Ghost hunting at the Desert View Tower in Jacumba:
Just outside the busy city limits of San Diego, lies the sleepy Mountain Empire area known as Jacumba, which is home of the Desert View Tower. The Desert View Tower was built from 1922 to 1928 near Jacumba, California as a roadside attraction by Bert Vaughn, a real estate developer who owned Jacumba during that time. The Desert View tower, a three story stone tower, houses a museum and has an observation deck on its upper level. Animal sculptures called the Boulder Park are located next to the tower, and were sculpted by M.T. Ratliffe over two years during the 1930’s in the local stone. The tower and sculpture garden were listed on the National Register of Historic places on August 29, 1980. What many visitors to the Desert Tower may not know is that the structure has been investigated for paranormal activities, and according to one paranormal group may very well be haunted.
On March 14th, 2009 Ben Shultz, the owner of the Desert Tower, allowed ECPI (El Centro Paranormal Investigators) to hold a vigil / paranormal investigation. Keith Darcy, a member of a trail hiking group, spent the night at the tower on March 14th unrelated to the paranormal investigation. He recalls on his blog, the Scoopzone, “We were joined for a few hours by members of ECPI (El Centro Paranormal Investigators), a non-profit ghost hunter group based in the main city in the desert east of the tower. They set up a ton of audio and video equipment in the upper levels of the tower but didn’t seem to detect anything beyond “hot spots” that appeared around the same time we lit a fire in the first floor fireplace. “
Current ECPI Co-leader, Esteban Martinez, recalls the events of March 14, 2009. “The results were various EVP’s and a couple of specs of light that could have been orbs or just bugs. We ruled the orbs debunked, but the EVP’s are safe to say were genuine and real. We witnessed different activity on all floors but mostly EVP’s. On the first floor landing we captured EVP’s of an Indian chanting next to a photo of an old Indian chief. We then moved to the second floor where an orb like moving object was caught on our night vision recorder, the laser surface temp meter captured decreasing readings in certain areas, our Electro-Magnetic Frequency detector went off, and finally multiple brand new batteries were drained instantly. Two class ‘A’ EVP’s were captured the first one was a frightened child in near tears begging for help. The second one was of two grown men scared out of their wits nearly crying saying someone was going to get them. As we started our investigation on the third floor we did not even get five minutes in when out of nowhere we heard a loud thump in the middle of the room. We gathered our wits, which took a total of five minutes, giving me enough time to check my recording which yielded an EVP of a man saying ‘OH NO HES HERE’, followed by silence. We noted that a group of Hikers were present for the night and took that into account by cross referencing our findings with their location. Before leaving we chatted with them only briefly about our findings and then left. According to the team leader, when she revealed the evidence caught to owner Ben Shultz, he felt that paranormal activity had been stirred up by ECPI and was scared .He then banned any further paranormal investigations of the Desert Tower.”
The ECPI team did several other local paranormal investigations until ceasing operations. Esteban Martinez and Jared Knight have now taken over as team leaders and are contemplating ECPI’s future. In a recent correspondence with SDH in November 2012, Esteban Martinez made clear he believes the Desert Tower is not only haunted but possibly by an intelligent source. The extent or reason behind this possible haunting is yet another mystery for the local paranormal community to contemplate.