Tag Archives: Black Dahlia

Goodbye Harold

By Scott Markus

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The media has memorialized Harold Ramis a thousand times already today and he will get the same well-earned treatment for the next few days.  As someone who has never met Mr. Ramis personally, I have little of substance to contribute.  That said, he has long been an influence in my life.  For one, watching and re-watching Ghostbusters as a kid was like a religion for me.  I can’t say that I am a current paranormal investigator and writer BECAUSE of the film, but a mainstream, popular, timeless classic that treats ghosts and ghost stories in a fun, palatable way is truly a unique approach.  As a kid, “Ghostbusters” was my first favorite movie.  It doesn’t seem like too big a leap to think that Ramis had a little something to do with it.

To a larger degree, it was his writing that always captured my attention.  His comedies (namely “Stripes,” “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day”) are among my all-time favorites.  He “got” comedy and how to make an ensemble comedy work.  His continued connection to Chicago was also a point of pride for this Chicago kid – New York can keep Woody Allen – we have Harold Ramis.

To keep this post somewhat thematically linked to the rest of our web site – let’s take a quick look at the haunted locations that Ramis is forever linked to thanks to his films:

The Woodstock Opera house (Woodstock, IL):  This location is frequently seen in the Ramis written-and-directed film “Groundhog Day.”  In fact, during one of Bill Murray’s more depressed episodes, he commits suicide by jumping from this small town landmark.  Meanwhile, inside the theater is the ghost of a woman nicknamed “Elvira.”  There are more rumors than truths to her story, but her are some claims that she jumped to her death from the same tower.  To this day, people attending plays at this theater can hear Elvira’s disembodied sounds of approval dismissal depending on whether or not she is enjoying the performance.

The Biltmore (downtown Los Angeles):  LA served as NY for some of the most iconic moments in the Ramis written-and-starring “Ghostbusters.”  The scenes in the lobby where the ‘busters arrive to catch Slimer is the Biltmore.  The staircases double for Dana Barrett’s building where they have to make the long, climb to the roof to fight Gozer at the end of the film.  While they were there, the Ghostbusters may have had even more lucky if they checked out the first floor lounge.  It is here that bartenders whisper about seeing a phantom couple on a date.  When the servers go to take their order, the bashful ghosts vanish.  This is also the last place Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) was seen alive.  Though we don’t have any ghost stories with this fact, we do urge ghost hunters to attempt to reach her and possibly find a clue in this still unsolved homicide.

The Hancock Tower (downtown Chicago):  Though Ramis never filmed here (Did he?  Someone tell me if I’m wrong), this landmark was the inspiration for the film “Ghostbusters.”  The land is considered cursed by it’s original, squatting “owner,” Cap Streeter.  Since Cap was run off the land, another notable oddball called this area home – this land was the birth site of Anton LaVey, known as the creator of the Church of Satan.  Later, the Hancock Tower was built here, coincidentally, in the shape of a portal for evil forces.  True or another baseless tradition of a bygone spiritualist movement, the site has been the scene of repeated tragedy, physically unexplainable deaths and unusual biological phenomena.

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First Annual ScareLA Convention!

This previous Sunday Los Angeles Hauntings had the pleasure of attending the first ever ScareLA convention. ScareLA is a event where people in the Halloween industry can meet up and swap ideas and share any tips or tricks. We had a great time at the event and met all types of people, mostly artists and haunted house builders, but also a paranormal group and a great historic society!

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The Los Angeles Hauntings at ScareLA began met Krampus… and we were well behaved enough not to get thrown in a river!! (Though maybe we were lucky that LA doesn’t have much water…)

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Connor got distracted by the early halloween candy, almost lost her hand to this “Handy” Guillotine made by Mesmeric Creative

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Dapper Cadaver made fake corpses that were a little too close to the Black Dahlia crime scene for our comfort. The case still fresh in our mind after a recent video of Elizabeth Short’s Los Angeles.

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But, we had a great time finally getting to meet with Richard from GOULA who’s “Spirits with Spirits” events on the 13th of each month we always seem to miss because of tours! Richard was great and we are really looking forward to working with GOULA on future events!

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We are also looking forward to heading down to San Fernando this weekend to visit the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery along with developing a relationship with the Historical Society there to help them raise money to preserve the beautiful and haunted lost graveyard. We had the pleasure of chatting with some of the members of the historic society who told of of the plight of the cemetery where only 214 of the estimated 700 graves have been located with the use of ground penetrating radar.

Here’s some other pictures from ScareLA

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It was fun running into poe again after our latest video

Scott with Oliver Robins from Poltergeist!

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Following Elizabeth Short / The Black Dahlia ghost tour

In this installment, we take a Los Angeles ghost tour in the footsteps of Elizabeth Short, and, eventually, her killer. We visit her last LA home (Chancellor’s Hotel), the local watering hole (Boardner’s), the last place she was seen alive (The Biltmore Hotel), a possible site of her demise (the Sowden House), and, finally, the crime scene where her body was discovered (Norton Avenue in Leimert Park).

We do believe and hope that our community of paranormal investigators may be able to accumulate enough clues to help solve this still unsolved, horrible crime.

