By Brittany Hanson/ Garden Grove Journal
Myths, rumors, legends, lore, tall tales and even taller skepticism are what go into a good ghost story. A little bit of adding, subtracting, embellishing and stretching can back up a creaking floorboard and make it into an untraceable footstep.
Here in Garden Grove, there is no way for sure of knowing if there are any city residents who have met their final address.
However, unfortunate stories and some folks’ need for the unknown have provided a good backdrop for spooky speculation.
One of the more tragic events of Garden Grove’s history involves a high school, an earthquake and a young girl, 13-years-old, named Elizabeth Pollard.
The date is March 10, 1933 and a 6.25 earthquake hits Long Beach, rocking Garden Grove, just to the south.
At Garden Grove High School, a young girl, Elizabeth Pollard is at the auditorium, and the entryway collapses. The falling debris killed her.
The rumor is that Pollard’s ghost still roams the building, not in a menacing manner, but as still a playful and happy teenager.
Although there has never been any proof, it is still one of the more popular stories of a ghost in Garden Grove.
“The faculty that have been around here for a while have passed the story around. Our teachers have talked about it,” said Steve Osborne, GGHS’s principal, “I’ve talked about it and how different and interesting it is to be at school that has been around for nearly 100 years.”
Osborne, who is the new principal of the high school, said that the story of Pollard’s spirit is a part of the culture of the high school, something that gets passed down from teacher to teacher and student to student.
“When you walk into Heritage Hall, there are all the old things in there, like basketball uniforms from the 1930’s. Then there is the tradition of the ghost of Heritage Hall [Pollard], so the tradition seems to live on, “ said Osborne, “Although I haven’t seen it or talked to anyone that has seen it.”
According to Garden Grove Historical Society members Terry and Jo Ann Thomas, there aren’t any ghosts at the historic village home of the Stanley House.
The Stanley Historic Ranch and Museum address is 12174 Euclid St., set a small ways back from the street behind a tidy white picket fence. And although there are no substantiated or even common stories of ghosts, there are some hopeful people that try to catch a glimpse of the ghostly.
Jo Ann and Terry both said that it is about this time of year that they start getting phone calls asking if there are any hauntings in the house.
“We start seeing people just stopping by out front and staring at, like they’re waiting for something to happen,” said Jo Ann.
The Thomas’ said that sometime in the 1970’s, a woman who was writing a book started calling in about finding ghosts at the Stanley Ranch.
Apparently, she had heard a story that a former caretaker’s infant child had died on the premises. According to her rumor, the child’s cries could or had been heard by others who had been in the house.
Jo Ann said that not only had she never heard of this story, that there was no record of the author ever having been to the Stanley Ranch.
Terry joked that those who come to look out for ghosts for Halloween should get a show. He laughed that maybe someone from the society should rustle curtains or strike a chord or two on old Mrs. Stanley’s organ.
“It still works just fine, “ chuckled Terry.