Spooky spots in the city of stars
In Los Angeles, the golden age of Hollywood brought young starlets, glamour, drama — and ghosts. This Halloween, check out Hollywood, Griffith Park and a one-of-a-kind theatre for some spook-tacular sightings.
1. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Marilyn Monroe is said to haunt this historic hotel where she lived for two years and had her first professional modeling shoot at the rooftop pool. Guests have frequently seen her reflection in the mirror that used to be in her old suite. The mirror has sometimes been displayed in the lower elevator foyer, but has since been removed. Montgomery Clift, a troubled Hollywood star, can also be heard practicing trumpet in suite 928, where he lived for three months while filming From Here to Eternity.
2. The Silent Movie Theatre
The original owner of the Silent Movie Theatre, John Hampton, died of cancer due to exposure to chemicals used to preserve film. When the theatre reopened in the ’90s, Lawrence Austin, the new owner, found himself in the middle of a murder plot by his projectionist, James Van Sickle. Nineteen-year-old Christian Rodriguez was hired to kill Austin under the guise of a robbery. A teenage concessions worker was shot in the attempt to fake a robbery; she survived and served as a witness in Rodriguez’s trial. Hampton’s ghost can be found in the upstairs lounge while Austin roams the lobby of the theatre. The Silent Movie Theatre, now owned by Cinefamily, is currently closed due to allegations of improper behavior by two Cinefamily executives.
3. Griffith Park
An angry niece, a curse and an unfortunate owner make Griffith Park a must-see place for hauntings. Seventeen-year-old Dona Petronilla placed a curse on the land and its owners after learning that her uncle had not given the property to her after his death. A man involved in the negotiation of the land, C.V. Howard, was shot dead in a nearby saloon. Another owner was killed on a trip to Mexico. And Colonel Griffith J. Griffith was the most unlucky. Wildfires destroyed sustenance for farming and killed most of the livestock. In 1891, Griffith was shot by a business rival. Though he survived, he began giving the land away for free. The curse culminated when Griffith shot his wife in a Santa Monica hotel. He served two years in San Quentin State Prison for his crime. On stormy nights, the ghost of Petronilla can be seen in the Paco Feliz Adobe, the oldest remaining structure in Griffith Park. Griffith’s ghost is most often spotted on horseback guarding his land.
4. The Hollywood Sign
On the perimeter of Griffith Park sits the famous Hollywood sign. At age 24, the promising young actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by climbing up a workman’s ladder to the 44-foot high ‘H’ and then jumping to her death. A shoe, jacket, and purse belonging to Entwistle were found by a female hiker two days after the actress had last been seen. Inside the purse was a suicide note stating simply “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.” Some hikers have seen a woman in period clothes walking up the path to the sign and around Entwistle’s former residence on Beachwood Canyon Drive. The scent of her gardenia perfume lingers around her favorite haunts.