Ghost Stories from the San Joaquin Delta provides an introduction to local history through stories that reflect our culture and identity.
Tule fog, railroads, waterways and remote homesteads provide a rich canvas upon which local legends are built. Once home to the wealthiest pioneers in California, few today remember John Marsh. Point of Timber, populist political wars, and ritualistic murders were once known in far eastern Contra Costa County.
Truth is stranger than fiction as creation stories, cultural myths, extraordinary deaths, and unsolved mysteries from the California Delta heartland are revealed. You will find hair-raising stories of escaped anaconda snakes, missing wives, lone horsemen, train wrecks, fire and wistful love.
The communities of Brentwood, Byron, Knightsen, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island and the Far East Islands were settled by agribusiness pioneers, exported more grain in the 1870s than the entire Mississippi Valley, and welcomed the San Pablo and Tulare railroad—and they were scary!
The bandit Joaquin Murrieta stole horses here, ritualistic murders occurred on Jersey Island and Hispanic folklore brought the La Llorna legend to the waterways. Do not forget the ghosts at the Byron Hot Springs!
Today, these communities are safe and secure San Francisco Bay Area suburbs. Or are they? Do not underestimate the unexplained apparition of Sarah Norton, the “White Witch,” lurking just outside your home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Carol A. Jensen is a native daughter and resident of San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. She is a history graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She delights in discovering the history of the West Shore, collecting early twentieth century ephemera, and documenting the cultural history of the area from those who lived, lumbered, mined, and visited. The fruits of her historical search can be found at the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Gatekeeper's Museum, Tahoe City, California. She is pleased to compile and edit this photographic history of Lake Tahoe's West Shore on behalf of the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society. Vintage images―many never before published―are from private collections and archives, such as the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, the Tahoe Yacht Club, California State Library, California State Railroad Museum, Bancroft Library, and California State Parks Photographic Collections. Jensen is a member of the California Historical Society, North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Lake Tahoe maritime Museum, and Contra Costa Historical Society. She also serves as vice chair of The Contra Costa Historic Landmark Advisory Committee. She hopes that Lake Tahoe's West Shore will bring back fond memories of readers' time at the Lake, inspire all to Keep Lake Tahoe Blue, and conserve California's precious water resources.