Camarillo State Mental Hospital - CSU Channel Islands

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Camarillo State Mental Hospital was built in 1936 and housed thousands of patients. Rumor has it that shock treatment and other inhumane practices were used here. As the years passed, compassion and scientific advences made treatments more humane. The hospital was in operaion until 1997. The building is said to be haunted. Witnesses here describe all manner of eerie stories, and weird occurrences dealing with apparitions, moving objects, voices, headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Filmmakers who have used the site for sets have noticed cold spots, missing objects, windows slamming and strange knocking. Now the building is used by the California State University-Channel Islands, and students say it is still haunted.

Two more interesting points to note: Jazz musician Charlie Parker stayed here for seven months in 1947 after suffering a nervous breakdown, then wrote his hit “Relaxing at Camarillo.” And the hospital is rumored to be the Eagles’ inspiration for classic rock’s “Hotel California.”

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Geographic Information

Los Angeles Dr
Camarillo CA 93012
United States

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34.162553965459544, -119.04371094702583
Ventura County, California
Nearest Towns:
Camarillo, CA (3.7 mi.)
Casa Conejo, CA (5.9 mi.)
Oxnard, CA (8.0 mi.)
El Rio, CA (8.5 mi.)
Port Hueneme, CA (8.7 mi.)
Channel Islands Beach, CA (10.3 mi.)
Saticoy, CA (10.3 mi.)
Oxnard Shores, CA (11.5 mi.)
Thousand Oaks, CA (11.8 mi.)
Moorpark, CA (12.6 mi.)


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  1. I delivered there in the late 90s-early 2000. I spoke to many people. Some who were there when it was a hospital, others who were there to set up the University. All shared stories of hauntings. The newer people who were setting up the bookstore had many stories and some would not stay after dark…or go to the 2nd floor….

    • Previously I was a worker at that hospital I, never saw anything out of the ordinary. Only my coworkers and superiors where note worthy. Nothing there can be seen as huanted.

  2. the university is hunted I been there used to be a bus driver going to the university taking student to school every day was a new experience bell tower in the lady restroom door shaking during the day on the big water tower would see people holding on the edge of the water tank during the day the now new library on the back still half of the building still the morgue resident, students, workers would see during the night ladies with white robe floating me entering the university on potrero road facing a building would see a lady in a white robe long black hair standing on a window looking outside that will be every night even the deem of the university told me that was 4 Indian chief came to the university to clean of the spirit but the chief told her is been 70 years many spirit been there was no way to clean the school her office every day she would get scare

  3. I lived in Oxnard in the mid 90’s. My GF at the time was a Licensed Psychiatric Technician at Camarillo State Hospital. Besides the stories she would tell me about that place, in 1995-98 I had my own experiences with the spirits there. Most of the time I would be waiting in the parking lot for her to get off work and I would hear noises behind me, like chains on the ground, but I would be standing alone in a parking lot. Sometimes I would hear screams and the wind would blow hard for a second or two and then it would get really cold, even in the summer. But the most shocking of all happened only 2 or 3 times… it was always at night and I would feel something watching me in the parking lot, and when I looked up to a 2nd floor window, I would see a dark long haired figure looking at me with piercing eyes (sometimes black, sometimes dark yellow). The figure had a white-ish glow below the head. I believe it when they say that Hotel California was based on this place and I cannot believe they put a college here. Too many tortured spirits there.

  4. I’ve lived here for two years and nothing has ever happened. I have searched and been in as many abandoned buildings as I can, nothing has ever happened. I’ve been places alone, and with small groups of people. I’ve never felt, seen, or heard anything. My mind is open, I really just don’t think this place is haunted.

  5. When I was a student there between 2006-2008, I never saw anything but there was a very eerie feeling inside one of the women’s restrooms in the bell tower, bottom floor. I stayed away from it after feeling creeped out once.

  6. I was an ESRM student there in 2009-13. I had after hours access to an applied science lab in Malibu Hall that I would sometimes stay there through the night doing work that I had procrastinated on. There is only one entrance to the lab which requires a code and you also need a code to get into the entry way hall. So one night at around 2-3am, I heard something out in the entry way. I assumed it was a janitor or something but I went out to basically let him know i was there. I opened the door and there was a lady there looking around so I asked if I could help her. She kinda glanced up and looked passed me and said “I’m looking for my daughter, I’ve been looking for her for a long time.” There is a 24 hour cop patrol who likes to park outside the hall (probably because I was there late a lot), and I went to look if he was there but when I turned around I couldn’t find her anywhere. There are no emergency exits that she could’ve slipped out of and I checked the bathroom which was empty. So I packed my shit up and and ran to my car. As I was driving away I swear I saw the lady looking out one of the windows. But all those rooms have sensor lights. That could have been delusional because I was freaked the hell out. I didn’t do anymore overnights like that alone after that, and the whole hall had a creepy vibe after that night. I’ve seen multiple unexplainable things from working late into the night, but I will just give you that one. I always claimed atheism and didn’t believe in any of that stuff, but I’ve seen way too many things now to deny them all.

