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Santa Maria Inn Haunted?

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1876 posts
Mar 05, 2012
9:09 AM
Hi Marta,

Yes it is. Do you know any stories?

234 posts
Mar 09, 2012
4:55 PM
Frank J. McCoy, who came to the Santa Maria Valley in
1904 to work for the new Union Sugar plant, saw that a
comfortable hotel was needed and proceeded to build
The Historic Santa Maria Inn. His love of flowers can
still be seen throughout the Inn such as the
award-winning Rose Garden, which to this day contains
some of his original plantings and has become the
favored backdrop for weddings. The Patio, which hosted
McCoy’s first flower gardens, is now a quiet retreat
with its antique water fountain and brick courtyard.
The Inn’s famous daily floral arrangements of years
past have been immortalized in the beautiful stained
glass windows

Built in 1917, Presidents, ambassadors, actors and
actresses, and corporate magnates stopped at the Santa
Maria Inn while winding their way along California’s
historic El Camino Real between San Francisco and Los
Angeles–first via buggy and later by motorcars.
Whatever the mode of transportation, in the Grand Old
Days or yesterday, road weary travelers have come to
The Historic Santa Maria Inn to rest and refresh.

Some years after its original opening, rumors began to
circulate that the graceful Santa Maria Inn was
harboring a persistent phantom resident, referred to
by the staff as the “Captain”. During a recent
renovation of the Inn two people staying in room 103
reported hearing doors open and close and people
walking, yet when they checked, there was no one there
and the hotel was secured for the night.

When the Inn was re-opened after the renovation, one
of the gardeners also reported seeing the image of a
man standing on one of the landings of the outside
stairways. He thought it was one of the guests until
it vanished away into nothingness right before his
eyes and in broad daylight. The man walked into the
Inn as white as a sheet and said, “I just saw the

the curtains in room 216 sometimes billow
by themselves–even when the windows are closed.A
member of the company that manages the Inn today
confided that, “He (the Captain) is all around the

On September 3, 1989, a group of ghost hunters led by
psychic Debbie Christenson Senate along with Author
Richard Senate, checked in the Santa Maria Inn to
investigate the rumors. Their attempt was to determine
if the Inn was really haunted. For twenty-four hours
they wandered the halls, performed a number of
experiments and questioned the staff about the
mysterious “Captain”. Debbie agreed to act as medium
in the experiment. At midnight, in the room where a
majority of the psychic experiences have been
reported, they gathered to conduct a séance in an
attempt to communicate with the specter.

The medium slumped forward in her chair. In the dim
light her face seemed to relax, then it became
contorted with pain.
(Richard): “Who are you?”
(Debbie): “Who am I?”
(Richard): “Who are you?”
(Debbie): “Peppy”
(Richard): “Peppy? Are you Mexican?”
(Debbie): “No silly, it’s my name.”
(Richard): “Peppy is a Mexican name isn’t it?”
(Debbie): “No, it’s my name. Are you waiting for me?”
(Richard): “Who are you waiting for?”
(Debbie): “I am waiting for the limousine that WR is
sending for me.”
(Richard): “Who is WR? Is he your husband?”
(Debbie): “WR is Mr. Hearst silly.”
(Richard): “You know Mr. Hearst?”
(Debbie): “Yes very well.”
(Richard): “What year is it?”
(Debbie): “1935.”
(Richard): “Do you often go to Hearst’s castle?”
(Debbie): “To the ranch. I often travel with my aunt.”

(Richard): “Aunt? Who is your aunt?”
(Debbie): “Marion.”
(Richard): “Did you work for Mr. Hearst?”
(Debbie): “Once.”
(Richard): “What did you do for Mr. Hearst?”
(Debbie): “In London I worked for one of his magazines as a writer.”
(Richard): “Peppy? What kind of name is that?”
(Debbie): “I am called Peppy because I am always
(Richard): “Did you stay at the castle much?”
(Debbie): “I spent a lot of time at the ranch. I use
to stay over at the Casa Del Mar.”
(Richard): “What is the Casa Del Mar?”
(Debbie): “I’m cold, I’m cold. Do you have any coke?”
(Richard): “Coke? Do you want a Coca-Cola?”
(Debbie): “No silly, coke. I need some real bad. I’m
(Richard): “Cold?”
(Debbie): “Yes, I want it now!”
(Richard): “What do you want to do with coke?”
(Debbie): “I take it.”
(Richard): “Take it? You mean cocaine?”
(Debbie): “Yes. Coke, uppies.”
(Richard): “You took drugs?”
(Debbie): “For my sinuses. Are they here yet?”
(Richard): “Did you telephone them?”
(Debbie): “Yes, I know they forgave me. Hasn’t the car
arrived yet?”
(Richard): “Why did they need to forgive you? What did
you do to Mr. Hearst?”
(Debbie): “Get me some coke. Please get me some.”
(Richard): “What happened? Why did you start taking
(Debbie): “I was sick. Alma used to give it to me.”
(Richard): “Who is Alma?”
(Debbie): “You know Alma, Alma Rubens. She used to
live upstairs from me in New York.”
(Richard): “You acquired coke from her?”
(Debbie): “Yes, I’ve got to go now.”
(Richard): “Did you stay at the Santa Maria Inn?”
(Debbie): “Yes, I’m sorry but I have to go now. Do you
see the limousine?”
(Richard): “Peppy why do you have to go?”
(Debbie): No response.
(Richard): “Peppy?”
(Debbie): No response.

The team had expected to receive information on a
mysterious “Captain” and instead communicated with a
young cocaine addict. Research is still underway to
identify if such and individual with the name of
“Peppy” lived, and if so, if she was some way related
to Marion Davies, William Randolph Heart’s mistress.

Researchers at the Hearst Castle State Park did say
that a sister to Marion may have had that nickname.
They did confirm that there is a Casa Del Mar and it
was the guest house most used by the Hearst and Davies
families. There was an actress named Alma Rubens who
did work for the Hearst film company. She was a
confirmed drug addict and died of an overdose in the
mid 1930?s. Still, research may someday prove or
disprove the existence of “Peppy”.

The Team recorded several odd events in their ghost
hunt, but none were conclusive. Some of the team
members recorded a number of odd events. Ora Philips
stated that, “In front of room 144 I felt a distinct
chill”. Diane Erdelyis recalled that “During the
séance I felt a jolt under the table. The lights in
the séance room flickered and pulsated”. Edward Hanson
remembered that, “I was taking a shower and reached
for the bar of soap and it moved. It just floated
across the room”. One couple heard footsteps in their
room and several heard knocks and raps late at

Does the ghost of Peppy still walk the halls of Santa
Maria Inn waiting for the limousine to take her on to
Hearst castle? Or did the phantom car arrive, at long
last, to transport the weary soul to a heavenly Hearst
castle, where all is as it should be and WR still
holds court over his estate in the clouds?


Last Edited by on Mar 09, 2012 5:01 PM
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