Fact or Fiction on the recent visit by Ghost Adventures starring Zak Bagans
Ghost Adventures upcoming investigation at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego - Fact or Fiction?
By: Bonnie Vent
July 28, 2011
The Travel Channel’s television show “Ghost Adventures” completed filming at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant in Old Town San Diego, CA on July 19, 2011. A story was released in Huffington Post on July 21, 2011 that provided many false statements attributed to the Ghost Adventures crew. Perhaps a blessing in disguise as it did provide a window in the thinking of the Ghost Adventures crew and how they would be approaching their investigation of the Cosmopolitan Hotel for the Ghost Adventures television show.
I should note that the reporter who wrote the article has been asked to write a retraction and the Ghost Adventures production company has been instructed by the owners of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant to correct these false statements and accusations. We will have to wait until September 2011 when the show airs to see whether this has made a positive difference to the story presented to the fans of the Ghost Adventures television show.
In the meantime we want the public to know the TRUTH. I have no advanced knowledge of what they intend to present other than this one article. I did inform their location manager of my personal experiences and provided my research materials. I was never put under a non-disclosure agreement or asked to sign anything. To the best of my knowledge those materials were not used in the production of the Ghost Adventures television show although remnants of my experiences are noted in the article.
As I have done historical research on this property, and my personal experiences are in the article with gross inaccuracies, I feel compelled to set the record straight for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, living descendants of Juan Bandini and his family as well as for myself.
As I have done historical research on this property, and my personal experiences are in the article with gross inaccuracies, I feel compelled to set the record straight for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, living descendants of Juan Bandini and his family as well as for myself. (Please note that my personal experience, as well as the Cosmopolitan hotel, has not included ANY commercial cleaning services or services that practice all forms of saging.)
If you wish to read the offending article in its entirety please follow this link:
I will be going point by point addressing the remarks made in this article regarding the Cosmopolitan Hotel and providing research materials that separate fact from fiction. My comments are in red below.
'Ghost Adventures' Crew Goes On Ghost Hunt Of San Diego
First Posted: 7/21/11 08:18 AM ET Updated: 7/21/11 09:47 AM ET
Groff as he ushers me into another allegedly haunted room in another allegedly haunted hotel, the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant in the city's Old Town neighborhood, a location that Bagans says is recognized by San Diego's paranormal community as the most active place in the area.
Ground zero is Ste. 4 and 5 -- the room where Juan Lorenzo Bandini, a San Diego pioneer who built the house in 1827, lived for many years.
Juan Bandini’s house was erected between 1827 and 1829 as a one story 12 room mansion. Bandini was forced to transfer ownership of his house in 1859, due to illness and financial losses, to his son in law Abel Stearns. Stearns sold the property in 1869 to Albert Seeley, who transformed it into a fashionable, two-story hotel and overnight stage stop, called the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Juan Bandini died on November 4, 1859. A full 10 years before the hotel was built. It is safe to assume that Juan Bandini never lived in room 4/5 as it did not exist while he was alive.
"There's a lot of different phenomena going on at this hotel," Bagans says. "There's residual haunting, there's intelligent haunting, and there are also objects that are apparently haunted."
I have personally experienced residual energy in the Wine Room and captured on camera very intelligent spirit people in 4/5.
Groff points to the bed in the room. On the headboard is a woodcarving of a little girl's face -- Bandini's daughter.
Current video of the carved faces in room 4/5 of the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
I checked the headboard and dresser personally and there are carvings of female faces on both pieces. However, the furniture has nothing to do with the Bandini family. The furniture was placed into the room after the most recent renovation. The grand re-opening of the Cosmopolitan Hotel was on July 10, 2010. Prior to the shut down for renovation the rooms were used as storage space and were not furnished. I witnessed this personally just before the hotel was shut down. The manager at the time took my research partner and me up to the 2nd floor where I had sensed the spirit of a woman in red. He opened many of the rooms for us and apologized how messy they were. We went into the room that is now 4/5. He explained this room had been the former office space of Diane Powers who had run Bazaar Del Mundo. Even then they were reports of strange things happening but they were never discussed publicly. He informed us that they did intend in open the rooms as a hotel in the future. The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant was shut down for 3 years. Painstaking research was done to make the look and feel of the hotel as accurate as possible. This of course includes the bedroom set in room 4/5.
