Showing posts with label ghost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ghost. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July from your friends at GHOULA!

On this day that we celebrate the creation of the United States. Let's stop a moment and give a patriotic "thank you" to another great creation, one of America's favorite entity from the spirit world, Casper the friendly ghost.

Casper was created in the late 1930s by New York native Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, the former devising the idea for the character and the latter providing illustrations. Intended initially as the basis for a 1939 children's storybook, there was at first little interest in their idea. When Reit was away on military service during the Second World War before the book was released. Oriolo sold the rights to the book to Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios animation division, for which he had occasionally worked.

"The Friendly Ghost," the first Noveltoon to feature Casper, was released by Paramount in 1945 with a few differences from the book. In the cartoon adaptation, Casper is a cute, pudgy ghost-child with a New York accent, who prefers making friends with people instead of scaring them (Casper used to scare people but got tired of it all). He escapes from his home and his brothers and sisters at the Winchester Mystery House and goes out to make friends.

So, It turns out that although Casper may have been born (or died) in New York, it seems he resides in California, and spends most of his time in Hollywood... visiting the actually haunted Chinese Theater and Paramount Studios... at least according to this cartoon...

GHOULA, as protectors of local lore, on this day salutes CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

6th Annual California Ghost Hunters Conference to be held in Sutter Creek, CA

The Ghost Trackers proudly present the 6th Annual California Ghost Hunters Conference to be held in the haunted gold mining town of Sutter Creek, California.

The Ghost Trackers Paranormal Research Group affiliated with The Center For ParaPsychical Research presents the California Ghost Hunters Conference. Again, setting a precedent in selecting the finest venues for paranormal conferences, the Ghost Trackers have picked Sutter Creek, California. They will be bringing their attendees here for three days to descend upon this small gold mining town with its' wonderfully haunted history.

The small gold mining towns of Northern California made a lot of money for those who owned mines while enduring years of heartache for those miners who dug in them. Sutter Creek has a wonderfully haunted history in its' small town and we will be investigating some haunted areas which includes a delapidating, dangerously scary, three story castle that lies hidden among the gold mining hills!

The Ghost Trackers will be holding a cocktail reception on Friday evening with an investigation following at the haunted Sutter Creek Inn. On Saturday, we will have hands-on workshops that will teach the beginner how to be a ghost hunter as well as the advanced researcher tips and techniques followed by an investigation in the vast stories and rooms of the castle.

The event will be held at the Days Inn - Sutter Creek.

The price for this event is $150.00 per person and includes the cocktail reception, hands-on workshops and haunted venues.

Join the Ghost Trackers and many other people from around the country as we descend upon Sutter Creek and enjoy its' charms and its' haunts. Please visit our conference page for further information at:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ghost of the Week: The Woman in the Tower


The Beverly Wilshire Hotel is easily the most iconic piece of architecture in Beverly Hills. Its exterior is even used in movies such as Pretty Woman and Beverly Hills Cop as a symbol for the city itself, much like the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or Big Ben is to London. This Historic Hotel’s reputation is built on that very perception.

But, is it haunted? If you ask the management, they will tell you it’s definitely not. However, if you can talk privately with any member of their housekeeping staff, you will get the truth. The Beverly Wilshire has two very prominent ghosts occupying different ends of the hotel.

Residing on the eighth floor of the Wilshire Tower section, you’ll find a female apparition with long flowing blond hair. She has been seen on numerous occasions gracefully gliding about with her white gown billowing behind her. Some witnesses have even spotted her peeking out from around corners or poking her head out through open doors as if curious about her surroundings.

While the hotel was built in 1928, it appears this blond ghost is a very recent addition. It is because of this, many of the employees believe she is the spirit of a woman who died a few years ago, but lived most of her life in a posh suite on the eighth floor. Since her passing, that suite has been closed to the general public, and is currently only available for private VIVIP (very important VIP) parties. Is it these disturbances to her tranquil domain that cause the spiritual disturbance on the eighth floor? Again, don’t ask the management.

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel is located at 9500 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. As for the other prominent ghost… stay tuned. It will be featured in a future “Ghost of the Week.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Legendary Inn for Sale: Spirit & Cat Included

California's Haunted Hot Spots

JOSHUA TREE, Calif.-January 17-John Wayne slept here. John Belushi dropped acid and snorted cocaine here. In one of rock music’s most legendary tragedies, Gram Parsons overdosed here. The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, the Eagles, the Byrds, Donovan and Emmy-Lou Harris have all dropped in here, as have countless other celebrities. Yet, for all its notoriety, the Joshua Tree Inn remains a low-key haven for all. The hacienda-style bed-and-breakfast is now on the market for $1,750,000. The sellers and others familiar with the Joshua Tree Inn hope that the buyer will preserve its iconic essence.

