Showing posts with label haunted. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haunted. Show all posts

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 13th: SPIRITS WITH SPIRITS at Tom Bergin's

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”

All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have, please wear it so others can find you.

THE DATE: March 13th, 2009 (Friday)
THE PLACE: Tom Bergin’s Tavern (840 S. Fairfax) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the Witching Hour


Although the name and location of this restaurant has changed since they first opened their doors in 1936, from “Tom Bergin’s Old Horse Shoe Tavern and Thoroughbred Club” (on Wilshire) to “Tom Bergin’s Horse Shoe Tavern” (on Fairfax) to just simply “Tom Bergin’s” (still Fairfax), the famous “horse shoe-shaped” bar that started it all has remained exactly the same. So much so, that at the time of the big move (just a couple of blocks away), loyal customers personally carried the bar (in one piece with the 17 benches attached) just to make sure nothing changed.

“Tom Bergin’s” has achieved immortality for two important contributions to American culture. First, in early 1950's, it became one of the first establishments in the USA to serve “Irish Coffee,” and secondly, the place served as the inspiration, both in look and feel, for TV’s “Cheers.” The character of "Coach” was even modeled after Head Bartender Chris Doyle. Indeed, “Tom Bergin’s” was the original “place where everyone knows your name” as evidenced by the ritual of placing faithful customers’ names on large shamrocks that hang over the bar.

In Ireland, legends of leprechauns, fairies, and banshees are common place, so it is only fitting that Los Angeles’ oldest Irish Pub has its own share of tales to tell. The figure of a woman has been known to walk through the bar area only to vanish moments later, while a mysterious man has also been known to disappear before one’s eyes near the fireplace in the restaurant. Are these two spirits connected to each other? And, who is responsible for the mischievous movement of objects late at night when the customers have left? Could it be a third ghost? If all this seems too disturbing, take comfort in the knowledge there are no leprechauns running around the bar… or are there?

(to see last month's SPIRITS with SPIRITS location...)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Highlights from Feb 2009 Spirits with Spirits at Union Station

GHOULA would like to thank the employees that finally shared their ghost story. It seems there is the spirit of a military man who stands (apparently waiting) in the North courtyard outside the main waiting room. Eventhough his uniform is generic, it is thought that he is from the era of World War II. Also, staff have heard strange moaning sounds outside of the North East part of the station. Could this be the echos of a long ago murder that took place there when the area was Chinatown? We would like to propose another theory. Our city's first "lover's lane" was roughly located in that location, so perhaps those moans are another activity all together.

We would also like to thank the good people at Los Angeles’ main Train transportation hub for the impromptu tour of the abandon New Jersey commuter train on the normally inaccessible Track 13, and for letting us commandeer these sad, forgotten rail cars for the night.

I have heard it said that there is nothing as lonely as a train whistle in the distance. That may be true, but there is also nothing as eerie as an empty train in the moonlight. Thank you, Union Station. A ghoul time was had by all.

Apologies to those who showed up to the bar (i.e. that means you Jim and Cybele) and missed the great train exploration of 2009. Welcome new member Dave Melrose! Remember, once you attend a GHOULA meeting, you are a member for life, and then some.

(to read about the SPIRITS of this location...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Spirits with Spirits at Traxx Bar in Union Station

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost-hunters. Open to all, from the curios skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see all the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”

All those who attend will receive a free GHOULA button. If you have already received your button, please wear it so others can find you.

G.H.O.U.L.A. t-shirts will be available for sale. ($10.00 each)

Union Station began receiving trains in 1939, so be a part of its 70 years of history by taking one of the “light rail” (Red, Gold, Blue, or Purple) options to this deco-destination. Besides avoiding traffic, it will spare you any parking headaches.

THE DATE: February 13th, 2009 (Friday)
THE PLACE: TRAXX Bar (Union Station) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the Witching Hour


In addition to Union Station being one of the few truly iconic landmarks in Los Angeles (with its unique “mission moderne” design), it has also been one of those locations that members have felt GHOULA should explore. Although, several employees of the station (as well as Amtrak employees) have confessed that it is haunted, GHOULA, through research and interviews, could not get any first-hand accounts from witnesses (or even second-hand accounts). No one was willing to discuss who possibly haunts it (one employee said that management told them not to talk about the ghosts). However, even if these unknown ghost stories are just urban legends, it’s one of those places that should be haunted.