  7. As a student and self-proclaimed urban adventurer, I’ve snuck into the unrenovated sections of CI with nothing more than a face mask (because of age, asbestos fibers flutter up from everything that is touched) and a flashlight. I’ve never been savvey in the world of paranormal experiances or spirits. When I say I’m an urban adventurer I mean I like to go to historical places that are off limits because they have historical value to me. But this place, I simply felt like someone was watching me as I strolled through the abandoned halls. Surprisingly most of the doors and gates to the unrenovated sections are left unlocked, so if skeptical I recommend a day of exploring. I walked in near twilight, and as the sun dissapeared I felt panic fill me and I literally left the old building running. I repeat, this feeling is only in the old sections. The class rooms and university buildings do not have this atmosphere. Have fun exploring!

  8. I am the contractor that remodeled 8 “treatment rooms” into what is now part of the bookstore at CSUCI. I don’t believe I have worked in a stranger place in my 30 plus years in construction. While there is speculation about spirits above the floor, I can assure you working underground alone will convince even the most brain dead that life continues beyond the death of the body. I would suggest to anyone looking for “proof”, spend some time after dark, alone, outside near the east end of the bookstore. Henry

  9. As a CSUCI alumni I spent a great deal of time at this university at all hours of the day and night. Before I was accepted to CI I was somewhat aware of the history there but not all of the information that I got was reliable. Since being a student there I was always nervous to take night classes as the place after hours gave my the creeps. I never experienced anything abnormal but you can without a doubt feel the tension in the walls of the older buildings. I had an old professor who shared his experience with electrical problems he had been experiencing in his class at the same time every day, and after he had electrical support come out and try to help him with his issue he still had no idea why the lights would flicker at the same time every day.

  10. My friends and I about 10 years ago went on this little ghost hunting phase. CSUCI was the top of the list. A group of 4 of us drove up and walked in towards the back where the large dark empty courtyard is. We got access into the hall way and were walking down when we heard movement in one of the class rooms. The light was on when I approached the window to look inside right before I could get to the door it sounded like someone slid a desk across the room into the wall followed by a bucket of tennis balls thrown all at once. We’ve never run so fast in our lives. Till this day I have dreams of that feeling.

  11. Oh yea this place is haunted, because over the years people have opened up areas where they should not. Especially at night and when the fog comes in. I would not want to stay in any dorn there. My son goes there only in the day, but one night I had to pick him up at 8 p.m. I saw some weird fire person in the buildings on the way to the college those weird buidings with the driveway right after the house room. I don’t know what those buildings were used for. Anybody, but that is where it all starts. I have had some issues. I am a psychic so they don’t want me there the spirits I always come protected and so does my son. Best to leave it alone.

  12. I was a patient resident at camarillo 1992. Age 15. The old canteen store there was a tree n picnic table out front any time of day especially after could see a woman in a white dress with dark hair dancing around the tree. In the gym there was a stage.if you sat next to the stage you could hear whispering n strange noises sometimes screams.I’m mean it would chill you to the bone. I can’t remember all the unit numbers its been so long.but there was an old empty unit in between the the girls adolesant unit n the building we went to school in in.they closed it down because of the strange things that happens note you could go down staires and see a female form in the window with a light that looked like a burning candle.we had a staff member that would take us through there at note some times.but we had to walk through it during the day to gt to our school building.sometimes chairs would go could hear a old metal chair rocking bk and forth in one of the old janitor closets n a girl crying.I can remember one day walking through n we heard crying in one of the rooms being nosey teens we walked in to check it out the doors slammed n locked behind us.the crying got louder n louder the air got thick.I refused to go to school after that happens.there are many things I saw n could describe to you but it would take to long.yes the place is truley haunted

    • I was there for a year and a half. I was 16 years old and left when I was 16 1/2 in 1996. I do recall visiting a closed down unit with a staff member. Her name was Chris. We got to visit quite often. One visit while inside the unit, we encountered something horrifying. The lights suddenly turned off and we all ran to get out. The staff member “Chris Jimenez” was also struggling to find the correct key to get out. Mind you, it was pitch black. On another visit, the lady came through. We named her “Shadow”. On another visit during the christmas season, we were outside singing christmas carols and actually saw the closed unit lights flicker to the beat of the song. We assumed it was a prank by another staff member (Jose) from our unit across the way, however, he denied being in the unit because he had to stay in our unit to supervise. Yes! That place is extremely haunted! I have more stories, but that would take much too long to tell.

