Tag Archives: phantom touch

B is for Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

We cover some of the MANY paranormal tales associated with Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery.

…but the YouTube Gods were not on our side, so we pick it up after getting cut off here.

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Roosevelt Hotel (Haunted Oscar Locations, Pt. 2)

This is the thrilling conclusion of Haunted Oscar Locations Pt. 1, which you can find here.

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Roosevelt Hotel, 1924

The glamorous, though perhaps long and drawn-out, annual rite of passage known as the Academy Awards, checks in around three hours if we’re lucky nowadays.  The first ever awards only lasted 15 minutes.  It was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is just across the street from the Chinese Theater and down the road from the Pantages.

Sid Grauman, Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks at Mary & Douglas's cement signing. They were the first people to have their prints and signatures added to the Chinese Theater courtyard.
(L to R) Sid Grauman, Mary Pickford & Douglas Fairbanks at Mary & Douglas’s cement signing. They were the first people to have their prints and signatures added to the Chinese Theater courtyard.

The Roosevelt was put up by Louis B. Meyer, Sid Grauman, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, the later two, of course, were Hollywood’s first power couple (see picture to the right).

Hauntings here happen throughout the building, but especially at the pool area (which is one of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles… well, one of my favorite places in the world).  The pool is set back from the streets, nestled between the main hotel building and a series of bungalows.  This location is a hidden gem that’s open to the public due to the poolside bar that caters to guests and curiosity-seekers, alike.

RooseveltHotelPool-Haunted2It’s not uncommon for a security guard to see that somebody’s down in the pool area after it’s closed.  A guard gets dispatched to kick out the after-hours guest, but when they arrive, there’s nobody’s there.  So, he gets on his walkie-talkie to report it, only to hear back from a person in the control room, still watching on a monitor that, “No, they’re still there… and they’re standing next to you.”

When I was doing the LA Hauntings tour, I had a hotel employee in the van with us who claimed that he himself has seen these spectral people on security cameras as well.  It’s noteworthy to point out that these cameras shoot in infrared, allowing for recoding after dark.  Ghost hunters believe paranormal activity happens frequently in light spectrums that the human eye cannot observe, including Infrared.  The same employee told us that it’s not just one individual that’s observed – there will be groups of phantom people hanging out poolside.

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Thirteen floors up, the crack of the bat is heard on the rooftop. Babe Ruth used to spend some of his offseasons hanging out in Hollywood (pictured below in front of the Roosevelt).  He allegedly had a batting cage installed on the roof and people apparently still hear the crack of the mighty Bambino’s bat.

Babe Ruth at the Roosevelt Hotel

Montgomery Clift was in the Sinatra film “From Here to Eternity.”  In the film he had to play a bugle.  This is not something he knew how to do, so he would have to practice.  He was staying on the 9th floor of the Roosevelt and loudly practiced while pacing the hallway, likely annoying everyone in earshot.  To this day, the front desk still gets complaints of horn playing coming from the hallways.  Usually, only this phantom sound is observed, but apparently on one occasion his specter was sighted.  He vanished by walking through a wall where a doorway used to be after tipping his cap to the witness.

Haunted Roosevelt Hotel

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I had the privilege of appearing on a couple of episodes of “Monumental Mysteries,” which was a spin-off of the popular Travel Channel series “Mysteries at the Museum.”  The east coast-based production crew would come to LA and interview me if they were covering something unusual like a haunted Spanish Mission or odd UFO experiences.  While setting up a shot, the producers asked me if the Roosevelt Hotel, where they were staying, was haunted.  One producer talked about watching her closet door slowly open by itself.  Not thinking too much of it, she closed the door and went into the bathroom to wash up.  When she returned, the closet door was again open, but now the iron was sitting on her bed.  We’re talking about a heavy object somehow transporting itself to a new location, not just falling off a shelf.  Predictably, when I asked what floor they were staying on, the answer was, “the 9th.”

