Here There Be Ghosts?



Do ghouls reside at 143 M Street?

Given its status as the poster child of haunted house art, the Carson Mansion seems a likely place to find resident ghosts, no? Well, no and yes. First the "No" theory. The house doesn't have tragic stories attributed to it -- understandable, considering that its builder, William Carson, despite making a fortune in redwood timbering, remained respected by employees, family and Eurekans throughout his life.

Similarly, his wife, Sarah, was known to live simply without putting on airs. Perhaps their unassuming natures were a testament to their modest Canadian roots. The two died peacefully in the house, she in 1904 and he in 1912. Many Eureka history enthusiasts deem the house a ghost-free zone. In short, the Carsons were too drama-free for the netherworldians to materialize.

Now, the "Yes" theory. Over the years, in particular during nights with full moons, passers-by have seen a phantom in the tower window, swaying back and forth in a rocking chair. "That's something I've always heard," Eureka radio personality and realtor John Ford said. "Although I've not seen it myself." According to the legend, the haunt in the rocking chair is none other than Sarah Carson, who was said to have sat in the tower window to take in the views across Humboldt Bay, Ford said.

Several anecdotes in recent years suggest a supernatural presence as well. There have been reports of a mischievous spirit, possibly Sarah Carson herself, unhappy with some domestic arrangements in the house, unscrewing light bulbs, leaving small pieces of orange paper on a just-vacuumed floor, and overturning a freshly baked pie in the kitchen. Perhaps it was not good enough to be served in her house.

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