Tag Archives: residual haunting

Roosevelt Hotel (Haunted Oscar Locations, Pt. 2)

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

RooseveltHotel-Haunted

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.

RooseveltHotelPool-Haunted3

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.


Bugsy Siegel: An LA (Mafia) Story Part 3 of 3

by Connor Bright and Scott Markus

Join us one last time for our final installment of this series, we will visit more LA locations that were important in the life (and death) of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and the ghost stories associated with these locations.

After a quick lunch break, the LA Hauntings crew jumped back in the truck and headed the short distance to Benjamin Siegel’s home. The Beverly Hills home was built as a swanky stronghold for the mobster to run his operation and host parties. Totally obscured by bushes, it is impossible to see much of the mansion from the street, just the way Siegel would have wanted it. The home is rumored to have a hidden armory, large liquor storage, and an escape tunnel from the master bedroom to the basement. When the police came to Siegel’s hideout to arrest him for the murder of Harry Greenberg, it was said that they found the mobster cowering in the attic. After Ben set his sights on Las Vegas and the Flamingo, he sold his fortress to help with the financing of the hotel casino, and moved in with his girlfriend, Virginia Hill.

Bugsy Siegel LA Hauntings death photo bugsy-siegel-death-photo_zpsf4126243.jpg

I’ll admit disappointment at not being able to get a view of Siegel’s home, but that disappointment dissipated upon seeing Virginia Hill’s beautiful Tuscan-esque castle of a home! It was at this location on June 20, 1947 that Benjamin Siegel met his end. The bulletproof doors that he had installed at the house did not protect him from the shots fired through the window while he sat talking to his associate Allen Smiley. Although, officially, the murder of Siegel remains unsolved, it’s commonly agreed that Lucky Luciano ordered the hit out of anger with Ben over his handling of the construction on the Flamingo (he refused again and again to hand over expense reports detailing the work). Luciano’s orders were likely carried out by one of Jack Dragna’s men from the driveway next door.

The three bullets fired into the house and into the mobster left a lasting impression on the house. The blood cleaned up, the house sold and resold, but later owners still report feeling panicked in the living room. They occasionally see an apparition of a man attempting to run for cover, perhaps Benjamin Siegel remembering how he met his end and trying to avoid it.

Bugsy Siegel LA Hauntings grave photo siegelbenjamingrave_zps5cffe8f4.jpgOur final stop on our “half-tank tour,” with our gas light blinking, was the same final stop that Siegel had – Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel lies in the far back corner on the right hand side of the Beth Olman mausoleum. The epitaph on his grave simply reads, “From the Family.” Siegel is said to have told one of the contractors building the Flamingo, who was worried about working with the mob, “Don’t worry.  We only kill our own.”

Standing by his crypt I wondered if Ben ever had any idea that his own (Mafia) family would kill him. (As one last parting fact the contractor that Siegel was talking to was Del, the head contractor of the now famous Del Webb developer).

Bugsy Siegel LA Hauntings virginia hill photo VirginiaHill_zps2fe32ebc.jpgBenjamin “Bugsy” Siegel lived and died larger than life.  In truth, he was a perfect match with Virginia Hill, who was certainly no babe in the woods.  Hill entered the mob life during 1933’s Chicago World’s Fair.  The Alabama native quickly became a friendly acquaintance of many higher up members of the (then) Costello crime family, even being romantically linked to boss Joe Adonis.  After Siegel’s death, Hill did comply and testify at the famous  Kefauver hearings.  In 1954 she would flee to Europe to escape income tax evasion charges, only to eventually take her own life with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1966 at the age of 49.  The small town girl, initially emerging from Alabama, certainly lived a life few could imagine and even in death, she is shrouded in mystery.  Did she really extort millions from the NY Mafia?  Most think so, but we are far from certain.  And why did she take her own life?  Many speculate that she continued to scam American and even Mexican crime rings from a distance.  We, personally, would love to track down the site of Virginia’s demise (in Austria) and perhaps this will become another instance where a paranormal investigation and EVP session just may help solve an American mystery.


Halloween Gift: A new video (Peg Entwhistle Investigation)

Investigation at the Hollywood Sign on the anniversary of Peg Entwhistle’s suicide.

YouTube, compressed the audio so much that it’s quite hard to hear the Peg Entwhistle EVP.  Please take a listen to a cleaner version here (MP3 format):  PegEntwhistleEVP


The ghosts of Pueblo de Los Angeles… our tour starting point

Our weekly tour starts where LA started: the first settlement in what would become Los Angeles.  The area is full of history, both positive and very dark.  This location boasts at least three haunted sites (Pico House, La Gondoloria Cafe and the Avila Adobe) as well as the site of over a dozen executions that happened during the Chinese Massacre of 1871.

Los Angeles began at this site, inauspiciously, in 1781 when 11 Spanish families settled at this site, having crossed the Gulf of California.  Spain, have initially viewed California by ship 200 years earlier, felt it was time to develop California before Russia or France attempted to claim it.  The translated initial name for this settlement was “The Town of the Queen of Angels.”  The design of these original streets, emanating from this location at 45-degree angels to compass directions, is still how downtown LA streets operate today.

Three years later a mission was built.  This mission crumbled over time due to disuse.  In 1814 a Catholic church, The Church of the Queen of Angels, was built on the site, using much of the original building material.  It still stands today and was one of the first LA sites designated a cultural monument in LA.

