El Campo Santo Cemetery

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Building over part of this Cemetery has caused issues with a boatload of restless spirits.



El Campo Santo Cemetery is a Catholic Cemetery started in 1849. Many early founding San Diegans are buried here. It is presently only a fraction of its original size, containing now only 447 visible graves. It once included the area now known as the commercial district of Old Town. It once included all the land up to Old Town Avenue.

However, as the city grew, some graves were moved to make room for the living, though sometimes roads and buildings were built on top of some graves, which also happened in San Francisco around the turn of the century in the Richmond District. This practice in San Diego started in 1889, when the living decided to build a horse-drawn street car line through the cemetery, right over 18 existing graves. This street car line eventually became a road, San Diego Boulevard. In 1942, it became a modern, paved road.

Many paved areas/buildings located near or around the cemetery have graves underneath them, which caused problems for the living.

haunted site with ornate grave



It is never a good idea to build over existing graves; it is like building structures on an old battlefield.

General Activity

Businesses and houses in the surrounding areas of the cemetery have had their share of poltergeist phenomena, which is disturbing and annoying.

As entities are fascinated with electricity and gadgets, many businesses and houses have had unexplainable problems with their lighting, electrical power, appliances and alarm systems.

As people have visited the graveyard, they have reported walking through freezing cold spots.

People who park their cars in the parking lot in front of the graveyard often have had trouble starting their cars.

Apparitions Witnessed

A variety of apparitions have been seen both within and outside the brick walls which surround the small remaining graveyard.

Some entities fool the living into thinking they are part of the cemetery staff who dress up in period costume, while other apparitions appear with only the top of their form showing.

They disappear quickly when approached.

Indian/Hispanic apparitions on occasion tour the graveyard, gliding around above the graves.


02/15/03 – CSGR went with a team to investigate the graveyard. While no EMF readings were found along the walls, a jump in the readings happened in the middle of the cemetery. Team member Psychic Virginia Marco saw a young boy, trapped and confused. Also a grave digger entity was seen, who visits the place, according to Marco’s report.

san-diego paranormal



Yes, but not as active as it was in ’93 – ’96

Dennis William Hauk reports in 1996 that the nearby businesses and houses were pooling their resources to have an exorcism done in the graveyard and surrounding property.

2003 – Psychic Virginia Marco was able to help the little boy mentioned above find his way to the light. The CSGR team reports a fairly peaceful cemetery, which basically has calmed down a lot since 1996, after ultrasound equipment found 18 graves (mostly those of children) under the pavement behind the cemetery and 20 graves (all ages) in the parking lot in front. Two plaques memorializing these graves were hung in the front and the back of the cemetery.

However, like the grave digger, other spirits visit the graveyard. Sometimes in groups, according to the pictures taken by paranormal investigation groups.

grave with cross



2410 San Diego Avenue
San Diego, California 92110
(619) 220-5422

El Campo Santo Cemetery is only a few blocks from the haunted Whaley House, in the Old Town San Diego Historic Park.


  • GoThere.com
  • The National Directory of Haunted Places
    Dennis William Hauk
    Penguin Books
  • All photographs © Tom Carr

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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