Tag Archives: Murder

Still Not Free: Ghostly Prisoners at the Yuma Territorial Prison

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At a glance:

  • Actively haunted and easy to access prison from 1875
  • Site of a deadly riot
  • Famous prisoners and an infamous isolation cell

I’ve made countless trips across the California and Arizona desert, entering and leaving Los Angeles.  On one of these trips, I ended up taking a very southern route that passed me through Yuma, Arizona.  Even just briefly seeing the micro city from Interstate 8, I was immediately taken by its beauty.  Trains traversed the Colorado River via aged bridges, huge sand dunes formed the horizon, surrounding the historic western town.

I thought to myself immediately, “I need to find a haunted location here and get back as soon as I can.”  To my surprise, the work was done for me pretty quickly.  Turning on an episode of “Ghost Adventures,” I could tell from the first establishing shot, “They’re in Yuma!”  Sure enough, the episode was about the Yuma Territorial Prison (season 12, episode 8), a captivating, haunted structure that’s 36 years older than the state of Arizona itself.

Soon, I was making my own pilgrimage, heading south from Los Angeles and tip-toeing along the US/Mexico border to make my way to the wild west era prison.

The Yuma Territorial Prison (now operated by the State Park system of Arizona) is open year-round to visitors for a minimal fee (check out the operating hours prior to your visit here: http://www.yumaprison.org/hours-fees-parking.html).

battlehillThe site is intimate.  You are given a brochure at the visitor’s center and told to enjoy.  And with that, you are off!  The prison was surprisingly well attended considering 1) it’s Yuma and 2) it was a typical day, with temperatures reaching well into the triple digits.  That said, there was still plenty of opportunities to explore the grounds alone as most visitors spent their time indoors.  The main yard looks out over a canal and to the site of another place that merits future investigations – the location of a revolt of the Yuma/Quechan tribe that resulted in the destruction of two missions and the death of every European male, including the mission’s leader, Padre Graces, in 1781.

It’s hard not to think of the site of a failed Native American revolt that I investigated in Santa Barbara, which yielded the most drastic cold spot I’d ever personally recorded:

The prison, colorfully, and accurately, nicknamed “Hellhole Prison,” saw a tremendous amount of history and colorful characters pass through it’s doors despite only being in operation for 33 years (1876-1909).  Those very first inmates were put to work immediately, helping complete construction of their still unfinished new home.

darkcell-lowaasThe most iconic feature of the prison is the solitary confinement cell, aka “The Dark Cell.”  Prisoners found themselves confined within a strap iron cage, in the middle of this this dark cell.  The only light came from a small ventilation pipe directly overhead.  It was not uncommon for a prisoner to find themselves in the dark cell multiple times.  Just check out the rap sheet for attempted murderer AA Stewart, who was sentenced for 4 days for insulting an officer, then another 10 days for disobeying an officer and threatening him.  One might think spending a full month in solitary after an escape attempt would break his will, but the rebel had spirit, escaping and disappearing into the desert two months later.

Today, there is talk of a spirit of a child haunting the dark call.  In addition to people not feeling alone there, there are reports of being touched by a small, cold hand.  See a short video “tour” of the cell at AZCentral here: http://azc.cc/1RS0Nwv

The most infamous single incident at the prison happened in 1887 during an attempted prison escape that left four prisoners dead, three wounded and the superintendent of the prison suffering from multiple wounds from a butcher’s knife that were so severe, the man, Thomas Gates, eventually committed suicide to escape the pain.  A detailed step-by-step retelling of the escape attempt can be found here: http://westernamericana2.blogspot.com/2010/06/yuma-territorial-prison-1875-1909-by.html along with a write-up of one of the more famous prisoners, “Buckskin Frank Leslie,” who was once a co-worker of Wyatt Earp at the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone.

Present day, the scene of the blood bath is around the main, green, courtyard.  One can even stand in the guard tower, in the footprints where sharp shooter Benjamin Hartlee took aim and gunned down attempted escapees Villa, Lopez, Bustamante, Vasquez.  Likewise, you can stand in front of the sallyport where Gates was held at knife point as the skirmish unfolded around him.  It was from here that Gates gave the signal to the guard tower to open fire.

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For as much as the prison was considered harsh, largely due to the landscape, climate and predatory wildlife of the area, it was actually quite comfortable for the day.  The building even had hydroelectric electricity by 1884, a full nine years before people saw streetlights for the first time at Chicago’s 1893 world’s fair.

clippingAn interesting blurb in the “Cochise Review” (as re-reported by the “Phoenix Herald”) in 1900 even mentions how successful the prison was at helping criminals rehabilitate from “the morphine habit,” citing the positive change felt by famed female stagecoach robber Pearl Heart.

