Pacifica ghost hunters charged with burglary 

Rumors that a girl once died at a "creepy" Pacifica school drew three ghost-hunting teens who now face trial on burglary charges.

Kenji Ananda Snow, Sharif Adam and Burhan Husseini, all 18, say they were just messing around ghost-hunting Thanksgiving night when Pacifica police caught them on the grounds of the vacant Fairmont School. The three allegedly tried breaking in through a boarded-up door.

"It always gave off a creepy feeling so we thought we’d check it out," Snow said. "We probably would’ve put the board back over the door when leaving," he added.

Snow, Adam and Husseini are now set to go to trial Feb. 5 on charges of attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools. Attorney Eric Lieberman said he had tried to get the charges reduced to a trespassing infraction, calling it a "youthful incident," but prosecutors declined.

The school has been closed since 1999 for safety reasons after it was deemed potentially unsafe in an earthquake, according to the Pacifica School District.

Snow, who went to Oceana High School before moving to Idaho two years ago, said he was a fan of the Sci-Fi Channel’s "TAPS," a ghost-hunting show, and became interested as a hobby two years ago because of the science involved, ultimately joining the Idaho Spirit Seekers Club.

Snow went to one meeting and went on one investigation of the Boise State University communications building this past spring, said Marie Cuff, executive director of the six-year-old, 36-investigator non-profit, before he became inactive.

All three said they were part of the club when caught by police, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, but Adam and Husseini said Tuesday they had nothing to do with it.

"We never, ever, ever go to a location without prior permission. Those are the rules that Kenji had signed before he wenton that first investigation," an irritated Cuff said.

While the Fairmont School has not garnered too much paranormal attention historically, there are other sites in San Mateo County that have.

Mitch Postel, the director of the San Mateo County History Museum, said there are a handful of ghost stories around the county, including one involving the county’s old courthouse at 2200 Broadway in Redwood City.

Many people have said they’ve felt, seen, been touched by or heard a ghost in the old courthouse building where the history museum now is, Postel said. Other county ghosts include the Blue Lady at the Moss Beach Distillery in Half Moon Bay and a ghost dog that haunts the Woodside Store, Postel said.

E-mail David Smith at

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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