Haunted places in LA: Get spooked at 13 real haunted spots
From ghost sightings to strange noises, check out these 13 haunted places in LA for real scares this Halloween.
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Photograph: Courtesy Del Monte Speakeasy
Del Monte Speakeasy
Photograph: Courtesy Food and Drug Administration
The Iron Lung ward at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital
Photograph: Randall Michelson
Photograph: Courtesy the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection and the Hollywood Sign Trust. Copyright © HollywoodPhotographs.com. All Rights Reserved
Photograph: Courtesy Mike Dillon
Colorado Street Bridge
Photograph: Courtesy The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Call us old-fashioned, but we like our haunts authentic. We’ve searched the spookiest nabes for horror hot spots—and consulted our friends over at Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles (GHOULA). Founder Richard Carradine has been collecting tales of LA haunted spots for years, and every month (on the 13th, naturally) GHOULA hosts Spirits with Spirits mixers at some of the city’s spookiest venues. “We have two rules on where we meet—it’s got to serve alcohol and it’s got to be haunted,” he says. (Check out GHOULA’s cool events this month, including a free alfresco screening of classic horror films and a Haunted Red Line Tour.) Ready to scare yourself silly? Here’s your handy guide to the 13 most haunted LA spots, from an abandoned mental ward to legendary bars, hotels and theaters where ghosts of the past still rattle a few chains.
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The abandoned Rancho Los Amigos Hospital
Founded in 1888 as the County Poor Farm, this pioneering hospital was a haven for the city’s destitute and mentally ill. And it sat on hundreds of acres of property that also included a farm, a dairy, a zoo and a pauper’s graveyard. In the late ’50s, the farm, dairy and mental health wards were closed down (the main hospital now sits in a sprawling nearby complex, renamed the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center). The old mental ward remains creepily fenced up and totally abandoned. Trespassers are warned back by around-the-clock security, but that doesn’t stop thrill-seekers from sneaking in—and later sharing their spooky stories and videos on the Internet. Old office furniture, files and even mummified body parts have been found here: In October 2006, U.S. Marines who were using the abandoned building for drills found a freezer in the morgue containing legs, feet and brain bits. “I never thought of hospitals as haunted places but we have had a lot of nurses come to our gatherings just to tell us crazy stories about the local hospitals they work in and the many spirits of former patients wandering the halls,” says Carradine. Fright enthusiasts beware, even during daylight hours, the winding rooms in the complex are pitch black and the flooring is faulty. Adding to the mystery, little to nothing is known about why the hospital abandoned its eerie mental ward.
Pasadena’s “Suicide Bridge”
The haunting and hauntingly beautiful Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena was completed in 1913, claimed its first suicide in 1919 and has been racking up the bodies ever since. “There are 102—and counting—documented suicides of people jumping off the bridge. Pasadena doesn’t like the notoriety, so when the count would get too high they would knock off some numbers,” says Carradine. “The number of suicides is actually much higher, even with the fences that are up now.” And Carradine has heard ghost stories aplenty. “People have seen a man leaping off a rail, but when they go to help, no one’s there. There’s also a woman seen crossing the bridge, cars swerving to miss her, but then she vanishes.” Carradine’s even had his own spooky brush with the bridge. “It was nighttime, and I was walking with a friend in the tunnel underneath the bridge," he recalls. "There’s a series of six lights illuminating the path, and as we passed the first light, it went out. The second light went out as we passed. Each light went out as we passed by. By the time we got to the end, it was just total darkness behind us.”
Legend has it that the ghost of Marilyn Monroe still haunts her old stomping grounds. “There was a famous mirror in the lobby where people would take pictures and claim they could see Marilyn’s reflection above them,” Carradine says of the full-length mirror that once hung in Monroe’s poolside suite, and then in the lobby where it has since been removed (kill-joys!). On the 9th floor, you can hear the late actor Montgomery Clift—who lived in suite 928 for three months while filming From Here to Eternity—practicing on his trumpet. “Guests have asked the hotel staff to tell the person in the next room to stop playing in the middle of the night," Carradine says. "But the room was actually vacant.” What’s more? Lights and faucets are known to turn on and off on their own and the switchboard gets calls from vacant rooms.
Before this popular Sunset Strip comedy club appeared on the scene in 1972, it was Ciro's restaurant, one of Hollywood's hippest clubs during the 1940s and 1950s. Its owners had a close affiliation with the mob and the building still has peepholes in the upper walls of the main room that once allowed mobsters to see who was coming and going. Mickey “The King of the Sunset Strip” Cohen used the club as his base of operations. “West Hollywood was a gangster-run place with gun fights in the streets,” says Carradine. “The basement of the club was where they would take care of problem people. There is still a hole in the stairway that fits a gun, to shoot anyone going up or downstairs.” Carradine says employees have claimed to hear voices, cries and even snarls coming from the basement. “After years of denying the ghost stories, the Comedy Store is now embracing its past and even started tours of the haunted basement,” he adds.
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