Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Haunted Places In Hollywood

Hollywood horror movies are frightening, but the town’s real-life ghost stories are perhaps even scarier. The spirits of departed actors and actresses have been sighted inside Hollywood studios, near abandoned homes and lots, and roaming near iconic monuments. We’ve dug up the spine-tingling details of some of Tinseltown’s most notorious haunted places.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
The Hollywood Roosevelt has seen decades of movie stars walk through its doors, including Greta Garbo and Will Rogers. When the hotel was renovated for the first time in the mid-1980s, strange things started happening. In December 1985, cold spots were noticed in the Blossom Room, site of the 1929 Academy Awards banquet. The Roosevelt has called in psychics to evaluate the chilly presences, and some believe the ghost of an unknown man dressed in black is the culprit.

Paramount Studios
Paramount Studios has long been associated with ghost sightings and other spooky happenings. Many people attribute the ghosts to nearby Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery. The sound of knocking and the echoes of footsteps have been heard inside studio buildings, while various stages have had pieces of equipment break down or malfunction. And inside the Hart building, men—never women—have reported seeing the ghost of a woman wearing rose-scented perfume.
According to one former employee, Stage 19 is haunted by Heather O’Rourke, the young actress from the “Poltergeist” movies. Another forum poster wrote about a security guard who encountered the ghost of actor Rudolph Valentino while on patrol in the Paramount Back Lot.

The Houdini Mansion
Unsurprisingly, mysterious magician Harry Houdini features prominently in Hollywood’s haunted tales. After Houdini’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills was destroyed in a 1959 brush fire, all that was left were walls, chauffeur’s quarters, and part of the garage. Since then, the structure has continued to deteriorate; today, only ruins remain, and Houdini’s ghost has been spotted among them. The area is especially popular on Halloween night, when some have reported Houdini’s ghost standing on a staircase or walking in what once was the garden. According to American Hauntings, Houdini and his wife Bess had discussed plans to reunite after death, fueling speculation that Harry is trying to reach her.

Hollywood Sign
In 1932, struggling actress Peg Entwistle leaped to her death from the “H” in the Hollywood sign. According to, reports of Entwistle’s spirit “walking up Beachwood Canyon Road to the Hollywood Sign” continue today. Others report seeing a woman in 1930s garb vanishing into thin air near the sign.
Haunted Extras
Creepy, the Los Angeles Halloween blog, provides a map of haunted spots around town. Click on a ghost or skeleton icon for details of each sinister locale, as well as driving directions.

The 1989 film “Search for Haunted Hollywood” presents the most ghost-frequented places in Los Angeles, and “shows some ghost hunters at work,” according to The New York Times. In the film, actors and paranormal experts also share their haunted experiences in Hollywood.

Haunted Places In Boston

If you’re planning an autumn visit to Boston for steaming bowls of chowder and cool October air, don’t neglect the city’s haunted highlights. Boston is a haven for ghosts and spirits, too, and they’re lurking almost everywhere. We’ve selected the city’s creepiest locales, from Boston Common to Boston Harbor. And if that’s not spooky enough, there’s always Salem.
Gallows Rumor
This most unfortunate form of punishment, death by noose, has let loose a spate of paranormal presences in two of Boston’s best-known destinations.

Boston Public Park
Beantown’s renowned public park has a storied past. Beginning in the 1630s, the Boston Common land was used for livestock grazing and hosted various official events, including parades and military drills. But that’s not all. Hangings were also held at Boston Common, most notably the 1660 hanging of Mary Dyer along with three other Quakers. Initially, offenders were hanged from a tree, but from 1769 until 1817, gallows were used.

Georges Island
Meanwhile, in Boston Harbor, Georges Island is a haunted reminder of the Civil War. On the island was Fort Warren, a prison for confederate soldiers that was known for its eerie dungeons. One prisoner, Andrew Lanier, was nearly saved by his wife, who traveled up from Georgia, dressed as a man, to rescue him. But in an absurd turn of events, she was caught, accidentally shot and killed her husband, and was then hanged for her crimes. Since then, she’s roamed the island in a black dress, attempting to strangle people, and has shown up in the background of photographs taken there.

Haunted Buildings
The Omni Parker House Hotel has hosted guests and ghosts since the 1940s. According to former bellman John Brehm, the ghost of the hotel’s owner, Harvey Parker, first appeared at the Omni in 1941.

“They used to say he roamed the halls on the tenth-floor annex,” Brehm told the Boston Globe in a 1992 interview, according to the Omni Hotels Web site. For instance, one elderly female guest was given a fright when a “heavy set older man with a black mustache,” similar in appearance to Parker, confronted her and then disappeared.

Some say Parker’s ghost is a sign of how meticulous he was about “every detail of his restaurant and hotel operations.” So concerned was Parker with the hotel’s perfection, that he still cannot “really bring himself to leave,” reports the Omni Web site.

