Most Haunted Places in America: Preston Castle
The 230 acres of land, which is known as Preston Castle, was bought in 1890 from the Ione Coal and Iron Company. Located in Ione, California the cost on this land was a mere $30 per acre and received 100 acres donated. The building’s cornerstone was set on December 23, 1890 and there were 2500 people there to witness it. The bricks were made at the San Quentin and Folsom prisons and were made with sandstone. The sandstone was quarried a mere six miles from the town of Ione.
The land was purchased to build the Preston School of Industry, which was a progressive action in the process of rehabilitating youth rather than imprisoning the juveniles, according to the State Legislature. The first wards were sent to the Preston School of Industry on June 13, 1894 although it was not officially opened until July 1 of that same year. Electricity by a water wheel powered dynamos were installed the next year to power the incandescent and arc lights. The school remained open until 1960 when the new facilities were complete.
Although there was not an abundance of violence in the Preston Castle, there was one reported murder in 1957. The victim was the housekeeper of the castle Anna Corbin. She was found in a small closet off one of the kitchens bludgeoned to death. There was never a conviction of this crime, although there was a suspicion of one of the inmates, despite multiple trials. They say that Anna Corbin’s ghost remains at the castle.
There was also a fatal escape attempt by 20 year old Samuel Goins. On his third attempt to escape Preston Castle, Samuel Goins was shot in the back by a guard. He is buried in a cemetery close to Preston Castle. He is claimed to be seen still wondering the halls of the school.
There also is believed to be a ghost of a young boy, about the age of 11 or 12 that lingers at the castle. It is not believed that his death was any cause other than a medical condition, perhaps a gallstone or appendicitis. Not only did they house the juveniles at Preston Castle but also the staff and facility live on the grounds as well. It is these areas that are claimed to have a number of residual haunting.
There are 23 graves sites in a cemetery near Preston Castle. This is where Samual Goins is buried along with 16 other juveniles that most are believed died from disease. Visitors have claimed that they have been overcome with an intense feeling of depression and fear when around the graves along with cold spots.
The Preston School of Industry had remained vacant and in quite a bit of disrepair until September 10, 2001 when The Preston Castle Foundation received a fifty-year lease on the property. The Preston Castle has since been named a State Historical Landmark in California and has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Preston Castle is available for public, private and group tours and as well as overnight stays.