Ghost Hunt | Preston Castle in Ione, California

Ghost Hunt | Preston Castle in Ione, California

On July 7, 2018, Ghostly Activities and AGHOST investigated Preston Castle in Ione, California. Get the scoop about the ghost hunt after the jump.

Preston Castle’s Haunted Background

Over Preston Castle’s history, three people were killed and 19 died of disease. The murders involved Anna Corbin, a housekeeper bludgeoned to death in 1950, and two teens shot by security guards while they tried to escape. There are conflicting reports about the boys’ treatment at the facility, but suffering was common. Punishments seemed severe, with beatings and isolation used to ‘correct’ errant boys. All this leads up to a case for a residual haunting and the potential for multiple intelligent hauntings.

The Sacrament Bee newspaper has written extensively about Preston Castle. You can read more about its haunted history in an article by Sam McManis.

Environmental Conditions at Preston Castle

Start Time: 8:30 PM PT (July 7, 2018)

End Time: 1:30 AM PT (July 8, 2018)

Solar X-Ray Activity: S1 (minor)

Geomagnetic Field: G1 (minor)

Moon Phase: Last quarter

Temperature: 72°F-80°F inside castle

Humidity: 34%

Barometric Pressure: 29.95″

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm

Investigation Details

Most of the investigation took place on the 2nd floor and in the basement. The main floor was used as the base camp, where gear was stored and the team would meet to talk about their evidence and any tips for other investigators. Power was available throughout the building, but we went lights-out for this investigation.

Overall, Preston Castle had little change in EMF readings and its temperature was very consistent. Rarely did we get EMF spikes. Most of the time, it remained between 0.0mG-0.3mG. As for the temperature, it varied by place, cooler in the basement and warmer on the sealed first floor. There were no variations that would indicate anything paranormal.

Equipment Used:

  • Full Spectrum GoPro 4K
  • Canon Vixia HF R800 Full Spectrum Camcorder
  • Zoom H1n Handy Recorder
  • Wide-Array IR Light
  • MEL 8704-R-REM-ATDD meter

Second Floor Investigation


We started on the second floor to get ambient readings and do some initial debunking to share with other investigators at base camp. The dormitory (mentioned in our review of the Canon full-spectrum camcorder) would pose the most technical difficulty, based on its size and lack of reflective surfaces for full-spectrum lighting. None of our readings were outside normal ranges as we walked through each room.


Full-spectrum video of second floor hallway in Preston Castle

The last part of the investigation had Jake from Ghostly Activities and June from AGHOST on the second floor. Many team members recorded EVPs here. Jake placed the MEL 8704-R-REM-ATDD meter in the hallway (red light in video) to see if it would trigger if something contacted the antenna. However, with bats and bugs flying around, it would likely get debunked. The device never went off during this stop. Jake also did not capture any EVPs here, but AGHOST did get EVPs on the second floor (not here), first floor hallway and stairs leading to the second floor.

You can hear the owls screeching, bats chirping and their wings causing random bass sounds as they fly by the audio recorder

At 12:41 a.m., we did record what could be footsteps, but it could likely be the building shifting or a critter running around the floor above us. The audio file above doesn’t contain the possible footsteps.

Basement Investigation

After we met in base camp to detail our second floor sweep, we grabbed some more gear and Jake swapped out the light rig on the GoPro to better work in dark conditions. Our first stop in the basement was Anna Corbin’s office.

Anna Corbin Office

Ghostly Activities and AGHOST running an EVP session outside Anna Corbin’s office

We conducted a 25-minute EVP session outside Anna Corbin’s office. While we didn’t capture any EVPs, our questioning dealt with her life at Preston Castle and then we asked questions to any spirits of students that may have returned. We could not enter Anna’s office because it has sensitive files of former students. As we left this area, Jake scanned the disinfecting pool for any shadows or ghostly evidence, but found nothing.

Shower Room

After the Corbin office, we went to the shower room. Tim, from the Preston Castle Foundation, told us that this area had produced ghostly evidence. Jake moved directly into the shower and set up the GoPro and Mel meter to capture engagements. Sandy remained outside the shower to run an EVP session with Tim. We did not capture any evidence here.

SPECTER System Experiment

AGHOST using its SPECTER system to test for biological responses to ghost encounters

Our last stop in the basement included a SPECTER system experiment. In the video, you may see some dark lines on the floor. These connect the test subject to the SPECTER system. It measures her biologic responses to the environment. AGHOST used the test to see if subject had connected to 2 spirits. Ghostly Activities was present for 45 minutes of testing before we returned to the second floor hallway.

At the time of this writing, it’s unknown if any data implies a ghost was present. As far as I know, AGHOST is the only paranormal investigation team to use technology like this in the field.


Ghostly Activities didn’t capture any evidence during this investigation, but AGHOST members got more than a dozen EVPs throughout the building. We do believe there is something unexplained happening here, based on its historic evidence collection and EVPs from AGHOST’s investigation.

Getting To Preston Castle

Directions from Sacramento Intl Airport to Ione, CA
Directions to Ione, CA (opens large file)

In our case, we flew into Sacramento International Airport. From there, you can take Hwy 16 from Sacramento to Ione. It’s about an hour’s drive to the south-east, nestled into the foot hills of the Sierra Nevadas.

To book a tour or ghost hunt, visit


Jacob ‘Jake’ Rice has always loved ghosts and scary stories. When he’s not being a tech nerd for work, he’s the gadget guy on the team. He hunts ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities in Seattle and the Puget Sound area.

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