For starters, Union Station was built on the site of the bloodiest riot in this city’s history, in which a Chinese gang war erupted in to a lynch mob that spilled into neighboring communities. When the dust settled, fifteen bodies (some accounts claim as many 19) hung from the trees along Los Angeles Street, near where the entrance to the Union Station stands today. As a result, that dirt road was nicknamed “Hangman’s Street.” Although the legends of catacombs discovered during construction (Indian burial sites, Chinese opium dens, “Lizard People” tunnels, etc.) are apparently not true, the many stories of corpses, folded or in pieces, found in luggage at Union Station are true.

The most famous occurrence of trunks dripping blood involved Winnie Ruth Judd, the infamous “Tiger Woman” of Los Angeles (a.k.a. the “Velvet Tigress” to avoid confusion with the two other notorious local killers also given the nickname the “Tiger Woman”). In addition, the murderer of “Lower 13” was arrested on the platforms as he and his slashed victim rolled into Union Station (perhaps on the now-closed track 13, whose walled-in gateway can still be seen).

On top of all of that, the area near Union Station's baggage claim, was at one time this city's "lover's lane," where all kinds of illicit behavior took place. But the most “spirit-inducing” piece of strange history connected to the station doesn’t involve anything scandalous or macabre.

Union Station’s abandon (but preserved) “restaurant” had the good fortune to be designed by visionary architect Mary Jane Colter. Although notable for creating spaces that fuse Spanish and Native-American influences, she was also fascinated with the supernatural. She used to try to build places that felt like they had history, places where ghosts would feel comfortable. Two of her most famous commissions “The Ghost House” and “Phantom Ranch” reflect that spirit. It is not surprising that most of the locations she created have ghost stories attached to them. Thus, maybe the reason why no one will discuss Union Station's spirits is because they are locked up in the room where “ghosts feel comfortable,” and everyone wants them left undisturded.
(to read more about the ghosts of Union Station...)
(to see last month's SPIRITS with SPIRITS location...)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Highlights from Jan 2009 Spirits with Spirits at Mel's Diner

The spirits were against us. Or were they?

Water, sometimes known for its connection to paranormal activity, was to blame for our disastrous meeting. Due to a busted underground pipe, water service for Hollywood Blvd. was shut off. Musso and Frank’s Grill was forced to cancel dinner service and close their doors. GHOULA marched up and down “the boulevard of broken dreams” for an alternative haunted venue, but all other bars (ghostly or not) in the vicinity were also forced to close as well.

Tired and weary, GHOULA eventually had to settle for Mel’s Diner, located in the historic Max Factor Building and make due with rounds of sodas and milkshakes instead of the traditional cocktails. The strange turn of events however did not dampen the spirits of those that stayed. There were ghost stories a plenty from new members as well as an in depth discussion/debate of the nature of “orbs” in photos.

The surprise guest of the evening was Steve Cohen (pictured above with the "13" tattoo on his wrist), the owner of Larchmont’s Village Pizzeria, who joined our discussion while waiting for a take-out order. It turns out that in addition to his passion for creating great pizza, he also has a passion for the number 13, which seems to invade his life from all angles. So, you can imagine his interest and delight encountering a group of people that meet every 13th of the month.

(to read about the SPIRITS of our intended location...)

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 13th: Spirits with Spirits at Musso & Frank's Grill in Hollywood

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”

All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you have already received your button, please wear it so others can find you. Also, G.H.O.U.L.A t-shirts will be available for sale. ($10.00 each).

Musso and Frank’s Grill proudly boasts itself as “the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. How old is it? They first opened their doors in 1919, which means this year the restaurant turns 90 years old. So, come out and join GHOULA as we celebrate this local institution’s milestone of achievement.

