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Hollywood Ghosts

The deathstyles of the rich and famous are part of the folklore of Hollywood. Even the hillside around Hollywood's famous sign is said to be haunted. Peg Entwistle, a young starlet who leapt to her death from the top of the letter "H", is still reported walking around on the wooded hillside. The Beverly Hills area is home to a lot of rich people (and spoiled kids), and not a few ghosts still call it home too. In the late 1970's there were frequent reports of encounters with the ghosts of John, Lionel, and Ethyl Barrymore by visitors to their former mansion, high in the Hollywood hills. More recent are reports of the wandering specter of a man who was killed in a private cable car on the property. The Barrymore Estate is at 6 Beverly Grove, Beverly Hills, CA, 90212.

The ghost of Anne Baxter's husband, actor John Hodiak, haunts their charming hillside house. Agent Hal Gefsky, who lived in the house in the 1970's, says guests saw Hodiak's specter hovering outside a second floor window. Gefsky even received phone calls from the ghost, but all the actor could manage was a faint "hello". The house is now a private residence near west Beverly Hills at 8650 Pinetree Place, Los Angeles, CA, 90070. Several tenants of a house on Bowman Drive have reported unexplainable events occurring in the upstairs bedrooms. Beds are messed up, pillows cut open, and the impression of a body forms on unoccupied mattresses. The entity causing the disturbances has never been identified. The house is a private residence at 2320 Bowman Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90212.

The ghost of Rudolph Valentino lingers in his former mansion, known as Falcon Lair. Actor Harry Carey was one of several subsequent owners who encountered the silent star's specter. The ghost has appeared in his old bedroom and in the stables, where his beloved horse was kept. Passersby have reported his dark silhouette looking out over the Los Angeles skyline from his favorite window on the second floor of the mansion. Valentino's home is at 1436 Bella Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.

The ghost of actress Jean Harlow lingers in the master bedroom on the second floor of her former residence. Her husband, agent Paul Bern, beat her frequently and is said to have caused the kidney damage from which she later died. However, the actress loved him dearly and after hearing that he had killed himself with a gun, attempted her own suicide in the upstairs bedroom here. Jean Harlow's home is now a private residence in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. After Bern's death, she moved to 512 North Palm Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90211. She died there a few years later.

Actress Elke Sommers and her husband Joe Hyam witnessed supernatural phenomena in the dining room of their North Berverly Hills home from 1964 to 1968. The apparition of a middle-aged man wearing a white shirt and tie was seen by guests on five separate occasions. Investigators from the American Society for Psychical Research and UCLA monitored unexplainable physical events in the house and produced a psychological profile of the ghost. The Hyams moved out after being awakened one night by mysterious knocking on their bedroom door. They opened the door to find the hallway filled with smoke from a fire that had started in the downstairs dining room. The house was bought and resold seventeen times in the next few years, and over thirty people, including scientists and well known Hollywood personalities, have witnessed strange events here. This house is now a private residence at 2644 Benedict Canyon Drive in North Beverly Hills.

Pickfair was the home of silent-film great Mary Pickford, wife of actor Douglas Fairbanks. Her ghost, dressed in a ruffled white dress, was encountered in a den on the first floor by several subsequent owners, including comic Buddy Rogers. Pickfair is at 1143 Summit Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.

On June 16, 1959, actor George Reeves went into his upstairs bedroom and shot himself in the head. Television's Superman died instantly, but some say his spirit was indestructible. In the bedroom one evening, a couple saw him materialize fully outfitted in his Superman costume and then fade slowly away. They moved out of the house that same night. Superman's house is at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.

Actor Clifton Webb lived in Beverly Hills for twenty years, and held frequent seances in an attempt to contact his dead mother. Later residents insist the ghost of the former owner still haunts the premises. Webb, who died in October 1966, was very forthright and outspoken -- traits he is said to have carried to the grave. His ghost is not at all bashful about keeping people from smoking or sitting in his old armchair. If anyone, especially a woman, sits in the chair, it reportedly bounces and makes strange noises. Clifton Webb was a firm believer in life after death and many mediums have reportedly contacted him. His ghost has also been seen standing near his crypt. Clifton Webb's house is at 1005 Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.

Hollywood's famous hotels are said to be the home to some celebrity guests who never really checked out. John Belushi died of a drug overdose in Cabin 3 at the Chateau Marmont, and comedian Divine died from respiratory failure at the Regency Plaza. Janis Joplin died of a drug overdose at the Highland Gardens, and Diane Linkletter jumped from the sixth floor of the Shoreham Apartments, after she took LSD. Peter Finch had a fatal heart attack in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel. God told Mae West to come up and see Him, while she was living at the Ravenswood Apartments. Employees of the Hollywood Roosevelt report seeing the reflections of deceased guests in mirrors in the lobby there, including Marilyn Monroe; and on the roof of the Hollywood Knickerbocker, Harry Houdini's widow held annual seances to reach her husband's wandering spirit.

Hollywood's Memorial Park cemetery is also home to a few ghosts. The form of a Lady in Black has been observed in the Cathedral Mausoleum, kneeling in front of crypt number 1205. This was the final resting place of Rudolf Valentino, who died in 1926. The ghost of actor Clifton Webb, who died in 1966, has been reported several times in the foyer of the Abbey of the Palms Mausoleum. The sound of sobbing is sometimes heard near the grave of silent-film star Virginia Rappe. She allegedly died after being forced to perform sadistic sexual acts with comic Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. After three sensational trials, he was acquitted of raping and murdering the young actress. Dozens of Hollywood's most famous stars are buried at this cemetery, located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90028.

Although Harry Houdini's mansion burnt down over fifty years ago, people still report seeing his dark form standing on the scorched staircase that survived the fire. Ten years after his death, his wife announced that psychic Arthur Ford had received a secret, coded message by Houdini "from the other side", but pressures from a Christian group forced her to retract her statements. Houdini's home was located at 2398 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90028.

The specter of TV star Ozzie Nelson has been seen in his old house by family members. The once cheerful comedian is apparently not happy in the afterlife, for his ghost is always in a decidedly somber mood. The house is located at 1822 Camino Palmero Road, Hollywood, CA, 90028.

Another ghost loiters in the catwalks above Studio 5 on Paramount Studios massive movie lot. His footsteps echo through the empty studio, and many witnesses have beheld his ectoplasmic presence. Actress Robin Tapp refused to continue working in the studio because of the disturbances. Paramount is located at 5451 Marathon Avenue, Hollywood, CA, 90028. Phone: 213-956-5000.

"Welcome to Hell" reads the graffiti written on the pink concrete wall behind the tennis court at this crumbling 148-acre estate. Built by A&P heir Huntington Hartford and later leased by Errol Flynn, all that is left of the mansion are a few brick foundations. But neighbors say that the splendid old mansion reappears on some summer nights, amid the sounds of a lavish party and multicolored lights on the second floor. The Pines Estate is located at 2000 Fuller Avenue, Hollywood, CA, 90029.

Hollywood's most recent ghost sighting is an unidentified apparition that haunts tenants at an apartment building on Beachwood Drive. Residents have reported the phantom of a very old man walking up and down the main stairway of the building. The specter's halting, deliberate footsteps can be heard during the day or late night and seem to be centered around Apartment 4. The lost spirit has yet to be identified. The apartment building is located in the 1200 block of North Beachwood Drive, Hollywood, CA, 90025.                                                                                                                                                                

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