Mixed Messages at Murphy Ranch

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Mixed Messages at Murphy Ranch

Mixed Messages at Murphy Ranch
Mixed Messages at Murphy Ranch

(image:flickr/hullam)

The Murphy Ranch Compound is a fifty acre establishment, built in Rustic Canyon, Los Angeles.  Started in the 1930s, the original efforts were supported by Winona and Norman Stephens, supporters of the American Socialist Party.  The pair were Nazi sympathizers who were absolutely obsessed with the occult.

In 1933, Jessie M Murphy took over as the owner of the compound.  Jessie worked with architects and builders to construct the compound, designed as an independent, self-sustaining Nazi base, meant to be the eventual hide out of Adolf Hitler when the war moved its way to the Americas.  Elaborate plans showed lay outs for water storage tanks, fuel tanks, bomb shelters, outbuildings, bunkers, power houses, barns, garages, and meat lockers.

Established to be the Nazi White House for the Third Reich’s arrival, it seemed no expense had been spared.  Curling plans were not only found for the self-sustainment necessities, but there were also extravagant plans found for the mansion that was to serve as home base.  The outer parimeters of the home were barricaded with chain link and barbed wire fencing.  Dated August 28, 1933, the four story grand mansion was centered around a fountain featuring the twelve signs of the zodiac.  Inside, there was a grand central hall, libraries, suites, servant quarters, music rooms, social rooms, and an indoor pool.

Winona and Norman Stevens recruited people to live on the compound.  Winona was a large part of the movement. As she was very into the supernatural, she claimed to be communicating with a German named Herr Schmidt.  He told her that after Germany won the war, the United States would not be able to stay afloat and anarchy would result.  The compound would save those whom Winona chose.  She specifically recruited architects, builders, teachers, doctors, dentists and farmers.

Mixed Messages at Murphy Ranch

(image:flickr/skizz)

Unfortunately for the compound members, reports of rape, murder and abduction quickly surrounded the camp and the police raided the compound in 1941.  They detained over fifty members of the caretaker force, although Winona and Norman Stevens were never found.  Unfortunately, many of the missing children who were reportedly abducted were never found either and great mystery enshrouded the camp, even after its disbanding.

Visitors still travel to the area, located deep in a canyon in Los Angeles, California.  Those courageous enough to attempt it are met with a nearly four mile hike and over five hundred steep, dangerous stairs.  Rumor has it that people near the canyon reported, even long after the disbanding, that they saw men in odd uniforms patrolling the hills.  Hikers can explore those very hills and imagine what the compound life must have been like for the people recruited to live there.

While visitors may not see oddly dressed men in uniforms patrolling, they do often report hearing children crying or screaming and never being able to locate the source.  They have reported having rocks or other items thrown at them, despite being the only one in the area.  Similarly, they have had a sensation of being pushed or shoved.  Spirits are said to wander the area, often blamed for the noises, voices, and sounds often heard echoing over the empty expanses.

Rumor has it , throughout the 1930s, neighbors in the canyon spied men patrolling the hills on weekends, in uniforms similar to those of the Silver Shirts, an American fascist group.

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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