Jun 222014
 

In his latest video, Scott Markus takes you inside…

The spooky elevator that inspired the Disney ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (while terrifying Connor Bright)!

The soundstage that once contained the Yellow Brick Road and the backlot where Beetlejuice, Batman, and Gone with the Wind were filmed!

And have you ever wondered if your own house is haunted, but been too afraid to find out? Scott Markus isn’t! Watch his latest video to see the results of the investigation he conducted in his own home!!

Also includes bonus footage of a talented ghost hunting cat!

Be sure to check out more LA Hauntings video on YouTube!

Don’t be shy, click subscribe to have your favorite tour guides take you one haunted adventures, no ticket needed!!

Jun 142014
 

Check out Connor in her first solo youtube video and lend one of our founders your support!

LA Hauntings tour guide takes us on a tour of one of her favorite haunted places in her home town of Washington DC – Lafayette Square! Learn some unique pieces of American history and the ghosts that still re-live them!!

Jun 092014
 

 photo images-1_zpsa5b8e183.jpgBarney’s Beanery has a special place in Hollywood and Rock ‘n Roll history. A loud restaurant with walls full of signs, memorabilia, lunch boxes, and car parts, Barney’s has earned its reputation as a place where celebrities can go to blend in or stand out. The well worn bar stools have been graced by Marilyn Monroe and peed upon by Jim Morrison.

In 1920 John “Barney” Anthony decided to open up a restaurant using the chili recipe he perfected as a navy cook during World War I. In 1927 Barney’s relocated to a new location alongside famous route 66 and the legend was born! The Beanery still stands and Anthony’s chili remains a menu staple!

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Janis Joplin

Barney’s Beanery has seen thousands of people walk through its doors, from the classy Rita Hayworth, to the Rebel Without A Cause star himself, James Dean. Rumor his it that Barney’s was the site of the last supper for Dean, the night before his tragic accident.

The outlandish writer/director, Quentin Tarantino, supposedly wrote Pulp Fiction while sitting at one of the booths. Perhaps the same booth that Janis Joplin ate her last meal, before heading back to the Landmark Motor Hotel where she was staying. The iconic voice was a regular at the Beanery before her heroin and booze addiction ended her life on October 4th, 1970.

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Jim Morrison

Around the same time as Joplin, another rock and roll Idol used Barney’s as his local watering hole.  Jim Morrison of The Doors would come in to drink after recording over at The Doors Workshop just a bit father down Santa Monica Blvd. That is, until one night in the mid-1960s when Morrison was inspired to stand on the bar and relieve himself.  The decadent singer was immediately escorted out and not welcomed back. However, now there is a plaque on the bar honoring the Beanery’s connection to Morrison, installed after Morrison’s sudden death in France in 1971.

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The plaque set into the bar at Barney’s

Barney’s Beanery, like many a well-loved bar before it, is not without it’s ghosts, be they passed on patrons or something else entirely. The staff is friendly and even open to sharing a few stories if it’s not too busy.

One of the Beanery’s local spooks is an entity known as “The Man in Black.” With a description to match his name, the spectre is often seen standing by the ladies restroom, which at one point in time was part of a gambling and billiards room. Some people associate this Man in Black with a 1973 murder that took place in the restaurant. On September 15th of that year 25 year-old Leonard Taylor shot and killed Robert Rush, the 34 year-old bartender, over a game of pool. This documented murder has led to the belief that The Man in Black is Rush’s spirit, still watching over games.

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From LAHauntings Instagram

Female employees at this restaurant will feel a touch on their back as if someone is trying to walk behind them, only to turn and realize the walkway is empty.  It is worth noting that among the famous patrons that once frequented this establishment is Erroll Flynn, who is as remembered for his acting work as he is for his large sexual appetite. The mischievous spirits at Barney’s Beanery are known to pull ponytails, and push open the swinging kitchen doors so that they rock wildly on their hinges. Occasionally the staff has heard a great “whooshing’ sound, almost like a strong wind, indoors, without even a breeze.

With almost 100 years of history under its belt, Barney’s Beanery has seen just about everything. It is no surprise that it is home to some paranormal entities as well. Even if you don’t believe the ghost stories, one thing is for certain, if you want to see a Hollywood staple and love a busy atmosphere, Barney’s is a MUST! The history isn’t just printed on the back of the menu, it’s hanging on the walls, and felt in every inch of the building.