Among Joshua Tree’s visitors are those drawn by a devotion to Gram Parsons, known as the father of country rock. Parsons died at the Joshua Tree Inn in 1973, at the age of 26. Before his death, Parsons often stayed at the Joshua Tree Inn and spent hours in what is now Joshua Tree National Park with Keith Richards “watching the sky for U.F.O.’s.” Since Parsons’ death, the Joshua Tree Inn has become known as the “resting place of Gram Parsons’ spirit.”

All who have sensed Parsons’ spirit attest to its benevolence. “I’ve felt something in there,” says the inn’s handyman Vincent Zubel, referring to room 8, where Parsons died. “It’s not a ghost; it’s a presence, a positive one.” In the room 8 guest book, a visitor writes, “Love envelopes this room.”

Volumes of room 8 books, filled over the years with scrawled eulogies to Gram Parsons, testify to fans’ abiding adoration. While many guests write of feeling Parsons’ presence, some attribute odd occurrences to Parsons’ spirit. “Richard asked Gram to give us a sign, and the radio came blaring at us with country music at 2:39 a.m.,” reports one guest. “Gram, it was a little trippy when you locked me in here,” writes another.

Sky the Cat

A number of guest book entries mention Sky, a cat who mysteriously appeared one day and has stayed on at the Joshua Tree Inn ever since. “Gram…was that you in the shape of the big white cat that spent the night with us?” “…She had one blue eye and one golden eye…your spirit is in her.”

Sky the cat and Gram Parsons’ spirit will remain with the Joshua Tree Inn when it sells. For more information on the Joshua Tree Inn, visit or call Peter Spurr, Broker at (760)861-5895.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ghost of the Week: The King of Calabassas

Leonis Adobe
Today, the Leonis Adobe is part of a park that is open to the public, where school children and curious locals go to get a glimpse of what life was like in the San Fernando Valley of the 1800’s. It is a peaceful oasis filled with rustic charm, where one can relax and daydream about the romantic early days of California. However, the truth surrounding this historic house is more the stuff of nightmares. 150 years ago, the area was very different indeed.
Miguel Leonis

The Adobe was home to one of the most hated men in Los Angeles’ history, the tyrannical Miguel Leonis, who ruled most of the western valley with an iron fist, killing anyone who came close to his property. Much blood was spilt protecting this land, some of which he didn’t actually own. Given Miguel Leonis’ larger than life ferocity, it’s no wonder that only a few years after his death in 1889, ghost stories concerning this highly feared man began to surface. Apparently, to this day, even in death, he still watches over his property, making his presence known to those he feels shouldn’t be there. Visitors have experienced a wide gambit of manifestations (his figure, his footsteps, his voice, and even his touch), making the Leonis Adobe a tempting place for local ghost hunters.

The Leonis Adobe is located at 23537 Calabasas Road.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


THE PLACE: The Bob Baker Marionette Theater
1345 W 1st St Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Downtown) (map)

STATUS: Active (shows weekly)


Although people generally associate ghosts with violent/sudden deaths, there are many other theories as to why a ghost will haunt a certain location. Some believe that spirits will return to places that (in life) gave them great pleasure, or perhaps sites where (in life) much time was spent. There is also a theory that confused ghosts sometimes seek out humanoid objects to possess like wax figures, mannequins, or dolls, and thus gravitate to spots where these objects can be found (old wax museums, children's bedroom's, etc.)

So, naturally (or super-naturally) the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, the oldest indoor continuously-operating puppet theater in the United States, is said to have at least three phantoms of former puppeteers lingering around (seen by staff). One watches the staff from his favorite seat on the east side of the theater (last row against the wall, three seats from the aisle). Perhaps he just doesn't want to leave this happy place, or maybe he just likes being around puppets. Additionally, Another former puppeteer is seen in the backstage area. In the wings (on the West side of the building), there are mirrors so that performers can check their puppets, or practice moves. While doing this, they will see this second ghostly puppeteer (in the mirror's reflection) watching them.  When they turn around, no one is there.

Another story about this former puppeteer involves a young man seeking a job at the theater. He was asked to sit down and wait in the auditorium. While, seated a tall man sat near him, and didn't male a sound. When the young man was called into another room, he commented on the tall man, only to be told that no one else was in the building. Shortly thereafter, he recognized the mystery man from am old photo hanging on the wall, and was told that the tall man was a former puppeteer, and died some time ago. The young man turned down the job to work at the theater. The "tall man" was also seen by a female puppeteer in the hall near the restrooms (next to the party room) late one night. Thinking it was a fellow puppeteer playing a joke on her she confronts the figure, only to have it disappear into the shadows.

