Manual Soto and Dona Feliciano built the Lara-Soto Adobe in the 1830s. After constructing the building they soon started their family with the birth of a baby boy. The baby was taken down to the San Carlos Cathedral, baptized as a Catholic and returned home to live his life with his parents.
At the age of three the boy mysteriously passed away. Manual Soto buried him not in the Catholic cemetery, but in his own front yard. Manual then placed the sapling of a cypress tree on top of the grave. The action of burying the child in the front yard led to many rumors of the child's death and put a curse on the home which the Spanish/Mexican people knew as "Malpaso", an evil path. Because of the Malpaso the Lara-Soto Adobe was left abandoned and unkempt. Drunks, squatters and outlaws used the adobe for short period of time, but it was not until 1940 that a local artist obtained and renovated the adobe. Four years later a local author purchased the Lara-Soto Adobe and had a priest exorcise the building before moving in. While living in the adobe, John Steinbeck then wrote the "Pearl," a story about a Spanish couple losing their young son. Did Steinbeck pickup this event psychically, or was he aware of the legend of the old cypress tree and adapt it to a book?
Months ago while giving my tour I noticed construction going on in front of the adobe. I didn't pay much attention to the plastic tarps and orange webbing wrapped around the building and soon the construction passed. Resuming my normal position near the old tree, one evening my favorite security guard rounded the corner of the building and caught up with me.
The security guard had asked if I had noticed the construction and noted that crews were working on the brick sidewalk in front of the building which now no longer extended to the end of the front of the adobe. The guard said that this was because they found the remains of a small boy. He told us that they immediately stopped the construction; dug down six feet, replaced the remains and covered the area with grass. If you look today you will see that the sidewalk no longer goes to the end of the building and one door is no longer used as an exit or entrance. What an amazing thing it is to find the physical evidence of a legend that has lasted in Monterey for over 170 years.
I have had at least three old-timers stop me in town, knowing that I do the tours, to tell me that at one time Dr. Harry Lusignan used the adobe for his office. After having many unexplainable experiences within that adobe, the good doctor refused to see patients in that building after dark.
Experience hair raising stories and paranormal activities on a 90-minute journey through Old Monterey. Click here to learn more about Ghost Tours of Old Monterey.