The information obtained from a park brochure describes the cultural history of this vast land. We were asked to investigate this property as part of a Halloween article for the San Jose Mercury News. We requested and obtained permission for this investigation by Lisa, Park Ranger and Ron, Park Historian, two of the warmest, most hospitable people I have ever met. They were more than willing to help us put together this article by coming in on their days off and assisting us in any way they possibly could to investigate this house and determine if there was any activity in there.
The land that is now Grant Park was first inhabited by Werwersen Ohlone Indians. In 1839, a 15,000 acre Mexican Land Grant was awarded to Jose de Jesus Bernal and was named Rancho Canada de Pala. Jose de Jesus and his two brothers built adobes around a spring fed pond on a ridge overlooking the Santa Clara valley. They pastured cattle and horses on this land. In 1849, the southern third portion of the land was sold to Samuel Q. Broughton. Joseph D. Grant acquired his first portion of acreage at the age of 22. By 1890, he owned 2,619 acres. Eventually he owned all the acreage which encompasses the present day park which totals approximately 10,000 acres. Grant used this land for sport and pleasure.
He remodeled the original house which was built in 1882 and added a cookhouse, servants quarters among other houses and buildings as well as a rose garden and aviary.
When J.D. Grant stayed at the ranch, he entertained dignitaries such as Leland Stanford and Herbert Hoover. Mr. Hoover stayed at the ranch for a month after his election loss to Franklin Roosevelt.
J.D. Grant died in 1942. His wife, Edith, died in 1946. The children owned the property but one daughter, Josephine, purchased shares of the house and became the sole owner. She became a full time resident in 1958 and remained until her death in 1972. The property was purchased by Santa Clara County in 1975 to be preserved as a park. The park was opened to the public in 1978.
We were joined at the park entrance by Ron, the Park Historian and eventually by Lisa, the Park Ranger. Both led us up the winding road to the house and surrounding buildings. We set up equipment and started our investigation in the downstairs areas. The house is large and amazingly intact. The rangers have done a great job in restoring this house by painting and fixing up areas in need of immediate repair. We wandered carefully from room-to-room and although our group was able to detect variations in temperatures and EMF readings in some rooms, some rooms did not register anything and yet, you knew you were not alone.
The feeling of "thickness" and "denseness" that you usually feel in unexplained areas were confirmed by Lisa, the park ranger, by saying that people would never go into those areas although they had the opportunity. We could not understand how these people who worked here in these buildings could not feel what we feel or see what we were seeing. We saw shadows crossing doorways and walking around outside, there were problems with our video cameras (funny...not just ours, but the newspaper photographer also made the comment of things going wrong and seeing unexplained lights in her camera), batteries to cameras died and had to be replaced. I was ready to call our investigation and moderate success when we finally had contact.
One of our members, while coming out of a room behind everyone else as she was videotaping, felt a strong hand on her left shoulder and after making a comment to the person in front of her (who just happened to be the newspaper reporter), was violently pushed and almost knocked over the both of them. There was nothing on the ground to indicate uneven floor or anything to trip over and she was truly shaken for the rest of the evening. This member had been on many invesigations with us before and although things had happened to others in our group, nothing ever happened to her and now she understands the power of those things that we cannot see nor understand. She has a new respect for the things that we do.
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