Beginnings of Elfin Forest
Northern Diegueno and Luisenos Indians once inhabited this area, now named Elfin Forest, which encompasses 700 acres of breathtaking hills and forests. Trees include Sycamores, Oak, and there is also a variety of succulents and wild cactus. Many artifacts have been discovered that shed some light on the ancestral Diegueno’s primitive life dating back close to 9,000 years. Artifacts include petroglyphs, motars, metates and pictographs.There are ancient petroglyphs in rocks and the Indian symbols have a connection with others found in locations north of San Diego. The symbols seem to be direction finders similar to the magnificent rocks at Stonehenge in England.
Many tribes met in this areas and they considered this land to be the Peace Grounds and believed that the entire area gave off beneficial vibrations. Indians ate wild garlic, mustard, dandelions, berries and other native plants.
The area was originally named Harmony Grove by Flower and Lawrence Newhouse who founded a retreat in the area called Questhaven. The director of the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens visited and noted all of the dwarf trees and shrubs in the area and started referring to the area as Elfin. Flower Newhouse absolutely loved the name and it stuck. (If you are interested in biographies, I suggest reading up on Flower as she was a remarkable woman who published several books on spiritualism).
Throughout the history of this area, there have been many paranormal experiences, tales and urban legends reported that mix fact with fiction. These include:
- Reported sightings of ghost Indians
- Sightings of a Ghost woman dressed all in white
- “Something” in trees that has frightened people over the years
- A female ghost child dressed in white
- Indians hanging in trees
- Strange lights and sounds
In 1894 a sheep rancher settled in the Questhaven Valley. Angered local cattle ranchers, upset with the competition, brutally murdered him and drove his remaining family members out of the area. There is some historic validation to this incident. According to the story, he was burned alive and no one was ever charged with the crime. Reports state that the ghost of the murdered sheep rancher is seen on the road begging for help. Pole out for walk have been startled and shocked at the sight of this apparition.
Gypsies once lived in the area of Spooks Canyon which is located within Elfin Forest. Spiritualists, psychic artists, and seance mediums lived on 12 acres of land and practiced contacting the dead. Corrinne Pleasant (1897-1984), was a spiritualist and resident of Harmony Grove. She told stories about contacting the spirits of slaughtered Indian children, who were buried upright in the hills above Elfin Forest. Her account have varied throughout the years which is not surprising. Stories have a way of changing a bit from one person to the next!
Thank you for stopping by and be sure to check out the rest of my website for other stories relating to the paranormal! If you have a story, I’d love to hear back from you. Feel free to leave me a comment or two.