Monday, April 22, 2013

The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Old Town San Diego, Ca

"The Cosmopolitan’s history goes back to a man named Juan Lorenzo Bandini, one of San Diego’s pioneers who settled here in the 1800s and a colorful and important player in San Diego's early development. He designed and constructed his grand residence, the largest in Old Town at the time, between 1827 and 1829. The single-story home was built around False Bay, later named Mission Bay circa 1944.

Bandini’s goal for the home was to make sure his wife and two daughters were most comfortable. The home had seven rooms, an entrance hall, an enclosed courtyard, a corral, and several sheds and barns. It was designed with Spanish Colonial architectural features such as thick adobe walls, muslin ceilings, pane-glass windows, and a brick-lined patio. The Bandinis lived in their home until 1859.

After Bandini’s death, Emily and Albert Seeley, a stage master, took over the building to create a place where travelers could have comfort, style and entertainment at the same time. In the fall of 1869, they celebrated the grand opening of The Cosmopolitan Hotel, having added a second level to the adobe structure. The architectural theme was Greek Revival. Some of the amenities of The Cosmopolitan Hotel were a bar, sitting and billiards room, a barber shop, and a local post office. The hotel’s main attraction was its grand balcony that wrapped around the second story, where guests to San Diego enjoyed seeing the crowd and activities in the town square below.

The 1870s brought fires to Old Town and growth in other areas of San Diego. In 1888 Seeley sold The Cosmopolitan; the building became a canning facility for an olive factory in 1900. Throughout the years the building lost its value, due to lack of maintenance. Fortunately, in 1928 Cave J. Couts Jr. took over the property. A grandson of Bandini, Couts turned the broken-down building into a hotel and restaurant with added amenities such as wired electricity, gas, and a new style of decor."-Cosmopolitan Hotel Website

The Ghost(s): "There's residual haunting, there's intelligent haunting, and there are also objects that are apparently haunted.-Zak Baggins, Ghost Adventures.

There are reports of full-bodied apparitions, objects being moved/placed in different areas, and class A Electronic Voice Phenomena. Apparently room #11 is one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel. Although people have reported seeing phantom specters throughout the building and the grounds.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Angels Flight, Downtown Los Angeles

Opened in 1901, Angels Flight was used to carry the wealthy neighborhood locals up and down the steep incline (of roughly 33%) of Bunker Hill for the price of one cent. Its patrons found it much easier to make it back up from the business district at the bottom, to the ornate Victorian homes at the top using the railway. The two cars, named Sinai and Olivet (biblical references, perhaps to Mount Sinai and Mount Olivet), counterbalance each other – as one travels down the tracks, the other moves parallel going up.-Couple of Travels

At its turn-of-the-century opening, the bustling Bunker Hill neighborhood clearly enjoyed the convenient transportation – Angels Flight was ridden 2,000 times on opening day alone!
After 27 years in storage, the funicular was rebuilt and reopened on February 24, 1996 a half block south of the original site.

 Although the original cars, Sinai and Olivet, were used, a new track and haulage system was designed and built, a redesign which had unfortunate consequences five years later. As rebuilt, the funicular was 91 meters (298 feet) long on an approximately 33-percent incline. Car movement was controlled by an operator inside the upper station house, who was responsible for visually determining that the track and vehicles were clear for movement, closing the platform gates, starting the cars moving, monitoring the operation of the funicular cars, observing car stops at both stations, and collecting fares from passengers. The cars themselves did not carry any staff members.

 A sailor was killed on August 31, 1945 when he attempted to walk up the tracks while the line was in operation. He was struck by one car and then crushed by the other.

On February 1, 2001, Angels Flight had a serious accident that killed a passenger, Leon Praport age 83, and injured seven others, including Praport's wife, Lola. The accident occurred when car Sinai, approaching the upper station, reversed direction and accelerated downhill in an uncontrolled fashion to strike car Olivet near the lower terminus.

Apparently, riders of this amazing piece of history claim that Olivet car is haunted by the crushed Sailor as well as the 83 year old passenger from 2001. They show themselves as an apparitions to guests of this historical landmark.

Hotel Cecil, Downtown Los Angeles

Yesterday, while running around downtown I stumbled down an alley where I noticed the Notorious Cecil Hotel. Right when I saw this dreaded triple tower, I knew I had to go take some photos for my blog. I walked into the main lobby with ease, being that the security guards were goofing around closer to the check in area. The main entrance I have to see had a beautiful tragic vibe to it. I felt dread immediately as I walked closer to the actual check in for the hotel. People staying around inside looked completely oblivious to the reputation or understanding just how cursed this building is. In my opinion, the land is tainted and it should be torn to the ground. After using the lobby restroom, I went on a scurry through the hotel walking on haunted floors 7-8, It was super creepy... I didn't even want to take a photo in there. It just felt uncomfortable in the way that had my skin-crawling. I doubt I would go there again without someone with me. Here is some of the history in a small edited portion from all of the horrifying things that have occurred here.

The Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles (640 S. Main Street) is a budget hotel with 600 guest rooms (originally 700). Constructed by 1927, the hotel was intended for business travelers but in the 1950s it gained a reputation as a residence for transients. A portion of the hotel was refurbished in 2007 after new owners took over.

The Hotel is known for its criminal activity to include three murders and also several suicides. Most notably, the hotel was the reported residence for serial killers Richard Ramirez in 1985 and Jack Unterweger in 1991. Recently, in February 2013, the body of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian woman, was found inside one of the water supply tanks on the hotel roof. The body was discovered after patrons complained of low water pressure.

