Preston Castle — Ione, CA

Preston Castle was founded in 1894 as a correctional trade school for troubled young men.  It was an opportunity for these boys, who had already chosen a life of crime, to learn a trade and have a shot at becoming successful, productive adults.  Many of the boys who were sent to the Preston Youth Correctional Facility had little to no family and were likely emotionally scarred.  Needless to say, Preston Castle was not a happy place for the majority of young men who ended up there.

Today it remains, looming and largely vacant, on a hill in Ione, California — in desperate need of renovation; many of the original walls still stand, but barely.  The Preston Castle Foundation now owns and protects this historical landmark.  It is known as one of the most active paranormal hotspots in the state due to the residual emotions and sadness that remain, even today.

Recently, two of my friends and I made a trip to Ione to take a tour of Preston Castle and see it for ourselves.

To see it in a photo or on television is one thing, but to be there in person was a whole different experience.  As I drove up, my breath was taken from me as the building is so incredibly beautiful and spooky.  The tour we took was during the day, but even then, we felt an uneasy sense of being watched. It was extremely unsettling.  The energy we felt was not kind or welcoming, but rather malicious and angry.  In one particular room, where the boys would receive punishment, this energy was so powerful that my friend and I became dizzy and felt heavy, as if we had weights on our feet.

I will always remember the tour of Preston Castle particularly because I had one of the most intriguing paranormal experiences during my visit.  The tour group was in the basement, and I had branched off from the group a bit to look around.  Suddenly, I felt a strange tingling sensation on my arm —  a sort of static electricity, almost as if my hairs were standing up, only on this one specific spot on my arm.  I felt at peace though, and the sensation remained for about three minutes as I stood there, somewhat paralyzed in awe.  I knew I had been contacted by the spirit of what was most likely a sad young boy, searching forever in the realm between life and what comes after death.

I would highly recommend taking a tour of Preston Castle if you ever get the chance.  Not only is the history particularly fascinating, but the personal connection you feel with the many young men that lived and died there is something I won’t soon forget.

For more information visit their website at


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