Additional reading / viewing:

Written by the owner of Sowden house: http://www.kajama.com/index.php?file=articledetail&id=5FC62E13-F3FB-49AD-AF16-1F8308D3767F

More viewing on the Sowden house:


Black Dahlia to “American Horror Story” – some of LA’s creepiest homes

By Scott Markus
ennis house los feliz frank lloyd wrightIn another entry I wrote about the Lloyd Wright house where the “Black Dahlia,” Elizabeth Short likely was killed (according to the book “The Black Dahlia Avenger.”  Today, Connor Bright and I, along with Mary Czerwinski, my research partner from “Voices from the Chicago Grave” / best friend / sexy geek toured a handful of noteworthy homes….. noteworthy for their unfortunately colorful history.  Okay, we threw a couple of fun filming locations in the mix as well.

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After first looking at the Sowden house (Black Dahlia), Mary directed us up and into Franklin Park to look at the impressive Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House.  This is not a haunted home, but it is more known as the shooting site of the original “House on Haunted Hill.”  The place is absolutely impressive and imposing.  Also worth noting that the house appeared in “Blade Runner” and is the inspiration for the Monarch’s house in “Venture Bros” (pictured below).
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ennis house los feliz frank lloyd wrightI love that the Wrights created the first two of the houses that we visited, with Frank’s son, Lloyd, creating the Sowden house.

Next, we visited the site simply known as the Los Feliz Murder mansion.  I wrote about that earlier, so I won’t get into too much detail here other than to say that each time I visit it, I am more and more inspired to check out the inside!

la bianca charles manson murder house los felizWe next made our way to the LaBianca house in Los Feliz where the Charles Manson followers randomly killed the two inhabitants of the house on August 10, 1969 (the night after the Tate murders).  The reason for selecting this house was merely that Manson had attended a party at the house next door a year earlier.

The address of the neighbor’s house (pictured) remains the same, however the address of the murder house has since changed. It’s likely a veiled effort to keep away curiosity seekers like us (and who could blame them), but the house is still plainly visible from the road. You can see the re-painted address on the curb.
La Bianca changed house number charles manson los feliz La Bianca next door neighboor

American Horror Story HouseFinally, on the way back home, Connor and I drove through Baldwin Park, which was the house where American Horror Story was filmed.  Though the Los Feliz Murder House is something to behold, the scariest house was definitely the one where no one was actually killed.  This place is back on the market for the cool, cool, cost of just $17 million (Update: that price dropped SIGNIFICANTLY before finally selling).

American Horror Story House


The Sowden House & The Los Feliz Murder House

By Scott Markus

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Once again, a film shoot (for the film “Darling Nikki”) has put me in (more accurately, near) a (potentially) haunted location.  Quite honestly, how could the home where Elizabeth Short was (possibly) murdered not be haunted?  Even if she wasn’t murdered here and even if Dr. George Hodel was not the killer, he was a seriously dark and awful individual.  The other horrors he did within these walls – even short of murder, would leave more than a little negative energy behind.
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The house itself was designed by the son of one of the greatest architects of the last century – Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright. This is not the only Wright property to have a sordid past. Of course Frank Lloyd Wright’s own summer home -Taliesin, in Spring Green, WI, was the site of a massacre where seven people lost their lives.  Ursula Bielski writes of this in her book “Chicago Haunts 3.”

The nature of the location – a private home – leads to this being a quiet location.  However, I would assume some urban legends have started to come out about this location.  Have you heard anything?  Please leave comments below!

I’m also starting to look into the so-called Los Feliz Murder Mansion.  As the story goes (more detail here), in 1959 a Dr. Harold N. Perelson murdered his wife, then beat one of his three children nearly to death before committing suicide himself.  All three children did survive….felt the need to find a silver lining here.  Since that murder, no one has occupied the house.  One family has owned it for the past 60 years, but the house has been left eerily undisturbed, allegedly to the extent that there are still board games in-progress sitting on tables waiting to be finished from a game started during the cold war.

I happened to be in the area recently and decided to drive past the property.  Even then, not leaving the car, but driving up the driveway as far as you can go (which isn’t far at all) is a bit of a harrowing experience.

Los Feliz Murder Mansion, Los Feliz Murder Mansion

(Above: as close as I got) I do want to investigate the location professionally and with permission, but I anticipate a tough sell to the hard-to-locate home owner. Due to the elusive nature of this property, even if it was haunted, there aren’t really any possibilities for witnesses to any strange occurrences, but I will ask you, the cyber audience anyway: have any of you heard of any ghost stories associated with this property?

In other news, I attended a Moth storytelling session yesterday and one of the stories that was told was about the ghost of Zelda in West Covena.  This is apparently the ghost of a child from the 1900s who was murdered underground in a spillway (now called Zelda’s Tunnel/Pit/Cave/etc) that is still accessible today.  The ghost story involves, at the very least, the phantom sound of a bell, which Zelda was wearing on a necklace at the time of her death.  Other recountings are more urban legend-y and say Zelda was sacrificed by a cult and will now kill anyone walking through her tunnel (there’s actually a fun retelling of this tale along with a personal….encounter(?) at this site).  Questions to you guys:  Do you have any tales of your own from this site?  Do you have any hard evidence that there was actually a murder here (something that would also tell us Zelda’s last name)?  And, of course, where EXACTLY is the entrance to her tunnel?