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Sixth Sense

Matt Harvey, president of OC Ghosts and Legends Paranormal Tours, is in touch with the supernatural side of Orange County.

Ralph Palumbo

Experience the Supernatural  
Call OC Ghosts and Legends Paranormal Tours
to set up a tour time, or visit the website for
more information on the company and on OC’s
haunted past.
949.702.2072 :: orangecountyeventsandtours.com

“Did you see that? There was something white moving in the trees,” says an alert Matt Harvey, president of and lead investigator and tour guide for OC Ghosts and Legends Paranormal Tours. Truthfully, I didn’t, but I’m not trained – nor inclined – to pick up on these kinds of things.

Harvey, on the other hand, is. He’s armed with a ghost detector and an EMF (electromagnetic field) meter, which picks up energy pockets that he says correspond to spirits in the area. The area in question – Black Star Canyon – is a remote region in the Santa Ana Mountains, where cell phone reception and access roads are absent, and where legends both urban and real are abundant. The Hidden Ranch Murder of rancher James M. Gregg in 1899 is arguably the first report of suspicious activity in the area, and the canyon’s eerie silence and strange wind patterns have only enhanced the stories of paranormal activity and reports of everything from ghosts to unexplained technology interferences to Bigfoot.

That’s why the second time that Harvey’s head bolted (ostensibly, as if detached) towards the same clump of trees as before, where he claimed to see something white, I squinted and tried to see it too. “It’s probably just a mountain biker,” he says, but I’m not so sure, especially after some of the evidence he presented earlier.

“This is a picture we took recently,” says Harvey, opening an image on his computer that shows a wooded area and a supernatural–looking mist hovering inches off the ground. “You can see two eyes, sunglasses and what looks like a goatee.” I squint again, he adjusts the screen, and there emerges an outline of a figure that looks like a ghost biker fresh off a Harley ride. I suggest that he was probably on his way to nearby Cook’s Corner.

This type of apparition is not uncommon, according to Harvey; it’s fairly routine to see areas where white mists converge – usually pockets of energy, which cause the EMF meters to register. These spirits, Harvey says, are neither good nor bad, but are simply there, feeding off of the canyon’s unique forces. “One time, something threw a rock at me. It just bounced in front of me and landed. Whatever it was wasn’t trying to hurt me, it was probably just trying to get my attention.”

In the 14 years since Harvey has been leading tours into Black Star Canyon, oftentimes with his wife, Amanda, accounts such as these have amounted to Harvey’s belief that Black Star is, in fact, an area of unique paranormal activity. “It can be a peaceful place,” says Harvey, “but there is definitely something up here that wants and needs attention. We don’t know what it wants, but we’re just here to observe it.”

And when you leave Black Star Canyon, take Harvey’s advice and leave the spirits behind. “I always recommend that people say, ‘If there is anyone with me, you can’t go home with me’ when they leave the canyon. It’s usually not necessary, but it’s a good precaution to take anyway.”

If you don’t run wild, your imagination definitely will.

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