I am heading out to Spadra Cemetery in a few moments. I want to give a beginning blog on my history and Spadra history. Part 2 will be written upon my return.
Origin of Spadra
The land that became Spadra was once part of Rancho San Jose, a Mexican ranch created in 1837 by the Mexican Governor of California, Juan Bautista Alvarado. It was given to horse and cattle owners Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar. When the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, Rancho San Jose became part of the United States. In order to improve mail transportation between the coasts of the United States, the Butterfield stagecoach route was built in 1859 from San Francisco to St. Louis and Memphis. Within California, the route would pass south from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then across the desert to Yuma, Arizona. “The task was huge, but within a year a series of stations stocked with fresh horses was set up all along the 2,866 mostly empty, often dangerous miles.” Stagecoach stops, or “stations,” were periodically placed throughout the line. One station was placed in eastern Los Angeles County, and named the “San Jose” station. This stagecoach station was the beginning of Spadra’s existence.
In 1864, debt and poor business decisions forced the owners of Rancho San Jose to sell 12,000 acres of Rancho San Jose to German immigrant Louis Phillips at the price of $30,000. By purchasing the land, Phillips hoped to sell smaller parcels to future residents to create a profit. The first person who bought land from Louis Phillips was the notorious criminal Billy Rubottom in 1866. “A rough frontiersman, he was wanted in his native Arkansas for killing two men with a knife. And in El Monte, Rubottom shot his own son-in-law to death.” Rubottom was also credited (or blamed) with the introduction of opossums in Southern California. Louis Phillips’ empty land very likely appealed to Rubottom as way to begin a fresh start. Seeing the number of people who travelled through the stagecoach station, he built a combination hotel and bar as he had previously done in El Monte. “His bar at the Rubottom Hotel served anything you wanted and was a place where one could drink away all of their woes and wages. It was open every night of the week until 1, 2, or 3 in the morning.” Very quickly other small businesses began to appear and Rubottom named the growing town “Spadra,” after his hometown in Arkansas.
Spadra continued as a rural town, comparable with others in the area such as Pomona, Azusa, and Ontario. The earliest mention of Spadra in the Los Angeles Times is from 1885, which describes it as a small country town with a population between four and five hundred. “The products are principally barley, wheat, hay, corn, and potatoes. There are numerous bands of sheep in the neighborhood.”With a small growing population located near a major railroad station, Spadra appeared that it would mirror other rural towns in Southern California. However, the fate of Spadra would be irreversibly altered by the remarkable, almost deliberate success of its smaller neighbor Pomona.
Decline and Disappearance
Spadra began to decline further due to most of its population moving to Pomona. The final blows to its disappearance were caused by decisions made by those outside Spadra. In 1919, the California State Legislature selected Spadra as the site of a mental hospital, named the “Pacific Colony.” At that time, people with mental disabilities were considered to be a nuisance with patients called “inmates” and hospitals that catered to them operating more similar to prisons. The Pacific Colony was complete and opened on May 2, 1927. “It was designed to be almost a self-sufficient city unto itself, isolated from the rest of society by more than just its physical location.” Because of its independence, the Pacific Colony did not assist Spadra in any major way, and likely reduced its appeal to any future residents.
All that is left now is the Cemetery and the closed landfill.
Why is the above important? Well, it gives a bit of background to the town and to the energy there. So that you understand, when I do investigations, I go to disprove not prove a haunting. I want to be able to show the huey of modern ghost hunting hysteria. Not that I do not believe, I do actually believe in the paranormal. I just believe that a ton of stuff is mass group hysteria and power of suggestion. So I went. I went a few times. There is no huey here.
So through more research and understanding of culture and theology, I found that the Spadra Cemetery was a protestant cemetery. Not completely the key of importance on it’s own but just another piece to the puzzle. So, Spadra was a bit of an inclusive little community. Large and then small and then secluded and then crazy…to be brief.
So I know that there is one of the last natives of a certain tribe there. That her stillborn twins are there. I knew it was old. I knew the history of the town. I knew a bit about the cemetery. I like to go in a bit cold and then research if it is worth further research and finally return. This I have done. And yet, I find myself drawn to return again.
It was interesting. I went in with a group. Small and trustworthy. The energy seemed to be absolutely hopping. Just flying. I looked for electrical possibilities that made the meters go insane. None. I looked for underground water possibilities that made the meters go insane. None. So now, I am interested. No transformers. No generators. No wiring. No underground items. Pure ‘dead’ space. Interested.
