by Richard Senate
The historic Olivas Adobe is now a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Latino pioneers who first established Ventura in the 19th Century. The two-story hacienda was the main house of the Rancho San Miguel, one of the richest in Ventura County. The old adobe home is also one of the most haunted around with stories of ghost ladies, phantom children and a wandering monk.
One tale is found in the pages of my newest book, Ghost Dogs of California; haunting hounds of the Golden West. If the stories are true, a large ghost dog haunts the old house. Years back a ghost hunting team staked out the house seeking evidence of paranormal activity. On member of the team went to the parking lot to retrieve some equipment and passed close to the white picket fence. He heard a heavy chain drag on the wooded porch, then a loud, deep bark, so unexpected he believed that a snarling hound would attack him. But when he looked there was nothing there. Later that night a large black dog was seen in the old dining room of the house! Others have seen and heard the large dog that proves to be a phantom!
Yes, by all accounts dog can be ghosts. Years later in an attempt to communicate with the ghosts of the house, contact was made with the oldest son, Nicholas, who said it was his dog, named “zapateos” (shoes) because it had distinctive white forepaws. The animal was his pet. Maybe that’s why it still haunts the old house. Records say that they always had many dogs here so such a story could well be true. If you visit the Old Adobe on Olivas Park Drive, look for the ghost lady and maybe the phantom hound.