The Ghostly City of Angels

As Halloween draws closer, some people find more daring ways to celebrate than stocking up on candy corn. Long before the television show Ghost Hunters, haunted houses have intrigued both tourists and locals. If you are up for a bit of history with your All Hallows Eve festivities, check out some of these Los Angeles haunts.

The Pantages Theatre

6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90028

Think the current production of The Phantom of the Opera is the most ghostly thing at the Pantages? Displaying a similarly obsessive nature, the ghost of one of the theater’s former owners, Howard Hughes, predates the Phantom at the theater by a few decades.

People have also heard the singing voice of a woman who died during the showing of a film in the 1930s — one time her lonely song was even picked up by the stage mics. But the Pantages’ ghosts do not seem malevolent, as a wardrobe lady said she once felt a helpful, albeit owner-less hand lead her out of the theater during a blackout.

So, if the show is over and you have time to kill, poke around the Pantages for some gorgeous architecture and a potential visit from Hughes.

The Coliseum

3939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90037

You don’t have to go far from USC to get some ghostly thrills. If you’re bored by the game, check out the top floor of the stadium during the fourth quarter. In the 1960s a man fell to his death, and people report seeing his ghost as the games draw to a close. Also reported is the sound of bones crunching — and that’s not from failed touchdowns.

The Queen Mary

1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, Calif. 90802

Also known as the Long Beach Hotel, this ship-turned-hotel-turned-museum is one of the most famous haunts in Los Angeles.

Considering 49 people have died on the ship during her 60-year history, it makes statistical sense that a few stuck around.

Visitors have reported the visages of ghostly swimmers, sailors and gentleman dressed in black. Spend the night if you dare, or check out the hotel’s famous “Dining with the Spirits,” a Saturday dinner followed by a ghost tour of the ship.

The Knickerbocker Hotel

1714 Ivar Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90028

Now the Hollywood Knickerbocker Apartments, a senior citizen community, the Knickerbocker Hotel has a past as grisly as it is glamorous.

Stars such as Rudolph Valentino and Marilyn Monroe loved to stop in, and Elvis Presley slept over while shooting Love Me Tender.

Meanwhile, director D. W. Griffith died of a stroke under the hotel’s chandelier and actor William Frawley died of a heart attack in the lobby. In the 1960s, a lovelorn costume designer jumped from her 11th-floor window.

Most ghost sightings have been near the bar, so add some adventure to your drink order.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90028

Some people love stalking movie stars. They should hang out at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Many have reported seeing Monroe in a mirror that once hung in her suite. Others have seen 1950s star Montgomery Clift, looking just as moody as he did in the films that made him famous.

The Blossom Ballroom also has a famous cold spot — an area where people report feeling chilled for no reason.

The Silent Movie Theatre

611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90048

Even if silent movies are relics from another age, they still have their fans — namely, the two former owners of The Silent Movie Theatre.

The first owner, John Hampton, died from exposure to the chemicals he used to restore silent film prints. The second owner, Lawrence Austin, was shot in the lobby.

Today, Hampton still stays in his former apartment, now a lounge, and Austin hangs out in the lobby. Both ghosts get along just fine with the theater’s current owner.

The Comedy Store

8433 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90069

Maybe hip clubs are more your style than old hotels. At The Comedy Store, there are more things afoot than just questionable restroom activities. Formerly known as Ciro’s, this dive was a hot spot for mob figures.

Now, the club has a few permanent guests. Some are prankish, such as a voiceless caller from the nonexistent Line 31, while others are more sinister — the angry ghost of a betrayed hitman and the publicly shamed spirit of a woman who performed illegal abortions.

Guests have also experienced cold spots, an indicator of paranormal activity.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90038

What haunted roundup would be complete without a boneyard? Icons such as Charlie Chaplin Jr. and Cecil B. DeMille now rest in Hollywood Forever. A few don’t sleep so peacefully.

Some have felt a chill and heard sobs near the grave of Virginia Rappe, famous for a scandal and court case involving Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Early film star Rudolph Valentino also likes stroll through the grounds. But so does the specter of his biggest fangirl, a black-veiled woman who left flowers at his grave.