Sunday, November 25, 2012

The "Haunted VCR Movie Night" Results...

The results are mixed...

First of all, thanks to all those who came out to participate in this odd experiment, and thanks the Beta Level for providing a space to conduct this demonstration.

At the start of the evening, technical problems seemed to plague the set-up, forcing our screening to be pushed back an hour. Was the Haunted VCR, affecting (or infecting) the other electronic devices in the room? Probably not, but who knows?

Once we were up and running, the Abbot and Costello film "The Time of Their Lives" was projected on one wall, while the distorted pictures from the VHS copy inside the Haunted VCR were projected on another wall. A night-vision camera was placed over the VCR to record any movements of the planchette across the painted Ouija-like design on the top of the machine, which was then broadcasted on a TV screen. All of this went on while a couple of volunteers from the audiences placed their fingers on the planchette, and asked questions.
(to see video of this set-up...)

So what happened? After some slow and/or confusing movements of the planchette in response to initial questions, the following exchange occurred...

"Did you know the previous owner of the VCR?

This was followed by more slow and/or confusing movements.

"Are there multiple spirits here?"

How many spirits are present?
(the planchette pointed to the space between the ""8 and the "9")

"Are the spirits connected to the VCR?"

"Are the spirits connected to the building?"

"Are the spirits connected to someone here?"

When trying to isolate who the spirits were connected to or what message, if any, they had for that individual, the planchette keep moving to the bottom right hand corner with half of the planchette sliding off of the machine.

This is the corner with the word "GOOD BYE." But, given the large size of the planchette (a standard Parker Brothers model) and the small surface area of the VCR, when the planchette is over "GOOD BYE" it may also be pointing to Y, Z, P, or O. All of these letters meant nothing to anyone present. Any further attempts to communicate were met with the planchette, sliding back to the "GOOD BYE" corner. So, the participates gave up, and everyone watched the rest of this wonderfully strange movie in peace.

Thus, if we ever attempt this again, we will need to get a smaller planchette. Also, we may try a more experienced team of Ouija practitioners, instead of volunteers from the audience. However, there is the question of enviornment. Since the VCR's last home was a haunted apartment building, we may have to attempt this in a haunted space to bring out the ghosts. Then again, maybe it worked originally because of a specific ghost in that specific location that liked/disliked old movies. Like the "gliding rocks" of the Devil's Racetrack, the magic might stop once you remove the object from it habitat. Then again, the man that GHOULA obtained the Haunted VCR from had, himself, obtained it from Goodwill, so who knows what its history was before him.

Although, GHOULA feels this was a noble attempt to test the Haunted VCR, unfortunately the results are inconclusive as to if the machine, itself, is haunted.

GHOULA will continue to keep everyone updated on any future/further developments in the saga of the "Haunted VCR"...

(to read about the first "Haunted VCR Movie Night"...)
(to read about "The Tale of the Haunted VCR"...)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Tale of the "Haunted VCR"

The following was written by Richard Carradine
(founder of GHOULA and proud owner of a haunted VCR)

"A couple of months back, I was goofing around on Craigslist, when I typed in the word "haunted" just to see what would come up...

Among the entries, there was one for a "Ouija VCR." According to the write-up, the owner lived in a haunted apartment building in Hollywood, and he noticed anytime he watched an old movie in his VCR, strange things would happen in his apartment. So, he painted a Ouija board-like design on the top of the VCR, and when the ghosts got active during a movie, he would communicate with them. He was asking 40 dollars for this spirit-talking/video-playing device.

I immediately sent him a message, inquiring if he still had the VCR, and if it still worked. The response was that it was still available, and the picture quality was not very good, but (as an explanation) it is haunted (so what did I really expect). I offered $5, and the response was "Sold." My assumption was that the owner was moving away from Los Angeles, and thus motivated to sell. A time was set for the exchange...

I showed up at the "haunted" apartment building (which is indeed an old building), and waited about a half hour. The owner (a tall, lanky 20-something, unshaven and disheveled) finally appeared, holding the VCR. He stepped up to me, slammed the VCR down in front of me, and screamed (in a panicked tone), "JUST TAKE IT!!" With that, he ran back into the building (as if running away from the machine), and slammed the door behind him.

He never took my five dollar bill. Seemingly, he just wanted to be rid of the machine. For a couple of moments, I stared at the old VCR, and wondered if there was some kind of curse attached to it, before picking it up and taking it home. Any further info about the history of the machine, and/or the paranormal activity possibly connected to it, is unknown. A planchette did not come with the machine, and judging from the photo on Craigslist, this guy used a triangular shard of glass with one tip inked over with a red sharpie. Also, a closer inspection of the VCR revealed a price tag from Goodwill ($7.99). 

It now sits in my apartment (in my "haunted" apartment building) as a conversation piece, until I decide to fire it up, and see what happens..."

(to read about the first "Haunted VCR Movie Night"...)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Haunted VCR Movie Night!

