Saturday, September 9, 2023
A Haunting in Sacramento?
For decades, many have considered the big house at 2131 H Street haunted. Built in 1907 by physician Aden C. Hart, it's certainly imposing. Moreover, the rusticated masonry bricks on the bottom, fish scale shingles on the top, and expertly carved lion's heads located on the lower and upper facade, give the Hart house a unique if not foreboding and sinister look. But is it really haunted? No quick answers. Some contend that it definitely is; others, not so much. Either way, the Harts (Aden and Alice, and for a while son Lloyd), despite a glut of garish mistruths that live all over the Internet that would indicate otherwise, enjoyed a long and fruitful time as residents. While we know that Hart was just a regular person living a regular life in Sacramento, proving that the house is or isn't haunted is another thing. Is the concept of haunting even a possibility? What actually makes something haunted? Maybe not an answer to these questions, but enter the Martinez family who moved into the Hart House in 1973. According to Dannis William Hauck's Sacramento's Haunted Hot Spots: A Survey of Sacramento Area Haunted Locations, the Martinez family certainly experienced some edgy moments:
...The trouble seems to have started three weeks after Mrs. Lillian Martinez and her family moved into the remodeled house in 1973. Sounds of crashing glassware and noises for a struggle in the kitchen started late at night, but nothing was there. Then 15-year-old Angie began seeing a gray and white cat fade in and out of reality. Upstairs, a "panting presence" started following people around and later materializes as the ghost of an [Asian] man wearing a white coat. The ghost of a woman wearing a yellow flower-print dress was also seen by Lilly Monica, Tyrone, and Diana Martinez. Husband Julio reported the ghosts of two children hiding in doorways. Rumors of a family murder in the house have never been confirmed, but other tenants down through the years reported similar activity.
So where to go with such a report? According to the 1910 Census, the Harts had a servant of Japanese birth, 24-year-old Kikuo Hamamoto. Is that our panting specter in the white coat? Hard to know, can't prove it, but still compelling to the curiosity.
The Sacramento Public Library's Special Collections and Archives, Sacramento Room, recently acquired a series of 10 images capturing early life at the Hart residence, including Aden, Lloyd, and a young woman named Aldie. They are part of the Manwaring-Rigoli Collection (MC 123). For a larger version and relevant metadata, click on the image: