Haunted Preston Castle Ione, California

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 Preston 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.


  • Denn[s

    iwent to the ione hotel for a halloween night in the late 70s for some ghost hunts Saw the preston blg. Now that was scarey!

  • kyle tucker

    i did time at preston back in the early ’80’s and the castle was an eery sight.one of the stories that i liked was that if you escaped they put a 10 dollar bounty on your head dead or alive.

  • brian

    You are full of shit. This place closed down in 1960. You could not have been there in the early 80’s. My grandfather worked there….

  • Ro

    Im goin to Preston in 2 weeks to survey and photo the area then back in November to be locked in overnight for my first PI …. Hoping to interview a few former inmates that are still alove going into investigation

  • Rob

    Just did a overnight investigation with our group of Preston Castle on 8/27/10 and it was great. Lots of personal experiences, not sure about evp’s, photo, or video evidence yet because we haven’t had a chance to review our tapes. The castle docents that gave us our tour were great. It was well worth the money for the night.


  • Josh

    A Group of friends and I stayed at the Castle last night 9-04-10 hoping to capture a great experience and after all that was said and done I still have a hard time believing in spirits, but the tour and history was very interesting…

  • Ghost Writer

    You know Josh, you would make a good investigator! I think a decent amount of skepticism is good to have. Makes you look harder for the truth and though you may throw out some evidence others would keep, when you are done, you will be left with stuff you truly can’t explain…that is the only thing you could ever ask for.

  • Paula Stewart

    Really enjoyed watching the goast adventures on tv. I would like to see it myself, and would go into the build. Paula Stewart

  • Jill

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2010


    For the second year in a row, members of Washington State Paranormal Investigations and Research (WSPIR), traveled from the Seattle area to Preston Castle in Ione, California. This year members donated their time restoring the roof over the porch, which after weathering over 100 years, was falling down in decay. Sixteen members of the group spent five days renovating by day and paranormal investigating by night. Also part of the WSPIR group was a master electrician who installed and updated electrical wiring in the visitor center and basement area of the Castle.

    According to Darren Thompson, WSPIR founder, “We have an appreciation for historical buildings and last year during our visit we fell in love with Preston Castle. We are honored to help preserve its history anyway we can.” Jill Thompson, WSPIR Co-Founder agrees, “Just as gravestones give a voice to those who can no longer speak, these historic buildings tell stories of times long past. Everyone, including paranormal groups, should take an active role in preserving these magnificent buildings so they can tell their stories to future generations.”

    The porch restoration project came about earlier in the year when Darren Thompson contacted Howard Coote, Preston Castle Foundation, Chairman of Building and Grounds Committee, and asked if there was a way WSPIR could help out. The project was decided on, materials ordered and travel plans set. Coote stated, “The project never would’ve gotten started if it wasn’t for Darren contacting me, on behalf of WSPIR. We’re already getting a lot of compliments on the porch restoration. Folks love to see how the money they donate is being spent. I asked WSPIR to come back next year. That sums it up. We can’t wait to have them back. The foundation will come up with another project idea and let WSPIR have at it.”

    The Preston Castle Foundation, staffed by volunteers, is working to preserve the building and its history. Andy Aguilera, Ground’s Keeper, Preston Castle Foundation was one of several foundation members who spent the week assisting the group in restoration, “It was great they took vacation time from work to come down and help us. We had a lot of new electrical work done in the basement and visitor’s center. I even got a light in my tool closet so now I don’t have to hit my head all the time in the dark. We were sorry to see them have to go.”

    Local contractor Jake Herfel, who volunteered as project manager commented, “The amount of work these folks have gotten done is phenomenal. Not one of them has a construction background, but they’ve been up on the scaffolding tearing down rotten boards, carrying off debris, painting and rebuilding the porch. They just keep going. I have to beat them off with a stick to get them to knock off for the day.”

    As part of restoration and preservation of Preston Castle, the Preston Castle Foundation welcomes the involvement of volunteers in an effort to preserve the integrity and history of the building. For information on volunteering, please contact: Yvonne Funderburgh at 209-256-3622.

    About the Preston Castle Foundation
    The Preston School of Industry, founded in 1894, remained open until 1960. The building remained vacant and fading into disrepair until September 10, 2001, when The Preston Castle Foundation received a 50 year lease for the property. The mission and purpose of the Preston Castle Foundation is to promote the stewardship of the Preston Castle through restoration, preservation and community utilization.
    In 2008, The California Preservation Foundation Board of Trustees honored the Preston Castle Foundation for their outstanding work to advance historic preservation in California.

    The Preston Castle has also been named a California State Historical Landmark (#867) and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NPS-75000422). http://www.prestoncastle.com

    About Washington State Paranormal Investigations and Research

    Established in April 2005, by six founding members, WSPIR now has 60 members with varied areas of expertise who are dedicated to assisting those experiencing unexplained phenomenon by in-depth investigation and historical research. It is also important for WSPIR to assist in the preservation of valued historical landmarks and “forgotten” cemeteries for future generations. WSPIR maintains a local cemetery, transcribes cemetery gravestones for genealogical research, and encourages the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. http://www.wspir.com

    Contact Information:
    Yvonne Funderburgh, Preston Castle Foundation, 209-256-3623
    Darren Thompson, WSPIR Founder, 425-246-1104

    For Photos of Project Please Contact:
    Renee Totten, Forgotten Places Photography, 253-226-7582


  • shana

    im going there on the 29, this month im so excited and im looking forward to it. i whent to ione with my mom when i was 15 and was very curious about the preston castle, now im 26 and actually get too finally go. this is going to be great. GHOST HERE I COME.

  • Ava

    I went to Preson a couple months ago on a day tour and fell in love with it and have been back every other Saturday since and I live in Modesto which is an hour away. I got lucky enough to be asked to help out on their first halloween haunted house… I think it is going to be a huge success… If you want a true halloween experience I think Preson is the place to go… If the halloween haunted house is your first experience with Preston I highly recommend going back in the spring when they reopen for a regular day time tour and if you are into the darker history an overnight stay would do the trick..Lol!!! P.S. Me and alot of people hope that they consider making it into a hotel… I mean cmon a haunted hotel on your way to Jackson.. How many people visit Jackson??? I think it would be great place to spend the night. plus they could do soooo much around a hotel with events like weddings,wine tasting,murder mystery dinners..18th century masquarade balls music evets,dances and halloween they could make a killing.. It has such potential just hope they really think about what they want to do with it and think about how much more they could do with it depending on what it is… I have heard senior center??? college?? retail space??? Museum??? We just think a hotel opens way more doors then just a hotel… and alot of us think it would make alot of money and put Ione on the map for sure!!! not that Preston hasn’t already done that as is!!! Truly a remarkable place if you haven’t gone don’t miss out on a great time!!!

  • Nicole

    I was once at the castle. It was SCARYY! I was there over night and now I cant sleep w/o light on. IT WAS THAT SCARYY!

  • Flower

    Anna Corbin was murdered in 1950, not 1957 as you said here. There is still a lot of mystery and speculation about her murder and no one knows the full story. Her sister still lives in the Ione area, so the Foundation hopes that she will be able to shed some light on what occurred and Anna herself, as there is a lot of misinformation out there surrounding both Anna Corbin and the murder. By the way- Anna Corbin lived in Ione, and never maintained an apartment in the castle, despite what Ghost Adventures claims.

    Although true that the castle closed officially in 1960, the school closed in 1955 and the administrative offices remained there until 1960 when the California Youth Authority begain the adjacent modern facility, Preston Youth Facility (incidentally closed by Schwarzenegger in October 2010- it will be completely shut down this coming June).

    I asked about the cemetery last week when I was there. It is on state property, but it is inaccessible to the public. Adjacent to Preston Castle is the CYA juvenile detention center (soon to be closed), the CDF (California Department of Forestry) station (more inmates), and Mule Creek State Prison. I was told it was on the far side of the CDF property.

  • Ashlyn

    Preston castle was the most amazing place i had ever been, me and my best frend recently went there and man was it beautiful!!!!! i would loveto go back soon, theres just not enough words to describe how facinated and amused i am by it! the caslte is beautiful nothing can describe this castle!!!!!! and Ava, u made the tour great and im truly glad to have met you :) your devotion to the caslte inspires me a lot lol i hope i can see you again!

  • alexis.

    I’m planning on going there for a history report.with all these comments I’m most definitely going there now!

  • E.J.W.

    I visited early March of 2010 for the day time tour. Our tour guide was informative of the property but not interested in the paranormal aspect of Preston. However, there was a woman tour guide that was giving a tour the same time I was on mine. She was talking to her group about the parsnormal occurances that happen there. I wish I would have known about her. Anyways, I took a lot of pictures and captured a lot of orbs throughout the building. I captured and orb by the Virgin Mary (near the area where Anna had passsed away. I can’t quite figure out what it is. Almost looks like wings are in picture. I’m signed up to go on the tour in October and can hardly wait!!

  • erica

    i think some day i might have the guts to go to that creppy castle i was going to go camping with my parents we went by it and i asks god please some day make me check it out but not yet but i have learned a lot of the history and that they had every thing there to food and hostpital and i cant belive they even had a garden & bucher room not to happy that some day i will go there pretty crazy then to do it

  • amruta

    yes i also do think that anna corbin was beatin and harrest here in preston castle it was a horrible time for anna corbin she must have been suffering very bad at times but did any one see the ghost till now?

  • Mike

    My son was driving by the castle when he noticed the gate was slightly open. He took a series of pictures with his iphone. When he looked at his pictures later on, he noticed a small boy standing in the archway in the front.
    Nobody else was around when he took the picture. I never believed in ghosts, but I do now. If anyone wants to see the picture, email me @mikefterry@comcast.net.

  • robert s.

    i’m looking to go there oct. i want to see the change since i was there summer 1954 to summer 55 . don’t no about the closer in 55 ,i left in june i think . can anyone say if their still touring now on sat’s ? i want to see the whole place ,mess hall football field , theater pool etc etc. is that part of the tour? also i remember the basement (or dungeon ) . a few of us went down to clean up a little ,saw old photos of older times,even played an old piano down there .i wish i would have known about all this long ago (acellp51@yahoo.com)

  • Elaine

    My father was a boy and was in Preston at the time it was called Preston School of Tech. He lived in the school when Anna Corbin was murdered. I had a chance to go into many of the rooms and floors. We went back to the Castle last year. I had a chance to to into many of the rooms and floors. It was a great experience for me and such a memory of Dad. It was amaging.

  • deedee

    i want to go really bad i have driven by it that is all and i saw the out side of i but never went in and i want to so bad this next halloween!!! :)

  • Ed

    I am going tonight…It’s my 13th anniversary!!! And yes. We did get married on Halloween. My wife is really into the whole ghost/paranormal thing, me…”I’m scared.” But it will be fun. We never been and we’re going with our best friends.
    I’ll let you know what happens…

  • Patti

    Going there right now for the Halloween tour…in Jackson…my husband was there not in the castle but the the newer one they kept the tools in the castle. He was there in the late 60’s

  • Leo Reyes

    Our team was there overnight 10/15/11, and we had a great time investigating, and we were able to investigate the third floor which was cool, we seen a shadow moving in and out of a room, but the best place was the laundry room in the basement, a group of people were sitting inside the room doing EVP’S and EMF’S while myself and a female were in the hallway doing the same, she walked into the room and as she passed me she said Leo my lower back is burning, she came back out so I can look , I said you have been scratched with three marks across and three marks back the other direction, Her husband came out of the laundry room and was shocked and yelled at the spirit do you scratch my wife, one of the docents said we cannot have that, as she was feeling as if something was near her, she had a hard time breathing so we had to take a break at HQ. This was my second visit at the castle where I was scratched also. I am ready to go back next year. I love it. Our team is S.P.I.S.

  • GhostlyState

    I just watched GA and it was on Preston Castle. It was an eerie episode. What happened to Zak? He went off on his own to sit in the dark and acts all weird and starts singing, freaky!!

  • Ceclie.

    Me and my future husband are most defenetly going there.
    After watching this on GA.
    We watch it all the time on netflix.
    It’s a very great show.
    & after all the ones we’ve watched this one was one of the most enteresting to me us both.

  • Roman Moran

    I was doing time 1958/59/60 and it wasn’t fun. Saw the castle from afar but weren’allowed inside the castle. I heard that it was haunted. There was to much trouble when I was there. I would like to go back an visit the school if that is allowed.

  • Wes

    Good to see these comments still coming in after 2 years! I visited the castle on 2/18/12 w/ T.A.P.S. and local group API. This is a magnificent place. There is something about its tall & dark loom it has upon the property. Walking around the castle at night is something to behold. Anyhow, I can say for a 100% fact this place has energy in it. I myself did not deal with anything dark or mean. I had 2 solid personal incidents that happened to me. One was on the 3rd floor, and the other was in the almighty Infirmary. I’ve got something on video in the Infirmary that made me realize, I for a fact, was not alone 😉 I will be going back at some point, perhaps in the day time to really get a chance to take the views in. (And not step in fox poop because its soo dark, lol) I’m looking to interview people who have done time there. I’m a researcher, and would LOVE first hand accounts of life there. My interview questions will be simple and non-invasive. If you stayed here, contact me! Or if you just want to talk about Preston Castle research, that’s cool too! Email me! wes@tranceaddict DOT net

  • ben lopez

    I was sent to Preston in 1953. I also escaped from there that yr. I was the first successful escape during that time period . I still carry scars from my encounter with the “rolled wire” fence behind the discipline cottage where I went over! My job was at the Arts and Crafts building run by a man and artist named Mr. Donaldson, I will never forget that man. He helped me a great deal in many ways that he will never know. I was there for over a year in C co. The only group actually living in the castle at that time was B co. I later went on to Soledad State Prison at 18 but Ill never forget my stay at P.S.I. When you are raised by the State the stop there is inevitable!

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