Hello, all! I am getting ready for a trip to the famously haunted San Miguel de Arcangel! I’ve gathered a ton of information in prep, but I am wondering if you have any experiences there yourself. OR, do you have any historical information on this site that isn’t easily finable? If you have anything at all to share, please reach out by commenting below.
In the meantime, I’m also about to get started editing a video in which will include an investigation at Cobb Estate with S.I.U. and a G.H.O.U.L.A. hike up to the Hollywood Sign on the anniversary of Peg Entwhistle’s Death. We did an investigation on the trail on the hike down that was pretty interesting. However, I’m also in final edits of a paranormal feature documentary titled “Hidden Truth” that you guys can find out about over at Hidden Truth Productions.
We gave a private tour tonight to a small group of people from West Covina, CA (our tour company is LAHauntings.com). Since I had a little time before the tour, I decided to see what kind of research I could find on the haunts that West Covina has to offer. The location that seemed to jump off the page is a haunted park that goes by the name Galster Park. The authors on a number of sites seemed to speak of great reverence for this location as a very dark and scary site.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that bodies are commonly found at this location and this location was the “hunting grounds” for a pedophile murderer that committed their crimes in the 1990s. Additionally, this is a common place for gang activity. One site event went so far as to call the park a gang initiation rite – if they can stay there for an entire night, then they’ve sufficiently proven their courage.
However, from there, the reports went in a million different directions. If there was a serial killer operating in this area as little as 20 years ago, there should be quite a large number of easy-to-find newspaper articles on the topic. Moreover, it should be common knowledge whether or not this killer was apprehended (some sites claim the killer is still at large while other maintain that this nameless killer is currently doing time).
So, the name of the game is now research. I’ve been digging through a lot of digital dust looking for leads and want to share with you what I’ve learned so far. If you know more, please chime in, in the comments below. (by the way, the tour went great, thanks for asking)
FACTUAL moments in the dark history of Galster Park:
* June 2, 2013: Yes, VERY recent! A man was found hanged at the south end of the park, an apparent suicide. This death is so recent that it is certainly not responsible for the past claims of hauntings, however this is something that investigators can now use when conducting EVP sessions. Link to the article here.
* 2006: I need more information on this crime. It seems as though Benjamin Cruz shot and killed Danny Hernandez. I’m not yet sure if a dispute happened at the park, then the killing happened at a different location, if the killing happened at the park or if Danny’s body was found at the park. Details are still needed. What is clear is that Benjamin Cruz is currently serving a 65-year sentence for the crime. He was sentenced in January 2007.
* 1978 – 1981: Unrelated to any crime, the park was closed for a few years due to budget cutbacks. During this time, this would’ve been a prime target for people looking to do bad things and get away with it. Chances are, though that the extent of these bad things is selling drugs and sneaking off for some underage drinking.
Other possibly-related West Covina crimes:
While these crimes do NOT revolve around Galster Park, I am looking for other crimes that could’ve helped inspire the current urban legends
* 1980: There was a highly publicized murder case involving the death of a 10-year-old boy (I attempt to leave out the names of victims and criminals when possible). His body was found at the house of his killer and his killer did come to justice after several trials and appeals. I include this story because of the attention it got, the age of the victim matching the urban legend and the fact that the final trials relating to the murder finally concluded in 1989. Again, this is far from an exact match, but perhaps some exaggerations over the years bring us to the urban legend at hand.
* 1991: The “Mall Murders” – You cannot consider this a case of a “serial killer” per se, however there was a crime spree in West Covina that resulted in a string of homicides. The killings were preceded by people being kidnapped while using an ATM. Sometimes the victims were released, however five random people were killed in cold blood. In the end, a four-member “crime family” was arrested and convicted of the crimes. Three of the killers received life in prison without the possibility of parole, while the ringleader was sentenced to death (he is still alive as of this post, however). Link to article here.
CONCLUSIONS (so far):
While it is very easy to find a disturbing number of murders associated with West Covina, my preliminary searches returned zero results that accurately match the legends that are found throughout the internet. We have the recent suicide and we have the 2006 shooting that may have somehow involved Galster Park. However, I think it’s fair to say that we can close the book on the “child serial killer” story. If something paranormal is going on at this park, we need to find a different reason or look back deeper in the archives than the 1970s. For the record, I was browsing articles that reached into the 1950s. Perhaps we can look to see if there is any history of Native American battles, for example.
In the meantime, please let me know if you’ve had any interesting experiences at this park. If you have intriguing pictures to share, I will gladly post them here as well. Thanks for stopping by and if you do visit this park on a paranormal expedition, please use caution as this may not be the safest of places after dark and you may also get fined for trespassing as the park closes at sunset.
