7 Places to See Famous (and Infamous) Ghosts in Los Angeles
There’s nothing unusual about a celebrity sighting in L.A.…unless, of course, it’s from beyond the grave. According to local lore, Belushi is still earning new fans, Monroe is checking her makeup and a wronged 19th-century teenage girl is riding a white horse through the hills. Yup, sounds like a normal day in the City of Angels (and other supernatural beings).
Bungalow 3, Chateau Marmont
This fabled Hollywood hot spot was the scene of the tragic death of comedic actor John Belushi, who overdosed in Bungalow 3 in 1982. Cut to 1999, when a family staying in the bungalow heard their two-year-old giggling alone. When asked why he was laughing, he replied “the funny man.” Harmless make-believe, right? Maybe not—later when his mom was leafing through a book with pictures of the Chateau’s famous guests, the little boy pointed to a picture of Belushi and identified him as “the funny man!”
Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena
This lovely streetlight-dotted bridge over a dry riverbed has a dark side: It’s been the scene of many suicides since its construction in 1912. Today, drivers report seeing figures clinging to the rail only to disappear when help arrives, or a woman walking through traffic, causing cars to weave around her—that is, until she vanishes.
BULLOCKS WILSHIRE DEPARTMENT STORE
This former luxury department store (and Art Deco landmark, its tower sheathed in perfectly tarnished copper) attracted all the stars in its 1930s and ’40s heyday, long before its current use by Southwestern Law School. Hope those aspiring jurists have rock-solid study habits, since there are reported cries of a little girl who died after being pushed down the elevator shaft in the 1930s. Along with flickering lights, window shades that close on their own and footsteps down empty hallways, natch.
This hotel has been a party spot for Hollywood hopefuls since it opened in 1927 (it’s the oldest continuously operating hotel in Los Angeles). Marilyn Monroe lived at the hotel for two years early in her career, and a mirror that once hung in her room—now hanging in the lower level elevator landing—reportedly still sometimes shows her reflection. Meanwhile, neighbors of Room 928 are known to complain about the guest practicing the bugle; perhaps it’s the traces of tragic film star Montgomery Clift, who inhabited the room for three months in 1952 while filming From Here to Eternity…in which he played a bugle-playing soldier.
The Comedy Store
This building originally hosted the infamous mob hangout Ciro’s, and the basement was the scene of mob violence and other illegal dealings affiliated with the brothel next door. No wonder that since the club opened in the 1970s staff resists going to the basement due to the sound of disembodied screams, moans and animals snarling, and report seeing a crouching man in an upstairs office. Best public ghost sighting: When comic Sam Kinison, a preacher-turned-comic shouted from the stage for the ghost to show itself—only for the lights in the club to immediately go out, plunging the audience into darkness (and all the creepy feels).
Real estate can really become a flash point in family relations—just ask the ghost of Dona Petronilla, a young woman often spotted riding in a white dress on a white horse through the park, or at midnight in the windows of Crystal Springs Ranger headquarters. In 1863, the ghost of a 17-year-old Petronilla learned that her wealthy uncle Don Antonio Feliz had not bequeathed land to her—and cursed its future owners. Take that, tranquil hikers.
Musso & Frank’s
Here’s another reason to go to this landmark Hollywood eatery, besides its perfect martinis and film-noir vibe. Excuse yourself from your table, and walk with your eyes cast downward to the ladies room. If you’re lucky, you might see a good-looking man wearing tan trousers, a white shirt and a simple tie standing near the door. You’ll smile, he’ll smile back…then disappear into thin air. Congratulations, you’ve just encountered silent-film star and legendary lover Rudolph Valentino. (Back in the day, he used to ride a horse to Musso & Frank’s for lunch.)