Monday, August 13, 2018
SPIRITS with SPIRITS (Aug 13th, 2018)
GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of the month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual social 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 (square) GHOULA. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you, without asking the staff about our group. (i.e. IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME, LOOK FOR SOMEONE WITH A GHOULA BUTTON)
THE DATE: August 13th, 2018 (Monday)
THE PLACE: The Faculty
707 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Map)
THE TIME: 8:00pm to 10:00pm
During a recent visit to this neighborhood bar, GHOULA discovered that the staff was unaware of (or unwilling to talk about) their haunted reputation. In decades past, the sightings were so common that even the much beloved food critic Jonathan Gold, when reviewing the then restaurant at this location, made a passing reference to the building's resident "Hollywood ghost."
No one seems to know for sure how many restaurants/bars have occupied this humble structure, but it appears that this address applied for a liquor license at the end of Prohibition, which would indicate bottle service going back at least to the early 1930s (and possibly illegal hospitality before that). Given the building's long history, the ghostly young woman seen by (past) staff and patrons could realistically be anyone from any era.
That said, most believe "she" is the spirit of Nina Thoeren, the daughter of the screenwriter Robert Thoeren (who is best known for his involvement with Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot"). On a warm summer night in 1960, minutes after she ended her shift at her workplace, a bookstore on Melrose, while walking to her nearby apartment, the 21 year old was raped and murdered in a car parked on Heliotrope not far from the entrance of this tavern. It is unknown if she was forced into vehicle or if she went inside on her own (maybe to get a lift home). After her killer strangled her with her own red pants, he dragged her lifeless body across the street to hide it among the piles of lumber of a then college building under construction. The perpetrator of this ghastly crime was easily and quickly caught by the authorities.
Even though, this case was sensationalized in the local papers because of the "red slacks" angle and its possible connection/similarities to the "Bouncing Ball Murders" (a string of similar murders at the time in that area involving an unidentified man that would wait for his female victims to walk past while he bounced a rubber ball), this gruesome crime is largely a forgotten piece of this neighborhood's history. If it is remembered at all, it is because it inspired an infamous artwork (part visual/part performance) by Jean-Jacques Lebel called "Happening Funeral Ceremony of the Anti-Process" that was presented at Europe's first "Happening" in 1960 (shortly after her death), in which attendees/guests were asked to participate in a faux funeral for a sculpture of a murdered corpse.
Or, people (and very few now) remember this incident because her ghost still seems to linger on in the area of her murder, and isn't that part of the reason "ghost stories" persist as well. These are spoken tales that force society to confront tragic and shameful events that civic boosters would prefer we just forget. Does this female phantom just want people to remember her? Some cultures believe that the soul dies a second time when there is no one left to tell their story.
So come out, join us, share ghost stories, toast this ghost, and remember ... If you dare!
(to read about the last haunted location... )
(to see a map of previous SPIRITS with SPIRITS locations... )