There is no doubt that Hollywood is a hotbed of ghost stories. There are several ‘Haunted Hollywood’ tours with an abundance of stories to be told; some perhaps are wish-fulfilment (surely there ‘must’ be stories about Marilyn Monroe!) whilst others seem to have more grounding from genuine tales. What is for sure is that there is plenty enough tragedy surrounding the Hollywood stars and film makers for a plentiful supply of supernatural stories.
We based ourselves at the Culver Hotel, which is not only one of the haunted houses, but also a mighty fine place to stay (see our review here). Historic, full of charm and character it is also within easy reach of other spooky Hollywood hot spots – most particularly the Culver Studios which are located right next door. Here is our pick of the creepiest corners:
Culver City founder Harry Culver is still said to stroll the creaky corridors of this fine historic hotel. His offices were on the second floor and since his death in 1946 it’s said that staff members occasionally see his ghost wandering around and hear the windows in his personal office bang shut unexpectedly. There are no bedrooms on this floor but you are free to wander its corridors and rooms looking at the wonderful art now on display.
A few steps from the Hotel this is the studio complex where such legendary films as Gone with the Wind. It was built in 1918 by silent movie pioneer Thomas Ince who died in 1924, after falling ill on newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst’s yacht during a star-studded cruise held to his birthday. Legend has it that Ince was actually shot and killed by a jealous Hearst, aiming at (and missing) Charlie Chaplin, suspecting an affair with Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. It is said that Ince’s ghost still shows up for work, grumpily criticising the current management! Currently closed to visitors.
Back when it read Hollywoodland, this iconic sign also attracted those with suicidal tendencies. Peg Entwistle did well on the Broadway stage but moving west had limited success and a turbulent personal life leading her to leap to her death from the top of the ‘H’. Visitors have reported sightings of the actress accompanied by the lingering scent of her gardenia perfume. You may hike to the sign or take guided walks.
A veritable hotspot of hauntings – at least seven different ghosts have been seen. The include Fritz, a film projectionist who died in the projection booth, a maintenance engineer, as well as a school teacher and her students (who died in a school formerly on the site and burned down). 6675 Hollywood Blvd but now closed.
Stage 28, which houses the famed Paris Opera House set, initially built for the 1925 Lon Chaney silent classic, The Phantom of the Opera. Since Chaney’s death in 1930 his ghost has made this its home. Film crew report seeing a man in a black cape running around on the catwalks. Not on the Universal Studios Tour.
Originally apartments it became a smart hotel frequented by celebrities. Perhaps one of the most haunted places in Los Angeles numerous sightings include Rudolph Valentino who haunts the bar and Marilyn Monroe who is sometimes spotted out in the ladies’ room. It is equally famous for its non-ghost Harry Houdini. After his death in 1926, his widow Bess attempted to contact him every year for ten years with a seance on the roof of the Hotel!Now a care home.
This luxury hotel was built for the rich and famous, financed by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Myriad stars enjoyed staying here, including Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard. Marilyn Monroe was resident here for two years and apparently is still enjoying her old suite 1200 – it seems that guests and staff have seen her in mirrors around the hotel. Montgomery Clift is active in and around his old room, 928. He has been seen pacing the hallway and heard practicing his trumpet in the middle of the night! There are also cold spots, , sightings of a little girl, pianist and bather and mysterious calls, voices and electrical failures. 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.
This Sunset Strip building was originally was Ciro’s restaurant until 1972 – one of Hollywood’s most famous forties hangouts. Close to the mob a notorious mafia boss used the basement as his operational home. Current Comedy Store employees have claimed to hear voices, cries and groans.
Lawrence Austin, who took over from his mentor and original owner John Hampton, was shot to death in the lobby by a hitman. It was a plot hatched by Austin’s lover and projectionist James Van Sickle, who later claimed that Austin signed the theater over to him in a hand-written will. Van Sickle and the hitman were found guilty and are serving life in jail. Austin’s ghost is said to still haunt the lobby whilst Hampton’s ghost can be heard roaming the second floor, where he once lived.
Rudolph Valentino is given his own section as a particularly notorious and active spirit. His ghost often pops up in the bedroom, as well as in the stable, of his Beverly Hills mansion on Bella Drive. The beach house that he stayed in in Oxnard while making 1921s The Sheik also has many sightings, whilst visitors to Room 210 at his getaway, the Santa Maria Inn, have been woken bumps and noises. His pet dog Kabur is also a ghostly presence that supposedly licks visitors near his grave at the LA Pet Cemetery.
For more information on the Culver Hotel visit Culver Hotel
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of the Culver Hotel
Starline offer a Haunted Hollywood Tour