Spooky places in Berkeley that you should haunt this Halloween

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Months of extraordinary outfit planning and event anticipation have finally culminated in a Halloween that may just harbor the best festivities we’ve ever experienced. Kick off the spooktacular weekend with a little All Hallows’ Eve on Friday, then shift gears pronto for some Dia de Muertos monstrosity to cap off the terror-iffic weekend Saturday and Sunday. Whether you are one of those haunted-house junkies who just loves to get the poop scared right out of you or prefer to be the one doing the haunting, we’re sure you’ll appreciate this list of spooky sites to set the mood for the day.

1. The Claremont Hotel

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First opening its doors in 1915, the Claremont Hotel has had nearly a century to earn its reputation as one of the most haunted places in Berkeley. What most people don’t know is that prior to construction, a private home claimed the location of the hotel, but it burned to the ground at the turn of the century. Former homeowner Mrs. Thornburg allegedly still haunts the site of her scorched mansion. The friendly ghost of a young girl who died in the hotel also is rumored to haunt the resort — especially room 422. Escape the excitement of campus for a few hours this weekend to see for yourself if the tales are true. Soak in the spine-tingling bay views on the patio, then sneak upstairs to hunt for the famed fourth-floor ghost.

2. This Hilgard Hall elevator

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Christina Fossum/Staff

Whether it’s the wall-to-wall brown carpet lining the cell, the vomit-inducing metallic smell or the vintage buttons, the Hilgard Hall elevator might just be one of the creepiest places on campus. Although it isn’t haunted as of yet, it definitely should be … by you! Become one with the inner midcentury environmentalist ghost we all know is living inside of you, and go to town scaring the nature right out of every environmental science, policy and management student to enter the building. Tip: There exists a fine line between haunting and stalking. Be sure not to cross it.

3. Bowles Hall

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While the infamous Bowles Hall halloween parties have for the most part been quelled by campus authority in recent years, the oldest residence hall in California still houses a few good haunts. We typically try to stay away from this gothic stronghold. In the Hogwartsian spirit of the season, however, we have put aside our trepidation, and so should you! Bring the wand you’ve been hiding under your bed these past few months, and wizard-battle it out with your foes and friends on the lawn. Don’t forget to check out the ancient elevator.

4. The sick plant clinic

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On the subject of haunts and spooks, all this debauchery may leave you feeling a tad under the weather. Horror isn’t for everyone, and we fully support lounging at home with a bowl of candy corn and Halloweentown playing on Disney Channel in lieu of ghastly villain-seeking. Yet even though we couldn’t sleep after 15 minutes of “Poltergeist,” we still find ourselves quivering in the corner at haunted houses time and time again. So we have gone ahead and made alternate plans to hopefully silence our fright-inducing Halloween tendencies, and we have decided to instead cure our ailing plants! The Berkeley Botanical Garden’s sick plant clinic graciously opens its doors the first Saturday of each month to hoards of hopeful parents of plants, like ourselves, who just want our bamboo and succulents to return to the lush little plants that they once were. Stop by for some hauntingly heartwarming flower rescuing from 9 a.m. until noon.

5. Lawson Adit

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We bet you didn’t know UC Berkeley harbors a secret, abandoned mineshaft! Well, it does. The Lawson Adit runs all the way from beneath the Hearst Memorial Mining Building to Stern Hall. Originally used for educational purposes in the College of Mining and later to study the Hayward Fault — did we mention the tunnel runs directly across this unstable crack in Earth’s crust? — today, the adit is relatively vacant. Tour a real mine: Go for a thrilling mine-car ride along the decrepit tracks, and maybe even catch the black lung and explore the cavernous passage for yourself! Well, that is, explore the front door, unless of course you have in your possession a bolt cutter and headlamp.

6. Ghost town maps

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Ever been fascinated by the dusty darkness of American ghost towns? Well, today is your lucky day! Come explore the mysterious and supernatural pasts of these abandoned townships through … you guessed it … maps! Through the Earth Sciences and Map Library, a show and tell of various ghost town maps will be held this Halloween in 50 McCone Hall. Dive into various vacant California mining camps, Spanish missions and towns all from the comfort of the UC Berkeley campus! Perhaps you will be so knowledgeable after attending this event that you can even impress your acquaintances and construct your very own ghost town map!

7. This bridge

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Christina Fossum/Staff

At the end of the day, there is no better way to haunt than finding a remotely creepy spot and lingering around in hopes of inciting real terror in passersby! Conveniently, campus happens to be crawling with places like this bridge we found, just waiting for someone to come and haunt them. New to haunting? It’s easy! Simply find yourself a place that isn’t already haunted and claim it as your own — you don’t have to be an apparition or some angry spirit. All sorts of beings are capable of haunting. We don’t discriminate. As you embark on your quest, good luck — and happy haunting.

Image Sources: Ryan Anderson, Paul A. Hernandez, Jason, David SilvaThomas Hawk, Graeme PowJoe Parks under Creative Commons

Contact Christina Fossum at [email protected].