The Catholic Church for the Petaluma, California area was established in 1871. After the Oak Hill Cemetery closed, the remains of several Catholics buried there were moved to Calvary. Some of the remains may actually date as far back as the 1850’s and 1860’s.
Calvary Cemetery still has a large pioneer section with many old markers. The original Calvary Cemetery consisted of the Old Section that opened on the street at Cemetery Lane—now called Sycamore Street. The cemetery was built on the outskirts of town and was surrounded by pastures for cattle.
But is the historic section of the cemetery haunted? Some people living in the area in August of 1900 swore there was a ghost presence haunting the graveyard. For several nights the travelers on the road reported seeing the figure of a woman dressed in white flitting among the tombstones in the cemetery.
The stories were quickly accepted by the superstitious Portuguese residing on the neighboring ranches as proof that some unsettled spirit was out there, and a absolute reign of terror followed. None of them would venture past the haunted spot at night, while by day they would watch the city of the dead from the fields with uneasiness.
Manual Souza, a rancher in the area, decided to solve the mystery and stop the terror of his ranch hands who had threatened to leave him. One night he visited the cemetery alone and awaited the appearance of the ghost woman.
Close to midnight he saw the figure of a woman dressed in white come gliding toward him. The bright moonlight shimmering on her garments startled the anxious watcher. As she glided by him he recognized her as a young mother who had become demented over the death of her first born.
Following her, he went to the grave of the child. Souza said the poor woman threw herself across the little mound where her child was buried and crooned softly as a mother does in lulling a baby to sleep. Suddenly, with a shriek, she buried her fingers in the dirt and attempted to tear away the earth.
Mr. Souza was able to restrain her. He succeeded in quieting her and walking her back to her home. Could the grieving spirit of the woman still be wandering the old cemetery at midnight? A visit to the old section of the cemetery may be in order!
Calvary Catholic Cemetery
304 Magnolia Avenue
Petaluma, CA 94952
Haunted Places Examiner: Debe Branning firstname.lastname@example.org