Indeed, the prison did house a number of the most ruthless female prisoners one could dream up including 16 year-old Maria Moreno, who killed her younger brother with a shotgun blast to the face over an insult and Elena Estrada, who literally cut out her lover’s heart when she caught him cheating.

We see the energy over 3,000 inmates brought into the prison over the years, the hardships they experienced on site and we haven’t even mentioned that over 100 inmates died in prison due to illness (mostly tuberculosis) or other non-violent maladies.  You can easily imagine the location being haunted.

I casually asked a very official-looking state employee if he believed in the tales of the site being haunted.  He was almost angry at how casually I asked the question.  “I hear voices and shouts…. hear my name called to me almost every night when I’m working here alone.”  It’s so often that employees of a haunted site, or someone in an official or authoritarian position, will downplay paranormal claims or experiences.  It also comes off suspicious to me if an employee is glamorizing the haunted history of a site, as if it’s part of their marketing pitch.  In this case, it was neither of those things.  It was matter of fact – this place is actively haunted

The Ghost Adventures team caught a particularly engaging vision of a full band performing on stage in the on-site theater.  This was captured live by the Infrared, body-mapping Kinect camera.  While what they caught was jaw-dropping and the figures truly seemed to interact with the commands the team was giving, it should be noted that the theater was a recent addition, a room built specifically for tourists to watch an informational video.  While this doesn’t mean the room can’t be haunted, prisoners were not performing on this stage in the late 1800s/early 1900s, as the show insinuates.

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The nearby 115-body cemetery lacks any kind of individual grave markers, merely piles of rock over each body.  There isn’t even a plaque listing the names.  One has to wonder if this lack of individual recognition is leading some of the dead to continue to make their presence known.  That alone, coupled with the residual hauntings that are undoubtedly continue at this historic prison, leads this place to be something of a paranormal gold mine.  Phantom talking throughout the cell blocks, the metal clanging sounds of cell doors opening and closing by themselves are not uncommon occurrences.

The prison’s history continued after being a correctional institution. The campus become Yuma’s High School, a fact they continue to celebrate today with a wonderfully themed school shield and their team name being the Yuma Criminals.  Then, one of the structures was converted into the county hospital.  Later, during the market crash, countless homeless persons relocated here to live. So, even after the prisoner’s had moved out, there was still ample possibility for “new” hauntings to take hold.

A visit to the Yuma Territorial Prison is a can’t miss adventure for anyone interested in history, the wild west or haunted locations.  It should also be noted that the women’s cells were destroyed in 1923 when the Southern Pacific Railroad expanded into the area.  I wouldn’t at all be surprised if there are additional hauntings here, just outside of the current walls.

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Surviving (and ENJOYING) Jury Duty in Downtown LA!

I recently had the experience of having to do jury duty and…. had a great time!  I am one of those “lucky” people who have actually gotten called for jury duty three times in the last three years.  Yes, I have gotten out of it in the past with legitimate reasons I was unable to serve.  This time, however, I gave it a go.  Okay, I did try to get out of it a few times until it got to the point that trying to get out of jury duty was more of a nuisance than actually serving jury duty.
So, to show off the bright spots of jury duty and to provide you with a jury duty survival guide, I wanted to create this post.  If you’re on this site, I imagine you are interested in ghost stories, local history, crime history, Los Angeles and visiting museums.  If you keep an eye on these themes, then serving jury duty is downright exciting!  I know that sounds like BS, but stay with me here.

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The first part of jury duty and truly the only part that most people experience is being in the “jury pool.”  It’s just a big waiting room full of people hanging out.  Honestly, is that so bad?  Most people keep themselves busy with their iPads, phones, laptops, etc.  There is Wi-Fi, so it’s not a bad way to get some work done.  I, on the other hand, did a lot of reading.  I got deep into a fascinating book on the Prohibition era that deserve its own blog entry.  However, if you are serving jury duty in downtown LA, I would strongly suggest reading “A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption & LA’s Scandalous Coming of Age.”  This amazing book covers the frequently lawless and corrupt age of life in Los Angeles, a town that was growing faster than its infrastructure was ready for. The book covers topics like the Castaic Damn disaster and Clara Bow’s blackmail case.
Back to jury duty.  Each day you get a 90-minute lunch.  That’s crazy!  What’s more crazy is that most people stay local or even eat in the building.  In 90 minutes, you can walk to a lot of great places, taking a nice tour in the process.

