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Jan Siegel By Jan Siegel

The Historical Society in San Juan Capistrano is entering the 21st century. Although our emphasis is on the incredible history of our community, the Society is showcasing that history in 21st century form. 

October is normally the time of the Ghost Walk for the Society. The Walk strolls down Los Rios Street, home to many “ghosts” and legends that are part of the oldest residential neighborhood in California. But because of COVID-19 and the restrictions on group participation, this event was going to be canceled this year. It was not unusual to have had 300 people strolling down Los Rios Street in groups of 25 at one time, so the Society had to become creative and enter into the modern world with its historical message. 

Welcome to Virtual Ghost Walk 2020.

Marge Packman portrays Palonia Montanez. Photo: Kurt To, Timeless Media Marketing

Once again, Harrison Taylor and his band of “ghost hosts” have created a haunting tour for you and your family. Once you sign up, turn off your lights and enjoy the unexpected wanderings down historic Los Rios Street.

The Ghost Tour website for signing up is The cost is $7 per person.  The advantage of the Virtual Tour is that it can be offered more than the one day that has been usual for the Society Ghost Walk. The Virtual Tour can be taken any time between Oct. 15 and Oct. 31. 

The tour will last 30-40 minutes. There will be 8-10 stops on Los Rios Street with “ghosts” telling their story. Pay close attention, because at the end of the tour, there will be a riddle for you to solve, and if you answer the riddle correctly, you will get a discount at a downtown local restaurant/brewery.

Tom Scott portrays Father John O’Sullivan. Photo: Kurt To, Timeless Media Marketing

For further information, contact the Historical Society at 949.493.8444. 

Halloween is usually a time to be scared or to scare someone else. It is also the time for the Day of the Dead, when remembering ancestors is still an important part of the culture of San Juan Capistrano. 

But this is also the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote, and we also have an important election. Honor the women in this community who fought for the right to vote a century ago. Remember to vote to honor their memory and remember their struggle. 

During the last two weeks of October, the Historical Society will have an exhibit in the windows of the Silvas Adobe honoring the Day of the Dead and those women who were the first female voters in San Juan Capistrano over a century ago. 

Spend a Moment In Time learning about the legends of our community and remembering the remarkable women who have added so much to the history of this community. Don’t be scared.  Enjoy an evening with your family on the Historical Society Virtual Ghost Walk and vote.  Continue to stay safe. 

 Jan Siegel was a 33-year resident of San Juan Capistrano and now resides in the neighboring town of Rancho Mission Viejo. She served on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission for 13 years, has been a volunteer guide for the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library’s architectural walking tour for 26 years and is currently the museum curator for the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007.

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