Hollywood. A place of glamour, fame, legends – and also ghosts. Indeed, the movie capital of the world is almost as famous for otherworldly sightings as it is for its stars.
Take the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. In its heyday it was a magnet for the elite of the movie business. The hotel was renovated in the 1980s and since then ghosts have been making frequent appearances.
In 1985, perhaps the most famous movie icon of all, Marilyn Monroe, is believed to have made a comeback. One of the hotel maids was dusting a mirror in the manager’s office when she saw the reflection of a blonde woman standing behind her. When the maid turned to speak to the woman there was no one there. It was later discovered that the mirror used to hang in suite 1200, a room that Monroe often stayed in.
Psychic investigators say there is great sadness in the mirror, which now hangs outside the elevators on the lower level. Hundreds of tourists pass the full-length mirror each day without knowing its strange history.
Marilyn’s ghost has also been spotted hovering near her tomb at Westwood Memorial Cemetery.
She is also said to haunt the house where she took the fatal dose of sleeping pills. According to psychics, Monroe relayed to them from the spirit world that her death was not suicide, but was an accident.
Another screen legend whose ghostly presence frequents the Roosevelt is Montgomery Clift. The star of the 1953 movie “From Here to Eternity” stayed in room 928 during filming. He was known to pace back and forth while memorising his lines. And today unexplained loud noises are often heard coming from the otherwise empty suite. The phone is continually found to be off the hook and eerie cold spots are regularly felt in the room.
Maids have often felt a ghostly presence brushing past them or walking next to them. In November 1992 a guest staying in room 928 felt a hand patting her on the shoulder as she lay reading in bed. Thinking it was her husband; she turned round only to find him fast asleep.
We all know the big Hollywood sign that looms majestically over Los Angeles. It’s a universal symbol of dreams and fame. But sometimes dreams can turn sour like on the dark night in September 1932 when young actress, Lillian Millicent Entwhistle, known as “Peg”, climbed up the slope in Griffith Park towards the towering letters.
After climbing the letter “H”, she leaped off and plunged to her death down the side of the hill.
Peg was only 24-years-old. She’d moved to America from London to find fame. She did well at first, wowing audiences on Broadway. But then the Great Depression hit and theatre audiences dwindled. Ever determined, Peg packed her bags and set off for California where she’d heard movie makers were looking for talented actors. After many auditions she landed her first film role, a small part in “Thirteen Women”. Unknown to her, it would be her last.
Most of Peg’s scenes in the movie ended up on the cutting room floor and other work was not forthcoming. Unable to cope with failure, she ended up flinging herself to her death on that fateful night.
In the years following her suicide, hikers and park rangers in Griffith Park have reported strange happenings in the vicinity of the Hollywood sign. Many claim to have seen a blond woman, dressed in 1930s clothing, who seemed very sad and vanished when approached.
Was this the ghost of Peg Entwhistle?
Even more suggestive, there have also been reports of an overwhelming smell of gardenia perfume in the area. Peg, apparently, often wore this scent.
Griffith Park ranger, John Argorgast, says Peg usually appears very late at night – especially when it’s foggy and always in the vicinity of the Hollywood sign.
He too has encountered the scent of gardenias in the area. “I have smelled it several times,” he says, “and always when any flowers gardens around have been closed because of cold weather. I don’t think I have ever smelled it in the summer time.”
Argorgast also recalls numerous occasions when the alarm system indicated someone was close to the Hollywood sign, even though a check by a ranger revealed no one was there. “There have been times when I have been at the sign,” he says, “and the motion detectors say that someone is standing five feet away from me… only there’s nobody there.”
Rudolph Valentino was one of the greatest romantic idols of Hollywood’s silent movie era.
Today he is one of Hollywood’s most prolific ghosts. Valentino’s blossoming career was cruelly cut short when he died at the age of thirty-one from complications of an ulcer. Soon after his death, Valentino’s ghost began to appear in a number of places, but most often in his former mansion, the “Falcon’s Lair”, where his image has been seen in hallways, in his old bedroom and in the stables.
One stable worker packed his job in due to the shock of seeing what appeared to be Valentino petting his favourite horse. Valentino has also been spotted at his beach house in Oxnard, on the Californian coast and at the Santa Maria Inn, in the heart of the Central Coast wine country, where he is said to continuously knock on the door. Valentino’s ghost has also been seen drifting around Paramount Studios.
And as if this wasn’t enough, he has also been sighted near his resting place in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Memorial Park.
Strangely, Valentino is also connected to another haunting, but not of the deceased human kind. People visiting the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery – where celebrity pets such as Hopalong Cassidy’s horse and Mary Pickford’s dog are interred – have reported a playful phantom, panting and licking people who wander near it’s grave. The name on the gravestone reads “Kabar” – he was Rudolf Valentino’s Great Dane.
In 1977, American singer Ricky Nelson thought he’d found the perfect home for himself and his young family.
It was a sprawling farm house on Mulholland Drive, which had been built by none other than Hollywood wild man Errol Flynn. Flynn had the house built in 1941 to celebrate his successful career. The house, which he called his “playhouse”, had secret passageways, exotic bars and peepholes as well as a black-bottomed swimming pool.
Flynn’s hedonistic lifestyle was thought to be a big factor in his early death – he was just 50 when he died from a heart attack in 1959.
Shortly after the Nelsons moved into the old Flynn house strange things began to happen. The couple’s daughter Tracy reported unexplained noises and smells and said that friends at school refused sleepovers at her home because of the “weird energy” in the house.
One night Tracy returned from work to see a man standing in the living room. Certain it was her father she called a greeting – but didn’t get a reply. Seconds later the phone rang. It was Ricky saying he wouldn’t be home until the following day. Surprised, Tracy said that she thought she’d just seen him. “Oh that’s just Errol,” Ricky replied.
After several more spooky happenings Tracy decided to move out. Ricky Nelson lived in the house for two more years until his untimely death in a 1985 plane crash – he was only 45.
Tracy said that after her dad’s death the presence in the house changed from playful to malevolent.
“When he left,” she said, “everything just turned ugly and scary in the house. My ex-husband always had a hard time believing any of this ghost stuff. After dad died we were removing some furniture and he went outside and refused to go back in. He told me, ‘something’s in that house and I don’t want to be anywhere near it.'”
After that the house stood empty for a while.
But its negative energy remained ever present. One night a gang broke in and murdered a girl in the living room. Then a fire destroyed half the house. After that it was demolished – which given the circumstances was probably the wisest thing.
Tracy Nelson is certain the house was haunted and thinks the ghost of Errol Flynn may have been trying to warn her father – no stranger to drugs and also a philanderer like Flynn – about the dangers of such a lifestyle. She thinks that after her father’s death at a young age (mirroring Flynn) the spirit turned black.
So next time you happen to be in Hollywood you may be lucky enough to catch sight of Johnny Depp, Jeniffer Lawrence, or Leonardo DiCaprio. But keep your eyes peeled – you might also get a glimpse of some really out of this world stars too.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve spotted a celebrity ghost, be it a Hollywood star or lesser known name. I’d be interested to hear about it.
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