Plus, whenever something goes wrong during a performance such as a string breaking or a set falling, it's always blamed on the resident spectre, presumably unhappy about something in the show. One puppeteer's broken cell-phone (with a dead battery) would even make late night phone calls to the puppeteer's friends from inside the theater (from inside a locked loceker). One night while Bob and a puppeteer were working late, a heavy sound-proof door opened and slamed itself closed. Spooked, Bob reportedly turned to his employee and said "Let's get out of here. Don't even turn on the alarm."

In ancient times, the "illusion of life" created by marionettes was thought to be work of other-worldly forces. Who knows, maybe this resident "ex-puppeteer" still lends a hand during performances, animating the inanimate objects, and making them move in realistic ways. Is it possible that old habits die hard,... and that's why the ghosts linger?

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 haunted theater in the LA area... )

Friday, January 19, 2007


Where: 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood (map)
Status: Active as an entertaiment venue


By 1929, when Alexander Pantages acquired the the front portion of the A.G Bartlett estate (six year's after Bartlett's death), the exotic plants from around the world that Bartlett had collected to bolster Hollywood's appeal, had either died from neglect, or moved to the nearby (and at that time new) Hollywood Bowl, despite attempts to incorporate them into the garden surrounding a large hotel to be built (which obviously never was) at that location.

Although this beautiful paradise was paved over, it could be argued that Pantages built a theater that is just as beautiful, and also increases Hollywood's appeal. It was the last and largest movie palace built in Hollywood, and some claim it was the first Art Deco theater in United States. Eventhough it still bears Pantages' name, he unfortunately didn't own it for very long after it opened in 1930. Due to the expenses involved defending his name against a fragulant (but well publized) rape charge, Pantages had to abandon thoughts of the 12 stories that were to be built above the Hollywood theater (like the other buildings at Hollywood & Vine), and sell the property.

During the 2000 restoration, it is said a painter working on the interior of the auditorium, complained that a "man in a hat" walked along the scaffolding (stepping off from the balcony), and stood over the shoulder of the painter, closely inspecting his work. When the painter turned to face his visitor, the "man with the hat" vanished into thin air. Shortly after, the same incident happened to an electrician, who was also up in the scaffolding to inspect the wiring. Both workers quit following their encounter. The identity of this "man in the hat" is unknown, but it either thought to be Bartlett, Pantages, or Howard Huges keeping an eye on things.

Howard Hughes acquired the theater in 1947, and moved his operations into the upstairs offices. He even built a door that went from his office to the back of the balcony, and it is said that he would sit in the last row and watch the same movie play over and over all day. Although this movie marthon ritual would later in life get out of control with stints that would go for days in a locked screening room, the seeds of this mania started at the Pantages theater. To this day, during reheasals inside this historic playhouse, a man will be spotted (from the stage) sitting in the last row of the balcony. When security is sent up to eject the tresspasser, no one is ever found. Sightings of Howard Huges are so common in this place that the historical marker on a street light in front of the building even mentions his ghost.

Additionally, staff members have told stories of a phantom man that walks up the aisle during a performance (as if to exit through the back) only to vanish as the usher holds the door open for him, as well as phantom women seen walking in the balcony (eastside) or the Ladies Room (off of the lobby).

There was also a widely reported event, where a disembodied female voice was heard singing into a microphone set up on the stage, when no one was on, or near, the stage.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Where: 1050 S Hill St, Los Angeles (map)
Status: active as entertainment venue


This Belasco Theater, not to be confused with the other Belasco Theater in downtown, was the second Belasco theater. When it opened in 1926, Mr. Belasco moved his productions from his first location at 337 S. Main Street to this grander building. (Incidentally, the former location is also said to be haunted from its later incarnation as "The Follies.") This new theater was built along with (and next door to) the Mayan Theater, and it's old-world Spanish influenced architecture complements (while metaphorically at odds with) the Mayan new-world indigenous inspired design. Additionally, beyond the two cultures at war reflected by the exteriors, inside each building, the opposite ends of the theatrical spectrum were presented. Dramas in the Belasco, and Musicals/Comedies in the Mayan.

For about thirty years, these two theaters operated like downtown's version of "yin" and "yang." Until, this Belasco closed as a entertainment venue in 1952. Ironically, the building was later used for church services, while the Mayan began a sinful life as a porno theater.

It was during this second life (or should we say its resurrection) as a church that stories of a possible ghost began to surface. A former organist for the Metropolitan Community Church, who occupied this theater from the early 1970's to the mid 1980's, has said that members of the congregation often claimed to have heard phantom footsteps coming from the stage, or odd rustling sounds from back stage when the area was apparently empty.

Although, he personally never felt the theater was haunted and had an explanation for these mysterious happenings, his reasoning seemed even more bizarre than an official ghost story.

