Tag Archives: Walt Disney

Private Resting Places at Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Glendale

By Connor Bright
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In the last week, Scott Markus and I finally made the trek to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. This Gorgeous and massive 300 acre cemetery is the final resting place of many of the movers and shakers in Los Angeles history. The hilly grounds offering an incredible views of the city they helped build.

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The cemetery was founded in 1906, and operated as a non-profit. The grounds hold three non-denominational chapels. Forrest Lawn was the first “Memorial Park” getting rid of the “unsightly” standing headstones (there are still a few). For a long time they refused black, Chinese, and Jewish internments, now all are welcome. Surprisingly, more than 60,000 people have been married on the cemetery grounds. Forrest Lawn is unique for many reasons, the cemetery holds an art museum, the largest mosaic depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and it the only place in the world with a complete set of reproduction Michelangelo statues, made from the same quarries as the originals.
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It is also a place that has an insane amount of respect for the privacy of their departed tenants.

It is this amount of privacy that makes enjoying the grounds, and paying respects, very difficult. Forrest Lawn does not allow pictures of graves, or anywhere in their many mausoleums’ out of “respect of the property owners”. Many of the crypts and graves are roped off and concealed from those who wish to visit them.

Scott and I both felt this was a little over-dramatic.

The Great mausoleum had more security cameras than an airport, and out of all of the “greatness” only about 10% is open to the public.

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Even crypts that were open-air were locked off. Walt Disney, a resting place I was sincerely looking forward to a moment of silence with, was gated off, his name completely obscured by small trees.

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The cemetery does provide maps of the grounds, which are sprawling and confusing. We definitely recommend picking one up in the front building. That being said, out of respect of privacy, none of the graves are marked on the map. So you have to do your research ahead of time on who you want to visit, because unless you are very lucky, no one will tell you.

On the lawns, knowing which section a person is buried in is not sufficient. As I said, the grounds are massive; some individual areas are as big as football fields. If you have a crypt number things get a bit easier, but the numbering can be confusing. Scott spent 20 minutes looking for Tom Mix’s grave, with the proper number. Tom Mix is a silent era western star with a connection to one of Scott’s favorite Chicagoland haunts, the Great Escape.
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The confusing layouts and steep hills made me give up on seeing my hero. After seeing Scott’s luck with Mix, I gave up on hoping to find Oscar winning costume designer, Edith Head’s plot. As some of you know I also work as a costume designer and Edith is the designer I would like to aspire to be like. Unfortunately I will have to wait to see where she rests, since this time we only knew a lawn name but not a crypt number, we felt we had little chance of locating her.

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Directional clues are a must for finding an interment location! Finding, It’s a Wonderful Life star, Jimmy Stuart’s grave was easier once we found the clue that the “statue of the man with the arrow” located him with ease!
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Our experience in the Great mausoleum was a little better. Elizabeth Taylor does have a very impressive, very public, and very easy to find monument, a beautiful, tall, Etruscan style angel, right at the end of the hallway at the entrance to the great mausoleum.

The Different sections in the mausoleum are well labeled. However they are also roped off, so the closest you can get to the tragic couple of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard is peering down the hallway and knowing that they are somewhere in the wall just out of your sight. Many others share the same fate.
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After only a few hours of this frustration, Scott and I left. As seasoned cemetery goers, we were both surprised by the off limit-ness and difficulty to navigate Forrest Lawn offered. We also found it hard to believe that people like Michael Jackson and Jean Harlow would want to be buried in a place that discouraged their admirers from seeing them. It felt to us that the original intention of a cemetery- to celebrate the lives of those interred there- was lost within the gates. Perhaps Forrest Lawn felt that in, death, they could provide the isolation and security, its patrons never had in life.
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We do still recommend a visit to this cemetery. Not for the graves, but for the beautiful views of the city and amazing art collection. Some pieces which belonged to William Randolph Hearst. The collection includes an actual Easter Island head, over 1,000 pieces of stained glass, and many American historical artifacts. As well as quite a few replicas of things found in museums all around the world. Check the schedule to see what the traveling exhibit is!

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Haunted Disneyland!

By Connor Bright

Haunted Mansion Ghost stories disney photo IMG_0060_zpsa2a30bde.jpgWhen thinking of ghosts at Disneyland, the first image that pops into ones mind is probably the Haunted Mansion ride and it’s “999 happy haunts”. One really doesn’t think about untimely deaths, final wishes, and park employees that are still on the clock, but those are exactly the kind of spirits that roam Anaheim’s Disneyland.  Here are some of the more famous tales (though not even a complete list) as well as our favorite haunts of Disneyland Park, and remember, as the Haunted Mansion’s “Ghost Host” will be happy to tell you, “There is room for 1,000!”

