Shadow People of Riverside By Wendy Marshall

Narrator: “Welcome to the Ghost Walk! We hope to scare you, or at least give you the creeps.”

1st person: “Yeah, creeps for sure. All I know is I’m bored.” Sighs loudly.

Narrator: “We’re just waiting for our other actors to show up.”

1st person: “Who’s that?”

Narrator: “Well, Riverside has been around for over a hundred years, (stage whisper: and that’s a long time by California standards!) and we’ve had our fair share of tragedy, and”

2nd person: “There! What’s that?” points at Pagoda. Narrator is relieved.

“Aha! That’s Chan. We call him Chan, anyway. He turned up after the excavation for the Arts building, near the Culinary Academy? They uncovered a Chinese settlement. He seems to like the pagoda; maybe he feels more at home there. We’re not sure.”

3rd person: “I bet he misses his home. I bet turn of the century Riverside was a very different place from China.”

2nd person: “Oh! I know her! Lucy!” points at the front of the library.

Narrator, nodding: “That’s Lucy. She was a librarian for the library back in the 20s. They found her body after she was laid off in 1929. The library lost a majority of its funding during the Great Depression, and most of the staff had to be laid off. She lost her job, and then, sadly she took own life. There! Did you see her? She likes to walk around inside: you can just see her through the doors.”

2nd person: “I hear she roams the stacks inside, too, not just at the doors.” Narrator agrees, and since now everyone is looking at the library, Narrator points to the right of the library.

“To the far right, between the church and the library? There used to be an entrance to the bomb shelter, back from the 1950s.”

1st person: “The Red Scare—real life horror!””

Narrator: “Yeah, no kidding! Anyway, the story goes that during one of their bomb drills, I guess, or maybe he was just curious, this guy got locked in. And forgotten. They didn’t find him for six months.” (Collective groan.) “Dehydrated, just like the food in the bags down there.” (collective eewwww)

3rd person: “Didn’t the shelter have food?”

Narrator: “Yes it did; and water. But the ventilation fans hadn’t been turned on. They suspect that he lived for about two days.”

Narrator, turning, and pointing: “There he is!” (Points to top of art museum.)

“That used to be the police department in the late 1800s. This was still the Wild West, you know? And the story is that they caught this guy trying to steal a horse, and they locked him up. He insisted he was innocent; don’t they all? And after two days in jail-during the summer, of course, and no electricity! He escaped to the roof—there, can you see him? And fell off.”

1st person: “What about old City Hall?” Narrator nods.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that there are bodies buried underneath the steps! Supposedly they did one of those ultrasound thingies that can find bodies, or bones or buried treasure, and they got these really confusing images but no one wants to put up the money to dig it all up and then rebuild it.” Turns back to the crowd.

“Lots of ghosts here in Riverside. Lots of history, you know? Riverside’s been incorporated since 1870, but, gosh, people have lived here, and walked through here, since like 1774.

That was when de Anza came through, and before then, we have evidence of Native Americans living here.  I mean, forever, you know? Crazy.”