Tucked into the mountains of Pasadena, California is the Sam Merrill trail, lovingly referred to as “The Haunted Forest” trail. This trail, which starts as an old, crumbling driveway, is the site of the former Cobb Estate.
Cobb Estate was built in 1918 by Charles and Carrie Cobb. In 1939, Cobb died and left the estate to the Scottish Right Temple Freemasons, who sold the estate just a few years later. The home was also used by the Sisters of St Joseph as a retreat. In 1956, the property was purchased by the Marx family, but by 1959, all that was left of the mansion was ruins. The estate was put up for auction in 1971 and was converted into a state park. All that’s left of Cobb’s estate are the steps that led up to the door and the water reservoir.
The ghost stories associated with Cobb Estate are wide-spread, but vague in nature. There have been reports of hikers feeling like they’re being watched or touched, sounds of footsteps, laughter and screams. Many hikers have claimed to see strange lights, but finding no one to whom to attach the lights.
I have heard rumors that many people have encountered demonic activity on this trail, but I cannot find any written recollection. I have also heard rumors that a nun was raped and killed in this forest and that her ghost still hangs around, but, again, I cannot find anything written on the subject.
On Friday, October 9, 2015, I went with a group of friends for a midnight hike in The Haunted Forest to check it out for myself. There were several different groups there, so we were definitely not alone.
The entrance to the trail is marked by a large gate. Many have likened this gate to the Gates of Hell, but it was a typical Southern California entrance, if you ask me. We ventured upward and came across a small set of stairs, which I have now found out were the stairs that once led to the main house.
Unfortunately, we did not experience anything supernatural or out of the ordinary. I can say that there were points where I felt as though we were being watched, but I can’t give any more detail than that. We still made the most out of our hike, though, by telling scary stories and enjoying the expansive view of Los Angeles.
Around 2am, the group split into two. Four of us made our way down the mountain because it was passed our bedtimes. The other six continued up the narrow path, determined to reach the end of the trail. As we were descending, we could hear laughter echoing in the mountains. This laughter belonged to my sister, who happens to have a very distinguishable laugh. Because of this, I’ve determined that the laughter and screams that people have heard come from groups who are much further ahead on the trail, as sound travels very easily down a canyon.
This time around, I decided to capture some footage. While I got quite a few pictures, the footage I got was actually pretty entertaining. It helps that I went with a group of fun people. Take a look at the video below and hear some of our scary stories. (Please don’t judge the quality of the footage. I took the video on my phone and it’s my first time editing. Feedback appreciated).