Rancho Camulos: A Harmless Haunting?

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Rancho Camulos Museum and Historic Landmark  is fascinating for its history,  its stories, and the multiple roles it played in the lives of some key California families (please note that the Rancho is only open for docent led tours Saturdays and Sundays, February through November). It is noteworthy as well for the diversity of paranormal phenomena that we encountered and for presenting us with an entity–spirit, soul?–that physically scratched an investigator: yours truly. Our docent, Maria, gave us a detailed picture of life at the Rancho and the families that occupied it, as well as detailing some tantalizing paranormal activity in and around the various buildings.

The Del Valle family took ownership in 1839, and the Rancho stayed in the family until a forced sale in 1924 to August Rubel. August and Mary Rubel owned and occupied the Rancho until August’s death in World War II; the property passed to Mary, who later married Ed Berger. Apparently, the Rubel children weren’t terribly fond of their stepfather and his reclusive nature. This was more in evidence after Mary passed. Mr. Berger lived alone on the property, if one does not count the cook or other workers on the property. The Rubel family did not visit the property after Mary died, and it wasn’t until 1994–after the Northridge earthquake–that they returned to the Rancho. Mr. Berger was in his bedroom when part of the room collapsed, and he subsequently suffered a heart attack. He was taken to the hospital and later died in a nursing home. When the Rubel children saw the condition of the property, they realized that something had to be done to save it; local ranchers, in conjunction with the Rubel family, formed a committee to create a non-profit museum. The Rancho received a 55-year lease and FEMA grants for retrofitting and repair, and after much hard labor Rancho Camulos returned from its former state to the current, beautifully maintained property we were so fortunate to visit.  The Rancho has become instrumental in documenting California history through the lives of the families that lived through wars, economic hardships, and family dramas that echo the story of our state. The descendents of the Rubels still own the 1800 acre ranch. For more information on the history of Rancho Camulos, please follow this link:


The general impressions of the place were hard to pinpoint because the activity varied widely from building to building. We picked up EVPs in the old schoolhouse, outside by the chapel and in the main building (residence), especially in the small room by the bedroom where Mr. Berger lived. In Kimberly’s words,

“I had a few strange things happen to me.  The first place I investigated was the cellar.  I took my gear out of my bag and placed my investigative tools one by one on a little bench or small table in the cellar.  Once I had everything laid out, my Mel Meter turned itself on.  I don’t know if it can do that, it’s never happened before, and from what I can tell, you have to push down on the button and hold it down for a few seconds for it to turn on.  I also remember a few minutes later that Erin’s (who was also in the cellar with me) camera had turned itself on.
Later Kirsten and I were dong an EVP session in a room right off one of the old bedroom displays. As I was sitting on the couch I felt like someone had poked me with their finger in my side.  Ten minutes later, Kirsten (who was sitting across me in a leather chair) and I heard what sounded like a growl coming from the bathroom right near to where we were sitting, and one minute later–after the growl–Kirsten is scratched. I did take pictures of the 2 long scratch marks on her lower back.”

The activity ranged from threatening (scratches on my back during an EVP session) to almost holy (the “Jesus” EVP you will hear). What to make of this? I have no idea. In the group EVP session near the kitchen with Rob Wlodarski’s group we saw shadows moving from our room to the kitchen, we heard voices and growls, and we witnessed amazing strings of relevant words from the various devices on the table. Rob’s EVPs are nothing short of stunning. If any reader desires a transcript of Rob’s EVP session, please send us an email indicating your interest.

The activity in the area of Mr. Berger’s bedroom is noteworthy. As a noted recluse, one can only imagine that he might take a dim view of so many visitors to his home. Also, his bedroom was the site of trauma and pain. One can only imagine the terror he experienced as the walls came down around him during the 1994 earthquake. His personality, coupled with the drama of leaving his home forever after a traumatic event, create ideal conditions for a haunting. This would explain the physical contact that I experienced. It might also explain some of the other paranormal occurrences on the property: a docent was tapped on her shoulders in that area; another docent saw an image in the fields; and during the restoration of the adobe, one of the contractors took a picture where an image appeared of a man and woman in turn-of-the-century dress.

Here are the EVPs with a brief explanation of each. As always, listen with your headphones on and the volume turned up. Please feel free to comment on any or all of these.

EVP #1: This is from Kimberly. There is a clear “Hi” in the clip.

Kimberly Camulos EVP 1

EVP #2: Kimberly catches an odd growl or breath (depending on how you interpret what you hear) and a faint scream near the end of the clip:

Kimberly Camulos EVP 2

This next one from Kimberly is my personal favorite. She asks if anyone can come closer, and there is clear talking–not once, but twice!! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to make out what is said here. It sounds like conversation behind a wall, but the two of us were completely alone in the building.

Kimberly Rancho Camulos EVP talking

The next two EVPs come from Erin and Jennifer. They were conducting a session–just the two of them–outside the chapel on the south side of the property. The first one contains a whisper–someone says “not me”:

Jenn and Erins_Not Me_EVP

The next EVP was also caught by the chapel. This one was so amazing that at first, it was hard to believe; however, after checking with all team members, it was determined that Jennifer and Erin were indeed completely alone when they picked up the following:

Jenn and Erin Jesus EVP

It’s comforting for me to hear the name “Jesus,” and very appropriate for the chapel area. However, my EVPs were considerably less comforting. I’ll start with the scratching incident. This happened in conjunction with several other phenomena: I felt cold, there was a growl from the room adjacent to us, the iOvilus was spitting out words fast and furious (on silent), Kimberly felt that someone poked her and there was a general feeling of oppression in the area. Here is the audio from the scratching incident (no EVPs here, at least that I can hear):


Next is a male voice that states something unclear. I have my interpretation of it, but it’s not universally understood. The voice is clearly not female and sounds distorted, as if played back through a damaged tape player:


Here is the same clip, shortened:


I have more, but since you’ve listened to so many, dear reader, I will stop here. Suffice to say that Rancho Camulos is an active, paranormal site. It certainly seems haunted by multiple entities, but as usual, we can’t say who or what is impressing their voice on digital audio recorders. We plan to head back to the Rancho for further investigation on June 30th, since we have barely scratched the surface of what is happening there. We will, of course, keep you informed . . . stay tuned.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, Ph.D/PHW

  1. Patrick says:

    Not able to listen to the clips yet, but I always enjoy hearing about your investigations!

  2. I’m surprised to hear that someone was scratched here. Very good read, and there were two EVPs that I found very interesting. I’m investigating here tonight along with the 3am meetup. This will be my third trip.

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