Built in 1926 on the North slope of Russian Hill the San
Francisco Art Institute rests upon grounds that once held the
earthly remains of San Francisco's earliest residents. Its
red-tiled roofs and ochre-colored walls distinguish it as a fine
example of the Spanish Revival style of architecture.
All was quiet at the Art Institute for nearly 20 years until
a student, working as a night watchmen and living in the bell
tower to save money, began to experience the institute's strange
nocturnal activities. The very first night, he was surprised to hear the street-level
doors he had locked open and close. Waiting fearfully, he
listened to footsteps slowly ascend three sets of stairs. The
door to his room opened and closed, but he saw no one enter.
Incidents similar to this occurred many times after but every
time he investigated there was never anyone there and no sign as
to the cause.
Over the years, a variety of manifestations, including eerie
flickering lights and power tools mysteriously turning on and
off, were reported by students and the public with decreasing
frequency and the harmless ghost was thought to have drifted
That is until the bell tower was being renovated as a storage
area in 1968. A series of near fatal accidents were blamed on
the ghost and some construction workers quit because the site
In response to the incidents that year, a sťance was held in
the tower with several prominent psychics. One saw a lost
graveyard, and a historian later verified that an adjacent
cemetery had indeed been demolished before the school was built.