In a partnership with our friends (or is it fiends) at BETALEVEL in a secret location underneath Chinatown, we are pleased to present this paranormal movie night using GHOULA's "Haunted VCR." So, come out and hear the amazing true story behind this bewitched video cassette recorder. As well as a public demonstration (or should we say a demon-stration) of its super-natural abilities. Yes, not only will this mechanical relic play a spooky film for your amusement, but it will also enlighten you with messages from the spirit realm, or perhaps even provide its own ghostly commentary of the movie we are screening that night.


Date: November 24 (Saturday)
Time: 8:00pm
Movie: The Time of Their Lives (1946)
(This title was generously supplied by the Frederick Rappaport VHS Archive)
Admission: FREE! (all welcomed, so tell your friends)

1.Find yourself in front of “FULL HOUSE RESTAURANT” located at 963 N. Hill Street in Chinatown. [Map to Full House]
2.Locate the alley on the left hand side of Full House.
3.Walk about 20 feet down the alley (away from the street).
5.Notice dumpster on your right hand side.
6.Take a right and continue down the alley.
7.Exercise caution so as not trip on the wobbly cement blocks underfoot.
8.The entrance to Betalevel is located 10 yards down on left side, behind a red door, down a black staircase.


BOOs Alert!

THIS JUST IN: Local ghost mentioned on the Tonight Show.
(for the full story, click the link below.)

Highlights from Nov SWS

Thank you to everyone that made it out to Bar 107, considering the short notice of the venue change. However, the good news about the last minute craziness is that we were able to maintain our uninterrupted streak of never repeating a ghostly location, making Bar 107 the 52th haunted bar/restaurant we have visited.

While socializing, and telling stories, another ghost story concerning this tavern was discovered...

Once, while a maintenance man was working in the main bar room (when the bar was closed), he looked up at the mirror behind the bar and saw a man (in the mirror's reflection) standing in the room with him. Startled because he thought he was alone, he turn to face the visited and discovered that the room was indeed empty just as he thought. According to the tale, this maintenance man never again did any work inside this room.

(for more ghost stories about this haunted location...)

Also, for those unfamiliar with Elfego Baca (former patron) and the "Elfego Baca" TV show discussed that night...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November's SPIRITS with SPIRITS (Take 2)

NOTICE: The TV show cancelled their filming at the Forbidden Lounge. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Also GHOULA would like to thank member Bobby G for his suggestion of this alternate location.

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let's put the “Boo!” back into “booze.” All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you.

THE DATE: November 13th, 2012 (Tuesday)
THE PLACE: Bar 107
104 West 4th Street, Downtown LA Map
THE TIME: 8:00pm to ???


Disneyland's "Main Street, USA" is mysteriously missing a few staples that could be found in any small town. In addition to the absence of a church, Disney's recreated town is also missing a saloon. One would think if a neighborhood bar did exist there, it would most likely be tucked away, down a side street, and decorated with Americana kitsch.

GHOULA would like to think that such a saloon  would probably be like Bar 107, which is tucked away, around the corner from Los Angeles' Main Street (a possible inspiration for the theme-park counter-part). Although, this Magic Kingdom connection may seem like a stretch, what other local tavern has an authentic "Welcome to Disneyland" sign, when you pass through the entrance?

Bar 107 (a reference to its address) is on the ground floor of the Barclay Hotel (formerly the Van Nuys Hotel), which first opened January 19th, 1897. As far as anyone can tell the building has always (since day 1) had a bar on their ground floor. Originally, there was the redundantly titled "400 Hundred Saloon," which was notorious for it's "disorderly patrons" and "lewd women" (according to newspaper accounts). In the late 1930's legendary folk hero, Elfego Baca (also the subject of a TV series produced by Walt Disney) held court here, entertaining listeners with his tales and recollections of the Old West.

Naturally, such a colorful location has a colorful ghost (one of many spirits connected to the hotel). Employees and staff of this establishment claim that there are spooky antics afoot in the back room, where the dance floor is located. Phantom hands invisibly grab, push, and pull unsuspecting individuals minding their own business. What makes this phenomena interesting is that they occur in the DJ booth and other elevated areas above the ground floor. Its as if this specter is suspended high in the air and reaches out to anyone that comes up to its level. Why does it hang out up there?

In 1897, during the hotel's first year of operation, a tragic event occurred that resulted in a man's death. A waiter delivering food to a guest's room, stepped on to the elevator at the ground floor. The young ,inexperienced elevator operator took him up to the 3rd floor, and slid open the door. When the elevator continued to move upward (despite the control switch), the operator panicked and jumped off, through the door. The waiter (not knowing how to stop a moving elevator), attempted to follow the operator through the shrinking gap. Unfortunately, the waiter was too late, and his legs got stuck between the floor of the elevator and the top of the door. Both legs snapped, and the elevator continued up, pulling the rest of his body into the elevator shaft. For a couple of moments, he hung by one foot, before he dropped three stories to his death.

