Urban legends and ghost stories from San Jose, CA

Explore the ghoulish stories that San Joseans have shared for decades.


It’s always spooky season at the Winchester Mystery House.

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Here are some scary stories to tell in the dark...

Whether you believe in urban legends or not, there is no doubt that San Jose has some well-circulated stories that can send a chill down your spine.

So, we’re going to explore some of these local, well-known or lesser-known ghostly tales.

The Quimby Road Jogger

This post from History San Jose’s Facebook page suggests that there’s a ghostly jogger who can be seen on Quimby Road in East San Jose at midnight — which several residents have affirmed + the “San Hauntse” podcast investigated.

Though this spectre might startle those who travel up the hill, stories say he only stops + stares, before continuing his jog and then disappearing.

A Google Maps screenshot of Marsh Road.

Care to travel along this road?

Screenshot via Google Maps

Marsh Road

For years, locals have reported paranormal activity on Marsh Road above Milpitas— claiming that they’ve seen a ghostly girl + heard unaccounted-for screams.

But is it true? It might be.

In 1981, a 14-year-old Milpitas student named Marcy Renee Conrad was murdered and left on the side of Marsh Road by her 16-year-old boyfriend.

The story made national headlines — both for its gruesomeness, as well as the insensitivity from local teenagers. A 1986 film, “River’s Edge,” starring Keanu Reeves + Crispin Glover was loosely-based off of this true story.

The road has been long closed to cars, but that hasn’t stopped curious ghost-chasers from exploring the area.

A nighttime shot of the swings at Great America.

It’s all fun and games until...

Great America

Although California’s Great America traded its Halloween Haunt for the more family-friendly Tricks and Treats festival, there is no shortage of rumored hauntings at the amusement park. 👻

The first reports of paranormal activity came after a 13-year-old boy was killed in a collision at the Willard’s Whizzer roller coaster in 1980. Since then, there have been reports from graveyard shift employees of hearing footsteps on a bridge where the ride once sat. 👣

Employees have also reported “cold spots,” unaccounted-for laughing, flickering of carnival lights, and more.

More recently, in an episode of the paranormal podcast, Spooked, a former Great America employee described seeing the ghost of a man who died in rollercoaster collision while watching the security footage of the accident. Eerie… but not enough for us to stop going to the park, right? 👀

A Google Maps screenshot of the intersection of Mt. Umunhum Rd. + Hicks Rd.

Hicks Road’s urban legend stays a mystery for many.

Screenshot via Google Maps

Hicks Road

Now for one of the most infamous roads in San Jose…

Winding through Almaden Quicksilver Mines is Hicks Road, a locally known road that is rumored to be inhabited by satanic cults, cannibals, or blood-sucking beingsbut no evidence has been found to support these theories.

In August 2021, local podcast San Hauntse explored the urban legend’s 1970s origins + personal accounts from locals. The hosts even sat down with Julian P. Flores, the director of the 2009 film “Hicks Road,” and author of “Hicks Road: Jacob’s Story.”

An outdoor cemetery with white picket fences around gravesites.

Bert Barrett rests in San Jose’s Hacienda Cemetery — well, some of him.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Bert Barret’s left arm

Did you know — there’s a grave at Hacienda Cemetery that contains just one arm?

In 1898, a 13-year-old local named Richard Bertram Barrett lost his left arm in a hunting accident. Due to laws at the time, his family buried the limb at the Hacienda Cemetery — located at 21440 Bertram Rd. (later named after Richard).

He lived a successful life following the incident + even served as the Chief of Sanitation for the Santa Clara County Health Department. He died in 1959 at the age of 74, and was buried 11 miles away from his left arm at the Oak Hill Memorial Park.

Legend has it that on Halloween night, his left arm comes alive to try and find the rest of its body at the other cemetery. So if you see a traveling limb… now you know.

Do you believe in these legends? Know any others we should feature? Let us know.

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