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 photo 20150507_121159_zpsu7jdkx7v.jpgAfter giving quite a few tours and frequently losing tour members to Mr. Churro, I decided that this was finally my time to check the place out.  Leaving 210 W. Temple (pictured, top with the white Pico House building visible on the far right) and walking North up Spring Street, you get a lot of great views of the Pueblo de Los Angeles area (pictured directly above).  This is our destination and also where the city of Los Angeles was born.  On your left, you walk past the largest cement military memorial in all of America, a tribute to the Mormon Battalion and the site of Fort Moore (pictured right).
 photo 20150507_120952_zpsazqueuok.jpgCrossing the next overpass gives you a great perspective on exactly how much of the original Moore Hill (specifically the land that was Moore Hill Cemetery) was dug out to make room for the 101 freeway.  Yes, in a tale straight from the movie Poltergeist, a cemetery was moved (said bodies are now located in Rosedale Cemetery in the West Adams neighborhood, by the way).  Yes, there was a school (that crazy stainless steel building) that was built on a former cemetery and yes, that is a haunted building.  Bodies from the original cemetery were found on this site from the original cemetery as recently as 2009.
Continuing down Spring, you’ll eventually make a right at the corner of Spring and Ord.  This is the site where, not all that long ago really, LA was gripped by the possibility that huge quantities of buried treasure was hidden underground throughout LA.  Who put this treasure here?  A now extinct species of 6 foot tall reptiles, of course (this is a true and strange footnote in LA’s already strange enough history).

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Now turning the corner and heading through Chinatown, you get a nice look at the ornate dragons that keep watch over the neighborhood before walking a couple more blocks to Olivera Street.
 photo 20150507_122756_zpsrsl8r5gx.jpgGetting here has only taken about 15-20 minutes out of the 90 minute lunch, so there’s even time to visit the free Old Plaza Fire House museum (pictured left, with City Hall in the background on the right edge of frame), which is really not much of a museum, but you do get to enter one of the original fire stations in LA and see some of the vintage fire fighting gear and impressive photos of the LAFD in action through the years.
To read more about this haunted history of the Pueblo de Los Angeles including Pico House, the Avila Adobe (also a free location to visit) and La Gondoloria Resuaturant, check out my article here.
I grabbed my lunch to go (it did live up to the hype) and walked back to and past the courthouse building to have lunch in LA’s Grand Park.  It’s no Grant Park in Chicago or Central Park in New York, but the city has done a lot to create a gorgeous, large park right in the middle of this portion of the city.  In addition to a nice aesthetic, there are exhibits worth viewing including quotes and pictures from survivors the Armenian Genocide (pictured below, right with City Hall looming in the center of the image and the criminal courts building on the left).
 photo IMG_2695_zps5skjclan.jpgDay 1 ended with me actually getting assigned to a case.  Though most cases are only 1-2 days, this one was estimated to take 6 days if I was selected to the jury.  This was not a lock as I was one of about 50 people to make it to this stage.

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Day 2

My second day of jury duty started around 11am or so and after just 60 minutes of jury duty, it was time for my 90 minute lunch.  It’s amazing anything gets done, really.

Unfortunately, on this day it was raining, so I decided to see what fun I could have in the building. Unfortunately there is no top floor observation deck, but I did find a museum-caliber display covering both the 17th and 18th floor of the building. It’s amazing!
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The displays are floor-to-ceiling and do cover every lady square inch of the walls on the two floors. The display is a timeline of crime in LA (technically, it’s about the district attorney’s office, since we are on the floor the D.A. is on).

 photo 20150508_124844_zpsm7rham6o.jpgThe perspective is interesting, looking at the history of Los Angeles as it relates to crime, from the 1871 Chinese Massacre through the Griffith J. Griffith attempted murder case in 1903, the 1910 LA Times building bombing, Bugsy and Mickey’s Mafia control in the ’30s, the career-ruining Pantages trials the Manson Family trial, through the modern age of the LA Riots and the OJ trial.  Among the more well-known stories are some tremendous events that today are largely forgotten.
Did you know that there were sea battles just a few miles beyond the Santa Monica Pier between authorities and floating casinos?  It’s a saga that went on for years and somehow we haven’t seen a movie based on these events yet(?).  Tony Stralla’s name appears on these walls a couple of times.  Before he went on to create the Stardust Casino on the Vegas strip, he was a prohibition-era bootlegger and casino operator in the soutland.

