Is Clovis haunted?

The Wolfe Manor mansion near Clovis and Gettysburg avenues was rumored to be haunted, according to paranormal investigators. Throughout its 92-year history, the building served as a private residence and then a sanitarium before it was abandoned and eventually demolished in 2014. RON SUNDQUIST/CLOVIS ROUNDUP FILE PHOTO

From its beginnings as a freight stop along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad in 1890, to its incorporation as a city in February of 1912, Clovis has made its fair share of history.

And with Halloween quickly approaching, one has to wonder – a city this old, with such a rich culture – could there be some real life afterlife action going on in Old Town and beyond?

In the Central Valley paranormal scene there are a few notable and trusted sources on the subject: Michael Banti who owns and operates the weirdfresno.com blog, Ryan Privee of Central Valley Historical Ghost Tour Adventures and Paul Dale Roberts, esoteric detective of Halo Paranormal Investigations (HPI) International. Roberts also operates a paranormal hotline.

After speaking with these experts and folks around town about known haunts in Clovis – I kept hearing about one location in particular: Wolfe Manor.

Wolfe Manor has a dark history that centers mainly around its time as a sanitarium.

Todd Wolfe, the most recent owner of the property had plans to turn it into a haunted bed and breakfast according to Privee. “But when he acquired the land he tore down the hospital wing section,” he said. The city had forced Wolfe to demo parts of the building that were not up to code for a bed-and-breakfast venue, prior to its full demolition in 2014.

“It likely upset the spirits since it was a mental institution and hospital. There were apparently a lot of negative spirits there,” Privee said about the demo of the hospital wing. “I’m sure if you went on the land you’d still get paranormal activity. That doesn’t really go away just because the building is gone.”

Now just an empty dirt lot on the corner of Clovis and Santa Ana Avenue next to a strip mall with a barbeque joint and a Sherwin-Williams paint store, the former site of Wolfe Manor is no longer fenced off (presumably because it is no longer a safety hazard) and completely unassuming if you didn’t know what once stood there.

Clovis Roundup photographer Ron Sundquist and I arrived just after dark on a Thursday and after two hours were disappointed when we didn’t hear any creepy voices or see any entities like when the Manor appeared on Syfy Network’s “Ghost Hunters,” and Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and “Dead Files.”

But we did capture a few photos with orbs (also known as “backscatter” in photography), which in the ghost hunting world can sometimes be proof of an otherworldly entity. I immediately sent the photo to my sources.

Roberts, who is to appear on an episode of “Ghost Adventures” sometime next month, said “Orbs can almost be anything from dust, skin flakes, dew drops, lint, light refractions.” He went on to explain, “what we try to do is show that the orb has intelligent movement. In one of our cases, one of my investigators was feeling drained, I thought it could be Emily the ghost. I told Emily to kiss my investigator and with three cameras, we capture an orb on his lips. This shows intelligent movement. Only at that point can it be classified as paranormal.”

So, with our photo, Roberts couldn’t tell if the orbs had intelligent movement or just plain old dust and pollen particles.

“Cool picture, but definitely dust and pollen,” Privee agreed.

Banti concurred, “it looks like what you have there are what are called dust orbs. They can occur both indoors and outdoors and are the result of the flash of a digital camera reflecting off dust particles in the air. The photo you took is typical of ones outdoors, especially in a dirt field.”

“I’m sad the house is no longer there,” Banti continued. “I had the chance to investigate it several times and something weird always happened.”

“I’ve been touched before and no one was around me. I’ve been on the bottom floor and heard footsteps above when no one was up there. When I went up there I saw a shadowy figure go into a room. I went in to investigate but nothing was in there. And this was a back room so it wasn’t a light from a car outside or anything. I even checked and no new cars were outside. Also, the place had such a foreboding feeling,” Banti said.

It seems many others have had paranormal experiences in Clovis but it just wasn’t meant to be for Ron and I on this particular trip.

According to Roberts though, based on his work, we should try again closer to Halloween.

“It seems to be the busiest time for us,” he said. “People get spooked out during October and before I know it, they are calling me on the paranormal hotline.”

“I think Clovis is a hotspot for all kinds of paranormal activity,” he reassured me. “Nearby we have Fresno and that is where [witnesses] saw those alien stick figures walking across a lawn. If it can happen in Fresno, it can happen in Clovis.”

Maybe Banti will have to expand his website to include “Weird Clovis” someday soon?

It’s quite possible that there are spooky areas in Old Town and surrounding Clovis. And this is where you come in Roundup readers!

Do you think your house may be home to a ghost as well? Have you been into a building in Old Town that sent shivers up your spine or caused the hairs on your neck to stick straight up?

It’s up to you to let us know of any haunted buildings, businesses or residences you might know to be haunted so we can continue our investigation.

Kelsey Lester-Perry
Kelsey is an award-winning reporter from San Jose who recently moved to Clovis. Her previous work experiences includes the Spartan Daily, La Voz Weekly, and the Gilroy Patch.