THE DATE: January 13th, 2008 (Tuesday)
THE PLACE: Musso and Frank's Grill

(6667 Hollywood Blvd.) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the Witching Hour


Although just about every movie star one can think of (going back to the silent era) has at one time eaten here, and although the restaurant serves some of the best food in this town (especially their world famous flannel cakes), it is neither the celebrities nor the cuisine that has fascinated literate locals for decades.

For some inexplicable reason, writers (for better or worse) have always been drawn to this location. F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, John O’Shea, Dorothy Parker, Dashiel Hammet, Ernest Hemingway, Nathanial West, Bud Schulburg, Jim Thompson, and Charles Bukowski are just some of the writer’s that have been linked to this famous watering hole.

Not only is Musso and Frank’s grill mentioned in Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep,” it is said that the entire book was written between drinks while Chandler sat at the bar (which may explain the famously convoluted nature of his famous mystery novel). So many writers and screenwriters have frequented this place that it is sometimes referred to as “The Algonquin West,” a reference to the east coast’s “Algonquin Round Table” (the center of New York’s literary scene in the 1920s).

Strangely, none of these famous writer’s that ultimately drank their lives away at this location haunt this establishment, instead the ghosts appear to be a collection of famous celebrities that (even more strangely) haunt other local locations as well. The spirits of Errol Flynn (who also haunts his former residence), Lionel Barrymore (who also haunts his former residence), Orson Wells (who also haunts another restaurant in West Hollywood), Carole Lombard (who also haunts the Hotel Roosevelt), and Jean Harlow (who also busily haunts three of her former homes in Beverly Hills) have all been seen at various locations inside this famous upscale eatery.

Apparently, in the after-life, Musso and Frank’s Grill still serves as the “meeting spot” where Hollywood's ecto-elite go to take a break from their normal haunting duties and just relax and mingle with their phantom friends. It’s nice to know that even after death some things never change in Hollywood.

Additionally, there have been rumors that a hidden back room is said to be haunted by spirits connected to an age when that room was supposedly an illegal speak-easy. Interestingly, the restaurant neighboring Musso and Frank's to the West claims that they were the original site of Musso and Frank's before they moved to their current location next door, and as such they claim that their location was where the speak-easy was originally and that it also is haunted by spirits from that age.

(to see last month's SPIRITS with SPIRITS location...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 13th Spirits with Spirits at the Mixville Bar in Silverlake

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”

All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you have already received your button, please wear it so others can find you. Also, G.H.O.U.L.A t-shirts will be available for sale. ($10.00 each)

The largest earthquake drill in U.S. history is scheduled to take place on November 13th at 10:00 am. So, in the spirit of earthquake safety, this month’s “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” will take place in a historic fire station haunted by former rescue workers.
THE DATE: November 13th, 2008 (Thursday)
THE PLACE: Mixville Bar @ The Edendale Grill (2838 Rowena Ave.) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the Witching Hour


“Mixville” was a 12 acre movie set (complete with a frontier town, an Indian village, a simulated desert, and a range of plaster mountains) in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles where a series of popular silent-era westerns featuring matinee-idol Tom Mix were filmed. Mixville was where Tom Mix buried his beloved horse “Old Blue,” and where John Wayne got his first job in the movie industry. Sadly, Mixville no longer exists, and in its place stands a strip mall with a Ralph’s Supermarket.

The Mixville Bar, on the other hand, can be found a couple of blocks away from its namesake’s former location. While the establishment’s name pays homage to the celluliod heroes of the past, the actual building is a monument to the memory of another kind of hero. The Mixville bar is located inside Historic Fire Station No. 56. Specifically, the bar sits in what was once the station’s fire-truck bay. Built in 1924, many of the buildings original features are still intact and lovingly preserved. The current owners, and the community, are proud of the building’s unique history.

However, in addition to fine food and cocktails, old Fire Station #56 is also home to some paranormal activity. If you ask the wait-staff or the hostess about ghosts, they will tell you that the place is not haunted. But, GHOULA recently spoke to one of the busboys, who swore that it is indeed very haunted!