Of course, over time, this land went from Spanish to Mexican and finally, American.  The neighborhood in this area has a long history of being occupied by different ethic groups.  For a large amount of time, in the 1800s and early 1900s, it was part of Chinatown.  Even today, the borders of Chinatown are nearby, but further north.

Avila Adobe

 photo IMG_2489_zps01212af3.jpgLocated on Olvera Street, this is the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles.  The house was built in 1818.  The house was built traditionally for the time and culture, originally featuring a flat, tarred roof, utilizing tar from the La Brea Tar Pits, which was grazing land for cattle rancher Francisco Avila.

This house was Avila’s family’s home, though he himself only visited the home on weekends.  However, it was also a grand house to entertain friends, which the Avila family did frequently.  Though, no battle took place here, American troops did take over the house for use as a headquarters until the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed.

Massive earthquakes in 1870 and 1971 damaged the frail house, making it uninhabitable for large stretches of time.  Today, thanks to tremendous preservation and construction efforts, a seven-room portion of the house has been restored and, can be visited daily and for free.

Avila Adobe Haunted photo IMG_2464_zpsb3acb4ce.jpgToday the home is not only frequented by guests, but also by original owner Francisco Avila, who is said to talk the halls and plaza, continuing to look over his impressive homestead and the village he once presided over as mayor.  In addition to being seen clearly, people have also heard footsteps wandering the halls of the house and observed shadow people throughout.

Avila’s first wife, Maria, died in 1822.  He later remarried to a woman named Encarnacion.  It is Encarnacion’s ghost that is said to also inhabit the house long after her 1855 death.  Some witnesses have seen a female form sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch while others have heard the sound of feminine crying within the home, apparently coming from the master bedroom (seen above).

 La Gondoloria Mexican Cafe

LaGolondrina Haunts photo LaGolondrina_zps4f010920.pngAcross Olvera Street from the Avila Adobe is La Gondoloria Mexican Café.  The building itself was built in the mid 1850s.  However, the current incarnation opened in the 1920s in LA’s first brick building, this is the first Mexican restaurant in LA and is still under the operation of the original family.

LaGolondrina ghosts photo LaGolondrina2_zps98001527.pngI had lunch at this location recently and, after eating and snooping around as much as possible, I introduced myself to one of their managers to inquire about their ghost stories.  Though this manager was relatively new, he did joyfully proclaim “I’ve heard we’re one of the 12 most haunted buildings in LA!”  He has heard stories from maintenance workers that their tools will move around, thoroughly spooking the contractors.

He went on to talk about the original owner being a wine maker.  The fireplace and several aspects of the building still represent different aspects of the wine making process.  Additionally, there’s a large beam in the middle of the main dining room that is actually the recovered mast from a ship that ran aground near the Port of Los Angeles.

The most famous ghost at this location is a woman in white seen walking from the main floor up the staircase to the offices.

Pico House

Pico House haunts photo IMG_2494_zpse7613bb0.jpgThe largest building on the site is the Pico House, a building once considered the most luxurious hotel in Los Angeles.  The building was constructed in 1870 by successful businessman and the last governor of Los Angeles while under Mexican rule, Pio Pico.

The Pico House was an immediate success for years upon it’s opening.  The 82-room hotel was in high demand through 1900 when the business center of the city shifted south.  It was this shift that ended the glory days for this area.  Pico House, like the other buildings mention in this entry, was eventually abandoned and suffered from neglect.

However, the glory days of this town were not so glorious.  Just days after the city of Chicago burned to the ground in the great fire, a different kind of fire would rage in Los Angeles.  A fire made up of vengeance and anger.

Two warring Chinese immigrant associations were battling each other when Jesus Bilderrain, one of only six police officers in Los Angeles, arrived to investigate the sound of gunfire.  He found one Chinese gang member bleeding in the street when he was struck by a non-fatal bullet in the shoulder.  Nearby tavern owner, Robert Thompson, came to aid and was eventually shot in the chest upon taking chase.  A city already rife with prejudice against Asians, exploded.  A mob stormed Chinatown, indiscriminately attacking any inhabitant they could find.  Buildings and store fronts were damaged, easily hundreds of people were beat up and dozens more were hanged to death throughout Chinatown (which, at this time, did include the Pueblo de Los Angeles area).  The majority of the slayings took place on the land that is now Union Station.

Haunted Pico House and City Hall photo IMG_2496_zps46cd4de8.jpgIn the end, at least 17 Chinese were killed, including young boys.  Even Builderrain, long thought to be a hero cop shot in the line of duty, has many doubts cast over his role.  Regardless of how it all went down, there is belief that some of those killed are still present at the Pico House.  Some of the spirits are apparently vengeful, as an episode of “Ghost Adventures” talked to a person that claimed they were kicked in the back of the leg while walking down a staircase.

Additionally, Pio Pico himself is often seen looking over his land from the roof or upper windows of the Pico house.  Much like Avila, he’s keeping tabs on the land he presided over in life.

In short, the starting place for the City of Angels serves as the perfect place for the start of our tour.  In addition to the pueblo, a number of other notably haunted sites are nearby.  In the picture above, you can see haunted LA City Hall just a few blocks down the street from Pico House.