Bothin Youth Center

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This land once held a Native American reservation, then a hospital building for tuberculosis patients. It is now a Girl Scouts camp. Reports say that the ghost of a nurse has been seen pushing a cart in the hallways. Native American apparitions and screams and moans have been witnessed as well.

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Geographic Information

3125 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Fairfax, CA 94930
United States

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38.0038055, -122.62014629999999
Marin County, California
Nearest Towns:
Woodacre, CA (1.5 mi.)
Sleepy Hollow, CA (2.0 mi.)
Fairfax, CA (2.1 mi.)
San Geronimo, CA (2.5 mi.)
Lucas Valley-Marinwood, CA (3.5 mi.)
San Anselmo, CA (3.8 mi.)
Lagunitas-Forest Knolls, CA (4.0 mi.)
Ross, CA (4.6 mi.)
Kentfield, CA (4.9 mi.)
Santa Venetia, CA (5.2 mi.)


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Comments (19)

  1. My mother was our Girl Scout leader back in 1965 when our troop visited this place for a weekend. I was/am an empath, but I did not feel any spiritual activity on the night we were there. I can tell you that the sheets on the old beds in that sanitarium had ancient rust and blood stains on them, though. We were all creeped out way more by the history of it as it was related to us. I never heard the American Indian part before tonight!

  2. I have a friend who’s father used to manage this Girl Scout camp, as well as another camp nearby. As kids, we would play around on all of the different properties on a daily basis. One day, we were playing hide and seek at the Bothin property, and heard strange noises when we would hide alone. At one point, a sink even turned on by itself- with no explanation. Still, to this day, I haven’t experienced anything quite like this. Creepy!!!!!!

  3. Once, I slept here alone during a free weekend as a camp counselor from out-of-state. I slept alone in a cabin with all the lights on – terrified! TERRIFIED!

  4. I stayed here when i was 10 or 11 as a girl scout. Me and the other girls were by the bedrooms upstairs playing hide and seek when we all saw a woman in white clothes we instantly went running down the stairs to our troupe leader screaming. I never thought about it again until i came across this 12 years later, i have chills down my spine reading that this place used to be a hospital.

    • I know this place seems creepy because it’s an old hospital and I came into the experience expecting ghosts, but no, there was no ghosts at all. I slept there for two nights for this holiday extravaganza thing
      ( which was dork central )and did not find anything abnormal there. Minus the creepy appearance, old smelly rooms, and leaky faucets, nothing was really there. Then again me and my friends (Alyssa, livi, and Natalie) didn’t go looking for ghosts soooo…
      Yeah. I wouldn’t believe in any of the stupid ghost stuff it is FAKE.

  5. I have been the only person there and have heard children running along the outside porch between buildings. Another time I witnessed a tether ball go back and forth around the pole…no wind. A friend of mine who is sensitive, saw the child…lots of things happen there. My daughter has seen the woman in white.

    • you’re not the only person who has heard children. i worked as a counsellor in the summer of 2016, i got up late one night to go to the loo and i could hear children playing in courtyard between Lyman and Bridge. It was between sessions and there hadn’t been a child in camp for nearly a week !!!!

  6. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m not a person who believes in ghosts or paranormal stuff. I think it’s all hoaxes, hogwash, and hysteria. I’ve seen or felt anything that could convince me otherwise. That’s what I believe. Exceeeeeept….
    Then I remember Bothin.

    I don’t think I can start to explain how awful it is to stay there. I grew up using the facility and spending the night around 5-10 times each year. As I grew up I started volunteering to help with events and camps there.
    I refuse to spend the night.

    Let’s start with the little stuff.
    You can hear the metal cart bing pushed. If you experience something paranormal there, that is the most likely thing that you’ll hear. The next most likely is: lights turning on and off ( having been someone setting up for an event with friends, I can tell you nobody was inside the building as we stood in the courtyard and watched lights methodically turn on, then off)
    The sound of buzz. Almost like a cruddy electric door bell or a joke hand-shake buzzer. Not sustained, just occasional.