It was his belief that people actually heard a very elderly lady, who lived under the theater's stage (in what was once the "green room"). The organist assumed she was part of the previous church that had occupied this theater, and his church just inherited her. For a short time, there was an overlap between these two Churches when both operated out of this same building but at different times. This is when he first became aware of her. When the MCC eventually took over, the occasional sightings of her decreased, until she just seem to disappear.

To this day, no one knows her true identity, her connection to the building, or when she left the building (if she did). Perhaps, her spirits still lingers, and perhaps the old woman they thought they saw was never there to begin with

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

(to read about the ghosts of Los Angeles' other Belasco theater...)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


WHERE: Westwood Village Theater
(1036 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: First-run theater

The Ghost(s):

"Residual energy" is the term that the ghost-hunting community uses to explain a certain kind of "haunting." The belief is that an intense moment (in a human life) can, whether good or bad, somehow be absorbed (or recorded) by the surrounding environment, and as a result that specific event gets reenacted, over and over, like a scene from a DVD being replayed again and again. In such cases, the spirits seem to have no awareness of the contemporary surroundings, "it" is just doomed to repeat those same actions in a never ending loop.

The Fox Westwood Village Theater (now the Mann Village Theater), built in 1931, is not only one of the best places in the city to experience the magic of the movies (with 1500 seats to choose from), but this monolithic structure that towers over the village may also be one of the best places to experience "residue energy."

Around 10:00am, January 11, 1932, two bandits broke into the lobby with the intention of stealing the theater's weekend receipts. At gun point, they rounded up a janitor, and two delivery men, and mistakenly believing that one of the delivery men was the manager, ordered him to open the safe. When the three hostages eventually convinced the gunmen that they didn't know the combination, they were bound and gagged. The bandits then waited for the real manager to arrive.

As if this attempted robbery wasn't going badly enough, instead of the manager showing up, a police officer wandered in off of the street. A gun-fight erupted, and the officer took two direct hits in the mid-section, and died almost instantly. Outside, a third accomplice (their "get-away driver"), heard the shots and sped away, just as the bandits came running outside (wounded and without the loot). Ironically, the robbery was the driver's idea, and he assured his two buddies it would be extremely quick and easy.

In what turned out to be the unluckiest part of this whole debacle, the officer they had murdered, was an extremely well-beloved detective, who had endeared himself to the Hollywood community when he had (only a couple of years before) walked in on another robbery at the Grauman's Chinese Theater (now the Mann Grauman's Chinese Theater) and apprehended the assailants. As a result of his popularity, many celebrities (including Clark Gable, Tom Mix, and Jimmy Durante) rallied the public against these small time crooks. Thus, after a well publicized man-hunt, capture, and trial, the perpetrators received the death penalty.

Ever since then, every now and then in this historic Westwood landmark, when the theater is "empty," and things are quiet, a member of the staff will hear gunshots, yelling, and commotion coming from the lobby area, as if the events of that day were happening all over again. It seems that even in death those bandits are doomed to repeat the worse day of their lives. Is there a more fitting punishment for their crimes?

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Monday, January 15, 2007


WHERE: Crest Theater
(1262 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: First-run theater


Although the Majestic Crest Theater's future as a first-run movie theater may be in question, there is another question that hovers over its past. In the days before digital projection, when movies were on long strips of 35MM film and delivered to theaters in reels that had to be shown in sequential order. To prevent interruptions in the movie, the projectionist had to "switch over" (between two projectors) from one projector coming to the end of its reel to the other projector to start the next reel. This was a skill that took time to perfect, and it was an act that became the basis for an often told tall tale that seems to accompany some of these old projection rooms in these old movie theaters across the country.

The story is typically told by an employee as he recalls that time when a small overworked theater staff gets so busy handling a customer in the lobby that they forget to change the film reels upstairs, and put the new ones in for the next screening (a time consuming activity involving "threading" the new reel's film through the projector and into a "take-up reel" on the other side). When the showtime arrives, and a flustered employee races upstairs, unlocks the door to the projection booth, and steps inside. He discovers, as if by paranormal forces, the projector and reel are ready to go, and all he has to do is press a button. Variations of this tale have included unseen hands that magically do the "switch over" while no one is in the projection booth.

Although its easy to place these anecdotes into the territory of "urban legend" because their frequency across the country, those that work these historic neighborhood theaters firmly believe these stories as true. Locally, our very own Majestic Crest Theater near Wilshire and Westwood Blvd. was said to have one of these miraculous self-operating projection booth that occasionally helped out the busy staff, by preventing interruptions or delays with the movies shown (when staff could not be present to do the task). It is unknown why certain theaters claim this story, and people have questioned why this would occur at this small cinema.

