By Kristin Ranuio
Every town has a story. Our valley has many tales to tell. When we asked locals what their favorite Napa legend was, most had a hard time choosing just one. A favorite we heard time and again was about the downtown Cinedome theater, in particular, theater 4, towards the back. Former theater employee, Amanda Rogers, said everyone that worked there knew about it. Legend has it that a man hung himself in the space and, that if you went to the last showing of the night in theater 4 and looked up, sometimes you could see him hanging from the rafters. Employees also noticed the lights often flickered, but only in that theater, not the others. Again, it was attributed to the ghost.
“It was a freaky story everyone knew about,” said Adriana Delgillo. “I would never sit in the back row. People said they felt people, or something, touching them if they sat back there.”
Another theater came to mind for Tom Fuller, the Uptown, also located downtown. Once again, the back row was mentioned. This time, the story goes that there was a gentleman who went to the Uptown every day, always sitting in the same seat in the back row. On occasion, he would fall asleep, and one day when a theater employee went to wake him, he had passed away. People are said to still see or smell him on occasion.
He is considered the cranky guy that haunts the place, but he is not alone. There is a young woman there as well However, legend has it she is not cranky, but confused. Some wonder if she knows she is dead. As the story goes, she was a performer, on stage in the beautiful old theater in the thirties or forties. During a performance she fell off of the stage and died instantly. She is said to still be there today.
Luis Uribe remembers hearing a lot of stories, especially when he was in middle school and high school, about the slaughterhouse that once stood on Old Sonoma Highway. Rumor had it they had hung people there, and their ghosts remained. Many students headed over to see if they could catch a glimpse on clear dark nights.
Another legend in the Carneros region was recalled by Amanda Rogers, at what she and other kids who grew up in the area called “the IRA house”, so named because someone had spray-painted IRA on the side. Standing on the corner of Las Amigas and Duhig Road, the house stood abandoned and falling apart. Legend says that robbers hid out there and hid their treasure in the floorboards. Many a Napa kid has gone searching for said treasure, but it has yet to be found.
A popular ghost in the the Valley seems to be one of its founding fathers, George C. Yount. He is said to roam the streets at night, and his most popular legend is that of his gravesite. If you drive by the Yountville cemetery late at night and pay attention as your headlights skim across the graveyard, you will see Mr. Yount keeping a watchful eye out.
The most popular legend of the Napa Valley has to be that of the Rebobs. Almost every single person we spoke to about this story mentioned them. Some even spoke of being told the story by school teachers that had grown up here.
As it is told, at the very end of Partrick Road, a long, lonely, winding road in Browns Valley, lived a scientist. He was no ordinary scientist though, but a mad scientist. For one of his experiments he decided to sew wings on to the backs of monkeys (think Wizard of Oz). His experiment was a success and, after he passed away, the flying monkeys, called Rebobs, continued to breed and their numbers grew to be many. To see the Rebobs, one needed to go all the way to the end of the road at midnight (a very popular time for Napa legends), and wait. There are two popular versions; one says you wait in your car and they will jump on top of it, screeching and trying to attack, the other says that they hide up in the trees and that you need to search for them. If you are lucky if you get to see one.
Whichever local legends you believe, one thing rings true. The stories of the Napa Valley live on and are passed down from one generation to the next. Look around, especially at midnight, and you
never know what you might see.