A lot of the best stories I know about haunted Los Angeles and Hollywood come from doing the tour when people on the tour share their own experiences.  This one came before the tour even started.  The clerk at the rental company where I rent the van picked up the van asked, “What are you renting this van for?”

When I told him about the tour, he said, “You go to the Roosevelt Hotel, right?”  He obviously had a story to tell. He talked about checking in to the Roosevelt.  Unpacking, he the closet door, revealing a maid standing inside, warmly smiling back.  In an instant, she vanished.

The only rational reaction would be to hit your head on the ceiling while jumping out of your skin in fright.  This is an interesting case to me because it shows how a paranormal experience can override rational thought and emotion.  He claimed he felt very welcome, that it was a warm greeting.  Whatever happy maid is still there, she is projecting a loving, positive feeling – a psychic impression.  It’s also a nice reminder that paranormal experiences, while they’re always unexpected, they’re not always negative.  One has to wonder if this helpful maid was the one to took out the iron for the “Monumental Mysteries” producer.

None other than Marilyn Monroe, probably Hollywood’s most sighted female ghost, was seen at the Roosevelt, but not in the most conventional way.  Her ghost isn’t seen directly, but as a reflection in her very own mirror.  Marilyn stayed here for a time and had a large mirror, about the size of a doorway, installed in her room.  She would rehearse the next days’ scenes into it, being able to see, from head to toe, how she would appear on camera.  After countless hours of emoting into this inanimate object, perhaps she left some deeper imprint on it.  For a time, the mirror was placed in a second floor lobby, allowing anyone a chance to try to catch a glimpse of the blonde bombshell (the hotel even had a sense of humor about it, placing a cardboard cut-out of Marilyn in the distance for a good photo op).  In 2008, the mirror was placed into storage for safekeeping while some construction took place.  A decade later and the mirror has still not reemerged.  Word around town is that Lindsay Lohan purchased the mirror.  Hopefully it’s in a safe place, wherever it is.

As an interesting side note, as mentioned in part one of this article, Marilyn had her hair dyed blonds in the salon at the haunted Gaylord Hotel and her first photo shoot as a blond took place here at the Roosevelt, poolside, for a sunscreen lotion print ad.

Not every haunting at this location is a positive one.   At one point, an employee of the Cinegrill, one of the Roosevelt’s bars, was on the tour.  He told me that he was talking to some security guards who heard screaming coming from a hallway.  Looking at the security tapes, they saw one of the maid staff seemingly get thrown out of a room, hitting the wall opposite the doorway.  She ran, screaming down the hall.  As these stories tend to go, she left the premises, never to return and, unfortunately, never telling her story.

Haunted Roosevelt Hotel

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What in the world happened?  Is that story even true?  We won’t know, but I’m just passing this interesting, spooky story along to you, to create a timestamp of the first negative story about this location that I’ve ever heard.

RooseveltBlossomBallroom-HauntedFinally, our last story is an Oscar story! Apparently people in the Blossom Ballroom, which held the first-ever Oscar Award ceremony, feel a constant cold spot in the area where the podium stood.  Unlike other stories about cold spots, where it comes and it goes, this oddity is focused in one spot all the time and it’s there almost constantly.  I wonder if somebody’s still giving their award acceptance speech, continually reliving the biggest highlight of their career.  Some wonder if the cold spot is some some sort of a doorway that’s allowing for all this energy to be coming and going, allowing all these entities to continually make their presence known.

Outside of Linda Vista Hospital, which is now an off-limits, private location, I believe the Roosevelt is the most haunted building in all Los Angeles and a must visit, whether you’re a local or just passing through town like to many a soul have done in the past.


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.


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

images-1_zpsa5b8e183Barney’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!

url-3_zpsc7c1057dBarney’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.

Jim_Morrison_zps2caabf28Around 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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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.

Screenshot2014-06-08at54441PM_zps6fa3529cFemale 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.