"This is a little girl. This little girl died, and the father of the little girl made this bed and carved her face into the wood here, and the little girl looks at the mother that is carved in the mirror," Bagans says, pointing to a mirror across the room.
There does seem to be a legend/rumor told about the bedroom set in room 4/5. Unless we can determine who built the furniture and carved the headboard and dresser we have no way to know if there is any truth to the story. I am researching this to see what I can find out. According to: Fiesta de Reyes owner and operator Chuck Ross he obtained the bedroom set from a couple in Vista, CA who had owned it for approximately 7 years and the furniture was approved as being historically accurate for the period by Bruce Coons the President of SOHO.
Emily Ann comes through at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in room 4/5 on October 04, 2010.
A new rumor has also formed that the carving on the headboard is Emily Ann. I can personally confirm this is false. Emily Ann did come through in room 4/5 and we have loosely identified her with validation from the Cosmopolitan Hotel Innkeeper.
A rocking chair is also of interest to the team.
"This rocking chair was the little girl's as well, and yesterday, when we were interviewing the hotel innkeeper, this began rocking inexplicably," Bagans says. "Like what happened to you last year at the Hotel Del Coronado."
It is entirely possible that the rocking chair moved, as there is known activity in room 4/5. However it has nothing to do with the Bandini family. There have been numerous anecdotal reports of objects moving throughout the property.
"Both cases could be examples of objects that are haunted," he adds.
Could be but doubtful.
Actual spirit communication that took place is room 4/5 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
(Note: This is not possession it is my own process called Interdimension communication)
Cosmopolitan Hotel Lady
In this video you meet a lady who still seems to linger on the balcony just outside of room 4/5 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. She is secretrative, but you do get an idea of her personality and toward the end a fascination of the process.
Cosmopolitan Hotel Gambler
He observed the lady coming through and decided to give it a try. Apparently he got into trouble while waiting for the stage. Seeley Stables was the stage stop and the Cosmpolitan Hotel was built by Albert Seeley as a place for weary travelers to rest.
Back to the Huffington Post article and the comments of the Ghost Adventures crew.
This all takes place hours before their lockdown -- when the three ghost hunters close all of the doors and windows from inside and see if the spirits come a-calling. It will be filmed for a "Ghost Adventures" episode scheduled to air in September.
To get ready for filming, Bagans, Groff and Goodwin have been interviewing employees and locals to see what they know. Bagans explains the research they've done before my arrival.
"Before you begin a paranormal investigation, the most important criteria you need to gather is the back history of the location," he says. "A lot of the history back then wasn't documented. So we're almost writing the pages in our own textbook from the evidence that we gather, the paranormal evidence."
He says to properly "communicate with the spirits," it's important to know the kind of "energy" that happened in the place.
I agree that historical research is extremely important. In my work I validate as much as possible historically. I do not agree that they can or should write their own textbook from their evidence, as Juan Bandini and others associated with the property are very well documented in history.
"You need to know what kind of energy happened during those deaths," he says. "And you kind of need to sync yourself with that energy. You need to know what events happened."
He makes a sweeping motion of the room before pointing at the bed.
"Take this room: We had a little girl who died," he explains. "There's a lot of sadness; a lot of sorrow. There's even been claims of a woman who works downstairs who says she heard a little girl crying. I think it's kind of a residual energy that may be attached to this bed.
Actually you do not have a girl who died in that room or anywhere on the property that is tied to the furniture. There was a claim by an employee of hearing a little girl’s cry but that was in a completely different location of the hotel. You also have to keep in mind the noise coming from the non-stop visitors to the State Park where the Cosmopolitan Hotel is located. There are many living crying children going by the hotel all day every day and the sound does carry from outside. It would require further investigation to determine a cause.
"So a good thing for us to do in here would be to run some visual cameras, and just leave some digital recorders rolling in this room, not so much communication."
It is an interesting choice to not try to establish communication in room 4/5. Especially since the location manager had footage of spirit communication in 4/5 provided by me and witnessed by 3 paranormal investigators. The Ghost Adventures crew said themselves they saw a rocking chair move. Why would you assume residual energy?
One of the best sources of apparition information has been a man named Carlos, an elderly guitarist who has been performing outside the hotel for more than 40 years.