SlimPictures.com at one point was a huge source for inforation on local haunts around the country (though primarily Illinois and California). Eventually, that company was sold off and I was able to recreate that over at the blog company Blog.com. Sadly, that company is TERRIBLE! Honestly, do not host your blog at blog.com! It got spammed or hacked regularly. In this moment, we have pages and pages of information trapped over there. In time, we will be able to break them out and re-post them over here. In the meantime, we are constantly posting new information and stories at my company site, LAHauntings.com and on my YouTube channel Here.
And, here are my latest YouTube videos (thanks for your patience while we painstakingly rebuild a huge site from the ground-up for the third time):
Question: Scott, me and my friends in the Joliet area are interested in local hauntings and have visited several sites, and have actually purchased your documentary. Are you still currently active in investigating haunts? On your web site it refers you to booking events, what would you actually go over? Please E-mail me back. Thank You. Becky
Reply: I did have the great fortune to be able to work on both “Prison Break” (season 1) and “Let’s Go To Prison,” which both shot at the prison. That place, I’m sure, is full of amazing ghost stories that haven’t been public yet. I love giving speeches and getting to know people. Let me know when you’d like to organize an event, and I’m in!
Question: Hello Scott! We are a small Girl Scout Troop and we were looking to make a mini documentary about spooky places in Lake County IL to give to local the schools. We want to make it lighthearted as these are elementary schools. Could you recommend a book or website that concentrates on just Lake County, IL? I can find all sorts of information on Chicago but that is not where we live. Thank you so much! Teri
Reply: That’s a tough challenge finding a Lake County-only book. The best lead I can give you in the ways of your age category would be a book by Ursula Bielski called “Creepy Chicago : A Ghosthunter’s Tales of the City’s Scariest Sites.” It can be found on Amazon.com for $18, around $6 used. However, that is not Lake County-centered and I don’t even really know how many Lake County stories are in that book. It might be fun to take a more active approach and have the girls talk to their friends and family to uncover local ghost stories and urban legends….some of the taller tales, you’ll be able to find the origin of at snopes.com. Good luck!
This same letter was sent to fellow ghost hunters/researchers Henry Pena, Dale Kaczmarek and John Cachel
Question: My wife and I have been interested in “ghost hunting” for years. We have also been researching the subject for years. We recently broke down and started buying some equipment (no touch infra red thermometer, EMF detector, assorted audio recorders) along with our existing Sony camcorder w/ night vision, digital and analog cameras. So I assure you this interest is not seasonal. Now I am starting to reach out to the Chicagoland paranormal community and see what is going on. Does your club get together often, share info, that kinda stuff?
We have a little tour scheduled for the 22nd of October, kinda for my wife’s birthday on the 21st. Nothing truly scientific, more for fun, seeing that we have 14 chicagoland spots to hit. But I truly hope to begin scientific and professional investigations for fun. We have taken a few popular ghost tours and always came away saying “we can do better”. These tours always make me feel like a tourist in my own town.
Like I said I am just beginning to reach out to the community and see what is going on outside.
Have you heard of any activity at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park IL? I work in Oak Park and have dealt with the “Home and studio” often. I think I might get permission for an opportunity to conduct an extensive study in the building. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Steve
Reply: There are certainly a lot of drawbacks to bus tours, just the nature of the beast: it’s hard to create an intimate atmosphere. However, they are great for getting an overview of a bunch of interesting locations that you can then go back to on your own. It’s like window shopping! Before you go on your self-guided tour, please send me your list of locations. Likely I’ve been to most of them and I may have a good tip to share with you from my experience.
Unlike the others you eMailed, my organization is a production company that does a lot of different work. It just so happens that we have produced a video and a book/CD-ROM about Chicago ghosts. I consider myself a ghost researcher rather than hunter (though I respect anyone looking to learn more). Other than speeches, we do not have events or meetings. (UPDATE in 2013: We now lead tours and participate in investigations that are open to the public) Of all of Chicago’s ‘names’ in this field, I would endorse anything Ursula Bielski does.
Not being a ghost hunter I cannot contribute much technical information, however I would say this: don’t go anywhere without infrared camcorder or analog camera. There are debates regarding whether or not digital cameras pick anything up. I’m undecided, but tend to lean away from digital. Troy Taylor would have most anything you’d want to know on prairieghosts.com.
As for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, I have heard that it was haunted, but that’s all I heard. We were given that tip too close to the deadline of our book to be able to research it. Good luck and above all, be safe out there!