A True Story
The site of the SF Armory was once taken up by Wayward Gardens, a combination amusement park, museum, art gallery, zoo, and aquarium operating from 1866 to 1891.
In 1878 a visiting side show called the Karnival of Mischief visited the Gardens. The owner of the Gardens – Bobby B. Wayward, had 5 children, who would frequent the attractions there. On a foggy night of October 31st, 1878, Ophelia – one of his daughter’s, went missing while attending the Karnival of Mischief. A community wide search came up with nothing. A number of ‘karni’s’ as they were called, were questioned, some roughly. Though foul play was suspected, no one ever knew what happened to her. She was last seen carrying a bouquet of balloons, but never seen again.
Heart broken and dealing with his wife mad from grief and calling the site cursed, the family eventually moved to Napa with their remaining 4 children, the gardens were eventually closed in 1890 when the new owners let it fall into disrepair as more and more staff didn’t want to work there for the strange happenings that would occur there.
After it’s closing, the Armory was built over the same site in 1914. The Army corps of engineers who over saw it’s building and maintenance reported strange voices and sightings on especially foggy nights, and the grounds were considered haunted by the more suspicious and believing men who spent the most time there. Was it an apparitional experience, hallucination, a ghost? It became known in the parlance of those who’d seen her as a phantasm.
Re-opened in 2006 by Kink.com after being empty for 30 years, contractors, film production staff and late night security all have stories to tell of hearing the faint disembodied cries of Ophelia in the dark hallways of the Armory, going so far as naming one of the upstairs rooms in her honor. Many have had their hearts stopped briefly by turning a dark corner of the Armory at night, to see the phantasm there of the girl with the balloons. It’s a common refrain, spoken with mirth and dread – have you seen Ophelia? What will happen they wonder, when this Phantasm returns to the Armory on Halloween? We dare you to find out.