The City of Angels despite its name has a dark history replete with murder houses, serial killers that called it home, creepy cemeteries and places that the dearly departed just refuse to vacate. These are some of those places.
Built in the 1920s, Castillo del Lago was the 1930s home of gangster Bugsy Siegel, who used it as a secret casino (and possible secret execution spot); the mansion was later owned by Madonna in the 1990s. Now owned by fashion designer Leon Max, Madonna's cream-and-red striped color scheme is gone, but the “deep sense of foreboding” noticed by many visitors remains. Fashion photographers that have shot there report that all their photos turned out black.
Located in Altadena, the palatial Cobb Estate (known locally as the Haunted Forest) was built in 1918 and torn down by the Marx Brothers in 1959, just a few years after they bought the 107-acre property. The dilapidated entrance gates remain, looking like a horror movie trope come to life. (Fans will recognize the gates as the entrance to Morningside Cemetery from the 1979 supernatural thriller, Phantasm.) Pass through its portals at night, and you’ll be at the mercy of following footsteps, strange lights, distant screams, and the fallout from gangland executions, Satanic rituals, and even possible UFOs.
A palace for Disney movies since its restoration in 1989, the El Capitan Theatre was built in 1926 in Hollywood. In 1941 the premiere of Citizen Kane was shown there. During the renovation, Disney also took over the adjacent Hollywood Masonic Temple. However, like Disneyland itself, the El Capitan has its ghostly dark side. In 1942 it was reinvented as the Paramount Hollywood Theater. It was the site of a suicide in the balcony seats and the death of a manager in its office. When Disney revived the El Capitan, legend has it they walled off the window above the entryway, where his ghost could still be seen from the street.
The site of L.A.’s first major police brutality scandal, the 1951 “Bloody Christmas” beating of seven citizens. The novel L.A. Confidential and subsequent film, part of which was filmed there, was inspired by the incident. The Lincoln Heights Jail is an Art Deco fortress that's been the site for bad juju since 1931. It was closed in 1965. Famed L.A. murder mystery author Raymond Chandler did time in its drunk tank in the 1940s, and Nightmare on Elm Street’s boiler room climax was shot there. But the jail’s menace extends into the more recent past: in 1994, the founder of a gym that was intended to occupy the space was found dead in an elevator shaft.
Bogie's dog, Mae West's cat, Hopalong's horse, a Hollywood hen, and the MGM lion: death makes strange bedfellows at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, one of the oldest pet cemeteries on the West Coast. The presence of faithful friends can be felt throughout the park, but if you feel a ghostly lick on the hand, it's resident doggie ghost, Kabar. The pooch of silent film star Rudolph Valentino, the purebred Doberman was thought to be psychic even while alive - he let out a howl at precisely the time of the star's death, even though his owner was 3,000 miles away in New York.
At 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 6, 1959, financially strapped cardiologist Harold Perelson bludgeoned his sleeping wife, Lillian, with a ball-peen hammer. As his wife lay dying, Dr. Perelson went after his eldest daughter, but she escaped. Telling his younger two, “Go back to bed. This is a nightmare,” he then offed himself with a combination of Nembutal and pills. The so-called Los Feliz Murder Housestood abandoned for the next 50 years, with its Christmas tree and still-wrapped presents remaining inside. Recently purchased by the daughter of civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, what’s in store for the ghostly abode—or any brave future inhabitants—remains to be seen.
Advertised on its completion as “the most beautiful storage building in the world,” this 1928 high rise once boasted a penthouse club called “The Thirteenth Heaven,” complete with angel-winged waiters and an elevator operator dressed as St. Peter. By April of the next year it had changed names to the “Roof Garden Cafe”, and at some point later, the joint became the “LA Press Club” and then “The Forty-One Club.” This was during Prohibition, so it may come as no surprise that the last two names the club served as a speakeasy, and were raided regularly by the Feds for serving alcohol.
Where there are bootleggers, there are mobsters - this may be the source of the mysterious screams still heard from the elevator shaft. Opened as the American Storage Building, today it's a Public Storage location filled from top to bottom with orange steel doors, including the storied 13th floor. The East Hollywood building may be most haunted by its own former glory.
An alcoholic recluse since the 1992 death of his son from leukemia, Spector moved into the Pyrenees Castle in Alhambra in 1998. Inspired by a French chateau in the Pyrenees mountains, the fairytale estate was described in 1939 by the Los Angeles Times as the “Alhambra mystery castle.” On Feb. 2, 2003 he visits the House of Blues where he meets Lana Clarkson, a statuesque 40-year-old actress. They went to Pyrenees Castle for “just one drink.” Clarkson never left the house - her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth. Spector's driver, who made the emergency call from the castle, later testified that Spector said, "I think I've killed someone." Spector was sentenced in May 2009. Since that fateful night in 2003, the Pyrenees Castle has been off the market, guarding its secrets alone.
It was built in 1926 by Frenchman Sylvester Dupuy who lost . It’s a replica of a chateau he admired as a young boy, growing up in Southern France. By 1936, Dupuy had lost his fortune and died shortly thereafter. His children sold the property in 1946, it was converted into an eight-apartment building, where their mother lived until her death in 1949.
The house sits empty and is available for rent. The last sale of it was to Phil Spector
Writer and mob daughter Susan Berman was found murdered execution-style at her Beverly Hills house on Dec. 23, 2000. The case remained unsolved until HBO aired the 2015 documentary, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. The six-part miniseries gained notoriety when Robert Durst was arrested on first-degree murder charges the day before its finale aired.
Durst was a notorious weirdo who had tried to escape justice by posing as a deaf-mute woman in Texas. According to her biographer, Berman had been killed because she knew too much about the disappearance of Durst’s wife. Durst may have killed and dismembered his elderly neighbor Morris Black just for fun.
The greatest triumph of The Jinx is in the final episode, when Durst — who apparently didn't realize his microphone was on — can be heard muttering,"What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." Though Durst was acquitted in the Morris Black murder trial in 2003 after claiming self-defense, he has long maintained he had nothing to do with Berman's death or his wife's disappearance. But now, Durst finally faces one count of first-degree murder in the December 2000 murder of crime writer Susan Berman.
Durst, now 75, has remained behind bars since his March 2015 arrest. Though the thirteen witnesses made a compelling case for Durst's culpability in Berman's murder (as well as provided testimony and records concerning incidents of domestic violence in the Durst marriage), we're still waiting to see if the judge will decide that the evidence is strong enough.
Source - DiscoverLosAngeles
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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