Friday, September 28, 2012

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever Cemetery was founded in 1899 and was originally named Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery. The original site occupied 100 acres but 40 acres were sold off to Paramount and RKO Studios in 1920. Part of the land was set aside for the Beth Olam Cemetery where people from Hollywood’s Jewish community are buried. By the end of the 20th century, the owners ran into financial difficulties and the cemetery became run down. In 1989, Tyler Cassity of Forever Enterprises bought the property and restored it and re-named it Hollywood Forever. The grounds are dotted with many statues, monuments and unusual headstones along with two large indoor mausoleums. Famous Graves at Hollywood Forever Cemetery Many stars from the Old Days of Hollywood are interred at Hollywood Forever. Some of the famous people who are buried at the cemetery are: Fay Wray, Darla Hood, Janet Gaynor, Darren McGavin, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Nelson Eddy, Peter Lorre, Tyrone Power, Mel Blanc, Peter Finch, Edward G. Robinson, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, and Charlie Chaplin Jr. Clifton starred as Mr. Belvedere in three movies; Sitting Pretty, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell. He also played in the films Laura, Cheaper by the Dozen and Nearer My God to Thee. He starred in many other films during his long career. His ghost haunts the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum where visitors hear whispering voices, see strange lights, feel cold drafts and smell cologne. Witnesses have seen a semi-transparent figure of Clifton Webb dressed in a suit and an aura in the shape of his body. People have reported the sound of whistling or his voice yelling out to get attention. Virginia Rappe Virginia was a silent film actress who was rushed to hospital when attending a party for actor Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. She died a few days later of a ruptured bladder but Fatty Arbuckle was charged with rape and murder because other party attendees said he dragged her into a room. Although he was acquitted of the crime, his acting career was ruined and her reputation was tarnished.
At her grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, witnesses feel cold air and hear the sounds of sobbing. Some people say the sobbing sounds are coming up through the ground from her coffin. It is believed that Virginia is crying because she didn’t have the opportunity to defend her reputation. Rudolph Valentino and the Lady in Black Rudolph, known as “The Sheik” was the heartthrob of silent pictures and died after having surgery for a gastric ulcer. Thousands of people attended his funeral and his body was transported back to Hollywood Forever Cemetery from New York City. On the anniversary of his death, a lady dressed in black (including a veil) brought roses to Valentino’s crypt. She continued her annual visit for several years but soon the media found out and everybody wanted to identify the mysterious lady. Several women came forward to say they were the lady in black. Ditra Flame, who is believed to be the real lady in black, passed away in 1984. Some visitors now see the ghost of a lady in black kneeling in front of Valentino’s tomb. Others have seen roses suddenly appear in the empty vases on the tomb wall. People have reported the sounds of footsteps or the feeling of being watched. The annual memorial service for Rudolph Valentino continues to this day where throngs of people dress as the lady in black. William Randolph Hearst Although he is not buried at Hollywood Forever Memorial Cemetery, the ghost of Hearst has been seen visiting the grave of his mistress Marion Davies. Apparently, it’s to see if everything is going well for her. Horror movies are shown every summer at Hollywood Forever Cemetery where the public is invited to picnic while watching films projected on the side of a building. Visitors are welcome to stroll around the grounds and can purchase a map where the graves of famous people are identified.

The Comedy Store, Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca

The Hangout: The Comedy Store, 8433 W. Sunset Blvd.

The History: Before this popular Sunset Strip comedy club appeared on the scene in 1972, the site was known as Ciro's, one of Hollywood's hippest clubs during the 1940s and 50s.
"All the greats from the era came here," said Tommy Morris, assistant director of operations and talent coordinator at the Comedy Store. "It was a big deal to perform at Ciro's."
Besides showcasing big-name talent like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Lucille Ball, Ciro's was also a big deal for another reason - its owners had a close affiliation with the mob.
"These were really people just like mobsters in the movies," Morris said. "They loved to bring you in with a smile, feed you a nice dinner, give you some good wine and then kill you."
The building still has peek holes in the upper walls of the main room that allowed mobsters to see who was coming and going at the club, Morris said.

