In 1980, Janice Cameron moved into a rented house in the affluent East Bay suburb of Alamo, CA, paying a monthly rent of $125. To her surprise, she discovered she had a roommate—the ghost of the house. Rather than being unsettled, Cameron embraced the unique companionship, and over time, the haunted house became a dear friend. Here is her story.
The residence at 836 El Pintado Rd instantly felt like the perfect fit for Cameron from the moment she moved in. Reflecting on that time, she recalls, “The place had a cheerful and pleasant vibe. My girlfriend and I decided to paint the walls as one of our first actions.”
The house had a peculiar trait—its atmosphere, color, and scent would change based on the ghost’s mood. After painting the walls pink and refreshing the white trim, Cameron noted, “The house seemed to radiate a glow from that moment onwards. It’s challenging to articulate, but it became a genuinely joyful place.”
During a date with a less-than-ideal suitor, the house responded negatively. Cameron explains, “Whenever he entered, the house would become dank, emitting a strange odor. It was a distinct shift—negative and unpleasant. But as soon as he left, it would brighten up again.”
The house played a role in Cameron’s dating decisions. She recounts, “I found myself gauging her reaction to people entering the house because it would change instantly. A guy I was dating, for instance, made the house bright and smell like cinnamon—she liked him.”
As an opera singer, Cameron’s musical talents also influenced the ghost’s behavior. While the ghost loved her singing, it detested her accordion playing, causing the house to become dank with a moldy smell.
The ghost exhibited mischievous behavior, playing tricks on Cameron by hiding items, from stove knobs to sheet music. Cameron shares amusing incidents, saying, “It wasn’t scary, just peculiar. I thought I was losing it.”
Despite the ghost’s quirky actions, Cameron felt a sense of care and support. The ghost seemed to have her best interests at heart, even helping her find misplaced sheet music before a nerve-wracking performance.
Over time, the ghost became increasingly friendly. Cameron describes the experience as both startling and scary, yet oddly comforting. During a major earthquake, the ghost provided solace by enveloping Cameron in what felt like a warm, electric blanket, assuring her that the house was stable.
As Cameron delved into the history, she discovered that a woman had died in the 1800s right outside her room. When Cameron eventually moved on, the house resisted changes. Attempts to paint over the pink walls proved futile, and subsequent owners experienced dissatisfaction, leading to a quick sale.
Looking back, Cameron cherishes her time in the haunted house, considering the ghost a significant and positive presence. Reflecting on the experience, she notes, “She didn’t disrupt my life; she enhanced it. I love that.