Perpetually shrouded by fog and mist, it’s not surprising why San Francisco is home to urban legends that have caught the attention of many travelers. For those looking to add a bit of excitement in their frequent travels, here are some interesting stories that originated from the Bay which may peak any adventurer’s curiosity. 

The Lady at Stow Lake 

While Stow Lake makes for the perfect set-up of a romantic date or proposal, the manmade lake also lures those who are interested in some of its darker secrets. Legend has it that a woman’s spirit frequents the shore at night in search of redemption. Origin stories of how this ghost came to be vary, but all point to a young woman who lost her child and somehow found herself wandering into the water, never to rise from it again – that is until night time. It is also said that the Pioneer Woman and Children statue that are also located in the park move their heads whenever the ghost is nearby to warn visitors. 

 

Chinatown’s Secret Tunnels 

Another popular myth from San Francisco is one that involves gangsters, illegal actions and hidden treasures. The story goes like this: back in the 19th century, when the Chinese first migrated to the city, drug lords and gang members were prolific. In an effort to evade the police, they supposedly built hidden tunnels under the city where they would stash money, drugs and even prostitutes.  Today, tour guides still claim that these tunnels exist but no one will dare take you there. 

The Sutro Baths 

Once known as the world’s largest indoor swimming complex, this former architectural marvel is now a site of ruin and a favorite source for urban legends. Built in the late 1800s, the Sutro Baths was set to be a remarkable vacation destination fit to serve the needs of any discerning customer. It was large enough to accommodate 10,000 people; was built with seven pools and a grand concert hall that had a 6,000 seating capacity. But unfortunate circumstances plagued the complex, and some started to think it was cursed. Eventually, a fire sealed its fate in the 1960s and with no one to look after it, the Suthro Baths eventually closed. Today, only ruins of the once grand complex remain. Its only loyal customers are psychic mediums and ghost detectives who hope to experience hauntings of their own. But its mystique is not lost on travelers who love a good scare. In fact, you can even purchase a guided tour of the mysterious Suthro Baths.  

Pinecrest Diner 

Looking for the best breakfast in San Francisco? Then you may want to try out Pinecrest Diner but if you’re hoping to order some poached eggs, better look elsewhere. An integral part of San Francisco folklore, this restaurant was made famous due to an unfortunate incident that involved a pretty lady, a disgruntled employee and what else? Cold blooded murder. It’s said that a beautiful customer went inside the all-night diner and ordered poach eggs. The waiter, Zayed, hoping to impress her, made the order even when it was not on the menu. His colleague, Helen, intervened which led to his embarrassment. The next day he went to work and shot his fellow employee five times at point-blank range, leading to her death half an hour later. The story shook the city of Chicago and many mourned for her passing and today, nearly two decades after the incident, the diner still refuses to serve poached eggs.

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