I find that the twins are buried oddly positioned to the mother. Not in typical culture fashion of the time for respect but definitely screaming another type of cultural disrespect. They are buried on unhallowed ground. Weird. Odd. Why? Notes taken for later research.
Next, I move on towards the rest of the cemetery. Making my way towards the founders area. Suddenly and without warning, the energy not only drops to nothing, it is the most eerily nothing I have ever felt. All machines go silent. Dowsing rods stop dead in place. Notes taken. Why? Seems the closer we get to the founder, the more it seems to be a warning. A member of the group speaks “Why are you quiet? Are you scared?” Every machine goes insane and then silent. “Is it the founder?” Insanity and silence again. Notes taken. Experience complete for that trip.
It is a lot harder to find info than you think for some places. You go blind in MicroFich. However, this is what I could find and what could be pieced together. In the hey day of the town of Spadra, the head of the town had a very handsome and incredible son. He fell in love with that native girl there. Now, I am unsure how or when she arrived nor why she was there. All that is mentioned next is that she is pregnant. Rumors are the son is the father. Culture dictates a very large NO NO. Now, again, we have no idea if it was love, if it was rape, if it was something else…no clue. We do know that according to the talks of tribes, it was a rape by intimidation and that is why she ended up dead. Unsure whether this was murder or otherwise, we can only assume knowing the mindset of the times. She goes to give birth and the town head, his son and the doctor are the only three people who know the truth as well as the dead girl. She dies giving birth. The twins die too. Seems that is the turning point for the town becoming weirdly isolated and their decline. The twins are buried but unhallowed ground. Their mother…close but on hallowed ground.
I go to get council from the Chumash Tribe elders. They say that is to keep the spirits apart. I find that unfair. I am not protestant so I am not about to bless the land of the twins. So I do a blessing on her grave and theirs in their native tradition. Ok. So now I must return. The fear is now within a reason of understanding.
So we return. This time, I bring my alchemy kit and I bring a few more people. So, this now a mission of mercy to spirits. I do the blessings. Everyone is doing their investigations. I get called over as the silence hit again in every spot but the founder. I walk over. A strange mist comes up from the ground. Well, in fairness, the temperature dropped and the ground was still warm and moisture was setting in. Explainable…fully. Then there is a sonic boom. I look for planes. I look for people. I look for a train. I look for anything. I look for the birds to fly. Nothing. It happens again. It is coming from the same place as the mist. I place a meter on the ground. Perhaps this is our answer…a fault line. Nothing. Boom. Meter…NOTHING. I decide that we should probably wrap up as I may have just pissed off a very evil and angry disembodied spirit with my actions.
What you must know about me. I have two injured knees from the military and I have a TBI that causes my hands to move. No it’s not parkinsons…was tested. No it’s not schizophrenia…was tested. No it’s not drugs…I am not an addict. It is a simple nerve problem that the VA is chalking up as a combo of chemical exposure, the TBI and another injury. So I do not move fast. I do not feel fear really and I do not react to hysteria nor do I move fast. Did I mention, I do not move fast?! That moment I did. I ran past one team member. All you can hear on her recorder…me yelling RUN as I pass…so it sounds more like rrrrRRUNNnnnn At the same moment, she is commenting Wow, it just got really creepy like peaceful. BOOM on the recorder. Then she begins to run.
The rest of the team is already alerted by their own feelings and machines and have begun to move towards the exit. Did I mention that the cemetery is behind railroad tracks. Now, this is like midnight and suddenly a train comes. It locks us into the cemetery. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would be rolling my eyes at this moment in the blog. The mist was creeping down the road. I looked at the Chumash elder and said…hmm….kinda Stephen King, no?! He screams at me…NOT FUNNY, JYMIE. I laugh. At the same time, him and I start running sacred circles and King Solomon blessings. The damn train stops. Locking us completely in. We say…FUCK THAT and we all climb through and under the damn train. We get to our cars and we calm ourselves. 7 of us left the cemetery. 7 kids were entering with a case of beer. The train leaves.
I am loading the equipment into my 67 Mustang. A car I rebuilt with my own hands. I get in and the car refuses to start. My basic 1967 electrical system is going berserk. Not a good sign. We hear the another train. What? At this time? Another one? Not usual. Not on the time schedule either. We think…Oh no, the kids. Suddenly, one kid returns shaking. Pale. stuttering. Calling 911. No idea what happened.
I jumped my car forward by continually starting it in neutral. I pass the cemetery gates and my car starts.
Since then, there has been spot fires, murders, suicides and more at this cemetery. Tonight, after years of being gone…..I return. Join me for my next blog when I do a follow up exam on this infamous cemetery. And yes, I will have pictures!