    Those were not the things that scared me the most. When I was little (6-9), before I knew the history of the buildings, I would wake up in the middle of the night, stiff as a board. It didn’t matter how many other people were there sleeping in the beds next to me; I would be paralyzed by fear. From head to toe my body and mind were saturated with dread. I would lay like this until I almost instantly blacked out, almost like fainting.

    The thing that made me stop staying there was when I was 17. Some friends and I were all staying in a room, joking around and all of those kinds of camp shenanagins counselors get up to. I decided to go to sleep early, so I fell asleep while the other girls chattered away. Hands down, it was the best night of sleep I had ever gotten while sleeping there. That morning I had woken up, feeling totally free of my fear of the place. “Pssshhht, I’m so glad I can now spend the night without issue like a grown-ass adult. I slept like a rock!” I thought to myself as I made my cup of coffee in the morning. The feeling only lasted the 5 foot journey between the table with the coffee on it and the table I sat down at to eat. That’s when they all grumbled at me.

    The next morning, they told me about what had happened. You see, they thought I had been playing a joke on them. In the wee hours of the morning, only two were still awake, whispering and laughing. That’s when I began to talk. Not at all garbled or quiet, I said, “The machine.”
    They looked over at me. I was laying away from them on my side.
    “huh?” one asked, not sure what was happening.
    “The machine.”
    I sat up, eyes open, swung my legs over the bed to face the center of the room where their beds were.
    I began repeating, clearly, loudly, and with growing force:
    “The machine.
    The machine.
    The Machine.
    The MACHINE.”
    At this point my talking had woken the other girls in the room, but I continued.
    Then, after a pause, in a slightly quieter, but still loud voice I stated:
    “It’s here.”
    After a few moments, they all rolled their eyes, ready to ignore what seemed to be a case of extremely obnoxious and strange sleep talking. Just as they had begun to turn away they heard it. In the corner of the room, this venting tube began to bang and vibrate violently, they say it carried on for 20-30 seconds, then it stopped as suddenly as it started.
    They figured it had to have been a prank or something.

    It wasn’t.

  7. My house as a kid was down the street. My dad taught me how to ride my bike on the property. We had permission from the care taker.
    Very creepy feeling, everytime I fell off my bike I would look up at the windows of the building. I felt like ALLOT of eyes were watching me. This was the early 80s and building was empty at the time. I had no idea of the history (I was a kid) but reading this article put it all together for me as an adult.

  8. I had the opportunity to go to Bothin at least 4 times a year from 1978 through 2000. The memories I have of Bothin are memories I feel honored to have. I, having numerous first hand experiences, completely believe that there is quite a bit of paranormal activity – Ladies in windows that weren’t there; children’s laughter at an all adult event; arriving early to unload groceries and doors slamming shut. Those are just a few examples. I never felt threatened while I was at Bothin. There were a few rooms that I was just too afraid to go in, no idea if anything happened in those rooms. I will add that the Library in Manor House, when empty, was full of “activity”. I made the mistake of falling asleep in there a time or two. I believe that the spirits that inhabit the buildings on the Bothin property are angry or hostile. The vibe I always felt was one of playfulness.
    My husband of 22 years and I shared our first kiss on the front steps of Stone House. I’m not sure if Bothin or Disneyland is my favorite place in the world.
    You will not be disappointed or frightened if you ever have the opportunity to visit, don’t pass it up! It is a slice of Heaven on Earth.

      • I used to hang out in the library when I was a camper. Felt perfectly comfortable in there ( except the sofa was lumpy), but it gave me a suspicious reputation with the other girls, who were creeped out in there.

  9. I was at Bothin for pre camp from 1993-1995 before heading off to Deer Lake. One day I had to run back to my dorm to get the notebook I had left on my cot. As I was walking by, I saw a group of kids and an older woman all dressed up in old fashioned clothes sitting around the tether ball pole. They had books tied with ribbons. One of the little boys turned to me and waved and I waved back as I walked by. Five minutes later I was walking back to the kitchen area, notebook in hand. The kids were gone and the tether ball was swinging around the pole.