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This location also ties in beautifully with the afore-mentioned book, “A Bright and Guilty Place,” as pretty much every event covered in the book also appears on these walls, as well as personalities like Dave Clark (an LA City prosecutor who got his hands dirty and bloody more than once) and Burton Fitts.
LA’s DA office is about to move to another building, so this exhibit will not be here forever, so whether or not you have jury duty, this is a public building, so make sure you make time soon to go up and walk these halls.
Another must-do in this area is check out the observation deck on the LA City Hall building located just across the street from the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, named after the first female lawyer on the west coast.
 photo dd5f032c-321b-439a-8a36-385a14e11d60_zpsni4d9tzn.jpgJury duty or not, this location offers some of the best views of downtown LA and is a must visit.  Sadly, the view towards the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory is frequently obscured by smog and other larger buildings in the area block some other ideal sites, but it’s still well worth the visit.  West Hollywood, the Brewery artists lofts and, much closer Broadway and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  This is specifically a way to handle jury duty here in downtown LA, but when it comes down to it, no matter where you are, you can find an interesting way to entertain yourself.  Turn it into an opportunity.  How often do you have 90 minutes to kill away from home?  We’re always in a rush nowadays and you can use this time to your personal benefit.  The fact that you’re also pridefully doing your duty as a US citizen…. also a nice perk.

A History of Rock n’ Hauntings at Barney’s Beanery

 photo images-1_zpsa5b8e183.jpgBarney’s Beanery has a special place in Hollywood and Rock ‘n Roll history. A loud restaurant with walls full of signs, memorabilia, lunch boxes, and car parts, Barney’s has earned its reputation as a place where celebrities can go to blend in or stand out. The well worn bar stools have been graced by Marilyn Monroe and peed upon by Jim Morrison.

In 1920 John “Barney” Anthony decided to open up a restaurant using the chili recipe he perfected as a navy cook during World War I. In 1927 Barney’s relocated to a new location alongside famous route 66 and the legend was born! The Beanery still stands and Anthony’s chili remains a menu staple!

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Janis Joplin

Barney’s Beanery has seen thousands of people walk through its doors, from the classy Rita Hayworth, to the Rebel Without A Cause star himself, James Dean. Rumor his it that Barney’s was the site of the last supper for Dean, the night before his tragic accident.

The outlandish writer/director, Quentin Tarantino, supposedly wrote Pulp Fiction while sitting at one of the booths. Perhaps the same booth that Janis Joplin ate her last meal, before heading back to the Landmark Motor Hotel where she was staying. The iconic voice was a regular at the Beanery before her heroin and booze addiction ended her life on October 4th, 1970.

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Jim Morrison

Around the same time as Joplin, another rock and roll Idol used Barney’s as his local watering hole.  Jim Morrison of The Doors would come in to drink after recording over at The Doors Workshop just a bit father down Santa Monica Blvd. That is, until one night in the mid-1960s when Morrison was inspired to stand on the bar and relieve himself.  The decadent singer was immediately escorted out and not welcomed back. However, now there is a plaque on the bar honoring the Beanery’s connection to Morrison, installed after Morrison’s sudden death in France in 1971.

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The plaque set into the bar at Barney’s

Barney’s Beanery, like many a well-loved bar before it, is not without it’s ghosts, be they passed on patrons or something else entirely. The staff is friendly and even open to sharing a few stories if it’s not too busy.

One of the Beanery’s local spooks is an entity known as “The Man in Black.” With a description to match his name, the spectre is often seen standing by the ladies restroom, which at one point in time was part of a gambling and billiards room. Some people associate this Man in Black with a 1973 murder that took place in the restaurant. On September 15th of that year 25 year-old Leonard Taylor shot and killed Robert Rush, the 34 year-old bartender, over a game of pool. This documented murder has led to the belief that The Man in Black is Rush’s spirit, still watching over games.

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From LAHauntings Instagram

Female employees at this restaurant will feel a touch on their back as if someone is trying to walk behind them, only to turn and realize the walkway is empty.  It is worth noting that among the famous patrons that once frequented this establishment is Erroll Flynn, who is as remembered for his acting work as he is for his large sexual appetite. The mischievous spirits at Barney’s Beanery are known to pull ponytails, and push open the swinging kitchen doors so that they rock wildly on their hinges. Occasionally the staff has heard a great “whooshing’ sound, almost like a strong wind, indoors, without even a breeze.

