What evil lurks in the SCV Historical Society’s Newhall Ranch House?
For years, believers have talked about a mysterious “blue lady” named Martha and maybe an 8-year-old boy named Timothy in an upstairs corner of the 150-year-old ranch house in the Heritage Junction section of William S. Hart Park. Nothing sinister there.
But in Saturday night’s debut airing of “Heritage Junction” – the latest episode of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” series – paranormal investigators Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin are spooked by a “dominant male spirit” that they link to a possible murder.
This is, after all, TV.
Cast and crew of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” show at Heritage Junction in Newhall. Photo courtesy of Ed Marg.
If you missed the debut, you can catch what they’re calling an “enhanced episode” Saturday, March 29, at 5 p.m. on the Travel Channel.
Front and center in the episode is the real-life Historical Society board member Ed Marg, who stages the “Heritage Haunt” every October at the historic park. Marg thinks it’s all good fun, so the TV ghost hunters quickly tag him as the “NASA skeptic.” (Marg is an engineer who specializes in fiber optics and has worked on numerous aerospace projects over the past 27 years, including a few space shuttle programs.)
Go figure. The guy who runs the annual Halloween haunted house is the skeptic.
Helping Marg with the setup of the show were two members of his SCV Ghost Hunt Group, Bridget Odien and Linda Casebolt, who organize paranormal investigations at the park.
Newhall Ranch House
The episode opens with volunteer groundskeeper Glenn Terry telling the cast he’s just seen something upstairs in the Newhall Ranch House. The crew sets up sound and video equipment downstairs, and the cast decides to stake out the place overnight.
After stopping to pay homage at actor Paul Walker’s crash scene in Valencia (like we said, this is TV), Bagans and his pals arrive to find – what they were looking for, of course.
Ed Marg (left) with younger brother Travis Marg at this weekend’s air show in Lancaster.
Or more precisely, what they were listening for. They don’t see a ghost, but they hear what they describe as voices and shuffling around the old floorboards.
Pretty strange that a house built in the 1860s and expanded to its current form in the 1890s would make creaking noises in the night, don’t you think?
The ghost hunters engage the services of a pair of psychics, Michael and Marti Parry, who visit old homes and describe their other-worldly inhabitants. Marti sketches a picture of a man who doesn’t look like any known figure from the past.
But we don’t know what Stanley Routledge looked like.
Sketch of the “ghost” occupying the Newhall Ranch House, by Marti Parry.
Turns out, there actually was a mysterious death in the house.
It happened back in 1916 when the Ranch House was located to the north of present-day Six Flags Magic Mountain.
The building was the headquarters of The Newhall Land and Farming Co., and Stanley Routledge was the ranch manager.
Thanks to local historian Pat Saletore, we know (and the TV folks knew ahead of time) that Routledge’s wife, Margaret, died inside the house from a rifle shot to the left breast.
According to a newspaper report of the day, “After a close investigation, Coroner Hartwell was unable to lift the veil of mystery surrounding the woman’s death, and it is not known whether she ended her own life, was accidentally shot, or was the victim of an assassin.”
Her husband was reportedly the last to see her alive, eating breakfast in bed. A servant later discovered her body.
Margaret Routledge’s grave marker. She’s buried in Jolon, Monterey County, where her relatives lived.
“The absence of a note or other message, and the fact that the woman led a beautiful Christian life, placid and without worry, was in good health and not despondent, would indicate that her death was not self-sought,” the 1916 news report states. “She never handled a rifle and did not know how to use it. There were servants near by, but they knew nothing of the tragedy until the body was found.”
Perhaps the bigger mystery is how one shoots herself in the chest with a rifle.
The TV ghost hunters conclude something sinister still inhabits the home because they report feeling something or someone trying to block their ascent up the stairs where they believe the woman was shot in her bed.
If all this isn’t too much for you, you can check out Heritage Junction yourself on weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There’s no promise you’ll see or hear a ghost, but if you think you do, be sure to run it by the newly anointed “NASA skeptic.”
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