[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
55°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 25
1891 - President Benjamin Harrison stops at Saugus Depot, dines at Tolfree's Saugus Eating House [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Nov 18, 2012

Darryl Manzer

In the book, “Crying Hill,” by local author Jayne Saporito, there is a description of a scream so loud on a hill in Towsley Canyon that the sheriff is called.

That event really happened. Jayne describes it as a scream a child would make in pain and agony.

Jayne Saporito heard that scream for real, and it compelled her to write the book. Great book. Nice read about our valley. That scream also caused her to call the LASD, and a couple of deputies investigated and found nothing – but they did hear the scream, too.

So, does some tortured spirit haunt Towsley Canyon? Or was it the scream of a young mountain lion or maybe a bobcat? I would guess the latter.

You see, until recently, there were no stories or myths about Towsley and Pico canyons being haunted. Mentryville might be called a “ghost town,” but having lived there, and in talking to other former residents, nobody has ever talked of ghosts … or spirits … or goblins … or …

It’s like the myth that the Hart High auditorium is haunted. People have heard footsteps in an empty theater. Well, we pulled some pranks about that in the 1960s. If you were really quiet, you could hear the wind blowing the ventilation louvers on the roof open and shut. Sounded like footsteps.

So we would tell some poor, unsuspecting underclassman about the ghosts, and you could hear them …

Hey. We had believed it as we ran from the place the first time, but we soon heard the laughter. The “Haunted Hart Auditorium” myth had claimed some more victims – and we passed it on.

The Big House, aka Pico Cottage, looked rather creepy in 1961 after the chimney fell off and the trees were chopped down. But rumors of a ghostly presence are overblown. Click image for more info.

In 1962, local historian A.B. Perkins wrote an article in The Signal about the “Pico Ghost Camp.” Around the same time, Mr. Perkins and the L.A. Times ran articles about the “Pico Ghost Town.” I helped on one of those. The reporter from the Times asked me if there was a graveyard in Pico Canyon. I said, “No, but there is a carved monument on top of Mustard Hill that looks like a gravestone.” That reporter went on to write about how I told him about the graveyard.

Alas, my friends, there is no graveyard. No ghosts that I have seen or heard about. No spirits in either Towsley or Pico canyons. Nothing in Pico Cottage (aka the Big House), the barn, garage, or Felton School. Never heard of any. Nope. No way.

Pico Cottage has been in a number of bad flicks that were supposed to scare you. Maybe that is where the myth started. Who knows?

Wouldn’t it be great if a few spirits did live there? Hey, Magic Mountain! Fright Fest was good, but come on over and see the real thing.

I’ve been thinking about what “non-paranormal” role the old place could fill, and how the resulting revenue would help preserve the buildings for future generations. Just to think of a few, this is my list so far:

* Conference center for small groups in the Pico Cottage – city councils, business groups, clubs and organizations.

* Use Felton School as a classroom for a part of the California history requirements for third grade.

* A real barn dance in a real barn? Maybe a concert sponsored by Bobbi Jean at OutWest in Old Town Newhall.

* Catered and sponsored picnics at Johnson Park for the same types of groups that are using the Pico Cottage.

* Of course, continue filming on the property.

Sure, these types of events would require some major changes to the structures and the grounds for safety and such. Better electrical systems in the house.  Air conditioning and heating. Fire sprinklers in all the buildings. Reactivate the kitchen and bathrooms. Replace the washroom/toilet on the back porch. These improvements could pay for themselves in short order.

There is already a place in Towsley Canyon that the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy operates for weddings and similar shindigs. It is called Towsley Lodge and is being used for all kinds of events. Maybe the same could happen in Mentryville.

There have been weddings in the house in Pico. How about a school teacher getting hitched in the old Felton School?  Reception in the house afterward, or maybe a wagon ride up to Johnson Park for an outdoor reception and dinner?

It can all be done. I bet we can find the money to do it. It will be a lot easier to find funding for all that than it will be to find some ghosts in either canyon.

In 1982, I got stuck at sea on a submarine doing some testing. We waited 21 days for a small test boat to come out of San Francisco to conduct testing of the submarine sonar systems at sea. I thought it would be a good idea to have a boat or small ship we operated at Mare Island Naval Shipyard that was a lot more sea-worthy for that testing.  I wrote a proposal and it was approved.

