Char-Man of Camp Comfort, California

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Camp Comfort in Ojai, California is anything but comforting after hearing the heavily shared stories of the many less than charming entities who call it home.

First, there is rumored to be the spirit of a man who was burnt in a fire that roams the county park.  He emerges from the forest to attack unsuspecting cars and hikers visiting the area.



The San Antonio Creek cuts through the park, providing a popular camping and fishing area for local families and tourists.  Unfortunately, it is also a favorite haunt of the Char-Man.

Local rumor has it that there was a wildfire in 1948 that tore through the park.  An unfortunate father and son were caught in the blaze and the father was killed.  The boy survived, but succumbed to violent burns across his entire body.

Rescue teams responded to the fire and quickly arrived on site.  When they got to the park, the boy was no where to be found.  The team did find the unfortunate father.  He was strung up along a small grove of trees.  Even more alarmingly, his skin had been pulled off.  They were unable to locate the boy.

Many say the son disappeared into the woods after being driven crazy by the stress of the fire and watching his father burn alive.  His own injuries were enough to drive any man crazy.  His burnt, peeling skin and putrid smell were horrifying.

Other locals dispute the story, saying it was actually a husband and wife who were in the county park that day.  When the fire struck, the man went mad as he lay trapped under blazing limbs.  He could only stare in horror as his wife burned alive, screaming for his help.  As he laid trapped and injured in the fire, he was unable to aid his wife.

Whether it was a husband or a son who survived the horrible fire, locals say that as the area became more and more populated, the man retreated deeper and deeper into the woods.  All the while, his rage grew and he went more and more mad.

Associated with the story is the story of the ghost bridge.  Two stories have resonated from the terrifying tales of incidents occurring at the bridge in County Park.  Some have claimed that if you drive on the bridge and get out of your car at night, you will be met by the Char-Man.  He has been reported to run at courageous thrill seekers and attack.  Many have reported feeling as though he was trying to rip their skin off.

Still another story about the bridge involves a young woman who wanders the park in a bloody wedding dress.  Local residents say the image is actually the ghost of a woman who was murdered in the woods.  On the day of her wedding, her fiance took the woman into the woods and killed her, likely in an effort to obtain her dowry and escape the clutches of marriage.  Although both entered the woods that night, neither was seen or found again.


(images:[email protected]/flickr)

Finally, as if a haunted bridge and horrifying man weren’t enough for this small town, there is also a commonly shared story of the Ojai Vampire.  A man relocated from Spain to the area in 1890.  He purchased a small ranch and maintained a low profile in the area.  Unfortunately, when unexplained incidents began to happen in the local town, the mysterious newcomer was the first to be blamed.

Cattle and livestock were found dead with their blood drained.  Other locals were attacked by animals they described as giant, morphed wolves.  They raided the Spaniard’s ranch and brutally beat and killed the man.  Since that time, local residents have reported seeing either a giant black dog or a walking skeleton in the area that used to be the man’s home.  Some speculate that he remains to seek revenge for his gruesome end.

It doesn’t help that there was a small cemetery located in the area before it was cleared out to make way for the park.  Either way, Camp Comfort is sure to be less than comforting for those brave enough to travel to Ojai, California.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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