Majestic Theater
Students at Emerson College remain loyal to the Majestic Theater, despite the building’s shroud of spirits. Emerson undergrads have reported chair movement and power outages at crucial and suspicious moments during performances and rehearsals. In fact, students still say, “excuse me” when passing empty chairs thought to be occupied by ghosts. The sound booth and third balcony are reputedly the most haunted, but beware of the backstage area and dressing rooms, as well.
Salem Spirits
If Boston isn’t scary enough for you, Salem will neatly fill the bill.. Known for its famous witch trials and spine-tingling tales brought to life by Nathaniel Hawthorne, this small town was practically made for Halloween.

Get acquainted with Salem witches by visiting historic sites, such as the Witch House, where accused witches were checked for “witches’ marks.” Salem’s museums are also a perfect place to get your haunted fix. Try the classic Salem Witch Museum, or the Witch Dungeon Museum, where you’ll witness a live reenactment of a 1692 witch trial and be guided through the depths of the dungeon.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, “The House of the Seven Gables,” lives on in Salem. Hawthorne used to visit his cousin Susan Ingersoll at the actual house, where he was inspired to pen the novel. The house has a haunted reputation, with tales of Ingersoll’s ghost appearing in hallways and windows, while “a ghostly boy” is said to haunt the attic. Strange sounds are common, as well.

Visit the house during October for performances and tours, where you may cross paths with the ghosts of Hawthorne’s characters. Squeeze through the secret passageway to feel the chill thrill.

Haunted Places In New Orleans

New Orleans is a haven for fun-loving revelers, but beneath the surface of this colorful coastal city lay ghosts and spirits—perhaps more than in any other city in the United States. We’ve narrowed down New Orleans’ plethora of scary places to six, including a hauntingly beautiful cemetery, an alleyway with a past and a bar beloved by Tennessee Williams.

St. Luis Cemetary

The oldest cemetery in New Orleans is also the most haunted. St. Luis #1 “is a grand European mixture of ornate marble tombs, crumbling memorials and narrow, winding footpaths,” according to Haunted America Tours. But that’s not all. Because of high water levels in New Orleans, which made underground burials difficult, St. Louis No. 1 (there’s also a No. 2) is home to many above-ground tombs and mausoleums. Stroll the “maze-like” grounds and you’re likely to hear sad cries from within the crypts, and see misty ghosts roaming about. Marie Laveau, known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, is the most feared ghost in the cemetery, often appearing to visitors as a black cat with red eyes.

One of New Orleans’ most disturbing haunted places is the Lalauries House, purchased by Dr. and Mme. Lalaurie in 1831. The couple was later accused of beating and mutilating slaves in the attic, according to Suite 101, and a mysterious locked room was another strange characteristic of the home. After the Lalauries fled, the home fell prey to a fire, and ghostly presences descended once it was restored. Some visitors saw a phantom Mme. Lalaurie bent over a baby’s crib, while others claimed they awoke to the woman choking them. In 1969, a retired doctor bought the home and converted it into apartments, quelling the spirits for the most part.

Pere Antoine's Alley
Pere Antoine was a Capuchin monk who arrived in New Orleans with the Spanish regime, and was steadfastly devoted to the city and his church, St. Louis Cathedral. When Antoine died in January 1829, “all New Orleans went into mourning,” according to Haunted New Orleans Tours. His funeral turned into a grand ceremony, and while many considered him a saint, others could not shake his former bigotry against Creoles. Today, visitors to the alley running alongside St. Louis Cathedral report seeing Pere Antoine’s ghost, “clad in Capuchin black and sandals,” usually during quiet, early morning hours.

Cafe Lafitte in Exile

Not only is Cafe Lafitte in Exile a popular gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter, it's also haunted by a literary great. The paranormal blog Spooked reports that the two-story watering hole was a favorite of Tennessee Williams. Today, visitors claim to have seen a ghostly Williams in his usual seat at “the far end of the bar.” Truman Capote also frequented Cafe Lafitte, and his spirit has been seen in the bar’s stairwell, looking for conversation.

Le Pavilion Hotel

Ghost enthusiast visitors to New Orleans might consider a stay at Le Pavilion, a quaint and classic French hotel. Spirits have long roamed the hallways, and the hotel even “hired a paranormal research team” to assess the spooky situation, according to Associated Content. Among the presences is a young girl whose name remains uncertain—either Eva, Ave or Ada—who was killed in a carriage hit-and-run in the mid 1800s. The hotel’s cleaning crew has also been stalked by the ghost of a dark-suited man, thought to be one half of an aristocratic couple detected by the paranormal investigators.

The Beauregard-Keyes House

Shiloh was a two-day Civil War battle in which rebel soldiers from New Orleans were led by General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. Thousands perished, and the general was distraught over having to withdraw. Ever since then, visitors to the Beauregard-Keyes House have seen apparitions of the bloody battlefield. Others have spotted the ghost of General Beauregard, fully dressed in Civil War garb, despondent and repeatedly whispering, “Shiloh.”