Apparently, at the end of their shifts, when the employees clean up for the night, it is not uncommon to encounter “shadow people” on the walls of the fire station. These black forms are said to always be male, and to always vanish after a moment. The workers believe that they are the spirits of fallen firefighters that use to live and work at this site.

It has also been reported that the lady who cleans the restrooms (when the restaurant is closed) believes the restless spirits, on more than one occasion, have slammed the doors when she finished her duties. Perhaps, these ghostly acts are a reaction to the presence of a woman in what was once a male-dominated environment. Then again, maybe they’re just playful fire-house pranks. Either way, these spirits appear to be benign.

So, go to The Mixville Bar, and toast the brave men and women of the LAFD, who not only protect us from disaster (natural and otherwise), but even in death watch over us.

Friday, October 10, 2008

October 13th: Spirits with Spirits at Philippes the Original...

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS WITH SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”
All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you have already received your button, please wear it so others can find you. Also, G.H.O.U.L.A t-shirts will be available for sale. ($10.00 each).

THE DATE: October 13th, 2008 (Monday)
THE PLACE: Philippes the Original (1001 N. Alameda St.) map
THE TIME: 8pm to 10pm (Meet on Haunted 2nd Floor)

THE GHOST: This Month, Philippes celebrates its 100th Birthday. For a century, this landmark restaurant, located in the heart of Los Angeles, has been serving up great food at reasonable prices. In that life-span, this historic eatery has also been the subject of many rumors and legends. Most of these tall tales concern the restaurant’s most famous creation, the “French Dipped Sandwich.” How exactly it was invented (or even if Philippes actually invented it) is still up for debate.

But, there is another set of stories that people don’t talk about in public, and these stories concern the building’s upstairs dining area.
Although, Philippes (as a business) has been around since 1908, it has only been at this location since 1951. So, what was at 1001 N. Alameda Street before Philippes moved in, and took over this building? The restaurant‘s website diplomatically referred to it as a “hotel,” though it was more likely a run-down boarding house. Furthermore, given that it was placed in the center of the area’s “red-light” district, it was most likely a brothel. Whatever the truth may be, the racy history is the one that employees repeat when talking about the other legend connected with the upstairs.

It is said that there is the ghost of a “lady of the evening” that haunts the 2nd floor. Many people, over the years, have seen her white form strolling down the hall only to vanish as she steps into one of the adjoining rooms. This prostituting phantasm is also said to be the source of a strong perfume that seems to invade the upstairs when no one else is present.
So, the next time you're enjoying the pleasures of their “French Dipped Sandwich” and a cold beer, take a look at the upstairs where women used to sell pleasures of another kind, you just might come face-to-face with something scarier than the jar of purple, pickled eggs downstairs.

For Questions: Leave message at GHOULA HQ at (323) 782 - 0616
(to see last month's SPIRITS with SPIRITS location...)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 13th: Spirits with Spirits at the HMS Bounty

GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. Spirits with Spirits is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, find ghosts! Come see the “hot spots” with “cold spots.”

All those who attend will receive a complimentary limited edition square shaped G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you have already received your button, please wear it so others can find you. G.H.O.U.L.A t-shirts will be available for sale ($10.00 each). Online for $13.00.

Since we have not had much luck with the “Haunted Mirrors” at our last two outings, let’s give it one more shot with a lesser known haunted mirror in the Wilshire Corridor.

THE DATE: August 13th, 2008 (Wednesday)
THE PLACE: H.M.S. Bounty (located on the ground floor of the Gaylord Bldg.) map
THE TIME: 9pm to the Witching Hour

THE GHOSTS: The H.M.S. Bounty is one of the last of a dying breed – the nautical themed bar. Decorated with boating regalia, this old watering-hole resembles the interior of a ship’s galley complete with low ceilings and portholes. This famous location is just one part of a bigger haunted site.

