San Francisco’s Haunted Neptune Society Columbarium

Neptune Society Columbarium

Nestled away in the quiet residential neighborhood of San Francisco’s Richmond District rests many of the Bay Area’s deceased. The Neptune Society Columbarium bears the task of holding the remains of over 8,000 dead San Franciscan’s. The columbarium is one of San Francisco’s oldest, having been around since 1897.

Neptune Society Columbarium in San Francisco.
Outside of San Francisco’s haunted Neptune Society Columbarium.

Today, the building stands proudly showing off its beautiful Neo-Classical architecture. Yet, it wasn’t always in such pristine condition. Originally, the Neptune Society Columbarium was part of a much larger resting place, being surrounded by a cemetery spanning more than 100 acres. This cemetery was exhumed and moved outside of the city to Colma, along with many others in San Francisco at the time. Fortunately, the Columbarium survived, yet fell in to disrepair shortly after. Years later new ownership allowed the decay and neglect to be reversed as the building was lovingly restored.

Inside the haunted Neptune Society Columbarium.
Inside the dome of the Neptune Society Columbarium, looking up at the various layers containing the remains of deceased San Franciscans.

The cemetery removal process occurred as land became scarce in the city, hindering its further development. Pairing this with the 1901 law that restricted new burials within the city limits makes the Neptune Society Columbarium a unique sanctuary of death within San Francisco. Its strange past and close relationship with the dead have allowed the Neptune Society Columbarium to accumulate its fair share of ghost stories.

Lead light inside Neptune Society Columbarium.
Lead light detailing inside one of the Columbarium’s buildings.

Is The Neptune Society Columbarium Haunted?

The Neptune Society Columbarium is a place of rest for many deceased and quite possibly some who aren’t at rest.

Wall of graves outside the Neptune Society Columbarium.
Wall of graves looking over the exterior of the Neptune Society Columbarium.

It’s not hard to imagine that there are spirits who roam the many halls of the columbarium. Walking through the building is like peering through small windows containing the most precious memories and treasured artifacts from lives once lived. Could confused spirits still exist in the area, lost since their bodies or remains were removed? Could there be others attached to the precious artifacts they once held so dear, now on display with urns filled with their ashes? Some seem to think so, and there are stories that support the rumors that the Neptune Society Columbarium is haunted.

Urn and display inside Neptune Society Columbarium.
Example of an urn with its tribute display to the lost loved one it contains.

Perhaps the best known and most disturbing ghost story to come out of the Columbarium is that of a woman who claims to have been touched by an unseen force. The legend states that this woman was visiting the Columbarium, walking around to view the many displays paying tribute to lost loved ones. She claimed to feel a cold, icy hand touch her back, but when she turned around there was nobody around to be seen. The most compelling part of this story is that there was allegedly a white hand print left on her dark shirt, right in the area she felt the phantom’s touch. Many more have claimed to feel this same sensation or that of a nearby presence as they walk through the Columbarium.

Inside the Neptune Society Columbarium.
Various windows containing remains of the deceased inside the Neptune Society Columbarium.

Another spirit reportedly haunts the main circular levels of the Columbarium. Staff, including security and the veteran caretaker, have claimed to have seen the apparition of a little girl dressed in turn of the century garb. It is common that disembodied footsteps, voices and giggling are heard, also believed to be linked to this little girl. Not much is known about this spirit, but it is commonly thought that her origins may be linked to the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco.

Metal work in Neptune Society Columbarium.
Design details inside the Neptune Society Columbarium.

Visiting The Haunted Neptune Society Columbarium

Whether or not you believe the stories about the haunted Neptune Society Columbarium, it is worth a visit for anyone who appreciates history and beautiful architecture. Walking through the columbarium is like peering into a museum filled with small murals dedicated to the lives of strangers. Tours are also available of the space, make sure to plan ahead to organize one of these if visiting.

Ghosts of Neptune Society Columbarium.
Visiting the ghosts of the Neptune Society Columbarium.

You’ll find the Neptune Society Columbarium at the very end of Loraine Court in San Francisco. Make sure to be respectful to the lost loved ones resting within the facility and the neighbors who share the same street as the Columbarium.

Ceiling inside the Neptune Society Columbarium.
Looking up at the Neptune Society Columbarium’s dome ceiling.

If you enjoyed reading this article and want to learn about other unique places of death in San Francisco, I recommend checking out the Presidio Pet Cemetery.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

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