Part 1 Hollywood
Being a native of Southern California, it was only natural for me to combine my fascination with the paranormal and my love of old Hollywood. There are so many ghost stories that tinsel town has to offer. Perhaps it is because Hollywood has always been a place filled with passion and desire; such strong emotions are bound to leave a lingering impression. First I would like to start with an interesting story that strangely combines two Hollywood tragedies that took place 37 years apart from each other.
The blond bombshell actress Jean Harlow became famous for her lead role in the Howard Hughes film Hell’s Angels. She married an assistant named Paul Bern in 1932. Their home was in the middle of 5 acres in Beverly Hills’ Benedict Canyon. Sadly just a few months after the wedding Bern committed suicide in his new wife’s bedroom. Jean passed away 5 years later of kidney failure. Now, let us fast forward to 1966. The Harlow home had new occupants at this time, Jay Sebring and his house guest, a struggling actress by the name of Sharon Tate. One night Sharon could not sleep, she was alone for the evening and decided to stay in Jay’s room. Suddenly, a figure of a thin man came into the bedroom, ignored her but seemed to be looking for something. Sharon knew the history of the home and thought this presence could be Bern himself. She hurried out of the room and on the way downstairs saw another apparition, a person tied to the post of the steps and brutally murdered. The vision soon vanished. Many believe Bern was attempting to warn Tate of what was to occur 3 years later when she would be a victim to the Manson family murders.
Even the Hollywood sign itself has a haunted past. There have been numerous reports called in to the local police department from concerned citizens who say they see a woman climbing the letter H of the Hollywood sign. When police arrive there is never anyone there. Yet, in 1932 an actress by the name of Peg Entwistle was frustrated at never receiving her big break. She took a walk up the hillside and was able to climb the letter H by way of a ladder left behind by a workman. She then leapt to her death. This is a perfect example of a residual haunting, reliving those last few moments over and over again.
Another occurrence that can stir up paranormal activity is any remodeling or heavy construction to a building that held strong energy to begin with. A perfect example of this is the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. This hotel was originally constructed in 1927 and was designed to appeal to the movie industry at the time. The hotel’s restoration process took place in 1984 and in 1985 the first stories of ghosts began to unfold. A mirror that once hung in room 1200, a room that was frequented by Marilyn Monroe, is said to be haunted by Marilyn herself. People have said they see a reflection of a blond woman in the mirror. Some feel it holds an imprint of the actress’s tragic and restless spirit. Montgomery Clift also stayed in this hotel. He spent 3 months in room 928 while making the film From Here To Eternity during the year 1952. Clift would often play the bugle in between rehearsing his lines. The sound of a bugle can still be heard from this room and visitors may often feel a cold chill brush passed them in the corridor since Clift was known to constantly pace that floor.
There are so many stories of restless spirits and bizarre occurrences, for example, Joan Crawford’s home was believed to have many spirits, there were reports of children laughing and shadows seen. Several exorcisms were preformed on the home to no avail. Many thought Joan herself was possessed by something from within the house as a way to explain her erratic behavior. Her last words were “Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” After Joan’s passing another family moved into the home and they too experienced strange things like fires erupting without a cause, they too called for an exorcism without success.
Hollywood will always be a place of great hope and great mystery. Yet some of the best stories do not require a script, just an open mind and an interest in the roles that are played after death.