With almost 100 years of history under its belt, Barney’s Beanery has seen just about everything. It is no surprise that it is home to some paranormal entities as well. Even if you don’t believe the ghost stories, one thing is for certain, if you want to see a Hollywood staple and love a busy atmosphere, Barney’s is a MUST! The history isn’t just printed on the back of the menu, it’s hanging on the walls, and felt in every inch of the building.


Are the hauntings at Galster Park real?

We gave a private tour tonight to a small group of people from West Covina, CA (our tour company is LAHauntings.com).  Since I had a little time before the tour, I decided to see what kind of research I could find on the haunts that West Covina has to offer.  The location that seemed to jump off the page is a haunted park that goes by the name Galster Park.  The authors on a number of sites seemed to speak of great reverence for this location as a very dark and scary site.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that bodies are commonly found at this location and this location was the “hunting grounds” for a pedophile murderer that committed their crimes in the 1990s.  Additionally, this is a common place for gang activity.  One site event went so far as to call the park a gang initiation rite – if they can stay there for an entire night, then they’ve sufficiently proven their courage.

However, from there, the reports went in a million different directions.  If there was a serial killer operating in this area as little as 20 years ago, there should be quite a large number of easy-to-find newspaper articles on the topic.  Moreover, it should be common knowledge whether or not this killer was apprehended (some sites claim the killer is still at large while other maintain that this nameless killer is currently doing time).

So, the name of the game is now research.  I’ve been digging through a lot of digital dust looking for leads and want to share with you what I’ve learned so far.  If you know more, please chime in, in the comments below.  (by the way, the tour went great, thanks for asking)

FACTUAL moments in the dark history of Galster Park:

*  June 2, 2013:  Yes, VERY recent!  A man was found hanged at the south end of the park, an apparent suicide.  This death is so recent that it is certainly not responsible for the past claims of hauntings, however this is something that investigators can now use when conducting EVP sessions.  Link to the article here.

*  2006:  I need more information on this crime.  It seems as though Benjamin Cruz shot and killed Danny Hernandez.  I’m not yet sure if a dispute happened at the park, then the killing happened at a different location, if the killing happened at the park or if Danny’s body was found at the park.  Details are still needed.  What is clear is that Benjamin Cruz is currently serving a 65-year sentence for the crime.  He was sentenced in January 2007.

* 1978 – 1981: Unrelated to any crime, the park was closed for a few years due to budget cutbacks.  During this time, this would’ve been a prime target for people looking to do bad things and get away with it.  Chances are, though that the extent of these bad things is selling drugs and sneaking off for some underage drinking.

Other possibly-related West Covina crimes:

While these crimes do NOT revolve around Galster Park, I am looking for other crimes that could’ve helped inspire the current urban legends

* 1980: There was a highly publicized murder case involving the death of a 10-year-old boy (I attempt to leave out the names of victims and criminals when possible).  His body was found at the house of his killer and his killer did come to justice after several trials and appeals.  I include this story because of the attention it got, the age of the victim matching the urban legend and the fact that the final trials relating to the murder finally concluded in 1989.  Again, this is far from an exact match, but perhaps some exaggerations over the years bring us to the urban legend at hand.

*  1991: The “Mall Murders” – You cannot consider this a case of a “serial killer” per se, however there was a crime spree in West Covina that resulted in a string of homicides.  The killings were preceded by people being kidnapped while using an ATM.  Sometimes the victims were released, however five random people were killed in cold blood.  In the end, a four-member “crime family” was arrested and convicted of the crimes.  Three of the killers received life in prison without the possibility of parole, while the ringleader was sentenced to death (he is still alive as of this post, however).  Link to article here.

CONCLUSIONS (so far):

While it is very easy to find a disturbing number of murders associated with West Covina, my preliminary searches returned zero results that accurately match the legends that are found throughout the internet.  We have the recent suicide and we have the 2006 shooting that may have somehow involved Galster Park.  However, I think it’s fair to say that we can close the book on the “child serial killer” story.  If something paranormal is going on at this park, we need to find a different reason or look back deeper in the archives than the 1970s.  For the record, I was browsing articles that reached into the 1950s.  Perhaps we can look to see if there is any history of Native American battles, for example.

In the meantime, please let me know if you’ve had any interesting experiences at this park.  If you have intriguing pictures to share, I will gladly post them here as well.  Thanks for stopping by and if you do visit this park on a paranormal expedition, please use caution as this may not be the safest of places after dark and you may also get fined for trespassing as the park closes at sunset.


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?