Then again, some familiar with this local landmark are not surprised. This great example of an Art Deco theater opened in 1940. Although it had live performances at the very beginning, it was quickly converted into a places for "alternative" movies, showing exclusively newsreels during the WWII, and then segueing into foreign films, and then more avant-gard fare (or what we would call today "independent films"). And thus, the theater, itself, has always had a very independent spirit, from when Frances Seymour Fonda (wife of actor Henry Fonda, and mother of Jane and Peter) owned it at the beginning to the more recent ownership of Robert Bucksbaum. This is a place that owners seem to want to be "hands on" with, and it's a place that patrons want to support because of that "personal touch." So, perhaps these tales stem from the idea that maybe the Crest is showing its appreciation by being "hands on" itself?

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Sunday, January 14, 2007


THE PLACE: Greystone Park
905 Loma Vista Drive Beverly Hills (map)


Although the Greystone Estate (a.k.a "the Doheny Mansion") is probably best known as a location for hundreds of movies, TV shows, commercials, and print ads, it was also the site of one of Southern California's greatest solved (but really unsolved) mysteries. Shorty after this 55-room mansion was built by Edward Doheny (as a gift for his son), Edward "Ned" Doheny Jr. and his personal assistant (and closest friend), Hugh Plunkett, were found dead (each with a bullet hole in their head) on February 16, 1929 in one of the guest rooms of this stately manor. At the time, Plunkett and Doheny (along with President Warren G. Harding and Ned's father, oil tycoon Edward Doheny) were embroiled in the infamous "Teapot Dome" bribery scandal, so the sudden death of these two co-conspirators was big news at the time.

The official story (as reported in the newspapers of the day) is that Plunkett went crazy one night and murdered his employer, and then turned the gun on himself. The reasons given for Plunkett's psychotic episode have ranged from a salary dispute to his recent divorce. (His ex-wife, incidentally, was an out-spoken believer of the paranormal.) The homicide detective who arrived at the scene, Leslie T. White, later wrote an autobiography entitled "Me, Detective," in which he devoted a chapter to the injustice of the Doheny investigation. In addition to waiting a couple of hours before calling the police, the family (with help from the family's doctor) apparently staged the scene of the crime and the placement of the bodies as well as tried to disguise the time of death (which all contradicted the blood and bullet evidence). A proper investigation was never conducted (perhaps because of the family's political influence). Despite the obvious tampering and the "rehearsed" eye-witness testimony from the family's housekeeping staff, the case was declared solved by the District Attorney's office the next day, and the bodies were immediately cremated (even though this practice was contrary to the family's religious beliefs).

Over the decades, there have been many theories and rumors surrounding this case. One of the most popular stories is that Ned's religious wife killed both of them, when she discovered that they were having a gay romance. It should also be noted, that earlier that day, witnesses claimed that the two men were having a loud argument at Plunket's apartment (636 South Cochran Avenue), followed by what sounded like doors slamming. Did the other tenants actually hear gun shots, and just mistake them for doors? Curiously, the Doheny family also buried the remains of Hugh Plunket, the supposed killer of Ned Doheny, near their beloved son/husband's remains. Why?

Whatever happened that rainy day (regardless of "official" reports) remains a true mystery. It is these unanswered questions of this tragedy that most likely are at the heart of this historic house's haunting. Why else would the apparition of a man be seen walking the halls outside the scene of the crime? Is it the ghost of Ned Doheny, or is it Hugh Plunkett? Why does a pool of blood appear (then disappear) on the floor of room where the murders supposedly happened. Why just one pool of blood when there were two victims. Who's blood is it? And more importantly, what are the manifestations trying to tell us?

When visiting this landmark building and gardens, keep your eyes open. Any paranormal experience you have may provide the missing clue that finally solves this forgotten case, and ultimately allows the troubled ghosts of the Doheny Mansion the peace they deserve.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


WHERE: Palace Theater
(630 S Broadway, Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: Dormant


Although this theater is probably best known as the one Michael Jackson danced in front of in the Thriller video (before he turned into a werewolf), this movie palace has the distinction of being the oldest movie theater in Los Angeles, as in the oldest theater that showed movies. Since the Palace had an earlier life as a vaudeville theater before being converted to a cinema, it is much older than the other theaters that were build to show movies. Because of this little quirk, it was built in an era before amplified sound, so all seats had to be built within eighty feet of the stage (so patrons could hear the live actors), and thus is one of the more intimate movie palaces downtown. Also, because of this earlier life predating the cinemas as we know them today, it also has a dark secret. It is one of the few building still standing that had a segregated “Negroes Only" balcony (later transformed into a "third class" balcony for the poor) with it's own separate entrance from the side alley, making it impossible from someone in that balcony to mingle with anyone else in the theater.