The Haunting: Montz and his paranormal research team conducted investigations of the Comedy Store in 1999 and found that the site was highly active.
Other psychics have also documented ghost activity at the club, Morris said.
"The Comedy Store feels like a very old place that has a lot of strange things going on that freak people out," Morris said. "Cold spots are very common in the main room. The air suddenly gets ice cold, and you can see your breath. This is known as a sign of paranormal activity."
Morris, who has been working at the club for four years, said employees frequently get calls on the intercom system from line 31, an extension that does not exist.
"It calls us, and it sounds like its outside, and all you can hear is someone breathing," he said. "I feel like it has a sense of humor, though, because it only calls when we're really busy."
Morris said two particularly angry ghosts inhabit the club.
"One of the angriest ghosts was a hit man for the mob," he said. "His name was Gus, and he ended up being tortured and killed by the people he worked for. His spirit is outraged that he was killed."
Another ghost resides downstairs in the original lounge, in which many illegal abortions were performed.
"There is a ghost of the lady who performed the abortions down there," Morris said. "She is angry because she felt like she was helping a lot of people, but she was arrested and publicly humiliated."
Montz said an ISPR team helped owner Mitzi Shore clear the Comedy Store of many of its mob-era ghosts.
"We cleared it, but we left two mafia hit men who still haunt there," he said. "They don't cause any problems, and they are really there to protect the property."
As for employees and visitors to the Comedy Store, reports keep coming of unexplained supernatural activities inside the club.
"From a completely rational, thinking mind, I think it's possible there are places where dimensions cross," Morris said. "I believe that's what happens here." - LA Haunted Hollywood

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Los Angeles Union Station

For starters, Union Station was built on the site of the bloodiest riot in this city’s history, in which a Chinese gang war erupted in to a lynch mob that spilled into neighboring communities. When the dust settled, fifteen bodies (some accounts claim as many 19) hung from the trees along Los Angeles Street, near where the entrance to the Union Station stands today. As a result, that dirt road was nicknamed “Hangman’s Street.” Although the legends of catacombs discovered during construction (Indian burial sites, Chinese opium dens, tunnels, etc.) are apparently not true, the many stories of corpses, folded or in pieces, found in luggage at Union Station are true. The most famous occurrence of trunks dripping blood involved Winnie Ruth Judd, the infamous “Tiger Woman” of Los Angeles (a.k.a. the “Velvet Tigress” to avoid confusion with the two other notorious local killers also given the nickname the “Tiger Woman”). In addition, the murderer of “Lower 13” was arrested on the platforms as he and his slashed victim rolled into Union Station (perhaps on the now-closed track 13, whose walled-in gateway can still be seen). On top of all of that, the area near Union Station's baggage claim, was at one time this city's "lover's lane," where all kinds of illicit behavior took place. But the most “spirit-inducing” piece of strange history connected to the station doesn’t involve anything scandalous or macabre.

Union Station’s abandon (but preserved) “restaurant” had the good fortune to be designed by visionary architect Mary Jane Colter. Although notable for creating spaces that fuse Spanish and Native-American influences, she was also fascinated with the supernatural. She used to try to build places that felt like they had history, places where ghosts would feel comfortable. Two of her most famous commissions “The Ghost House” and “Phantom Ranch” reflect that spirit. It is not surprising that most of the locations she created have ghost stories attached to them. Thus, maybe the reason why no one remembers why Union Station is haunted is because people can no longer go into the room where “ghosts feel comfortable.” -Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles

The Brand Family Cemetery, Glendale, Ca

The park used to be the estate of the brand family, with the library having been the mansion they lived in. There is a trail behind the house leading up in to the hills.This statue in the photograph marks the trail head. To your left of the trail head you will see the doctors office. If you follow it, it will take you to the family cemetery. Mr. Brand`s tomb is a large pyramid where occult activity is pretty common. Also, further up in the hills is what looks to be a 3 foot tall stone watchtower.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Knickerbocker Hotel, Hollywood, Ca

"The Knickerbocker Hotel was first built as a luxury apartment building in 1925, but it was later converted to a hotel. The hotel was frequented by many famous actors and directors during that decade. There is a legend that Rudolph Valentino used to dance the tango in the Knickerbocker saloon. But the hotel soon became more well-known for sudden deaths. Director D. W Griffith died of a stroke in the hotel lobby in 1948, and actor William Frawley (Fred Mertz from “I Love Lucy”) dropped dead from a heart attack on the sidewalk outside the hotel in 1966. He had lived there for years and was brought into the lobby in an attempt to revive him, but to no avail. Irene Gibbons, a costume designer for MGM, committed suicide at the Knickerbocker. A seance to contact the spirit of Harry Houdini was held on the roof of the hotel, complete with a violent rainstorm which was said not to have occurred anywhere else in the city. Police dragged troubled actress Francis Farmer half-naked out of the Knickerbocker, one of the first in a series of events leading to her descent into mental illness. The Knickerbocker was eventually converted once again, into a senior citizens home, and the ghosts of celebrities past are still said to haunt it, including the ghost of Valentino."                   Knickerbocker Hotel 1714 Ivar Avenue Los Angeles, CA 9002