"He's a very cool looking guy. Looks like an actor out of 'Desperado,'" Bagans notes. "As we were filming, he was singing this song, 'La Fantasma,' and it's a song about ghosts. So we walk up to him and I go, 'Are you singing something about ghosts?'
"He keeps strumming his guitar and he keeps talking to me and says, 'Whatever they're telling you -- I've been working here for over 40 years and I know things they don't.'"
During his preliminary research, Bagans discovered that Bandini had a wife who mysteriously died and nobody knows how.
"This gentleman, Carlos, who was playing guitar, [says] Bandini killed his wife and her body was buried where the restaurant is now under the bricks where people eat."
If true, Bagans says an unsolved murder is exactly the kind of thing that would lead a place to be "so haunted with activity by the spirits that aren't at rest."
"They're trying to tell us something," he says, patting his chest.
I checked with hotel staff and there is a man named Carlos who performs in front of the hotel. That is about all that is true. Juan Bandini’s first wife died in 1833 while delivering their 6th child. Juan Bandini’s first wife’s name was Maria de los Dolores ESTUDILLO. She married Juan Bandini on November 20, 1822 (MissionSan Diego de Alcala, Matrimonios 1769-1880, Book I, entry 1455).Death records are missing for this time period. I am trying to locate a death record in a family bible or family papers. It has been confirmed that she was NOT interred in Calvary Cemetery in San Diego.
Here is a recap provided by Victor Walsh the California State Historian:
Born: May 25, 1805 Monterey Presidio
Married: Juan Bandini Nov 20, 1822 San Diego Presidio
Died: about Nov 15, 1833 in San Diego, shortly after the birth of her sixth child, Juan Bautista Bandini.
Buried either at San Diego Mission or San Diego Presidio. Book II of San Diego Mission Death/Burials is missing.
Juan Bandini’s 2nd wife was Refugio Argüello. She is buried in a family plot along with Juan Bandini at Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, Calif. Old office records indicate that in 1902 his daughter Arcadia had all remains of those of the family who had been buried in the Old Catholic Cemetery on North Broadway removed to the New Calvary Cemetery to Sec. F. A large vault was later constructed and the remains of twelve of the family (among which are: Juan Bandini, Refugio, Abel Stearns, Arcadia Stearns de Baker and Robert Baker) are now interred there.
We do know that Dolores Estudillo’s daughter Ysidora Bandini was buried with her husband in Calvary Cemetery in San Diego, CA. There have been reports that Ysidora Bandini did visit the Cosmopolitan Hotel while very much alive and stayed in room 10 or 11. We are trying to locate the original desk registers to validate these reports. Ysidora Bandini died of Bright’s disease. In current terms that would be kidney disease. She was 67.
Sadly, in 1970 most of the grave markers were removed from Calvary Cemetery to make way for the park. The graves were not removed but the grave markers were taken to Mt. Hope Cemetery and buried. I did find what looks to be a picture of the original marker.
BURIAL: Row 3, Section 1-North, Calvary Cemetery [now a part of Calvary Pioneer Memorial Park, aka Pioneer Park; aka Catholic Cemetery, aka Mission Hills Cemetery, aka Old Catholic Cemetery], 1501 Washington Place, San Diego, CA 92103; same stone with Cave Johnson Couts
There have been reports of Ysidora Bandini falling to her death at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Those reports are untrue. However, there is a story about Ysidora being so enamored with the military men coming down the street that she leaned too far over the balcony and fell into the arms of her future husband Cave Couts. If true, this is not as bad as it may sound since it was Bandini house at the time and only 1 story.
Meanwhile, Groff not only thinks the hotel is rife with various types of paranormal activity, he also sees the opportunity to take a cross-cultural approach to the investigation.
"We were talking with a guy yesterday and he was telling us that this all used to be Indian territory," he says.
"We didn't know that," Begans chimes in.
Groff is especially intrigued by the possibility of native American spirits contacting them.
Yes, the Kumeyaay Indians were here before the settlers. There is also a deep heritage with Mexico and Spain. California became a state on September 9, 1850. Prior to the Mexican/American war San Diego was part of Mexico. According to the 1850 census San Diego County had a population of 798.
"There is a certain energy that is trapped in this location and one lady was partially possessed, I guess, and started doing an Indian ritual dance," Groff says.
