Featuring an unparalleled celebrity apparition line-up against the backdrop of elegant haunted locales, Hollywood’s ghost stories keep fans in rapture. Gather around our virtual fireside for many a grisly tale — here are the top ten spooky haunts of Hollywood.
Many LA tourists get inexplicably giddy about taking a picture or selfie with the infamous Hollywood sign. Few know about its deadly past. The set of towering white letters was the scene of suicide in 1932. On an inauspicious September eve, silent film actor Peg Entwistle jumped off the H of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign of yore. Several failed acting roles and misfortune coupled with acute depression led to her untimely demise. Since Entwistle’s death, hikers and joggers have reported feeling the ghost of Peg, along with the overwhelming smell of gardenias — said to be her favorite perfume scent.
The Comedy Store
Mystery and terror strike at the fun house, too. A tourist favorite, The Comedy Store is said to be home to five ghosts. Apparition activity has startled club workers and stand-up performers over the years. Tragically, the entrance of the venue has been the scene of several gruesome discoveries. In 1979, the body of comedian Steve Lubetkin was found steps away from the entry way, after he plummeted from a window of the hotel next door. More recently, the entrance was tagged with crime tape after an early October 2015 fatal shooting. Before the Comedy Store opened, the site was home to Ciro’s Restaurant until 1957, run by notorious gangster Mickey Cohen. Legend says that Cohen beat and buried his enemies in the basement and that it doubled as a ‘hush hush’ abortion clinic for local show girls and prostitutes. For several decades there have been reports of odd noises from below — the haunting of Cohen’s victims and the unborn.
Hollywood Wax Museum
A major Hollywood Blvd. stop, the Hollywood Wax Museum is an obvious place at which to visit Hollywood celebrities of the past. Inside, visitors will supposedly find more than just wax figures — there are ghosts, too. Ghosts of past Hollywood glory are said to appear in photos taken inside at night, endlessly grasping at their 15 minutes of fame. Other strange phenomena have been reported here, including sudden temperature fluctuations in the building without the air conditioning switched on.
Knickerbocker Hotel (now the Knickerbocker Senior Apartments)
Devotees may feel the spirits of several major celebrities at the former Knickerbocker Hotel – like Marilyn Monroe, who honeymooned here. In its heyday, the hotel was a happy hot spot. Unfortunately, the once-celebratory, feel-good nature of the place is now overshadowed by the grim despair of some of its former occupants. A lonely and withdrawn D.W. Griffith, famed filmmaker, drowned his sorrows at the hotel bar and died underneath a fancy chandelier in a main hall. Actress Frances Farmer was arrested here and battled several manic depressive episodes during her stay. A number of séances have occurred on the hotel’s rooftop, attempts to spiritually connect with magician extraordinaire, Harry Houdini. Many of those in attendance ended up feeling closer to him.
Two ghosts are said to be thriving in the Roosevelt Hotel‘s stately Blossom Room, where the Academy Awards first took place. Hotel staff and guests have sworn seeing full reflections of Marilyn Monroe in mirrors and felt her presence strongly from Room 1200. Disturbing noises also have been reported from Room 928, where another Hollywood heartthrob, Montgomery Clift, stayed. Supposedly, the film and stage star has been heard playing the trumpet and seen pacing the 9th floor while going over lines for From Here to Eternity. After its 1984 renovation, numerous ghosts sightings and activities were reported, from guests being mysteriously out of their rooms to a ghost of a young girl named Caroline playing by the lobby fountain.
Vogue Theater (now the Supperclub LA)
Opening in 1936, Vogue Theater was a signature movie palace showcasing Hollywood’s most beloved talent on film. Previously on site grounds stood Prospect Elementary School, until one fateful day in 1901, when the school was engulfed by a fire, killing 25 children and a teacher. Supposedly, nine victims of the fire, including teacher Miss Elizabeth, carried on as spirits in the theater. After Vogue closed permanently in 2001, the International Society of Paranormal Research converted the theater to an office building. Coincidentally (or not), ISPR members reported numerous paranormal activity at its facilities and supposedly developed relationships with the ghosts, or ‘entities.’ As of 2010, this haunted space has been home to nightlife hot spot Supperclub LA.
Mann’s Chinese Theater (renamed TCL Chinese Theater)
This is the tale of two starkly different ghosts named Annabell and Victor. Within tourist magnet TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman’s Theater, opened in 1927), Annabell supposedly lurks around and pulls on the red show curtains. The young girl has spooked theater staff members for decades. In 1982, promising young actor Victor Kilian was brutally killed a block away from the theater. Since then, Victor’s presence has been felt within the immediate exterior area of theater and across Hollywood Blvd. His ghost is said to continuously walk the route, in hopes to retrace his murderer’s footsteps, seeking redemption or revenge.
The Warner Pacific Theater
Opened by the Warner siblings Albert, Harry, Jack, and Sam, the Warner Pacific Theater Building was an arduous project to complete. Sam lost much sleep while dedicating long hours to perfecting the sound system in the building in preparation of their passion project, the presentation of the first-ever talking film. Unfortunately, Sam passed away from a brain hemorrhage just a day before the New York premiere of the brothers’ groundbreaking talkie, The Jazz Singer. About six months after the premiere, a dedication ceremony was held in the theater in honor of Sam. Ever since this event, sightings of his ghost have been reported stomping in rooms, pacing up and down the stairs and around the lobby, looking frustrated.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a huge Halloween and Dia de los Muertos draw for scary film screenings on the lawn. Moreover, this site houses a bevy of celebrity grave stones, tombs, crypts and ghoulish tales to boot. Celebrities remembered forever include classic stars Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B DeMille, Jayne Mansfield and Mel Blanc. Modern music fans who adore punk rock visit here in droves to see the memorials of Dee Dee and Johnny of the Ramones. It is rumored that three entities haunt the grounds, which is right off the back lot of Paramount Studios. Security guards have reported seeing Valentino strolling at night to enter the studios.
The Pantages Theater is alleged to be full of apparition activity. The grand Hollywood locale is home to the ghost of a young woman who died in the mezzanine in 1932, said to be a Hollywood hopeful seeking to make a big break in show business. Theater staff have claimed to hear a female voice singing from the mezzanine from time to time. Purchased by Howard Hughes in 1949, the impressive art deco movie palace is also haunted by his ghost, pacing through offices, particularly on the second floor. Well after Hughes’s death, it has been reported that his presence was felt in a gust of wind; in other incidents, workers have seen him walking around backstage.