The H.M.S. Bounty (originally called “the Gay Room”) is on the ground floor of the Gaylord Apartments which was built in 1921 by the eccentric millionaire Gaylord Wilshire. Upton Sinclair, noted author, once said that Mr. Wilshire was “for all the world, the incarnation of Mephistopheles.” And true to form, later in life, Gaylord Wilshire claimed to have “mystical powers.”Mr. Wilshire purchased the original city dump (and surrounding swampy area) at a cheap price and converted it into the “Miracle Mile” we know today. It is said that before Mr. Wilshire gentrified this then remote section of the city, it was a popular spot to hide murder victims.
Tenants of this historic apartment building have complained of strange knocks on their windows and phantom footsteps in the empty halls. Most notably, there is a ghost that haunts the ladies’ room in the lobby. Women claim to feel an invisible hand pinch their posterior, as well as see the reflection of a leering man in the mirror, only to turn around and discover they’re alone. The identity this paranormal pervert is currently unknown.

The HMS Bounty is located at 3357 Wilshire BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90010. For restaurant and bar info, call (213) 385-7275.

(to see more stories of this location...)
(to see last month's SPIRITS with SPIRITS location...)

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.”

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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Haunted House Round-Up!

The Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery in Colton

Every year around Halloween, the mainstream news dishes out the goods on the local haunts, so here is a briefing on this year's featured California Cold Spots:

The LA Times published a photo slide show on 5 Haunted Spots in California that covers The Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery in Colton, The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, Winchester Mystery House, Queen Mary in Long Beach, and Alcatraz National Park in San Francisco Bay.

The MSNBC report on Haunted Ski Resorts claims Mammoth Mountain is not haunted but nearby Bodie, CA is:
Mammoth Mountain, Calif., hasn't had any ghostly sightings in town or on the mountain, but the nearby ghost town of Bodie, Calif., is a state historical park. This ghost town has been preserved in a state of "arrested decay." I'm sure there are a handful of ghosts wandering these streets by night. Only problem for us mortals is that the park is closed around sundown. I wonder why?

The MSNBC report on Pet Cemeteries (Howling Haunts: Where Ghost Pets Play) highlights the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery and the Whaley House Museum among other national locales:

Masoleum of LA Pet Cemetery
The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery - also known as L.A. Pet Memorial Park - on Old Scandia Lane in Calabasas, Calif., is the final resting place for many of Hollywood's famous animal actors including cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy's horse Topper and Petey the pitbull who starred in the movie Little Rascals. But it's silent movie star Rudolph Valentino's Great Dane named Kabar who is said to still walk through this hillside cemetery and playfully lick people who stop at his grave around Halloween.

The Whaley House Museum on San Diego Avenue in Old Town San Diego, Calif. is listed by the United States Department of Commerce as "an authentic haunted house". In fact, the Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted, claims it to be the number one most haunted house in the country. This classic example of mid-19th century Greek revival architecture was once the home of entrepreneur Thomas Whaley who came to California during the gold rush. Whaley's infant son Thomas Jr. died in an upstairs bedroom and visitors have reported hearing the cries of a baby coming from this room. The ghost of a small dog has also been seen coming and going from this bedroom, as well as outside the house in the yard.

The Dallas Morning News article, You'll Find These Hotels Haunting, covers the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park:

Ahwahnee Hotel
•Guests on Tauck's "California's Gold Coast" tour spend two nights in the rustic yet luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, but apparently some hotel guests have forgotten to check out – even after checking out. Tauck's Cindy Walker refuses to stay on the sixth floor, which is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Curry Tressider. Tressider was instrumental in the hotel's development, and she lived in a sixth-floor apartment until her death in 1970. When President John F. Kennedy stayed on the third floor during a visit in 1962, a rocking chair was placed in his room so that he could rock and help alleviate his chronic back pain. After Mr. Kennedy's death, housekeepers began reporting seeing a chair rocking slowly in the room where the president had stayed, even though the room hasn't been furnished with a rocking chair since his visit.

Most Famous Haunted Hotels by MSNBC writes on the California's Paso Robles Inn and Sainte Claire Hotel:

In 1940, for example, a guest at California's Paso Robles Inn discovered a fire on the second floor of the hotel. He rushed downstairs, sounded the alarm and then died of a heart attack. But his actions led to all of the hotel's guests being evacuated. Today, the front desk receives mysterious calls from room 1007 and one night there was a call placed to 911 from the unoccupied room.