Needless to say, that ominous third balcony is one of the spiritual "hot spots" of this very haunted theater. People, while standing on the stage, have seen "figures" in the darkness standing in, or walking about, the third balcony (when the only door to that level is locked). Additionally, witnesses have claimed to see a woman on stage walking from center stage to the wings (stage right), and disappearing once backstage. She is said to be dressed in a white (very lacy) gown. Her identity is unknown, but she is believed to be a performer from the days of the vaudeville circuit. It should be pointed out, that she always vanishes at the location of a giant electric transformers used to operate the lights. Perhaps these electric-magnetic fields generated affect the ghost. It is also interesting to note, that the cremated remains of two adults and one child were found in a box in the basement level of the theater. Who these people were, their connection to this theater, or why their ashes were placed there is still a mystery. Could it be related to the woman on the stage, or the people in the balcony? We may never know.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


WHERE: The Carthay Circle
(6316 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: Domolished


Outside of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, no other movie palace exemplified the glamour of the Hollywood ideal like the Carthay Circle Theater (opened in 1926). The "Chinese" and the "Circle" were the only two theaters in Southern California to host premieres with the over-the-top fanfare (otherwise only seen in the movies, themselves), featuring red carpets, search lights, and bleachers filled with screaming fans. These two theaters set the standard that award ceremonies desperately try to copy to this day. However, unlike its themed Asian counterpart, the Carthay Circle (so named because of the shape of its auditorium) was pure American, with an Old West inspired decor that continued from its interior to the Gold Rush themed fountain located in the traffic island in front, which by the way, still exists today (despite being a subject of vandalism and hate crimes). But, the most bizarre element of this "Spirit of the American West" theme was the giant custom curtain that paid tribute to the tragic Donner Party, who resorted to cannibalism to survive.

Aside from that graphic depiction of one of the most macabre moments of the Golden State's history, there was something even more surreal behind the curtain. It is said that the ghost of a vaudevillian performer, who died of a heart attack during a floor show on that stage, haunted the backstage area of this famous theater. Now, that the theater has been demolished, and an office building has been erected on that spot, unfortunately there have been no further sightings of a ghost in baggy pants with a seltzer bottle.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


WHERE: The Los Angeles Theater

(615 S. Broadway, Los Angeles) Map

STATUS: Dormant (Occasional Screenings)


The Los Angeles Theater was not only the last of the great movie palaces downtown, but it was also the most expensive. No expense was spared in the decor of the Los Angeles, which included crystal chandeliers, marble, gold leaf, silk wall coverings, neon lighting, air-conditioning, walnut paneling, and fountains. Even the custom curtain used was said to be the most expensive in the world. All of this decadent wonder was done at the height of the Great Depression. The main lobby, and lounges are so opulent and large that today they are rented out as film/television/print locations to represent places of wealth, and double for the interiors of banks, mansions, or palaces. Despite all this grandeur (or because of the costs) the theater went belly-up in less than a year. It eventually reopened and did well during the war years, but business dwindled, and by the 1970's the crown jewel of downtown's "corridor of fantasy" became a the world's only 2200 seat porno theater.

Today, the theater is closed to the public. Occasionally, screenings and events are held there so people can see what it is like to be surrounded by such decaying opulence. A few lucky visitors may even meet the (decaying and opulent) former patron in a tuxedo, who lingers near the stairs to the lounge. Witnesses claim that the man stops at a mirror to adjust his tie before disappearing. People have also seen him while looking in the mirror approaching them from behind. Then, on the other end of the ecto-economical scale, the blue-collar ghost of a former projectionist has been spotted over the years in the projection booth. Aside from those two spirits, disembodied voices, laughter, and whispers has been heard throughout the downstairs lounges, dressing rooms, closets, and children's area. Perhaps, all these ghosts are getting reading for a show that will never again start.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


WHERE: The Tower Theater
(802 S. Broadway, Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: Dormant (occasional rock concerts)


The French Renaissance inspired Tower Theater has the distinction of being the oldest "movie theater" in Los Angeles (since October 12,1927). That is to say, the oldest theater that was specifically built as a cinema, as opposed to a live theater that was converted to show movies. It also has the distinction of being the first theater in Los Angeles to screen "The Jazz Singer," the first "talkie" (motion picture with recorded synchronized sound) Its said that during that movies' run, the theater was filled with depressed actors, who realized that this film marked the end of their careers (either because of accents, or their now obsolete acting style).

However, despite the "sadness" that still permeates that room, the ghostly actress (in a white dress) said to haunt this building is thought to have been a stage actress (who performed floor shows between screenings) and not one from the silver screen, because her sightings are generally around the stage and basement "dressing rooms."

