as the “laying out” room where the recently deceased awaited burial. This was near the beginning of the evening, and only Marsha, Erin and myself were present in the room. In the background, Rob and his team were conducting ITC sessions and were loud enough and far enough away to be easily identifiable. Although the clips may not contain decipherable words or sentences (at least, I can’t make out any), they are compelling in their own way. As always, please feel free to comment or submit your own analyses.

040712 Olivas Odd Whisper in Laying Couch Room

040712 Olivas Under Voices Sewing Room

040712 Olivas Voice in Sewing Room

  1. Efrain says:

    Second one sounds like it is saying “what do you want” and the first one sounds like “I don’t know” Definitely sounds like someone talking.

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