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At the corner of Riverside Ave. and Second St. in Rialto, California, you'll find what has been called "the best kept secret in Rialto." The cornerstone of the historical society is the old Christian Church. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the church, built in 1907, retains its original stained glass windows, curved "Kansas style" pews, and elegance of a time gone by.

The former church school building next door has been transformed into a museum with displays depicting a delightful turn of the century home, a citrus exhibit and packing house office, military display with medals and uniforms, and an early 20th century doctor's office with a display of medical instruments. There is also a collection of paintings by Jean Adams, an aerial view of historic Rialto, a library of genealogical information and a series of maps tracing the growth of Rialto from 1892 to 1929.

The museum is open for tours Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

John Anthony Adams, Ph. D., is the historian of the Historical Society, and submitted this photo that was taken by Rich McInnis. The photographer did not see anything on the stairway when he snapped the photo, and was shocked to see the image after taking the film to a one-hour photo shop. A few days after this photo was taken, Adams was leading a tour of elementary school students through the church. He had not mentioned the image in the photo, but four girls began screaming that they had seen the ghost of a woman with black hair and a white dress standing in the exact same spot where the image on the photo appeared. The entire class panicked and the teacher had a fit after seeing her normally well-behaved class go completely out of control.

Adams explains, "The stories began with the discovery of a very appealing little girl ghost whose ashes had been kept in the church. She was sent on her way after three very emotional seances, but other ghosts remain to haunt the church. Two different pairs of Rialto policemen have told me of encountering the ghost of a woman in a Victorian dress on two different occasions after answering a burglar alarm after midnight. Both of these encounters occurred at the base of the same stairway that is shown in the above photo. Dozens of other people have also convincingly told me of their ghostly experiences in the church. Some of the incidents are similar to those commonly described in ghost stories, such as the sound of footsteps without a visible person to make them, but other bizarre things have happened that I have never seen mentioned elsewhere. One example is a drinking glass that disappeared from beside my dinner plate only to instantly reappear from thin air several minutes later at the same spot where I had last seen it. I am not crazy because there was another witness to this event. I was also dumbfounded to learn that genuine psychics truly exist. I have invited many people to investigate the church, and two of them, a man and a woman, proved to have astounding agreement with what I knew about the ghosts and with each other's observations. They had certainly never met when I first learned each one's conclusions about the ghosts and realized that they agreed as closely as if they had both been describing living people rather than unseen spirits. The man, Tom Hagman, is a ghost investigator of more than 30 years experience who had made many visits to investigate the ghosts in the church and to attempt to send them on their way. The very psychic woman, Cathy Mancinci, became a close friend of mine and of Tom and has since helped him many times in his work in the old church and in other haunted buildings. The old church building is a very unusual haunted structure because of the discovery of a ghost portal in the kitchen area. This was reported in precisely the same location on three separate occasions by psychics who came to visit the old church without hearing what others had to say about it. They concluded that this allows ghosts to enter and leave the church and accounts for the large number of ghosts there."

The Little Girl in the Window: A True Ghost Story is a book written by Adams about the scores of extraordinary ghostly encounters that he has experienced, along with other witnesses. It records minutely detailed notes of every incident, and the book was written with the greatest care to describe exactly what happened. Chick on the book cover for more information!

The ghosts in the church have also been discussed in large newspaper stories in three different inland Southern California newspapers, and the haunted historical society building has become well known in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, drawing many people to the museum.

Rialto Historical Society
201-205 N. Riverside Ave
Rialto, CA 92376

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