These "live shows" apparently were not very common at this location, and the stage and backstage were not built to accommodate them. So, this tale seems unlikely. It is also believed she was killed in a fire that occurred in the basement even though a fire at this location has never been documented (which is not to say it didn't happen). That said, there was a "legitimate" theater ("The Garrick") at this location that was torn down to build the Tower, so perhaps this female phantom is connected to that building and predates the Tower.

Interestingly, a former usherette was murdered (shot twice in the head) in 1929 after she finished her shift at the Tower. So then again, perhaps she is the girlie ghost that has been seen here. Maybe, she is forever stuck doing her rounds one last time before leaving for the night.

Given this theater's "movie" history, it is not surprising that the other commonly seen ghost is that of a male projectionist seen in the projection booth. In addition, a location scout who visited the theater claims that a "hand" grabbed him while he was trying to ascend the stairs from the restrooms to the lobby with such force, it pulled him backward.

So, if you ever have the chance to see a live show at this creepy venue, make sure that the person brushing up against you is actually there.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Monday, January 8, 2007


WHERE: Belasco''s Theater
(337 S. Main Street, Los Angeles) map
STATUS: Destroyed


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.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

(to read about the ghosts of Los Angeles' other Belasco theater...)

Sunday, January 7, 2007


WHERE: Pasadena Playhouse
(600 North Rosemead Boulevard, Pasadena) map

STATUS: Active theater


This classy theater opened in 1925, and was built to house Pasadena's community theater that had originally started on a lower class burlesque stage. Just as this little theater troupe (lead by Gilmor Brown) overcame great odds to gain respect, so too did this theater, which in 1937 was declared California's Official State Theater because of the its innovative programing, which attracted the very top playwrights and actors to go to this suburb of Los Angeles and do "community theater."

This tradition of attracting the best in the dramatic arts to Pasadena continued for the many decades that followed since Gilmore Brown first set foot inside this building. Another tradition of the playhouse that continued was the continuous presence of Gilmor Brown, himself, even after his death in 1960. It is said that Gilmor requested hidden passageways to be built throughout the theater, so that he could secretly watch (and eavesdrop on) the rehearsals, and likewise it is said that his presence is still watching the goings-on of this fabled stage from the shadows to this day. This uneasy feeling of being spied upon on (and around) the stage was so common that faculty members felt it was necessary to warn incoming students (of the attached acting school) of Gilmor's ghost, and explain to them that "he" is just being protective of the place he helped build. So, should you ever have the chance to walk through this historic landmark and/or walk across the historic stage, don't worry if you feel the piercing eyes of a being from the great beyond. He means you no harm.

Additionally, anything strange that happens inside the theater is blamed on his ghost. In the past, lights have mysteriously turned on and off during performances (even after the wires had be examined by an electrician). An often repeated tale involves a stage manager's stack of notes with a production's sound and lighting queues getting scattered around a room during each intermission of that production (and even after the doors were locked and a guard was placed in front of it).

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Saturday, January 6, 2007


WHERE: The Alex Theater
216 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale (map)
STATUS: Active (as a legitimate theater, occasional screenings)


Built in 1925, as a vaudeville house with occasional film screening, this Egyptian/Greek themed theater, after a long life as a movie palace, has changed back into a venue for live theater with occasional film screenings. Likewise the two most commonly told ghost stories (and ghosts that share this space) also reflect that strange dichotomy, where the performing arts and the projected arts share the same stage.

Representing the "live" theater end of the spectrum, an almost archetypal "Woman in White" has been seen in the backstage dressing rooms and basement area. Though, it is often reported that she is wearing a wedding dress (sometimes tattered), and she is thought to be a bride, it is just as likely (given that she haunts the dressing rooms) that she once played a bride on the Alex's stage, or wore a similar costume.

Representing the cinema era of this stage, when shadows danced on the silver screen, is a pair of ghosts (a man and a woman) seen in the seats (from a long ago film audience), noisily chatting with each other (sometimes arguing) in loud, but hushed, tones. When a put-upon (living) patron finally decides to speak up, and tell them to be quiet, the phantom figures disappear. Sometimes the ghostly male becomes confrontational before he vanishes. So, if you happen to be at one of the Alex's many great programs, you might want to think twice before shhhhing that obnoxious couple in front of you.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Friday, January 5, 2007


WHERE: Avco Westwood
10840 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

STATUS: Active Theater

The Ghost(s):

They say that the three most important factors in determining the value of real estate are, in no particular order, 1.) location, 2.) location, and 3.) location. Not so coincidentally, these same three factors might also be said to be important when figuring out what causes a certain building to be haunted. How else can one explain the numerous ghost stories that are connected to the AMC Avco Cinema? All the typical ecto-explanations seem to not apply to this unique establishment. There is nothing particularly spooky about the sleek exterior design of this modern theater. The building is relatively not very old.