Mar 152014
 

The wonderfully haunted Formosa Cafe has long been a favorite stop on our tour, but now we are starting and ending our tours at this location.  Parking is more convenient and cheaper for our guests than it was at our previous location.  Plus, if people are looking for a place to hang out after the tour – mission accomplished!

The address is 7156 Santa Monica Blvd.  (the map image below is also clickable)

Feb 252014
 
By Scott Markus

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The media has memorialized Harold Ramis a thousand times already today and he will get the same well-earned treatment for the next few days.  As someone who has never met Mr. Ramis personally, I have little of substance to contribute.  That said, he has long been an influence in my life.  For one, watching and re-watching Ghostbusters as a kid was like a religion for me.  I can’t say that I am a current paranormal investigator and writer BECAUSE of the film, but a mainstream, popular, timeless classic that treats ghosts and ghost stories in a fun, palatable way is truly a unique approach.  As a kid, “Ghostbusters” was my first favorite movie.  It doesn’t seem like too big a leap to think that Ramis had a little something to do with it.

To a larger degree, it was his writing that always captured my attention.  His comedies (namely “Stripes,” “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day”) are among my all-time favorites.  He “got” comedy and how to make an ensemble comedy work.  His continued connection to Chicago was also a point of pride for this Chicago kid – New York can keep Woody Allen – we have Harold Ramis.

To keep this post somewhat thematically linked to the rest of our web site – let’s take a quick look at the haunted locations that Ramis is forever linked to thanks to his films:

The Woodstock Opera house (Woodstock, IL):  This location is frequently seen in the Ramis written-and-directed film “Groundhog Day.”  In fact, during one of Bill Murray’s more depressed episodes, he commits suicide by jumping from this small town landmark.  Meanwhile, inside the theater is the ghost of a woman nicknamed “Elvira.”  There are more rumors than truths to her story, but her are some claims that she jumped to her death from the same tower.  To this day, people attending plays at this theater can hear Elvira’s disembodied sounds of approval dismissal depending on whether or not she is enjoying the performance.

The Biltmore (downtown Los Angeles):  LA served as NY for some of the most iconic moments in the Ramis written-and-starring “Ghostbusters.”  The scenes in the lobby where the ‘busters arrive to catch Slimer is the Biltmore.  The staircases double for Dana Barrett’s building where they have to make the long, climb to the roof to fight Gozer at the end of the film.  While they were there, the Ghostbusters may have had even more lucky if they checked out the first floor lounge.  It is here that bartenders whisper about seeing a phantom couple on a date.  When the servers go to take their order, the bashful ghosts vanish.  This is also the last place Elizabeth Short (The Black Dahlia) was seen alive.  Though we don’t have any ghost stories with this fact, we do urge ghost hunters to attempt to reach her and possibly find a clue in this still unsolved homicide.

The Hancock Tower (downtown Chicago):  Though Ramis never filmed here (Did he?  Someone tell me if I’m wrong), this landmark was the inspiration for the film “Ghostbusters.”  The land is considered cursed by it’s original, squatting “owner,” Cap Streeter.  Since Cap was run off the land, another notable oddball called this area home – this land was the birth site of Anton LaVey, known as the creator of the Church of Satan.  Later, the Hancock Tower was built here, coincidentally, in the shape of a portal for evil forces.  True or another baseless tradition of a bygone spiritualist movement, the site has been the scene of repeated tragedy, physically unexplainable deaths and unusual biological phenomena.

Feb 242014
 
by Connor Bright and Scott Markus

Part One: Click Here

Part Two: Click Here

Join us one last time for our final installment of this series, we will visit more LA locations that were important in the life (and death) of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and the ghost stories associated with these locations.

After a quick lunch break, the LA Hauntings crew jumped back in the truck and headed the short distance to Benjamin Siegel’s home. The Beverly Hills home was built as a swanky stronghold for the mobster to run his operation and host parties. Totally obscured by bushes, it is impossible to see much of the mansion for the street, just the way Siegel would have wanted it. The home is rumored to have a hidden armory, large liquor storage, and an escape tunnel from the master bedroom to the basement. When the police came to Siegel’s hideout to arrest him for the murder of Harry Greenberg, it was said that they found the mobster cowering in the attic. After Ben set his sights on Las Vegas and the Flamingo, he sold his fortress to help with the financing of the hotel casino, and moved in with his girlfriend, Virginia Hill.

