Guardsman Staff Writer
Published Oct. 25, 1999
San Francisco is a place where almost every walk of life can be dispensed, even the dead. At one time, San Francisco relocated all but two cemeteries to nearby counties. One might say, “I don’t believe in ghosts!”; but some may believe the presence of the past still exists in this city despite the fact that the physical corpses’ have been moved.
Colette Brumfield, a City College student, spoke of time when she experienced a strange presence at Dolores Park, in San Francisco’s Mission district. She was sitting on a bench with her boyfriend when she heard a clapping sound behind her as if it was coming up from the tree. Looking at her boyfriend she knew he felt the same strange presence she did. It was four in the afternoon, and her boyfriend had said, “Let’s get out of here before it gets dark!” Suddenly things did get dark, they left immediately hearing someone laugh right behind them. “There were only two people in the park mind you, me and my boyfriend,” said Brumfield.
Dolores Park was once the Gibbath Olum Cemetery a Jewish cemetery that was opened Feb. 26, 1861 and was closed Dec. 31, 1888. It was then moved to Colma where it is as Hills of Eternity. The cemetery was located at Church and Dolores, between 19th and 20th Streets.
Dolores Park was also the home of the Hebrew Cemetery which was relocated there in 1860. The Hebrew Cemetery was originally located in Pacific Heights at Broadway and Vallejo, between Gough and Franklin Streets before it’s closure. Perhaps these disturbed souls didn’t agree with the idea of moving from their “final resting place,” despite the fact that San Francisco politics felt the ground was too valuable to be occupied by the dead.
Now the irony behind both these cemeteries is that Brumfield had a story that could be traced to each of these cemeteries. It is almost like a loop. She stated that her boyfriend John had also experienced what he called a haunting at his former house which awkwardly enough was located at the exact area of the old Hebrew Cemetery in Pacific Heights, at Broadway Street. He reported to her that “strange things” happened in that house. At one time things had become so eerie that the family called in a priest to “clean up the house.” While everyone was at the dinner table that night and accounted for, the lights strangely flickered themselves on and off and all the doors slammed.. Perhaps the spirits wanted to be at peace as much as the residents of the house.
Another occurrence happened while the family was getting ready to move. One of the children had the bright idea of getting a recorder to tape the ghost before they left the house for good. “ He went downstairs with the recorder and before he could even turn it on an evil roar coming out of nowhere brought him upstairs immediately in a panic. He couldn’t speak for at least an hour and a half,” said Brumfield.
A strange presence, an unexplainable occurrence, a noise that seems to come from nowhere, are these things just our imagination? Is there another energy out there that does not have a present life form? Many things of this nature have been reported world-wide and some stories can be very questionable, but to the person who has had an eye witness experience of such an incident it is very real.