Jeffrey Vallance has been a presence in OC Weekly and LA Weekly as an artist, writer and curator. But the presence Vallance explores in a new magazine article is the ghost of Orange County's favorite disgraced son, who apparently haunts the Yorba Linda joint honoring him.
Writing in the January issue of the British weirdo mag Fortean Times, Vallance begins by recounting an account he wrote in 1994–the same year the 37th president of the U.S. died–that first exposed the world (nether and otherwise) of the haunting of the Richard Nixon
Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, which the National Archives has since renamed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Vallance told of a “poltergeist-like phenomena” in the Nixon Birthplace house, at Dick's gravesite and within the
controversial Watergate display. Those would be enough to spook any red-blooded member of the Silent Majority. But it's particularly spine-chilling to Vallance, who discovered through psychic medium and The Haunting of
the Presidents author Dorothy Maksym that he was the original witness of a mysterious green mist hovering over the grave and that Nixon's spirit is working through–gulp!–him.
That, Vallance writes, “”came as quite a
Perhaps hoping to revive that Ol' Stubbly One magic, Vallance conducted a ghost tour of the central county tourist trap on a recent Sunday afternoon. The 14-member tour was sponsored by the League of Western Fortean
Intermediatists, a loosely knit Southern California paranormal
organization recently founded by Skylaire Alfvegren, and along for the ride was famed psychic medium
“As the group toured the
massive facility, Ross continually channeled Nixon, who would comment
on various aspects of the displays,” writes Vallance. “Just beyond the museum entrance are
cases of artifacts from Nixon's early life, prior to his entering
politics–grade school essays, early photographs, love letters to Pat
and Naval service documents. Here, the spirit of Nixon told the group
that this was the only part of the library that he still enjoyed
At the Hall of World Leaders, which features life-size
statues of Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev, Winston Churchill and
other heavy world hitters, two tour members reported strange buzzing sounds
in their ears, as if caused by insects. Nauseating smells also followed the group, which never determined the origin of the racket nor odors. And many “immediately felt an
unearthly chill” at the Watergate exhibit, although no air conditioning duct could be found.
Cue The Twilight Zone theme . . .
Someone is definitely haunting the birthplace house, the touristas agreed, but there is debate over whether it is the spirit of Nixon or a later inhabitant of the house. Ross is among those who believe Tricky Dicky visits the home that spawned him every night.
Before packing it in, the group gathered beside Nixon's
grave, formed a circle and all joined hands as Ross did his final
“The sun was low in the sky, casting our shadows
dramatically across Nixon's grave,” Vallance writes. “Ross said that after many years of
turmoil, Nixon's spirit was now considerably more at peace.”
According to Vallance, “a warm, peaceful
sensation” washed over tour members as they released hands. But he had to do one more thing before departing the sacred grounds: “I reached down and scooped up soil from Nixon's
grave, which I have since preserved in several small glass vials, one
of which I preserved in a reliquary which I keep close at all times.”
'Cause you never know when you'll be called upon to whip some out.