Pauline Otten, 27, committed suicide by jumping out of a window of the Cecil Hotel in 1962, also killing an unlucky pedestrian when she landed on top of him.
Retired telephone operator Goldie Osgood, known as the Pershing Square Pigeon Lady, was raped and strangled at the Cecil in 1964. Her tiny room was ransacked; the killer was never found. In 1995, an escapee from the Peter Pitchess Honor Rancho was cornered and recaptured there.

To sum it up, the Hotel Cecil is very very haunted. There have been reports of full-bodied apparitions, blood curdling noises, cold spots, hot spots, scratching, strangling, and mists. People have not walked, ran from their rooms as they have been sleeping in the bed with ghosts. It's probably one of the most haunted places in all of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, Ca

Located in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, the Mission was founded by Serra on November 1, 1776; and soon became one of busiest in the territory. On the night of December 18, 1812, a catastrophic earthquake effectively leveled the massive chapel, taking the lives of forty worshipers.

Investigators  claim that the mission is haunted by a young woman named Magdalena who was killed in the 1812 earthquake that destroyed the Great Stone Church and by a faceless monk who roams the mission halls. Just recently Ghost Hunters made a trip to the Historical Landmark and dug up some remarkable Electronic Voice Phenomena evidence as well as strange "earthquake" sounds.  Many report seeing Madelena's face by candlelight in the highest church window. There are also sightings of a faceless monk roaming one of the mission's corridors, and footsteps of a soldier still keeping watch.

There is also Mission San Juan Capistrano Cemetery, "which More than 2,000 former inhabitants (mostly Juaneño Indians) are buried in unmarked graves in the Mission's cemetery (campo santos). The remains of Father (later Monsignor) St. John O'Sullivan, who recognized the property's historic value and working tirelessly to conserve and rebuild its structures, are buried at the entrance to the cemetery on the west side of the property, and a statue raised in his honor stands at the head of the crypt. Father O'Sullivan's tomb lies at the foot of a Celtic cross the Father himself erected as a memorial to the Mission's builders.

When the Great Stone Church collapsed in the quake of 1812 forty native worshippers who were attending mass and two boys who had been ringing the bells in the tower were buried under the rubble and lost their lives, and were subsequently interred in the Mission cemetery. Father O'Sullivan died in 1933 and was interred in the Mission cemetery (campo santos) amongst more than 2,000 former inhabitants (mostly Juaneño Indians), who are buried in unmarked graves.

From a sign at the entrance -
The Mission cemetery served as burial land for the local people. The first burial was recorded on March 9, 1781 and it is believed that approximately 2,000 people were buried here. Internments ended in 1850 and were relocated to land east of the Mission. An exception was made in 1934 to inter Father John O'Sullivan, who during his 23-year residency directed the restoration at the Mission. Father O'Sullivan also installed the tall monument in the cemetery as a memorial to those who built this Mission. The black granite marker memorializes the Spanish soldier Jose Antonia Yorba who helped found the Mission."-
Waymarking, Max Cacher

When checking out the Mission recently it was on a bright summer day with a ton of people there; so I was unable to capture any audio or visual evidence. I will have to visit on an off-day when there are not so many people around. I have been to the mission many times before with family, school, and in my own personal time; and have never had an experience on my own. It's beautiful as it is, there is no complaints! Go see this astonishing piece of Californian History.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Old Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

                                        Walking up on the entrance of the Old Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo was the fourth zoo to serve the city. In 1885: The City-owned East-lake Zoo opens in East Los Angeles Park. Then in 1912: The Griffith Park Zoo opens only two miles from the current Los Angeles Zoo site) with 15 animals.

This Griffith Park Canyon area served as the City's Zoo from it's founding in 1912 to 1965. Many of the original Grotto's, Enclosures, and Walls still stand today abandoned and in ruin. These enclosures  were built in the early 1930's by County Relief Workers and Works Progress Administration (WPA) Crews.

Once this entire canyon echoed in the calls, growls, and roars of Bears, Lions, Monkeys, Macaw's, Elephants, Reptiles, Goats, and Turtles. The Historic Enclosures are now considered completely barbaric and inhumane even by myself. I felt like a prisoner just looking at them. It's also disgraceful the way they have been treated being desecrated by taggers, gangsters, and thugs. As I get older places like this make me realize just how much our rich history should be taken care of and promoted as a place of reflection and introspection. If your reading this please respect the buildings, walls, and the habitats that have been left for us to enjoy and discover.

Being that my website is dedicated to the Phantom side of things, I have to say this one haunted place. I brought my Electromagnetic Field Meter, Digital Video Camera, and Audio Recorder with me on my visit. There were cold spots, strange sounds, and spikes on my EMF meter in a few of the enclosures that I went inside of. I noticed strange sounds when I entered a darker, danker enclosure at the top of the hill. The EMF meter spike into the 4-5 range in the bear enclosures, and the audio recorder picked up some strange growling noises in one of the cages. I will be definitely be visiting again in the near future at night when there are less people running around.

The Ghost(s): There are reports of ghostly animals, full-bodied apparitions of people, strange odors or smells, and sounds echoing inside of this historical edge of Griffith Park. The park has been haunted since it's opening in the late 1800's. Paranormal researchers, and amateurs from all walks of life come to investigate this land once the night falls upon sleepy Los Angeles. There is a claim that a person was snarled at when entering some of the abandoned cages by sounds of a Lion.