Monday, April 5, 2010

LOST: Haunted Theater #1

As part of GHOULA's mission to preserve the haunted history of greater Los Angeles, periodically GHOULA will spotlight a haunted building from our great city that is no longer with us, in an effort to prevent these stories from being forgotten (even if their ghosts are also no longer with us).


337 S. Main Street (in the heart of Downtown). map

Los Angeles, like just about every other city in the United States, has a Main Street that runs through its core. However, unlike most towns, the Main Street of Los Angeles is nothing to boast about. It’s a derelict section where most of the city’s homeless congregate, and a sad and depressing place to visit. Though it may be hard to believe today, it was apparently worse fifty years ago.

It was back then that the Belasco Theater (aka "The Follies") presented strip shows and other bawdy entertainment for those brave enough (or crazy enough) to go to that part of town at night. The area was said to be so dangerous, that an artist who rented a room above the theater was able to paper the walls of his little room with all the sensational newspaper articles about the various former strippers who had been murdered, or had committed suicide. With all the tragic lives coming to an end in that area, the building naturally became haunted by one of those doomed girls who died too young.

Witnesses said the ghostly figure was that of an attractive redheaded woman, always scantily-clad, and always wandering around backstage before vanishing into thin air. Although the theater was demolished many years ago, the redhead still crosses the now vacant lot, every now and then, offering cheap thrills to anyone who happens to see her near-naked body in the moonlight.

The Belasco Theater was located at 337 S. Main Street in the heart of Downtown. A second Belasco Theater was built in downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the Mayan Theater, in 1926 on Hill Street to host "legitimate theater" and cinema. After its construction, the original Belasco was renamed the Follies.

(note: the 2nd Belasco also has a ghost story)

If you know of another ghost story (or another version of a story mentioned), or if you have personally experienced something strange at this theater, please leave a comment.

(to read about another local haunted theater...)
(to read about the 2nd Belasco's ghost...)

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