So we found the ship of 1944 vintage. We found systems and equipment to do the testing. We found the crew. We were given a budget to get the ship ready and came in far under what we were allotted. We went to sea and did the testing without delay due to weather.  It paid for itself in saving submarine operating time the first time we deployed it.

Now, I’m not saying the returns on using the facilities in Mentryville will pay for those necessary improvements on the first rental. But I know that using those buildings for more than movie sets would bring in far more revenue.

Right now they are earning nothing, most of the time – because ghosts don’t pay rent.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
College of the Canyons hit three home runs to power past Victor Valley College 10-2 on Tuesday, keeping the Cougars' conference championship hopes alive.
Cougars Power Past Victor Valley 10-2
College of the Canyons finished its conference schedule a perfect 16-0 by beating Barstow College 6-2 after 'Sophomore Day' ceremonies at Whitten Field.
Canyons Clinches Division Championship With 6-2 Win Over Barstow
College of the Canyons' men's golf team had all five players finish in the top-five of the individual standings on the way to a 35-stroke team victory at Western State Conference No. 10 on Monday at San Dimas Golf Course.
COC Men’s Golf Team Crushes Competition at WSC No. 10
The College of the Canyons Cougars closed out their three-game series with conference leader Glendale College, downing the Vaqueros 5-2 on Saturday to finish the weekend one game back with three to go.
Canyons Takes Series With 5-2 Win Over Glendale
The SCV Senior Center's Scholar Series will present a historical reenactment of American educator, author and journalist Laura Ingalls Wilder performed by Louise Willard of the American Association of University Women on Friday, April 27, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
April 27: Senior Center to Present Historical Reenactment of ‘Little House’ Author
In a unanimous 4-0 vote Tuesday night, the Santa Clarita City Council appointed former Logix Federal Credit Union Chief Operating Officer and Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation board member Philip M. Hart to fill a position on the city's five-member Planning Commission.
City Council Appoints Phil Hart to Planning Commission
California State University, Northridge gender and women’s studies students and queer studies students will present their capstone research projects about the cultural aspects of sexuality and gender to students, faculty, staff and members of the community on Tuesday, May 1, and Wednesday, May 2, at the university.
May 1-2: CSUN 5th Annual ‘Sex in the Library’ Event
The California Senate Committee on Public Safety voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve Senate Bill 1024, the Animal Cruelty and Violence Intervention Act of 2018, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, as a way to address the undeniable link between animal abuse and violence towards humans.
Wilk Animal Cruelty Intervention Act OK’d by Committee
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation hosted a recognition and appreciation dinner on April 19 for the dedicated men and women who volunteer with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
SCV Sheriff’s Foundation Honors Local Volunteers
Brandon Gold didn’t allow a run over seven innings, and the JetHawks hit two home runs to support him in a 9-3 win over the Visalia Rawhide on Tuesday night at Recreation Park.
Solid Gold Gets Third Win with Help from Bats
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) introduced H.R. 5610, the bipartisan Better Energy Storage Technology Act, on Wednesday, seeking to establish innovation goals to develop large-scale commercially viable energy storage technology.
Knight Introduces Bill to Boost Energy Storage Development
Cannabis management officials from LA County and the city of LA offer advice to people seeking employment as retail cannabis budtenders.
Cannabis Officials Offer Job Tips for Aspiring Budtenders
An Arleta man and his sister are happy to be alive after another driver shot at their vehicle eight times on Highway 14 near Crown Valley Road in the Acton area Tuesday night.
Assailant Shoots at Arleta Man, Woman on Highway 14
Senate Bill 1409, which would update current law to streamline the production of industrial hemp in California, has been passed by the Senate Committee on Public Safety.
Wilk Industrial Hemp Bill Unanimously Passes Senate Committee
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia has formed a new clinically integrated network — the Henry Mayo Care Network, LLC.
Henry Mayo Launches New Clinically Integrated Network
1891 - President Benjamin Harrison stops at Saugus Depot, dines at Tolfree's Saugus Eating House [story]
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's Engineering Committee will be holding a meeting, Thursday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m.
