Meet the Ghost Walks team

Julie Ann Brown

Founder, Santa Barbara Ghost Tours
New Owner, Santa Barbara Ghost Walks


Professor Julie Ann Brown founded Santa Barbara Ghost Tours in September of 2017 after researching the friendly ghosts of Santa Barbara for nine months prior to her business launch.

She began collecting ghost stories while attending USC and working on the Queen Mary as a tour guide.  She was constantly in trouble for telling ghost stories as the City of Long Beach did not want the QM to be known as a “ghost ship.” 

Today, Julie has heard many of her collected stories told to others during the current Queen Mary tours, decades after she first collected them!

When she is not volunteering as a docent or usher at Old Mission Santa Barbara, she teaches nine classes as a tenured professor and the Department Chair of Marketing, Finance, and International Business at Santa Barbara City College. 

By the way, Julie has had a love affair with Santa Barbara since a quick stop in the town at eight years old.  She was with her German Father and Australian Mother heading up to camp in Northern California when they were stopped by a traffic light on the 101.  Julie remembers looking up at the beautiful homes in the hills of Santa Barbara, the American Riviera, and promised herself she would live there someday.  She never stopped striving and believing in her early dream of making Santa Barbara her home.  Now she makes her home in Santa Barbara, and for all intents and purposes, is collecting the tales of those who loved and lived in this town and sharing them with others.

It seems that Santa Barbara is the City of Friendly Ghosts.  From the Chumash to those who have left this realm recently, the friendly ghosts of Santa Barbara enjoy coming back for vacation and sentimental journeys back home. 

She is excited to have you join her as she tells stories over wine at a beautiful Santa Barbara winery, attending an event where you need a storyteller or team builder, or walking the streets where the happy Santa Barbara ghosts are delighted you are coming to join them and hear the takes of their lives.

Joseph Soltis

Ghost Hunter & Tour Guide

As we all know, for untold milliennia before the Julian Calendar, Halloween, or Samhain to the ancient Celts, marked that poignant moment at the golden end of the warm season when the veils between the human world and the realm of the spirits are the thinnest. It was a time of reverence for and contact with the dead and Halloween was when people communicated with them. In the zodiac, the power of Halloween is represented by the sign Scorpio. Scorpios are the descendants of the keepers of the Samhain rites held sacred by the ancient world. The true occult power of Scorpio lies in its ability to connect with the invisible dimensions of life, celebrated so long ago at Samhain. It is said that a baby born on Halloween will have the natural ability to see and speak to spirits at any time of the year. Not only is Joseph a Scorpio born on Halloween, he has been attending ghost tours across the country for over 25 years and brings that experience to his style of storytelling here in Santa Barbara, his newfound home. Joseph specializes in the paranormal and has identified specific points in the El Pueblo Viejo Historic District of Downtown Santa Barbara that have paranormal phenomenon. Join him on his Paranormal Encounters Ghost Tour, where you become an active participant with things that go bump in the night.

Neal Graffy

Writer & Tour Guide

“Delightfully unfettered by convention” pretty much sums up Neal Graffy’s approach to history. Whether it be in print, radio, television, documentary or live, his audiences always find his presentations to be entertaining and fun, yet educational.

Neal first gave voice to history in 1989 when he premiered a slide show talk on Santa Barbara History. He eventually crafted over 24 different talks on Santa Barbara history resulting in over 300 presentations including a sold-out monthly series at Santa Barbara’s Victoria Street Theater. Graffy has had numerous appearances on local, state and national radio and TV including Huell Howser’s California Gold, KCET TV’s Life and Times, PBSs City Walk, and nationally on This Old House and C-SPAN’s Cities Tours. He has been featured in several documentaries including the Emmy Award winning Impressions in Time.

He has authored numerous monographs for historical organizations, as well as articles in regional and national publications. He has written three books, “Historic Santa Barbara,” “Santa Barbara Street Names” and “Santa Barbara Then & Now,” and co-authored a series of “Santa Barbara History Mysteries” (historical fiction), taking place in the early 1900s – “A Murder at the Potter Hotel,” “An Unfortunate Incident at Castle Rock” and “Our Lady of Sorrows 1782 – 2004.” He is currently completing “The Great Santa Barbara Earthquake of 1925 – The Disaster That Built a City.”

Catherine Miller

Original Founder
Visiting Ghost Guide

Over a decade and a half ago, Catherine Miller fell in love with Santa Barbara and moved to her new home near the Mission. Through the years she heard many great ghost stories from locals and it occurred to her that visitors might also like to hear about the colorful past … and the ghostly residents who haunt historical sites. After meeting historian Neal Graffy, Catherine knew that she had found the perfect collaborator to create a fun filled, highly informative venture … hence, the birth of Santa Barbara Ghost Walks!

Catherine Miller’s entrepreneurial spirit mixed with her passion for “other wordly” stories was initially inspired in the 70’s, when as a child she would work at her mom’s health food/ESP store after school. This unconventional yet entertaining enterprise was combined with growing up in a very haunted house, and it set the tone for a life of insights into a world that we can not simply experience through the limits of our five senses. 

After achieving a five year degree in biologies, Catherine balanced her background of alternative and mainstream wisdom to launch one of the first integrative health magazines, back in the early 90’s. Before she knew it, Holistic Health Journal was on the magazine racks of every major book chain in the US and CAN, with a review board of best selling authors, doctors, healers and celebrities. This launched her career as a publisher, producer and spokesperson in the field of health and wellness, and as the founder of Passionate Living, a media company focused on inspiring people to fall in love with their lives. 

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