GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let's put the “Boo!” back into “booze.” All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you.
THE DATE: November 13th, 2012 (Tuesday)
THE PLACE: Bar 107
104 West 4th Street, Downtown LA Map
THE TIME: 8:00pm to ???
Disneyland's "Main Street, USA" is mysteriously missing a few staples that could be found in any small town. In addition to the absence of a church, Disney's recreated town is also missing a saloon. One would think if a neighborhood bar did exist there, it would most likely be tucked away, down a side street, and decorated with Americana kitsch.
GHOULA would like to think that such a saloon would probably be like Bar 107, which is tucked away, around the corner from Los Angeles' Main Street (a possible inspiration for the theme-park counter-part). Although, this Magic Kingdom connection may seem like a stretch, what other local tavern has an authentic "Welcome to Disneyland" sign, when you pass through the entrance?
Bar 107 (a reference to its address) is on the ground floor of the Barclay Hotel (formerly the Van Nuys Hotel), which first opened January 19th, 1897. As far as anyone can tell the building has always (since day 1) had a bar on their ground floor. Originally, there was the redundantly titled "400 Hundred Saloon," which was notorious for it's "disorderly patrons" and "lewd women" (according to newspaper accounts). In the late 1930's legendary folk hero, Elfego Baca (also the subject of a TV series produced by Walt Disney) held court here, entertaining listeners with his tales and recollections of the Old West.
Naturally, such a colorful location has a colorful ghost (one of many spirits connected to the hotel). Employees and staff of this establishment claim that there are spooky antics afoot in the back room, where the dance floor is located. Phantom hands invisibly grab, push, and pull unsuspecting individuals minding their own business. What makes this phenomena interesting is that they occur in the DJ booth and other elevated areas above the ground floor. Its as if this specter is suspended high in the air and reaches out to anyone that comes up to its level. Why does it hang out up there?
In 1897, during the hotel's first year of operation, a tragic event occurred that resulted in a man's death. A waiter delivering food to a guest's room, stepped on to the elevator at the ground floor. The young ,inexperienced elevator operator took him up to the 3rd floor, and slid open the door. When the elevator continued to move upward (despite the control switch), the operator panicked and jumped off, through the door. The waiter (not knowing how to stop a moving elevator), attempted to follow the operator through the shrinking gap. Unfortunately, the waiter was too late, and his legs got stuck between the floor of the elevator and the top of the door. Both legs snapped, and the elevator continued up, pulling the rest of his body into the elevator shaft. For a couple of moments, he hung by one foot, before he dropped three stories to his death.
Could this saloon's ghost be that ill-fated waiter, who still reaches out for help? Come down to Bar 107, have a drink, and ponder the possibilities.
(for more ghost stories about this haunted location...)
(to read about last month's haunted location... )
(to see a map of previous SPIRITS with SPIRITS locations... )