Located on the waterfront, Benicia, CA, combines small town charm with proximity to the big city amenities of San Francisco, approximately 50 miles to the south. Benicia is rich in history, featuring Victorian-inspired homes and traditional Western architecture in structures that date back to the town’s founding in 1847. Roger Semple and Thomas Larkin built this new town on land sold to them for only $100 by General Mariano C. Vallejo, Spain’s last Commandant General of the Mexican forces in California. It has the distinction of being the first American city founded in the Golden State by Anglo-Americans rather than the earlier Spanish missions, forts, and trading centers. The City was named in honor of Doña Francisca Benicia Carillo de Vallejo, the wife of General Vallejo.
Ghosts of the past still linger here
Apparently, Benicia is also rich in ghosts, at least according to Devin Sisk, an experienced paranormal investigator who runs the Benicia Ghost Walk. Devin says this isn’t your average ghost tour. He describes the Ghost Walk as “interactive” and warns participants that they need to be prepared to encounter a number of spirits along the way as they visit some of Benicia’s haunted hot spots.
August Ghost Conference features Josh Gates and other stars
The first annual “Benicia Ghost Conference” takes place on August 17th, 2013, and featured guests include Josh Gates of “Destination Truth,” along with medium Linda Grindel, actress Kelli Moroney, and author Kal Malik. Vendors will be selling their products and services throughout the event and the $150 admission ticket covers breakfast, lunch, meet and greet sessions, and presentations, including ghost tours. For another $30, participants can enjoy a one hour paranormal investigation in a known haunted location. Buy tickets online at this link.
Be prepared for paranormal encounters
Devin says that Ghost Walk and Ghost Conference participants could make the acquaintance of up to 40 different spirits. “During the Ghost Walk, we give everyone the chance to work with the Kll, Ghost Meter, dowsing rods, and the pendulum,” Devin explains. “We also have a sensitive, Vivien Sisk, accompany the tour.”
The Benicia Ghost Walk covers the five blocks of the waterfront. According to Devin, “Some nights are more active than others, but we always get activity. Females have reported having their hands grabbed by one of our many ghost orphans. Women have been touched on the back, and they have also had their hair stroked. One of our gentleman ghosts loves ladies with long hair. Plus, with 11 different brothels on the water front, we have our fair share of “soiled doves,” as prostitutes were referred to at one time. Some of these ladies approach our male guests by touching their faces, hands, and shoulders. One lady makes herself know by the smell of jasmine.”
Participants have seen shadow people and even witnessed a heavy mist which followed the group up the street. On another tour, many people saw a full body apparition of a young woman. Devin says that “We encourage people to bring their own equipment. We also like it when people bring cameras and recorders. With EVPs, though, I always remind people that there is a lot of background and street noise to factor in. However, some of our guests have managed to capture some impressive EVPs.”
“My paranormal journey started back in 2004 when I came down with a bad case of food poisoning and ended up in the emergency room with a fever or 108 degrees,” Devin said. “I blacked out in the ambulance. Next thing I remember, I was walking around the ER trying to get someone’s attention – but no one could see me or hear me and my wife was crying.”
Devin’s near death experience included being pulled into the “tunnel,” and watching the ER become smaller and smaller until it was only a pinprick of light. “It reminded me of an old fashioned TV being turned off,” he explained.“I then find myself sitting on a crushed red velvet couch under a tree. I remember experiencing the most overwhelming feeling of love that I have ever felt. Three beings spoke to me. I never saw them, but I heard them. They told me stories about my life to prove that they knew me, and they knew me well. We spoke for awhile when they said “You have been given a great gift.” I joked, “Tell me what I won ” in my best TV announcer voice and they laughed along with me. Then they explained that I had a choice. I could, they explained, “continue on your journey, or continue with your work.” I realized instantly that I didn’t want to leave my family because it would simply be too hard for them. I was then SLAMMED back into my body. I sat up and took a deep breath. Scared the hell out of my wife, she screamed and the nurses and doctors began to work on me. I was back among the living.”
Devin found that the memory of walking the ER as a “ghost” affected him deeply. “I can honestly say that it is one of the most terrifying, lonely feelings I’ve ever felt. After that experience, I decided to find like minded people who would work with me to help earthbound spirits cross over into the spirit world. I hope that one day we will be able to close down the tour when they’ve all found peace and moved on. Until then, we’ll continue to visit with them. After all, ghosts were people, too, and they deserve to be respected and remembered.”
Make your reservations and buy your tickets now!
The Benicia Ghost Walk takes place every first and third Fridays starting promptly at 8:00 pm. Each tour is limited to 20 people and lasts approximately 2 hours, depending on which entities participants encounter along the way! Walking shoes and flashlight recommended. No children under ten years of age are permitted on tours. Children ages 10-16 must be accompanied by an adult. The Ghost Walk is $25 per person and prepaid reservations can be made by calling (707) 745-9791. The Ghost Walk is considered a “can’t miss” popular activity in this charming seaside town and the spirits are waiting!