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
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The beloved Silent Movie Theatre has a complicated history worthy of a blockbuster drama. The original owner, John Hampton, started the theater in 1942, showing his personal film collection at a time when most studios were destroying old silent prints. Hampton used toxic chemicals in his bathtub, above the theater, to preserve his films—unwittingly exposing himself to toxins that hastened his demise in 1990 from cancer. Hampton’s mentee Lawrence Austin took over the theater. But one night in 1997, while visitors were watching a film, Austin was shot to death in the lobby by a hitman. The whole thing turned out to be a murder-for-hire conspiracy hatched by Austin's lover and theater projectionist James Van Sickle, who later claimed that Austin signed the theater over to him in a hand-written will. Police weren’t buying it. Van Sickle and the hitman are currently serving life in jail. “We had a woman come to our last Spirits with Spirits event who was actually there that night when the shooting happened,” says Carradine. “She saw his body lying there and hasn’t been back since.” Austin’s ghost is said to still haunt the lobby; and Hampton’s ghost can be heard roaming the second floor, where he once lived.
Back when it was the Hollywoodland sign, this icon to celluloid fantasy also served as a beacon to suicidal Angelenos—most notably Broadway stage actress Peg Entwistle. Trouble just seemed to follow Entwistle. Raised by her actor father, she lost both her mother and stepmother early in life and had a series of broken personal relationships. As an actress, Entwistle enjoyed critical reviews, and even shared the stage with Humphrey Bogart, but she was forever cast in the role of comedic ingénue and could only snag small film roles. On September 18, 1932, a hiker found the blond, blue-eyed actress’ crumpled body in a ravine below the Hollywoodland sign. Police surmised that she climbed a workman’s ladder to the top of the 45-foot letter “H” and jumped to her death. Visitors to the area say they still see the actress haunting the sign, and sometimes pick up the scent of her gardenia perfume.
What, you don’t know about the sad tale of Doña Petrenilla? It’s a ghost story that’s been oft-told by writer Michael Imlay and the good folks at Creepy LA, but it bears seasonal repeating. In the late 1800s, wealthy land owner Don Antonio Feliz died suddenly from small pox. As legend has it, when his beloved 17-year-old niece Doña was cheated out of her uncle’s will, she put a nasty curse on the land and its owners. Since then, untimely deaths and ill omens have befallen the land’s deed holders, including Griffith J. Griffith, its last owner, who donated 3,105 acres to the city before going to prison for shooting and maiming his wife. True believers say they’ve seen young Doña in a white dress on horseback, haunting the trails. "A couple of park rangers have told me that they've seen ghosts and things in the park,” says Griffith Park security officer Thomas Davey. “There are definitely stories. But I've been here for four-and-a-half years and haven't seen anything myself.”
When charmed businessman Howard Hughes owned the infamous Pantages Theatre, he built a door that connected his office directly to one of the theater balconies, where he would go to think in the dark. Hughes’ ghost is a notorious workaholic, and is said to be seen in his former office on the second floor. “During the restoration in 2000, people said they saw a man stepping off the balcony, walking along the scaffolding, and standing over a worker to inspect his work. When the guy turned to ask the man what he wanted, the figure vanished,” says Carradine. Seems like Hughes is still looking after his theater. The Pantages is also host to a female presence who died during a show in 1932. “During a cast recording once, microphones were set up in the theater and they heard someone singing in the mic when no one was on stage.” Some say the woman who died was an aspiring singer who’s living out her unrealized dreams of performing at the Pantages.