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Monday, October 15, 2018

Columbia, California’s Haunted Fallon House & Theater

Like many old towns that are not “ghost towns” because they are still in existence, Columbia State Park, a preserved California gold rush town in the western foothills of the Sierra-Nevada mountains has its share of ghosts. This post I am going to share a bit about the Fallon House and Fallon Theater

Remaining since the days of the California Gold Rush, the Fallon Hotel was built by an Irish stone cutter in 1859. Original owner, Owen Fallon expanded the hotel in 1863 by purchasing an adjoining building and later the Gunn Saloon. These three buildings became Fallon’s Hotel. Today, visions of the Gold Rush era are often seen in this historic building. Though smoking is not allowed, guests can often smell the odor, along with that of whiskey. A female apparition is often seen in Room 9, and in the theater lights seemingly turn on and off of their own accord and shadow images are often spotted.

Visitors and guests often comment on a strong odor of smoke in different parts of the hotel, although California does not allow smoking in any of its public buildings. Many feel it is reminder that during the course of its history, the building has burned down twice. Also, its owner, Mr. Fallon was known for smoking cigars. Guests also detect the smell of whiskey even though the saloon was replaced by an ice cream parlor long ago (a must-see place to stop by for a wonderful treat, by the way). During the remodeling, a phantom youth was often seen climbing through a back window. When the construction crew rushed inside, there never was anyone around.  They came to the conclusion it was a youthful spirit searching for a sweet treat.

Guests in Room #13 are often startled by a young woman wearing a Victorian gown who disappears as quickly as she appears. She moves from room to room. Also, a little boy has been seen in Room #3 and the second-floor hallway. He likes to play and takes other children’s toys and hides them. In Rooms #1 and #6, guests have seen shadowy apparitions. Strange noises and cold spots in the halls and guest rooms have lead visiting paranormal experts to conclude the building is definitely haunted.

The hotel and the Fallon Theater are the same building, so most guests don’t take much notice of the mustachioed gentlemen seen occasionally in the upstairs halls. They assume he is in costume and part of a play. The ghost of James Fallon has been seen roaming backstage and in the halls of his theater, usually wearing a top hat and a long coat surrounded by cigar smoke.

My one and only ghost story, Haunted by Love, is set across the Sierra-Nevada Mountains in Bridgeport, California. Known as the “White Lady,” she has been spotted many times in Room 16 of what was once the Leavitt House and is now the Bridgeport Inn. There is even a historical plaque bearing record of her. No one knows who she was, or any reason why she stays. However, I have my own theory, and it is included in my book.

To read the book description and find the purchase link for Haunted by Love, please CLICK HERE.

Williams, Nancy K.; Haunted Hotels of the California Gold Country


  1. Oooh, perfect for Halloween! Suitably spooky and fascinating history to boot. A perfect lead into your wonderful book.

  2. Great post. Loved the history and the stories. Doris

  3. Oh my gosh, but I love stories about haunted houses and legendary ghostly sightings.

  4. I wonder what happened in those specific rooms you mentioned that would cause a spirit to want to remain--like what unfinished business did they have? Was the smell of smoke from patrons smoking or the fact that the building burned down several times?
    Although I don't believe in ghosts, I do believe that there is an energy that is never lost that can be sensed by some individuals who are very sensitive to that energy. I love ghost stories.
    I want to wish you every success with Haunted By Love. I enjoyed your post, Zina.

  5. I had a an unexplainable experience while performing on the stage at Fallon House in the early 1970's.
    While the balcony was closed to attendees then, I saw a man holding a lantern up there.
    Surprised, I stumbled while climbing a ladder in the course of the play and when I regained my balance, he was gone.