Could this saloon's ghost be that ill-fated waiter, who still reaches out for help? Come down to Bar 107, have a drink, and ponder the possibilities.
(for more ghost stories about this haunted location...)
(to read about last month's haunted location... )
(to see a map of previous SPIRITS with SPIRITS locations... )

Call for Submissions: GHOULA COMIX #3

Call for Comic Art Submissions: GHOULA COMIX Issue #3

Deadline: December 31, 2012

GHOULA is seeking contributing comic book artists for issue number three of the Los Angeles Ghost Stories Anthology.

Guidelines are as follows:

· Narrative must take place in Los Angeles County
- Narrative must include a ghost
- Narrative can be fictional or based on local ghost folklore
- Narrative can be any tone (humorous or scary)
- Submit artwork in black and white only
- Submit original artwork or digital files at 300dpi
- Comic Book size: Must fit within 7”Wx10”H
- No limit on # of pages!

GHOULA is dedicated to the preservation of greater L.A.'s rich haunted history, and the promotion and celebration of this local lore through ghostly gatherings, paranormal experiments, and events.

Any money raised through this comic book project will go into the club funds to create other ghost-themed events.

Comic scheduled to be released in 2013!

Contact: Richard Carradine

(to see GHOULA Comix #2...)
(to see GHOULA Comix #1...)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November's SPIRITS with SPIRITS

NOTICE: (Added 11/9/12) The TV show cancelled their filming at the Forbidden Lounge. For the new location (and the ghost story) for Tuesday's SPIRITS with SPIRITS click here. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The Doors at the Doors Workshop (8512 Santa Monica Blvd, WeHo)

"Playful ghosts have interrupted our tour"
-Haunted Mansion, Disneyland

WARNING!: GHOULA is going to do something a little different this month (we just couldn't resist this unique opportunity). We will do the previously unthinkable, and repeat a popular location from the past, breaking our uninterrupted streak of more than four years of different haunted bars. (Yes, you read that right.)

A TV show will be filming an episode at a local haunted bar, and they have asked GHOULA to be part of the fun. The bar will be closed to the public, and is just opening for our "Spirits with Spirits" meet-up. Thus, feel free to bring any ghost-hunting tools or spirit-communication devices to take advantage of this unique access. A signature alcoholic cocktail will be created by the show just for our group (the production company will also be buying a round of drinks).

So, come out for this special "Best of" edition of "Spirits with Spirits," be on TV, get a free drink, and perhaps even see the ghost of "The Lizard King."

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let's put the “Boo!” back into “booze.” All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you.

THE DATE: November 13th, 2012 (Tuesday)
THE PLACE: Forbidden Lounge
(8512 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood) Map
THE TIME: 8:00pm to ???
PARKING: Free parking at Al and Ed's parking lot.
(Next door on the SW corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvd)


Near the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvd, and not far from the hill that local motorists fear, sits what would be a very nondescript building if it weren't oozing with local Rock n' Roll history. Although, this plain building has had many tenants (and colors) over the years, it is perhaps most famous as the (bright yellow) headquarters (and crash pad) of the quintessential L.A. band, "The Doors." From the late 1960's thru the early 1970's, this simple two-story structure was known as "The Doors Workshop."

The upstairs was their offices, where business was conducted and fan mail answered. The ground floor served as their rehearsal space. After a suggestion from a producer at Elektra Sound Studios, the album "L.A. Woman" was recorded in this building to avoid the time pressures of rented studios (between October of 1970 and February of 1971). A few months later on July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison, The Doors' charismatic lead singer (a.k.a. "The Lizard King") died in a bath tub in Paris.

Ever since, legions of devoted fans make pilgrimages to his grave in France on the anniversary of his death, while ghost hunters journey to this West Hollywood restaurant to make contact with his ghost. The fact that most paranormal investigators head to the restroom inside this establishment is no reflection on the cuisine, or an allusion to Morrison death (which occurred in a bathroom), but instead is based on the belief that his spirit is felt strongest in this room. Before becoming a unisex latrine, this small chamber was once the sound booth, where Morrison recorded his vocals. Thus, perhaps his frustrated spirit is still trying to lay down one more track since witnesses claim the room's doorknob will sometimes inexplicably jiggle, as if someone where trying to enter (or exit).

Also, throughout the restaurant, employees have noticed lights that turn on an off by themselves, as well as "phantom footsteps" and drinking glasses that shatter for no apparent reason. (Note: on a recent visit, a member of GHOULA witnessed this phenomena as a water glass that had been set down on a table, suddenly split in half, cracking into two equal-sized pieces.)

Although, his ghost has also been seen in his former Laurel Canyon home over the years, and there have been other ghostly claims from many local bars, clubs, motels, and liquors stores he frequented in this small section of town. In a recent interview, The Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger, while visiting this restaurant to reminisce about the "Doors Workshop" said "His spirit is here for sure!"
(to read about last month's haunted location... )
(to see a map of previous SPIRITS with SPIRITS locations... )