I always loved visiting Turlock growing up in Merced, CA. When your parents told you to load up in the car and that we were going to Turlock or Modesto, you knew they planned something cool. Maybe that’s not how it feels to people who live in Turlock, but it did to us. Once I moved away as an adult did I ruminate on all the unexplainable and weird stories coming out of California. Particularly paranormal stories. But never once did I suspect Turlock to be haunted, or the harmless-looking Moose Lodge we used to drive past weekly.
Why is the Moose Lodge considered to be haunted?
The Moose Lodge in Turlock, CA, is only one of several spread out across the country. Established in 1888 by Dr. Henry Wilson, the Moose Club started off as a humble single organization in Louisville, Kentucky. Their official mission statement, which is still upheld today by the “Loyal Order of the Moose”, centers on helping the community and giving men a place to socialize.
Since expanding, the Loyal Order of the Moose has branched to helping the community in even bigger ways, including children and teens in their care efforts by establishing the Mooseheart Child City and School. They also take a lot of pride in caring for their senior members. (Moosehaven members who reach a certain age can enjoy a huge 70-acre “retirement community” in Florida).
But there’s something special about the one in Turlock. And by special, I mean there are a bunch of stories from members that the club has a potential ghost. It is said that the spirit of a former club member lovingly named “Dapper Don” still haunts the club, and that he’s a bit of a prankster, moving chairs and other items around for a little fun. Other members aren’t so convinced, however.
In life, those who knew Don said he “was playful, but never malicious”.
And apparently, to at least one terrified mother, the ghost haunting the club is anything but “playful”.
One night while in the parking lot of the Lodge after her son competed in a Special Olympics event, a guest heard something strange. She recollects:
“During our conversation, I began to notice that there was the sound of someone walking through the sand and dirt on the ground, but I didn’t see anybody around me.The noise seemed to get louder and louder, but nobody ever appeared. I couldn’t blame it on the wind because the few trees in the area were perfectly still.
I got off the phone and started to walk around the building, wondering if someone needed help or something. Part of me hoped that what I heard was somebody in need of assistance, because that way at least I’d know what the noise was. I walked around the entire building and didn’t see a soul,” she shrugged.I made for the front door of the lodge when I felt this pressure on my back, which caused me to stumble.
As I got up, I heard this graveling voice on the air, and it sounded like it was chuckling, laughing at me. I didn’t see anybody, but I definitely didn’t feel alone, and nor did I feel safe. I ran to the doors and took one last glance behind me. I thought I saw a pale white leg move behind the bingo sign out front.I was just about to scream when a white poodle suddenly emerged with a broken leash around its neck.
I probably sound crazy to some people, but it was not a dog I heard rustling all around me,” she said, getting teary eyed. Especially not a tiny dog like this.
And what happened to his leash?”
Can you take a ghost tour of the Moose Lodge in Turlock?
Unfortunately, I can’t see any ghost tours available, but if you’d like to take a chance and visit the lodge for yourself, it’s located at 4713 West Main Street Turlock, CA United States. However, considering it’s a “member’s only” type of deal, you’ll need a guest pass from someone who’s already a member to get in.
Remind me to make friends with a Moose Lodge Member. Who’s coming with me?