Abandoned Grand Central Airport, Glendale, Ca

Grand Central Airport, Glendale, California, also known as Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT), was an important facility for the growing Los Angeles suburb of Glendale in the 1920s. It was also a key element in the development of United States aviation. The terminal, located at 1310 Air Way, was built in 1928 and is still there. Owned since 1997 by the Walt Disney Company, it remains the last standing structure, and sole surviving witness, to the area's historic significance, and is in urgent need of restoration and repair. The single concrete 3,800-foot (1,200 m) runway still exists, but it was dug up and converted into Grand Central Avenue, serving cars, not airplanes.

Yamashiro Restaurant, Hollywood, Ca

                         The History of the Yamashiro
This photo is interesting, when I shot the picture there was nobody behind us. My girlfriend and I were sitting at the window having dinner. The reflection of an Asian man stretched across the image in the long exposure. I dig the moon traces.

Robert Arthur's book, "The Mystery of the Green Ghost" (1965), is about a haunted, ornate Asian-themed mansion on top of a hill in Southern California that is filled with ghosts, secrets, and treasures of the Orient. The story was inspired by the Bernheimer House and Gardens in Pacific Palisades. Although, that amazing structure is no longer with us, the original Bernheimer House and Gardens (before Bernheimer moved west to the Palisades) is still around, on a hill, 300 feet above Hollywood, and it too is filled with ghosts, secrets, and treasures from the Orient. When this residential fortress was completed in 1914, the Bernheimer Brothers (Adolph and Eugene) filled it with Asian antiques and artifacts from their travels, dubbed it "Yamashiro" ("Castle on a Hill"), and mysteriously vowed (as reported in the LA Times) that no woman would be allowed to enter their house as an invited guest. Their new "Yamashiro' was said to be an exact replica of a palace in Japan, but in reality, the design is just a hodge-podge of Japanese and Chinese motifs placed on top of a European-style house. As a palatial home, Yamashiro lasted less than ten years. Eugene died in 1923 (his remains are buried in the central courtyard, and Adolf moved to the Palisades. The estate was then converted into a private club for Hollywood's elite (a response to the other societies that would not allow actors), known as the "400 Club." During its life, this anything-but-simple structure has also served as a military academy, apartments, the supposed headquarters for Japanese spies during WWII, a theme park, the possible inspiration for Grauman's Chinese Theater, and was abandoned for several years before eventually becoming (in 1960) one of Hollywood's most famous restaurants (famous for having the best view in Los Angeles). That cryptic proclamation (or warning) about women being forbidden is ironic considering Yamashiro's most prominent ghost is that of a "weeping woman" in the "Bride's Room" on the second floor. Her cries are heard, but when someone investigates, and opens the door. The room is empty. Also her silhouette has been seen from outside crossing in front of the upstairs windows. Her identity and reason for such sadness is unknown. Like so many historic watering-holes in Los Angeles, Yamashiro's is also said to have been a speak-easy and perhaps a bordello. Is the "weeping woman" one of the disillusioned would-be starlets that was forced to sell her body to survive during the Great Depression? Additionally, there is a male silhouette that passes those same second story windows. He is presumed to be a former bartender, because most of the sightings of this phantom figure are seen in the bar area (to the right of the main entrance). Although witnesses and staff seem positive about his identity, it is worth noting, that in 1955, film pioneer, Fayette Thomas Moore committed suicide by gunshot in his parked car on the street in front of this historic landmark. Also, Yamashiro sits at the end of Sycamore Avenue, which according to local lore was named for a row of Sycamores at the base of the hill used to hang outlaws. Could the male ghost be the suicide victim or one of the hanged bandits? Perhaps, it is the ubiquitous spirit of Rudolph Valentino, who not only visited the house (in life) when it was the 400 Club, but whose ghost has been seen all over Hollywood. Or, what about Bernheimer, himself, whose remains are just a few feet from the bar, where the ghostly man has been seen? So, come out, and have a drink, and explore Los Angeles' oldest structure (600 years old), the pagoda (of the outdoor "Pagoda Bar"), as well as the other surprises waiting to be discovered inside and around Hollywood's "Castle on the Hill" -GHOULA