Secret Filipina cults from Stockton in the early 1900s, the mysterious drowning of a beloved schoolteacher, a mysterious ghost aboard a vessel at the San Joaquin Yacht Club, a stabbing victim off the Byron Bethany Highway, tales based in fact and colored with fiction, and those stranger-than-fiction that can’t be explained. The San Joaquin Delta, stretching from San Joaquin to Contra Costa holds many secrets in its depths, both emerging from the deep waters and lurking in the shadows of nearby towns. To collect them all, local writers contributed to the anthology Ghost Stories From the San Joaquin Delta, a spooky series of stories that thrill with historic tragedies, fictionalized events, and real ghost stories, all with the Delta as their background.
The Legend of Jimmie Torres and the “Dead Man’s Hand”
Once named Bacigalupe’s Bar in the early 1880s, Jim Torres bought the infamous saloon in Brentwood in 1888 and renamed it Torres’ Saloon & Ice House. What he didn’t know when he purchased the town relic was that it was within those walls he would be murdered while playing a hand of cards amongst friends. The perpetrator got away, rumored to have caught a train out of town before he could be apprehended. Jimmie’s hand at the time of his death was two black aces and two black eights, which has since become known as “Dead Man’s Hand” after Torres and a man named James Butler were both shot with the cards in their hands. Tales of Jimmie’s ghost linger, told by employees of the bar he once owned.
The Ghost of Mae L’Heureux Haunts Brentwood
It’s still unclear whether Mae L’Heureux, Jimmie’s sister, committed suicide or was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time when a train struck her in Brentwood. Known around town as a resident of the swanky Hotel Brentwood, her ghost has been spotted by locals haunting the railroad at the end of Oak Street where she died, and ghostbusters claim to have found Mae’s ectoplasm at the original Hotel Brentwood location, which has since been turned into a Chevron.
The Unsolved Murder of Becky Lindquidst
The jury is still out on who slayed Becky Lindquidst, a marina owner in Knightsen. Details make her husband—who showed up to a friend’s covered in Becky’s blood and gun residue on his fingers—look guilty, but arrests have yet to be made.
Ghost Stories From the San Joaquin Delta
Available on Amazon