having lived in south orange county for almost 40 years, i'm always surprised to find out about something i've never heard of or seen. the old mission cemetary in san juan capistrano is one such place. dating back to the 1860's, the cemetary is the final resting place of many of civil war veterans and the native Acjachemen and Juaneno families from the early rancho period of the capistrano valley. it is also home to many, many unmarked graves. burials of modern day members of san juan capistrano's oldest families still take place here to this very day.
the cemetary is owned by the catholic diocese of orange, who apparently do not appreciate the visits of intrepid blog photographers! while snapping my shots, i was visited by the OC sheriff's department, warning me that taking photographs of this historic site is prohibited. luckily, the deputy let me go with my photos intact.
there is a legend that the cemetary is indeed haunted, perhaps the impetus for discouraging visitors to the site.... the ghost of la llorona, or "the weeping woman" is said to haunt this hallowed ground.
The basic story is that La Llorona was a beautiful woman by the name of Maria who killed her children by drowning them in order to be with the man that she loved, but was subsequently rejected by him. (He might have been the children's father who had left their mother for another woman.) Then, after being rejected by her lover she killed herself. When Maria reached the gates of heaven, she was asked, "Where are your children?" and she replied, "I don't know, my Lord." She was not permitted to enter heaven until she found her children. She now wanders the Earth for all eternity, searching in vain for her drowned offspring. Her constant weeping is the reason for her name.
and they say orange county has no real history!