Driving south on the 101 freeway, at Agoura Hills, one sees a curiously named highway marked as an off ramp. It is Reyes Adobe Road, and as the name implies, at the roadway stands the historic Reyes Adobe.
It was built in 1830 and once was one of the few structures between San Fernando and Ventura along the old El Camino Real — the legendary King’s Highway of old California (in truth it was the only highway in Spanish California and it was more a dirt path than a road). I had heard it was haunted from several sources. One visitor said he looked in the window and saw a burning candle floating as if carried by an invisible hand. Another person, a self proclaimed psychic, said she saw a woman dressed in white walking between the house and the barn. Such stories were enough to interest me in doing a ghost hunt at the historic site. Fortunately, myself and my wife Debbie, a gifted psychic, got the chance. We would have with us a reporter from the Acorn Press Newspaper and a bevy of high school students (who mostly worked on their school’s newspapers). We were granted the rare opportunity to explore the historic adobe at night in our quest for supernatural activity. We would not be disappointed.
We met at the gate to the historic park, and after some delays, we went inside the thick-walled house and stepped back in time to another California. The rooms were cold and there seemed a sense of dread as one walked though the dark house. I was waiting for the familiar feeling I get when I go to a haunted place — a tingle on the back of my neck. It wasn’t there at first. Debbie, my wife, felt ill at ease here whispering to me — “Someone died here.” I informed her that being an old place built in an era without hospitals, the odds were good that several people passed away within the place. “No,” she corrected, “I mean someone was murdered here.”
I hadn’t told her of the legend of the house. One story says that long ago the women of the Reyes Family were cooking in preparation for a fiesta when an outlaw broke into the house. The men were away at the time tending to the ranch. It is true that the area was at one time infested with bandit gangs. The outlaw grabbed her and tried to force himself upon the woman. As they struggled, she managed to get her hand upon his pistol, pull it from his holster, and discharge the weapon into his chest. The bandit died on the floor. Still in shock, the woman went calmly back to her cooking. Later, when the men returned, the body was taken away and buried. No report was made of the event out of fear the bandit’s outlaw friends might seek revenge upon the family. Is it true? Who knows for sure, but such things might well have happened long ago in less civilized times.
One of the students looked out the window of the adobe toward the barn and said he saw a face looking out of the structure. Debbie looked and saw it too. There wasn’t anyone in the barn at that time. Debbie said she thought it might have been a piece of paper in the window — until it abruptly vanished. Was it the face of the slain bandit? One psychic researcher believes it may have been the ghostly face of Paulino Reyes whom they say haunts the barn. We next went into the near bedroom of the house. That’s where the tingle finally came to the back of my scalp. Others felt it too. The room seemed colder than the rest of the house. Debbie was shaken now. Did the murder take place in the bedroom? A simple code was set up using dowsing rods and questions asked of the unhappy spirits. The rods confirmed the tale of the murdered bandit. Some students took pictures that night with digital cameras and were rewarded with strange ball-like orbs. Were they ghosts or dust on the lenses? Who is to say?
The reporter, Ms. Stephanie Bertholdo, took a skeptical stance, as we debated if we should go to the second floor. It was then that she saw something. It didn’t last long, but then, ghost sightings don’t as a rule. She saw a glowing snake-like image on the foot of the stairs. It had an eerie three-dimensional quality to it. The thing squirmed and quickly went through a hole at the base of the stairs. Whatever it was, it left a profound impression on the reporter. Ms. Bertholdo was convinced it wasn’t the beam of a flashlight or something from her imagination. She was at a loss to explain the thing, whatever it was.
As the evening progressed Debbie didn’t feel right about the place and wanted to leave. We did explore further, but no more odd events occurred. Many of the people involved were convinced that the old adobe house is haunted. It was a strange evening and it confirmed the stories of ghosts were at least partly true. The old place needed more investigation to learn more of her supernatural secrets. It is open to the public as a museum now and, I believe, with more visit the Reyes Adobe, further encounters with the unknown will be told.