The Haunted Mansion itself (which opened mere days after the famed Tate-Manson murders) is home to some non-animatronic spirits, the first of which may have appeared during construction! When working on the Séance Room, one of the construction workers started hearing strange music, at first he believed it was a radio that someone had accidentally walled up, but no disc jockey or commercial breaks ever came on, nor did the music ever stop. The workers solved the problem by adding more speakers to the area and shrugged it off.  After completion, a tragic occurrence took place in the Séance Room; the death of a teenager. A young man tried to get a closer look at the mysterious head of “Madame Leota” in her crystal ball, and fell in the gap in between the walkway and the table, 15 feet, to his death. Though there are no reports of people seeing this boy, they do see another, a little boy crying at the exit. The story most people associate with this boy is that a mother (without park permission) spread her son’s ashes in the ride, thinking it was what he would have wanted.  However, considering he is seen crying, she may have been wrong!

Before one starts feeling too bad for this little boy, one should know that park employees report seeing this same boy in the cameras that watch the boats on Pirates Of The Caribbean, happily journeying through the ride until the end… only to vanish!

Other Haunted Mansion ghosts include that of a pilot who crashed in the 1940’s on the land that later became the site of the ride.  He is described as holding a cane and seems to be quite at home amongst the ride’s phony spooks! There is also the mysterious “Man in a Tuxedo.”  He appears as a black shadow in the exit walkway, and is the reason one employee quit her job at the park!

One of Disneyland’s more famous entities is “Dolly,” a woman who died on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. Legend states that Dolly was turned around, helping one of her children, when her bobsled hit a dip and she fell out and onto the track, left to be crushed by the following sled.  Park employees refer to the slope that the woman fell from as “Dolly’s Dip!”

Another well-known park ghost is “Mr. One Way” the reddish haired man that is seen getting onto Space Mountain, but disappears before the ride returns. This is the spirit of a man who died on the ride and still continues to relive his last ride in the theme park. As a matter of fact, all throughout Tomorrowland (where Space Mountain is located) people report a menacing spirit and cold spots. Though this probably isn’t “Mr. One Way,” because he seems to be enjoying his afterlife.

Ghost stories disney photo Walt_in_office_zps00b1d18c.jpegPerhaps the most famous Disneyland ghost is that of Walt Disney himself. Walt is seen all over the park, checking in on his employees and seeing how his dream has grown. His first post-mortem visit to the park was almost immediately after his passing. One night after finishing a routine cleaning of Walt’s office, a janitor went to turn of the light, only to have it turned back on after she left the room. After repeating this event a few more times the employee heard a voice tell her “Remember, I’m still here.” Ever since then, the light in Walt’s office on Main Street has been left on, out of respect for their ever present founder.

Just outside of the park is the death site of a teenager who attempted to sneak into the park by walking along the Monorail tracks.  When he saw the on-coming train, she attempted to lay flat on the track, allowing the train to move over her.  Unfortunately there wasn’t enough clearance and she was killed. People still report seeing a shadowy figure sneaking into the park along the tracks!

Scott learned from an employee that a bed is left in the It’s A Small World ride for the spirit of a child that dwells in the ride. Could it be this spirit that turns off and on the lights and moves the figures when Small World is turned off?

My personal favorite (after Walt Disney himself) is the “Woman in White.” This woman is seen dressed in early 19th century costume and wanders Main Street at night, she is seen on cameras and sets of motion sensors. Children can even see her during the day.  She must have had a very kind heart because even in her afterlife, she talks to lost children and brings them to the “Lost Children” where they can be picked up by their parents!

One story we are looking forward to investigating is the of two brothers (or teen friends, depending on the storyteller) who hid on Tom Sawyer’s Island until after the park closed.  They tried to sneak across the Rivers of America to play in the park after dark, but one of the boys didn’t know how to swim.  When the other boy attempted to help, they both drown in the water.  Some people claim that they see these boys trying to get across the water, as well as hearing other long gone children running and playing on the island itself. We look forward to getting back in the park and poking around!

Disneyland calls itself “The Happiest Place on Earth” but all theme parks are a joyous place for many people all over the world; it is no wonder so many people return to them again and again, even after death! The stories in this blog entry are only scratching the surface of Disneyland haunts, let us know if you have your own Disneyland ghost story or any other theme park haunting LA or otherwise!