Ngọc Lan & Đằng-Giao/Người Việt
Translation: Titi Mary Tran
Editor’s note: Nguoi Viet News reporters Ngoc Lan and Đằng Giao set out to answer the questions regarding the property, and the house, at the corner of Euclid Street and Hazard Avenue in Santa Ana, Calif. Is it really haunted? What are the creepy apparitions? This Halloween season, they tell their story over six days. Today: Part 1.
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Many people believe that souls and miracles exist. But not everyone believes in ghosts.
Since the beginning of time, ghost stories have consumed humanity via endless ink and paper. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, bravery or cowardice in the belief of the mysterious world on the other side.
Because of that, the decision to report on the famous “haunted house” in Little Saigon was made by our staff, originating from the curiosity and the desire to find an answer that many people, including us, want to know.
The “crazy” idea of Nguoi Viet reporter Ngoc Lan: Sleep over at the haunted house.
Just by those two words, almost everyone who lives in Little Saigon and is interested in the house will drive by it. Perhaps you’ve heard many stories about other “haunted houses” in the area, but all of them are secondary to the most infamous one, located at Euclid Street and Hazard Avenue in Santa Ana, just outside the Garden Grove boundaries.
When the house was being built, a worker was rumored to have died on the site. The house supposedly has been lived in — and abandoned — several times. There are rumors of a curse on the house after another death there.
And ghosts, of course.
We were spooked just hearing those stories, so every time we drove past the house, we looked at it with timidly guarded eyes, and sometimes we were surprised when we saw cars outside or people inside.
This past July, a family member told us: “The haunted house at Euclid is for sale again. The house is so big, but the price is only about $500,000.”
Since no one was living there, we asked the seller to let a group of us go inside to work on a story.
Đằng’s memory of the street corner
It’s only a few minutes from the Nguoi Viet newsroom to the corner of Euclid and Hazard, but numerous stories about the haunted house raced into my mind on Tuesday, July 24, the day we traveled to the location.
In 1985, when I had been in the United States only a year or two, I remember this corner as empty land. Farther back on the lot was a wood house painted white on the outside. There were many old cars on this big piece of property. Sometimes, one of them displayed a “for sale” sign. The people there played loud music, drank a lot of beer and lived very noisily.
But only a few months later, there were no people or cars. The land had become an empty, quiet grass field.
Not long after that, new owners came, and the property became noisy again as mariachi music permeated the whole corner. The new group looked like sumo athletes, each having tattoos of dragons and snakes on their suntanned arms.
Just a short time later, I came across this area and no longer heard the mariachi music. It was only the sound of torn, plastic covers flying in a voided space.
The first time I heard a rumor about this piece of land was from a woman who sold fish cakes on the streets. She said, “That house is full of ghosts.”
Curious, I asked a man who used to rent martial-arts novels at Que Me’s bookstore on First Street. He told me, “I don’t know, I only saw [one day] a group of people gathered in the middle of the land, whispering to each other. The house was lit up, but no one was in there. And it was just 11 p.m.”
I still remember what he said: “The ghost in that house is a woman with long hair. Very playful.”
A friend named Đạt repeated a story he’d heard: “Years ago, about 2 or 3 a.m., a woman was hit while crossing Hazard Avenue. She crawled to that house, knocked on the door — perhaps to ask for help and to call for emergency help — but no one answered. Before she died, she cursed the house and this piece of land. Only later did people know she was pregnant.”
According to Đạt, not long after that, the owners moved out in a hurry and didn’t even take the time to take their belongings with them.
I also heard from many people that, every year when it’s the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, they see a woman with long hair carrying a newborn baby crying loudly in resentment around the Euclid-Hazard corner.
The curiosity of these frightful rumors, along with my fondness for ghost stories, inspired me to visit this area — during the day, of course — to ask for more information. And the scariest story I heard was from the owner of a nearby liquor store.
Before he told me the tale, he let me watch a video from the store’s security camera.
The video clip showed a shocked man running into the store and falling down after he took a few steps. He was crawling and dragging his body to the inside of the store. There was no sound on the clip, but in the video you could see him yelling something. His face, though blurry, had a horrified look. And as if he had passed out, he lay on the floor and couldn’t move.
I suddenly felt cold, had goosebumps all over my body and experienced difficulty breathing.
The owner said, “It was about 8 p.m., and I went to the front of the store to get some air and to smoke. The street was empty. I saw a woman wearing a long skirt from the middle of the street, and she walked toward me. Without a word, she bared her white teeth and pulled up her skirt, then suddenly sat down. Then her body splashed blood all over my face. I felt soaked with a burning fluid. I screeched and ran into my store. I have never been so scared in my life.”
Re-watching the video, the store owner’s terror was obvious.
“From that day on, I would never park the car in front. I parked right next to the back door for convenience,” he said. “I was always afraid that woman would come to the store. I prayed and bought a Virgin Mary statue blessed by the church and placed it next to me, hoping to give me courage.”
Another person who told me about spookiness related to the haunted house was a man identified just as Mr. Rodriguez, a grass cutter. Before he told his tale, he made a cross and swore the story was 100 percent truthful.
Mr. Rodriguez said, “That day, around 8 or 9 p.m., I drove a Ford Pinto on Hazard, going east.
Suddenly, the engine stopped. I stepped out and was about to open the hood to see what was going on. Then I heard a slam. I turned around and the car was locked. I couldn’t open the doors because the car was locked from the inside. Looking in, the key was still in the ignition. My body was eerily cold. At that moment I saw I was in front of that famous house.”
According to Mr. Rodriguez, the next morning, he and a friend who knows how to open locked car doors came back and saw the car was not locked.
“My friend laughed at me, but it really was locked last night,” Mr. Rodriguez said, pumping his fists and stomping his feet.
Next: Part 2