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Tour offered a haunting look at Temecula’s dark side

By in Press Enterprise on November 5, 2017

By John Bender

As he begins to discuss his recordings, pictures and stories of the potential afterlife, tour guide Dale Garcia stresses, “I’m not here to say there are ghosts in Temecula.”

He’s preaching to the converted, given that when he asks how many believe in the paranormal, well over half of the crowd of about 50 people have their hands up.

Starting from the second floor of the Temecula Valley Museum where he relays several stories of bizarre things that have gone on there, Garcia leads us on a two-hour tour of Old Town, billed as “Temecula’s Dark Side Ghost Tour.”

At the start, Garcia gives everybody a packet that includes newspaper stories of long-ago people using cameras and radar to detect ghosts. Economists would liken this to priming the pump.

Garcia, a longtime museum docent, has given this tour around Halloween for four years, so he’s well aware of what he’s priming. Garcia is dressed in all black western gear and there are numerous witch hats and costumes among his crowd. The museum lobby is decorated with various seasonal paraphernalia, spiders, rats, and a buzzard, all fake.

Or are they?

Ross and Michelle Sherer of Temecula follow events in Old Town and when they heard about this creepy thing, they just had to make a date night of it.

“I’m dying to get out,” Michelle says with a devilish grin.

Speaking of frights, Garcia begins with some museum spooks, including an upstairs door employees would leave closed when they left at night and often found open upon their return in the morning. Exasperated workers finally put in screws to keep the thing bolted. “I may tell you stories, but I’m not going to lie to you,” Garcia says, a familiar refrain for the night.

At other times, staff members heard an organ being played when nobody was there and […]    

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