The Bodies Under San Francisco
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Courtney knows a lot about corpses; today we learn about the skeletons in San Francisco’s closet, and the famous and infamous ghosts created thereby.
Would you frequent a luxury resort if you knew that 20,000 bodies rested under its manicured lawn? Would you stay in a town where everything is named after cannibals? If you think this sounds perfectly fine, then you’ll fit right in with the stories our guest has to share.
Courtney has been collecting stories about the stranger aspects of San Francisco and northern California nd she’s encountered some famous ghosts along the way. Snuggle in for some bizarre history and ghost stories, where the bodies keep piling up.
AI-generated transcript of this episode available upon request.
About the Guest: Courtney Minick
Courtney Minick is a storyteller based in San Francisco. She focuses on tales of California Gothic – uncovering the ghosts, urban legends, and buried stories that haunt the Bay Area. By her own admission, she is a storyteller because she just can’t keep a story to herself…especially when it involves corpses in awkward situations.
You can read her written work at www.hereliesastory.com, her blog/saga about the famous ghosts of San Francisco and beyond that is, in her words, part therapy, part campfire, part podcast, and part ghost tour. Keep up with new posts by following her on Instagram @here_lies_a_story.
Episode Show Notes about The Ghosts and Corpses In and Under San Francisco
Fortunately, Courtney is a fabulous and engaging writer, so we’ll refer you to her blog Here Lies A Story for the full scoop on the topics she discussed on this episode.
Mary Ellen Pleasant, Mother of Civil Rights and one of San Francisco’s most famous ghosts
Courtney has written a seven part saga about entrepreneur, abolitionist, and millionaire Mary Ellen Pleasant, which you can find here. What do you think was really going on between her and the Widow Bell? Did she really meet Marie Laveau? Where did she keep her millions? But most importantly, why haven’t we learned all about this incredible historical figure before now?
Whose corpse is under this woman’s porch?
Edith Howard Cook was 2-years-old when she died of marasmus in 1876. Her well-preserved remains (graphic actual photo here) were found in a windowed Victorian Fisk Casket under a porch in 2016. The discovery started a year-long labor of care and respect to identify the little girl and find a local relative.
The home where she was found was built over the old Odd Fellows Cemetery, which had been moved about a century prior. Before discovering the casket, the homeowner would hear ghostly children’s footsteps in her home. But those phantom pitter-patters stopped after the girl was relocated. Coincidence?
Famous Haunted Places around San Francisco Mentioned in this Episode
- Beltane Ranch in Sonoma, CA, once Mary Ellen Pleasant’s home and current vineyard.
- Bell Mansion at Bush St and Octavia St in SF, CA, by Mary Ellen Pleasant Park.
- University of San Francisco Dorms built over an old cemetery in the Lone Mountain Neighborhood, where Edith Cook was disinterred.
- Finally, Lincoln Park Golf Course, which was built atop the old City Cemetery.
Ghost Stories from San Francisco
Seen a ghost? Submit your story to be featured on the next episode of Homespun Haints! Or, let us know on our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/homespunhaints, so we can have a spooky day together!