    I asked our camp director what other kids were here and she said there weren’t any. I insisted I saw a group of boys and girls with their teacher dressed up in costumes. She said there weren’t any other people there, that it was no one on the property. It was later I found out it was a ward for women and children.

    Another night me and some counselors stayed together in one of the rooms. The door kept opening up on its one. All the windows were closed so it wasn’t the wind causing it. I took our bras and tied them together and tied the door shut somehow. In the morning the door was open, bras on the floor.

    This place is haunted. Friends of mine were caretakers and they said they heard children running around in the hallways and other creepy stuff they didn’t even want to share.

  10. I spent a lot of nights here when I was growing up, but even as a 30+ year old woman, I don’t think I’d ever want to do it again.

  11. so, as a young girl i went here a few times, but only once i’ve spent the night. i’m someone who has a lot of paranormal experiences and gets really anxious in haunted places, even if i don’t know it’s haunted yet. and let me tell you, bothin gave me the WORST VIBES I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. i don’t care if the ghosts there aren’t hostile, it’s the scariest place i’ve been. the fact that the camp is on a native american reservation and one of the main buildings used to be a TUBERCULOSIS HOSPITAL is astounding. why is this place allowed to be a summer camp? it’s literally the set for a horror movie. i was surprised that i didn’t die the two times i went and i’m never going back.

  12. Chelsea Murray  |  

    I stayed here once for Girl Scout camp as a teen with my mom and sister. I don’t remember which building we stayed in but we were on the second floor. We were bringing our things up and I noticed this creepy staircase outside our room. The next day my friends and I were heading down for lunch and took the creepy staircase. There was water all over the stairs and halfway down I fainted out of nowhere and felt like I was being pulled backwards and fell down the rest of the staircase. My friends helped me up and when we told my mom and other adults what happened they went to clean up the water so no one else would fall but the stairs were totally dry. By far the creepiest thing that has ever happened to me.

  13. This was a play at an elementary school in Fairfax in Oct 2022. However you will see a young Native American girl from a different time sitting in the back. She has long black hair, maybe some necklaces from another era, as I thought it was a teenager listening to music but this is an elementary and no one know who she was. Her head is looking down and the color of her skin is like no one at this event. Its a gray green. I zoom in and can’t see her face structure. I have to assume it’s a Native American ghost girl who arrived for the play. Creepy

  14. Bothin is simultaneously one of my favorite places in the world and one of the creepiest places I’ve been.
    I’ve been going here since I was a kid, with my most notable experience having been when I was 13 or 14. My Girl Scout Troop was there helping a younger troop with a weekend camp out. I was there a night before the rest of the girls and we were staying in Little House. Keep in mind, I did not know the history of Bothin. That first night, I couldn’t sleep because I kept hearing things. I heard what sounded like groaning and screaming outside (logically, I thought coyotes or other critters) and creaking floors and doors inside (there were three other people in the building so maybe they just needed to a bathroom break in the middle of the night?). The second night is when the rest of the girls joined us. One of my troop mates was so creeped out that she slept in my bunk with me. I got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. On the way back to my room, I heard something downstairs and peeked down there. There was a woman in an old timey nurse outfit pushing a cart. I freaked out and darted back to my room, thankful that my troop mate was there and I didn’t have to be alone. When I mentioned this encounter to one of the older girls, she told me the history of Bothin. When I got home I did some research and found I was not the first person to see this woman and her cart.
    I returned to Bothin as an adult to attend and run various weekend camporee style events and have continued to see/hear things that could be described as paranormal. Doors and windows opening or closing on their own, sounds or sights that were never there, items moving when nobody could’ve done it, and so much more. But I have never felt unsafe at Bothin. Yes, it’s creepy. Yes, I think that if ghosts exist they inhabit Bothin. But I do not think they wish any harm upon Bothin or its visitors.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.