May 3: SCV Water’s Engineering Committee Meeting
Building on the success and excitement surrounding LA’s first-ever Arts Datathon in 2017, the LA County Arts Commission (LACAC) presents Arts Datathon: Collections, which aims to explore collections data as a way to increase access to the arts.
April 27: LA County Arts Datathon Collections
The 24 members of the West Ranch High School percussion Ensemble will forever be known as world champions as they took home the top prize at the Winter Guard International (WGI) World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.
West Ranch Percussion Ensemble Returns Home as World Champions
Launched Jan. 1, 2018, California’s newest water agency, SCV Water, is already making progress on commitments of enhanced efficiencies and financial savings.
May 15: VIA Luncheon to Highlight SCV Water Agency
The fourth annual Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Future Jazz Master Scholarship was awarded to trumpeter and CalArtian Sara Sithi-Amnuai (Music MFA 19).
CalArts Student Awarded Jazz Master Scholarship
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN Baseball (17-22) opens up a road-heavy stretch over the last five weeks of the regular season on Tuesday evening. For the second time this month, the Matadors will head to Fresno State to start a seven-game road trip. A video stream will be available on the Mountain West Network at 6:05 p.m.
Matadors to Start 7-Game Road Trip
Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show, Colors of Spring, will open on May 4, with a free reception, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The exhibit will run until June 24, 2018.
May 4: Opening of Santa Clarita Artists Association’s ‘Colors of Spring’
SUN VALLEY - Mission Valley Bancorp (OTCQX: MVLY) President & CEO Tamara Gurney announces year to date net income of $1,384,000 for the period ended March 31, 2018 – the strongest first quarter in the history of the company.
Mission Valley Bancorp Records Best-Ever 1st Quarter
Flair Cleaners, Southern California’s leading eco-friendly dry cleaners, will host the third annual Flair Cares Spring Food Drive, May 1 – May 31.
May 1-31: Flair Cleaners Annual Spring Food Drive
West Coast auto racing enthusiasts, “Fast & Furious” fans and family and friends of the late actor Paul Walker are gearing up for the inaugural In Memory of Paul Car Hangout, set for College of the Canyons in Valencia on Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
May 20:  In Memory of Paul Walker Inaugural Car Hangout
The Placerita Canyon Nature Center will be holding its annual Open House, Saturday, May 12, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
May 12: Placerita Canyon Nature Center Open House
BAKERSFIELD - College of the Canyons had a strong first-day showing at the Western State Conference (WSC) Swim & Dive Championships, with two of the men's relay teams performing strong enough to perhaps earn a trip to next month's state championship meet.
Cougars Head to Bakersfield after Strong WSC Showing
Santa Clarita Valley International, a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host its annual “Expresstival” event, a celebration of student creativity, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 27 at the school’s campus at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.
April 27: Annual SCVi Charter’s ‘Expresstival’
Here is the Community Newhall (Zone 6) Crime Information & Public Safety Report for April 9 - 15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Vehicle Burglary in Newhall
This year’s Coachella Valley Music Festival started out on a sour note for 135 concertgoers who received misdemeanor citations for fraudulently using disabled person parking placards.
DMV Issues More than 150 Disabled Parking Citations at Coachella
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]
Applications are now open for the summer 2018 LA County Arts Internship Program, which will provide 179 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience at more than 100 arts organizations across LA County this summer.
County Expands Summer Arts Internships for College Students
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has identified the man killed in a solo crash on Sierra Highway between Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce early Sunday morning as Brandon Scott Isaman, 31, of Palmdale.
Coroner ID’s Palmdale Man Killed in Solo Crash
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Pine Mountain man on weapons and drug charges Thursday, an out-of-town resident for alleged possession of methamphetamine and a zip gun Friday night, and two locals for alleged possession of heroin for sale on Saturday morning.
SCV Crime Beat: Arrests for Heroin, Meth, Homemade Gun
With summer just around the corner, the city of Santa Clarita will hold a summer swim lesson assessment at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway, on Thursday, April 26, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
April 26, May 5: City to Hold Summer Swim Lesson Assessments