In the early Thirties, a young woman is to be married in the Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose, California. Her fiancé leaves her at the altar, and that night she hangs herself in the hotel's basement. Today guests report hearing high-heeled footsteps against hardwood floors ... even though the hotel is carpeted.

And finally, Florida's Southwest Herald Tribune lists California haunted properties along with a text messaging service that provides their real estate values:
Try, a real-estate search and valuation firm. Simply text message the home's address to 46873 (which spells "house"), and it will return the number of bedrooms, baths and the home's value -- even the date when it was last sold and/or built, along with the current owner's name. You can get the same information at, all at no cost.

Manson Murders

The address also has been changed at the Beverly Hills, Calif., location where Charles Manson and "friends" slaughtered Sharon Tate, an actress who was eight-months pregnant, and four others in 1969. It's now 10066 Cielo Drive. But then, it's not the same house.

No one would purchase the Tate house because of the stigma it carried. So it was torn down and replaced with a seven-bedroom, 12-bath manse that sprawls over 16,300 square feet. HouseFront estimates its value at $7.4 million. Still, the chilling impact of the murders remains, as locals and tourists with a penchant for the macabre visit the site frequently (

Winchester House

Sarah Winchester, who inherited more than $20 million and a 49 percent stake in the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. from her husband, William, built this architectural marvel in San Jose, Calif., around-the-clock for nearly 40 years.

A medium told her to build a house for herself and never stop or she would die. Another account says that she believed the only way she could repent for the thousands of people killed by her family's rifles was to keep building. Either way, she built and built and built some more, from 1884, when she purchased a house under construction, until her death 38 years later.

The place started out as a six-bedroom house. But Sarah turned it into a monster mansion with 40 bedrooms, 40 staircases, 47 fireplaces and 1,257 windows (

Madrona Manor

Room 101 in the bed-and-breakfast at 1001 Westside Road in Healdsburg, Calif., is said to be haunted by a women dressed in black. Some guests are certain their possessions have been moved while they slept, and at least one dinner guest swears a ghost sat next to her and spoke.

The manor was built in 1880 by John Paxtron, whose corpse was kept in the house in a glass coffin by his grieving wife, Hannah, until her own death 15 years after his, according to Later, one of their two sons committed suicide in the house. While the place was being turned into a bed-and-breakfast in the 1980s, workers complained they were being watched (

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... )

Saturday, January 20, 2007


WHERE: The Royal Theater11523 Santa Monica Blvd. West LA (Map)
STATUS: Active (regular screenings)

Some places are haunted by spirits that are seen many times by various witnesses over the decades. Then, there are locations that are only visited by a ghost once, and the tale of that dramatic moment is then repeated, and past along, for the years that follow.

One such occurrence happened at the Royal Theater on LA's West side. Even though this theater, previously known as the Tivoli Theater, seems to date back to the 1920's when the area (not just the street) was called Sawtelle, this ghostly incident happened in the 1990's, according to those that tell this tale.

An elderly woman, who was late meeting her elderly husband for a screening (which had already started by the time she arrived), past through the empty lobby (their prearranged meeting spot) into the darkened theater, and searched for her husband. As her eyes adjusted to the limited lighting, she found where he was seated and quietly joined him in the empty seat next to him. Though they didn't say a word to each other during the movie, they held hands through most of the film.

When the picture ended, and the auditorium's lights went on, she discovered the seat next to her (formerly occupied by her husband) was empty. She didn't see him anywhere, but assumed that he went to the restroom before the credits rolled on the screen to beat the crowds.

She waited in the lobby outside the Men's Room. Eventually, after a while, she asked an employee if he could go in and check on her husband. To her surprise, the restroom was empty. When she asked is any of the staff had seen her husband, and gave a description, she learned the truth...

Her husband had a heart attacked in the lobby and was pronounced dead by paramedics before the movie even began. Although, his body had been taken away by ambulance before his wife arrived at the theater, it seems his spirit lingered long enough so that they could watch one last movie together.

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... )

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...)