Posted on November 16, 2019
San Francisco is a fun city to visit. There are many unique neighborhoods within the city. This gives you an excellent chance to experience different cultures, restaurants and cultural activities. There is truly something for everyone in San Francisco, even those who enjoy ghost hunting.
There are several places in San Francisco that are reported to be haunted. That is o surprise as the city is old and has a long history. In this article, we will focus on particular section known as Lombard Street. Not only does this street have a unique history, but the house at 1000 Lombard Street is positively spooky.
Description Of Lombard Street
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California. It is famous for its steep, one-block section that has eight hairpin turns. Lombard Street runs from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero, with a short gap on Telegraph Hill. Most of the street’s western segment is a major thoroughfare designated as part of U.S. Route 101. The famous one-block section, is said to be the crookedest street in the world and is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighborhood. This street is a major tourist attraction that receives around two million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day on busy summer weekends.
Lombard Street’s History
Lombard Street’s west end is at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio. The street then heads east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood. For 12 blocks, between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue, it is an arterial road that is co-signed as U.S. Route 101. Lombard Street continues to wind through the Russian Hill neighborhood and on to the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. At Telegraph Hill it turns south, becoming Telegraph Hill Boulevard to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower. Lombard Street starts again at Winthrop Street and ends at The Embarcadero as a collector road.
Lombard Street is most known for the one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, where eight sharp turns are said to make it the most crooked street in the world. The design, which was first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922, was actually supposed to reduce the hill’s natural 27 percent grade, which was too steep for most cars. The crooked block is approximately 600 feet long, is a one-way street going downhill and is paved with red bricks. The sign at the top recommends 5 mph.
This part of Lombard Street normally sees around 250 vehicles per hour, with average daily traffic reaching 2630 vehicles in 2013.
During peak times, vehicles have to wait up to 20 minutes to enter the Crooked Street segment. In fact, there is often a line that can reach Van Ness Avenue. To help reduce congestion and delays, visitors may be required to reserve a time and pay a fee to drive down the crooked street.
The Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top of the block on Hyde Street.
By 2017, the area around this part of Lombard Street had become a hot-spot of what has been called “San Francisco’s car break-in epidemic.
The Academy of Art University owns and operates a building called Star Hall on the street for housing purposes.
There have also been famous residents on Lombard Street include Rowena Meeks Abdy, an early California painter who worked in the style of Impressionism. Lombard Street has also been featured in chase scenes in many films including Good Neighbor Sam, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, What’s Up, Doc? Magnum Force, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
1000 Lombard Street
Situated on the crookedest street in the world is a house with a very spooky past. In the mid 1960’s this house was home to Pat Montandon, who was known as the queen of the San Francisco elite. She threw the most extravagant parties at her house and even Esquire magazine voted her as one of the top hostesses in the nation. It’s not surprising that her first book was called How To Be A Party Girl. It was at one of her famous theme parties that Montandon was to meet destiny in the form of a vindictive tarot card reader. She was having a zodiac theme party and had invited a number of palmists, astrologers, crystal gazers, and card readers to entertain and mystify her guests. The trouble began when she forgot to bring the tarot card reader the drink that she had promised him. Montandon later wrote about the incident her book The Intruders:
“I’m sorry. I’ll get you one–” But he didn’t allow her to finish. He bolted to his feet with his curious retinue following suit, and explaining loudly that he’d never been so insulted in his life. Quivering with rage he directed a stream of abuse at me: He had never been treated so rudely… I was an insufferable, ungracious hostess…he was leaving, but not before he made certain I would never have any happy moments in that house again. He fixed me with a glare, his face puffed and distorted: “I lay a curse upon you and this house. I do not forget, and I do not forgive. Remember that!”
It was shortly after that curse was uttered by the tarot card reader that strange and terrifying occurrences began to happen. An unnatural chill seemed to overtake the house, even though the thermostat was permanently set to 90°. And with this chill there would still be spots of deathly cold that would cause Montandon’s dog to bark and growl as though there was somebody in the room. Montandon would find doors mysteriously locked from the inside of empty rooms. Blood curdling screams would echo through the empty house. Mysterious blood stains would often appear and grow on the ceilings.
The curse turned deadly on June 20th, 1969. Montandon’s close friend and secretary, Mary Louise Ward, was staying at the house while Montandon was promoting her book, How to be a Party Girl. Somehow, a mysterious fire broke out in the master bedroom. The fire department quickly arrived on the scene, but were slowed by front door which was locked from the inside and the master bedroom door. Once inside, they found the lifeless body of Mary Louise. Investigations were inconclusive as to the cause of the fire and the cause of death. Oddly enough, Mary Louise was not burned, nor had she been a victim of smoke inhalation. Her internal organs were undamaged, she did not suffocate, and there were no signs of injury. The most suspicious finding was that it was determined that she had actually died before the fire. Marie Louise would not be the last victim of the curse. Two of Montandon’s close friends would also commit suicide in the house before the year was up.
Montandon was now desperate to remove the curse from her home so she sent in psychics Gerri Patton and Nick Nocerino to perform an exorcism. Nocerino supposedly managed to snap some photos of the ghosts. Although they eventually cleaned the home of the curse, Montandon could not bear to live in the house that destroyed the lives of her closest friends and nearly her own.
Ever since then the house has been quiet except for tourists who constantly travel there to view the crookedest street in the world.
San Francisco is a great city with tons of things to see and do. If you are visiting the city, you have to go and see Lombard Street for yourself. And if you are really brave, stop in front of 1000 Lombard Street. Take a picture and then look at it to see if any ghosts have popped up in your photo. Due to the terrifying curse at 1000 Lombard Street, only the very brave dare to stand out front.