Additionally, there does not seem to be any dark or tragic history connected to this business. This cinema simply opened in 1972 as a three theater complex (two smaller screens complementing one large screen) as part of the Avco Center which included the office building next door. It was the first movie theater in Los Angeles to have a THX (multiple-speaker) sound system installed, which was a great novelty at the time. Although, attempts had been made in the past to create "surround sound" (like the 1941 Fanta-Sound system), it wasn't until THX (heard here first) that audiences started to demand better sound quality in other theaters. As you can see, these are not the kind of notes that make for the beginnings of a good ghost story.

Yet, the tales of harmless spirits residing in this cinema continue. So, is the location (or placement) of this state of the art theater the key to understanding its ghostly lore? This seemingly innocent building does sit on one of the more surreal pieces of real estate in Westwood, sandwiched between two more typically spirit-related businesses. It has a church (where funerals are held) on one side (to the East) and a cemetery directly behind it, on its South side. It is also worth mentioning that this adjacent grave yard, which is only few feet away from the movie screens, is the final resting place of Heather O'Rourke, the blond-haired ("they're heeerree!") girl from the "Poltergeist" movies, and some say the victim of the "Poltergeist Curse." Richard Conti is also buried there with a grave that reads "Richard Conti, 1900- ?" Additionally, this cemetery has the tomb of film-icon, Marilyn Monroe, who is said to haunt these neighboring grounds. Could the proximity of this theater to all of that death be the reason ghosts have been seen inside its walls?

Employees (who wish to remain anonymous) claim that theater #4, which was originally the balcony to the large theater, is where most of the paranormal activity occurs. In addition to the uncomfortable feeling that you are being watched when you enter this room, cleaning crews claim to have witnessed phantom people walking along the aisles and seats. There is also a mysterious force that occasionally causes the curtains covering that screen to inexplicably unfurl with a rolling wave-like motion as if being blown by a strong wind that just isn't there.

Although, theater #4 seems to be the real hot spot (or more likely the "cold spot") for most the super-natural doings, there is one other apparition residing on these premises. Eerily, "she" is also associated with the upper level of this building. Some say a little girl has been seen coming slowly down the stairway in the lobby (near the box office on Whilshire Blvd.) only to vanish as she reaches the bottom step. Is there a reason the ghosts here seem to have issues with the ground floor?

Unfortunately, the identity of these cinephile spirits, as well as any reasons they have for attaching themselves to this theater is, as of yet, unknown. Did they (in life) have a deep connection to this contemporary cinema, or are they (like the living) strolling in off of the street (or neighboring properties) to check out the latest films? Which brings us back to our original question, is this theater's location the answer? Is it just simply a conveniently placed source of entertainment for all those restless spirits next door? Given the high number of people from the entertainment industry buried a few feet away, this seems to be the most likely (and only) explanation as to why so many mysterious manifestations. In the end, it simply boils down to location, location, and looooooooocation!

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)

Thursday, January 4, 2007


WHERE: The Warner Grand Theater
(478 W 6th St., San Pedro, CA ) map

STATUS: Dormant (occasional screenings)


In the days before pesky anti-trust laws prevented studios from owning the theaters that showed their movies, Warner Brothers (specifically a very hands-on Jack Warner) commissioned a handful of impressive movie theaters in the greater Los Angeles Area. Not only were these buildings beautiful pieces of architecture, but they also represented the cutting edge of technology. The Warner Theaters were the first theaters to be outfitted with special sound equipment to exhibit "talking pictures," which showcased their own studio's "vitaphone" technology. Sadly, the Warner Grand (built in 1931) is the only one of the Warner theaters that still shows movies on a regular basis. The others have either been torn down, altered, or abandoned.

Although the term "movie palace" has come to describe the luxurious romanticised cinemas of that era, this particular "palace" was actually intended to be a "castle" (or "The Castle to Your Dreams" as Jack Warner called it). The castle analogy almost makes more sense given the celluloid treasures found inside these walls, as well as the Hollywood royalty connected to these giant structures that like real castles are mostly in ruins today. And, just as every castle has a resident ghost, so too does the Warner Grand.

A (seemingly male) figure has often been seen sitting in the back row of the theater in the darkness as a movie plays. For some unknown reason, it is thought that this apparition is the spirit of a former projectionist. Why a projection would haunt the seats and not the projection booth is a mystery. Perhaps, in death, he finally gets to relax and enjoy the movies without the clatter of the projectors. Or maybe, it is the ghost of a another man that spent as much time in the projection booth making sure everything worked properly, as he did in the audience enjoying the movies. Could it be that this ghost is actually Jack Warner? Does this "king" watch over his castle from the after-life? Come and find out. If you Dare.

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 haunted theater in the L.A. area...)