    • As an alumni of CSUCI, there is one experience that happened to me freshman year that greatly impacted me. Before attending, I had done some research on the University and history of the campus, quickly concluding that it was haunted and I was terrified. That year I was sharing a dorm room with two other girls (a triple) and was lucky enough to have taken the loft bed as my own. One night during the semester, around 3/3:30 a.m. I was woken up by what I can only describe as forceful shaking.. it lasted for what seemed like an eternity but in reality maybe 5 seconds. I remember I laid paralyzed in fear, not even able to get up to see what caused the commotion. I remember laying there in the pitch dark thinking, “Maybe it was a nightmare? Earthquake? GHOST????” As I was trying to recouperate from the horror that just took place, I was met with another forceful shake. Again. The terror that ensued in me was unbelievable. I dare not look down now at the edge of the bed. I stayed awake, lying there until sun rise. The next day I told my roommates and asked if they felt anything, an earthquake perhaps. None of them did. I called my mom and told her how freaked out I was and how I felt like it was a ghost but was met with skepticism. That night I remember getting ready for bed thinking, “if it happens again tonight, look down.” I wanted to know the cause of my fright but I never again had the opportunity.

    • You can walk around the OUTSIDE of the unrenovated buildings, sure, but the police drive around fairly often so I wouldn’t attempt to go inside any of them, especially if you’re a current CSUCI student (like I am). I don’t think the possible asbestos exposure or otherwise gdtting harmed by the buildings’ decay is worth it if they’re being this closely watched, really.

      I’ve done this a few times starting in about the fall of 2017 and haven’t yet encountered anything suspicious from the unrenovated buildings-the only 2 things I’ve encountered that MIGHT be paranormal, a stall door/lock rattling in a women’s restroom and a strange reflection shadow on a terrace wall, were both on the top floor of Bell Tower.

  13. It is 2018 The CSU/Camarillo Hospital has been unhaunted for years. I have gone out there and vistied many times as my daughter is a student there. At night maybe some shadow people you might see down by Portola Road and #33 but that is it. The area is clean and clear because it is being used for Education. The ceremonies that people use to do (Wicca) are gone, no one is allowed on campus and caught doing that cheap shit will be taken off. I am glad the building have re-owned themselves and the school is a open clean place. Yet the Scary Diary and that area still houses evil and I am glad to see it was fenced off.

  14. class “A” EVP’s…
    i can’t say if i’ve ever ‘seen; anything as i am a bigger believer in matrix-ing then i am in ghost.
    with that said, i cannot deny what we’ve p/u on our recorders,
    unmistakable. unaltered. unbelievable.

  15. Teresa Earnest  |  

    Five years ago I found my older brother. He was dropped off by my father at Camarillo when he was 17. Johnny was Mentally Retarded, and no one ever went back to get him. I was eight years old, and until I found him five years ago, I never knew what happened to him.
    I took custody of him when I found him. He was 68 years old. He could not walk, feed himself, or use the bathroom. He has since learned to do it all. He goes to School (adult day care), out to shopping trips, and out to lunch with his friends at school. After spending over 50 years with no family, and living in group homes and state hospitals, Johnny is amazing.
    He has told me a lot about Camarillo. The shock treatments, ice baths, beatings by other patients and staff. With the mind of a five year old, his memory is very solid. Johnny doesn’t know how to lie. He was a skinny mentally ill child who was physically, mentally, and sexually abused his whole life in that hell hole.
    Now he lives with me. I am a Registered Nurse, but had no experience with mentally ill patients. I have had to learn that there are many things he can’t do, but there are many he can.
    I hold so much anger towards everyone who ever abused my brother. Myself included for not finding him sooner, although my late husband and I tried for years. But, I have to say, Johnny has been one of the great blessings of my life. He is a sweet and gentle soul, that even Camarillo didn’t break.

  16. It’s absolutely the origin of the song, Hotel California. When the property was handed over to the Cal State university system, the first thing the director had done was to have the sign removed. She had it stored behind the buildings on the southwest side for several years until it disposed of. The library building was the old main hospital and yes, the rumors of unclaimed cadavers in the basement are true, as are doors leading to partitioned and walled off rooms of ‘dead space’. Oh, and the old buildings on the loop…asbestos contaminated. No student/class usage, only storage. One of my old professors is finishing out his career there before retirement, and had plenty of stories. Should call him, haven’t seen him since pre-Covid.

  17. Was ghost hunting with some friends and on the children’s psyche playground section, my friend sat on the swing and got a response from an old lady (clear as day) whispering aggressively “(GET) OFF THE DAMN SWING”

  18. Was ghost hunting with some friends and on the children’s psyche playground section, my friend sat on the swing and got a response from an old lady (clear as day) whispering aggressively “(GET) OFF THE DAMN SWING” 😮

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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.