La Casa de Estudillo

Restored in 1910 this adobe home was built in 1827 for the commander of the Presidio, Captain Josť Maria Estudillo.

Helen Hunt Jackson's classic 1884 romantic novel "Ramona" was set in this location, sometimes known as Ramona's Marriage Place. Father Antonio Ubach was a priest living there at the time. He lives on as one of the characters of the book, and as one of the ghosts of La Casa.

La Casa de Estudillo San Diego Old Town
La Casa de Estudillo courtyard

The house is made of dried mud adobe bricks and encloses three sides of a peaceful central courtyard which belies the unexplained phenomena occurring in surrounding rooms.


La Casa de Estudillo chapel

In the dark  chapel a chill has been felt as a ghostly figure covered in a brown robe is seen gliding through the doorway into the priest's bedroom. Pages of a book turn by them selves, and the faint sound of prayers can be heard.

 doors open by themselves

Thick wooden doors have been seen and heard to slam shut by unseen hands.


bedroom rocking chair

An unhappy young girl in Victorian dress has been seen many times in this bedroom, gently rocking in this chair.

someone behind the sofa?

The misty upper torso of a male figure is sometimes seen floating behind the sofa or seated in the chair in this bedroom.


flashes of yellow light in the dining room

In the dining room a man dressed as a vaquero has been seen. Flashes of a mysterious yellow light have bee reported here and in other rooms.

image of someone in the mirror

A man in an old fashioned white shirt can sometimes be seen against the back wall of this bedroom. The translucent face of a young man has been reported in the mirror.


cold spots in the shadows

Cold spots abound in the house, giving visitors the strange feeling of not being alone.  Shadows flowing on the walls appear then vanish.


"I have seen for myself a very solid looking lady in a gray dress running in broad daylight across the patio in La Casa de Estudillo, (right through the fountain), the little rocking chair rocking and I've even had an encounter with what I believe was poltergeist which even pounded on the piano in the Sala. "

"There is so much activity going on in that house.  It has been somewhat documented by a cable television program called Ghost Hunters, who filmed for several hours in the house last year and actually caught some of the "residents" on film.  They were so clear that the translucent figures and faces were actually identifiable by those staff members present when the cameras used were being connected one after the other to a laptop that the cameramen had brought with them.  Our staff members are very familiar with the faces of the historic residents of Old Town because of archival photos which we constantly use in our jobs. They say that there are at least nine spirits in the house but I myself 'feel' that there are many, many more."

Kathryn Encinas, Park Aide


legless man

The figure of a man with no legs has been seen looking out the window. Windows sometimes have opened and closed by themselves.


Return to the San Diego Ghosts page
Find local Ghost Tours
Find nearby Old Town Hotels
Go to Old Town San Diego Home Page
Return to GoThere homepage