On September 16th, 1932, Peg Entwistle committed suicide by hiking up to the Hollywood sign, and jumping of the "H," not only ensuring her name would live on in infamy, but likewise becoming Hollywood's most famous spirit. Come out and join us for a self-guided hike along that haunted trail to Hollywood's most famous haunted landmark (which celebrates it 91th anniversary this year), and meet-up behind the "H," if you dare...
THE DATE: September 16th, 2014 (
THE PLACE: Behind the "H" of the Hollywood Sign
(Directions to the "H" are below)
THE TIME: 5:00pm - 7:00pm (Sunset)
(meet us at the top)
NOTE: Since everyone goes at their own speed, and everyone will be arriving at different times after work, there is no set meet-up time. We will just be hanging out at the sign during the time mentioned above. The hike is normally about 3-4 miles (round trip) and takes about 1-2 hours (round trip), but see "NOTE" (and updated directions) below. Also, there is no organized paranormal investigation included in this hike, but local ghost-hunters are welcome to bring their own equipment, and investigate on their own if they wish.
"I was hiking near the Hollywood sign today, and near the bottom I found a woman's shoe and jacket. A little further on I noticed a purse. In it was a suicide note. I looked down the mountain and saw a body...."
--- Anonymous call to the Hollywood Police Station
82 years ago, this September, a sad, depressed, possibly drunk, unemployed actress left her home on Beachwood Drive and started walking up the road to the Hollywood sign. She had be completely cut out of a RKO movie that was to be her big break in Hollywood. (Incidentally, there will be a free outdoor screening of that film in the parking lot of the Beachwood Market at 7:30pm). On that treacherous hike, that probably took her most of the night, she eventually made it to her destination, the fifty-foot letter "H" at the beginning of the internationally recognized Hollywood sign (then the Hollywoodland Sign). She climbed a ladder that was attached to the backside of the flat metal structure, and leaped to her death once she reached the top. It is thought that she did not die instantly, but instead lingered for hours in the brush below, where her corpse was eventually discovered by hikers. For a short time she was simply known as "The Hollywood Sign Girl," until her published suicide note was recognized by her uncle. Her name was Peg Entwistle.
When people tell her tale, they always point out the ironic twist that occurred shortly after her death, a letter arrived at her address, stating that she had landed the lead role in a new play about a woman who commits suicide. However, there's the bigger (more obvious) irony. This act of desperation over the lack of a show-biz career, ended up making her more famous (or infamous) than any of her working contemporaries. Not everyone can easily name the stars of the early 1930's, but most people know the Hollywood Sign Girl.
Her legend seems to grow with each passing year, and as it does, so do the stories of her restless ghost near the famous landmark. Most people describe her apparition as a young woman dressed in a 1930's style white gown walking along a trail (sometimes dazed). She is most commonly seen by hikers (not unlike those that originally found her body) and dog walkers in the very early or very late hours. Witnesses claim that she is accompanied by the strong scent of the gardenia flower (her favorite perfume). Some accounts even describe her reenacting her final moments stepping off of the top of the "H" only to vanish as she falls. She seems doomed to repeat the last moments of that last night over and over again, just as we also seemed doomed to repeat those last moments with each retelling of her story. (for more info about the ghost of Peg Entwistle...)
NOTE (and updated directions): Because the surrounding neighborhood has complained about traffic, the city has cut off the closest access points to the public trails (even for pedestrians). As a result, currently one can not access the Hollywood Sign from Beachwood Canyon, so please consult a map. It appears the next best way to get to the Hollywood Sign is to follow Canyon Dr. up the hill to the end, and park in the lot (as if you were going to the famous Bronson Cave). That paved road turns into a trail. Follow the trail extension from Canyon Dr up the hill til it dead-ends at the Mulholland Hwy (trail), and go left on this trail as it zigs-zags across the mountains until you get to a split in this trail. Follow the right-side trail that goes up hill (and not the left downward one). Once on that new trail, follow it (going towards the Hollywood sign) until it dead ends at a paved road (Mt. Lee Drive). Turn right on the paved road, seemingly away from the Hollywood sign. The road will take you up the backside of Mt. Lee, offering great views of the San Fernando Valley and Forest Lawn, to the top of the mountain and a dramatic reveal of the Hollywood sign, the same view Peg Entwistle had before she jumped (incidentally Peg's studio, RKO, is dead center in this view). Below is a link to a map, which you should study, before going out there, since its very easy to get turned around out there on the trails (and there is limited cell reception up there.) There's another route that's shorter but more difficult... Park on Lake Hollywood Dr. (at Wonder View Dr.). Walk up Wonder View Dr. to Trail Head, and take the "Tree of Life" Trail along the ridgeline to the Hollywood Sign. Again, consult a map before attempting.
(for more info on alternate ways to the Hollywood Sign...)
DIRECTIONS: (See "NOTE" and updated directions above) Follow N. Beachwood Drive up the hill to the end (just before the "Sunset Ranch Hollywood" stables). You'll see cars parked around a trail head, so park anywhere you can. Follow (on foot) the dirt trail up and along the ridge adjacent to the stables. Cell phone reception is not very good up there, so note the directions before you set off on foot. This trail will merge into a larger trail (Mulholland Hwy). Make a hairpin turn left (South-West) on this new trail, and follow it (going towards the Hollywood sign) until it dead ends at a paved road (Mt. Lee Drive). Turn right on the paved road, seemingly away from the Hollywood sign. The road will take you up the backside of Mt. Lee, offering great views of the San Fernando Valley and Forest Lawn, to the top of the mountain and a dramatic reveal of the Hollywood sign, the same view Peg Entwistle had before she jumped (incidentally Peg's studio, RKO, is dead center in this view). Below is a link to a map, which you should study, before going out there, since its very easy to get turned around out there on the trails.
View Larger Map