"Yes," Bagans adds. "This lady went downstairs to one of the other rooms we're going to be investigating and she started doing this Indian dance."
According to Groff, when the woman was asked to repeat the dance, she couldn't. The thought that a similar experience could happen to them excites him.
"Maybe we'll see Aaron dancing like an Indian here ... you never know," he laughs.
The lady they are referring to is me. In no way was I possessed. The dance was an old fashioned Mexican Tarantella, not an Indian ritual dance. I did get into the flow of the energy in the Wine Room which is located in the original Bandini house and I did perform a dance that I had no knowledge of for several minutes. It was witnessed by at least 3 people including one of the owners of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Although we did not catch the dance on camera we certainly did document the experience. Also noted was that my heart rate showed no sign of exertion and my breathing was relaxed and normal. This experience was also discussed on an interview done October 2010 with Fox 5 News. I have not attempted to do this dance again nor was I ever ask to. I was ask to do a recreation for Fox 5. Juan Bandini was known to have parties in his home; he loved to dance and was known to be quite graceful. These parties would have included dances such as the Mexican Tarantella.
Clips taken from the documentary Conversations with the Dead: Yankee Jim Robinson SPEAKS OUT/Behind the Scenes of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Real information about the now famous dance.
Bonnie Vent and Cosmopolitan Hotel co-owner Joseph Melluso with Brad Wills from Fox 5 talk about the dance.
Back to the Huffington Post article and comments from the Ghost Adventures crew:
Seeing a moment to escape from being chum for the hotel's apparitions, I take my leave. But not before Goodwin, the crew member who is usually used as "bait," casually mentions where he'd like to do a future investigation.
"We've heard there's a place nearby that used to be a brothel frequented by Wyatt Earp," Goodwin says. "I'd like to go there."
This location was provided by me to the Ghost Adventures location manager. However, as with the rest of the information in this article it is not accurate. There is a building still standing in the Gas Lamp and Wyatt Earp ran the Oyster Bar out of this location. Upstairs was a brothel, but that’s a story for another day.
Real stories of paranormal/ghostly activity at the Cosmopolitan Hotel
By Chanel Stephens
August 3, 2011
One morning I came into the Sala and was standing by the Victorian hutch tidying up a bit. All the doors were closed and I was completely alone. I heard a kissing sound right next to my ear. I turned around, completely convinced that someone had snuck up and was standing behind me playing a trick...there was no one.
Also, in the Sala, around the corner from the hutch, I was brewing water for a cup of tea. It was before opening and I had finished all of my opening work. I was facing the corner where the table with the teapot is. I heard a distinctive male throat clearing sound coming from the back Sala, as if a man had entered that room and was trying to get my attention. I turned around and there was nobody there. As I looked into that part of the room, beyond the curtains, I saw a chair "jump" out of the corner of my eye. I my eyes to that chair and as I was looking at it, it moved about a 1/2 foot away from the table.
After thinking about this for a while, I remembered that my husband and I had eaten at that table the night before and the chair that had moved was the chair where my husband had been sitting. As my husband was working that night and plays the piano, he was getting up ever so often to play for 15-20 minutes at a time and left that chair. Maybe my ghost friend had been sitting there when my husband was playing?
While dressing for an event. A colleague and I were in room 10. She was taking a shower and I was laying all of the dress parts for an elaborate Victorian dress out on the bed. The dress came with instructions from the seamstress. I noticed that the skirt was missing a button at the waist. I yelled through the bathroom door that I was going to go downstairs to find something....I went to find a safety pin. I looked everywhere downstairs and decided that since I couldn't find one, I would resort to using the broach that I was wearing. I went back upstairs. My colleague was still in the bathroom with the door shut. I sat on the bed waiting for my turn and glanced around the room. That was when noticed the stack of safety pins on the table on the other side of the bed. It was a little tee-pee looking stack of multicolored and different size and aged pins that had been placed there with some patience, albeit. I couldn't believe my eyes. I yelled to my colleague if she had put them there, she had no idea what I was talking about. How could she? She was in the bathroom the whole time. I told her the whole story and we both stared at the little stack and both simultaneously said, " Thank-you".
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Ever wonder if the legend is true? If Yankee Jim Robinson was not hung on the grounds of Whaley House, why does his spirit still reside there? Finally the truth will be revealed.