Friday, July 23, 2010

Haunted Hollywood


Stage 28 is said to be haunted by the ghost of none other than the original Phantom of the Opera, Lon Chaney. A man wearing a black cape has been seen many times, by workers on the stage and by visitors. He has been seen on the catwalks, and security guards have experienced the frightening phenomena of lights turning off and on, and doors opening and closing, late at night. Chaney died of throat cancer in 1930, just five years after creating his legendary Phantom on the silver screen. He has also been seen at a bus stop where, in his less-affluent days, he used to wait for the bus.


On November 15, 1927, director/producer Thomas H. Ince died suddenly and mysteriously after attending a birthday party (his own!) on board the Oneida, a private yacht owned by newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. What happened on the yacht may never be know; Ince's death was formally listed as natural causes, but  rumors soon started - and never subsided - that Ince, then still alive, had been carried off the yacht with a bullet wound in his head. The rumor mill cranked up, with stories swirling that Hearst, maniacally jealous of his much-younger mistress and sometime actress, Marion Davies, had deliberately invited Charlie Chaplin on the cruise in order to watch the two of them together. Catching them in a compromising position, Hearst attempted to shoot Chaplin, but missed and fatally wounded Ince. The producer's body was cremated, effectively preventing any further investigations as to the true cause of death. Ince's funeral took place on November 21. Hearst was not among those present.

In 1918, Ince had built film production studios that still stand (Culver Studios).  Perhaps because of his untimely death, the lot is still a very busy place when the living have gone home for the day. It's not only Ince's ghost who haunts the premises. A woman has been seen on the third floor on occasion, leaving coldness after her. Employees have seen other strange figures around the lot at night.

Thomas Ince has been seen in the administration building, walking upstairs to what, in his time, was his private screening room. In 1988, when renovations were performed, Ince made his disapproval known.

During the renovations, two men were working  in Stage 1-2-3 when they looked up at the catwalks to see a man wearing a strange hat watching them. He frowned at them, then walked through the wall, when the men spoke to him. Later, other workers saw a similar (or the same) figure on Stage 2-3-4. The ghost  informed them, “I don’t like what you’re doing to my studio”. He made the same exit as before.


Paramount is located next door to Hollywood Memorial Park, where many of its former stars are buried. Stages 29 - 32 are the closest to the cemetery; ghosts clad in the fashions of the '30s and '40s are seen there.  The most active are Stages 31 and 32, where footsteps are heard and equipment turns off and on with no visible cause.  
  Certain entrances to the lot are walk-in. One such is Lemon Grove, very close to Hollywood Memorial Park. The ghosts from the cemetery use this gate to gain access to the lot. Some of the ghosts are only heads thrust through the wall separating the studio from the cemetery. Some stroll right through the gate, such as the ghost of the legendary Rudolph Valentino. 

Guards don't care to work night shift at the Lemon Grove gate. Uninvited, unannounced visitors have formed a habit of entering after dark, leaving the guards confused. One guard refused to work night shift at the gate after following a strange man to a corner of the wall between the studio and the cemetery. The man promptly vanished through the wall. 

The Hart building, one of the oldest on the studio lot, is also said to be the most haunted. Windows and doors open and close; people feel the sensation of being tapped on the shoulder; lights turn on and off. A truly frightening occurrence is that experienced by an executive of a company based in the building. When washing his hands in the bathroom one day, he glanced at his reflection in the mirror and saw that his eyes were glowing red. He promptly ran to his office and asked his secretary to look at his eyes. She sat him in a chair, looked at his eyes, then screamed in horror and ran for the door. When the executive attempted to follow her, he felt hands on his shoulders, forcing him to remain in the chair.

He escaped, finally, and the company moved out of the building the same day.

No comments:

Post a Comment