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I’ll admit disappointment at not being able to get a view of Siegel’s home, but that disappointment dissipated upon seeing Virginia Hill’s beautiful Tuscan-esque castle of a home! It was at this location on June 20, 1947 that Benjamin Siegel met his end. The bulletproof doors that he had installed at the house did not protect him from the shots fired through the window while he sat talking to his associate Allen Smiley. Although, officially, the murder of Siegel remains unsolved, it’s commonly agreed that Lucky Luciano ordered the hit out of anger with Ben over his handling of the construction on the Flamingo (he refused again and again to hand over expense reports detailing the work). Luciano’s orders were likely carried out by one of Jack Dragna’s men from the driveway next door.

The three bullets fired into the house and into the mobster left a lasting impression on the house. The blood cleaned up, the house sold and resold, but later owners still report feeling panicked in the living room. They occasionally see an apparition of a man attempting to run for cover, perhaps Benjamin Siegel remembering how he met his end and trying to avoid it.

Bugsy Siegel LA Hauntings grave photo siegelbenjamingrave_zps5cffe8f4.jpgOur final stop on our “half-tank tour,” with our gas light blinking, was the same final stop that Siegel had – Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel lies in the far back corner on the right hand side of the Beth Olman mausoleum. The epitaph on his grave simply reads, “From the Family.” Siegel is said to have told one of the contractors building the Flamingo, who was worried about working with the mob, “Don’t worry.  We only kill our own.”

Standing by his crypt I wondered if Ben ever had any idea that his own (Mafia) family would kill him. (As one last parting fact the contractor that Siegel was talking to was Del, the head contractor of the now famous Del Webb developer).

Bugsy Siegel LA Hauntings virginia hill photo VirginiaHill_zps2fe32ebc.jpgBenjamin “Bugsy” Siegel lived and died larger than life.  In truth, he was a perfect match with Virginia Hill, who was certainly no babe in the woods.  Hill entered the mob life during 1933′s Chicago World’s Fair.  The Alabama native quickly became a friendly acquaintance of many higher up members of the (then) Costello crime family, even being romantically linked to boss Joe Adonis.  After Siegel’s death, Hill did comply and testify at the famous  Kefauver hearings.  In 1954 she would flee to Europe to escape income tax evasion charges, only to eventually take her own life with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1966 at the age of 49.  The small town girl, initially emerging from Alabama, certainly life a life few could imagine and even in death, she is shrouded in mystery.  Did she really extort millions from the NY Mafia?  Most think so, but we are far from certain.  And why did she take her own life?  Many speculate that she  continued to scam American and even Mexican crime rings from a distance.  We, personally, would love to track down the site of Virginia’s demise (in Austria) and perhaps this will become another instance where a paranormal investigation and EVP session just may help solve an American mystery.

Feb 202014
 

GHOULA and LA Hauntings Ghost Tours
Present…
The HAUNTED HOUDINI TOUR!
By Richard Carradine
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Come join us on the eve of his 140th birthday as we travel across our city and explore the super-natural sites connected to the famous magician’s life (and after-life)…

Harry Houdini is generally thought of as the greatest showman that ever practiced the craft. Additionally, because of his knowledge of the art of illusion and his work exposing the tricks of fraudulent mediums during the age of Spiritualism, he has become the poster boy for generations of skeptics and debunkers of paranormal phenomena. However, despite dozens of books and biographies, the man’s personal views on the occult are still an enigma, with experts debating to what degree did he actually BELIEVE. Ironically, to this day, Houdini is the only historical figure whose ghost people across the country routinely try to contact, usually on Halloween (the date of his death).

Although Houdini did not spend much of his life in Los Angeles, the time he did spend under our palm trees were moments that defined his life, career, and possibly his views on the spirit realm. Indeed, not only did he leave his mark on this town, it may have also left its mark on him… Even all these decades after his death, the great escape artist just can’t seem to get away from LA.

Seating for this tour is limited. (12 guests per tour. 3 tours. 1 Day)

DATE: March 23, 2014
TIME: 10:30am, 1:30pm, or 4:30pm (tours run 1 1/2 to 2 hours each)
PRICE: $35.00 (plus a handling fee)
MEET-UP LOCATIONThe Hollywood Heritage Museum (The Lasky-DeMille Barn)
2100 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (map)

NOTE: Your ticket also includes free entry into the museum, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. So please plan to spend an extra hour with their historical exhibits either before or after the tour.

Please use the links below to select the time and number of tickets for the tour!

10:30AM

1:30PM

4:30PM

Jan 312014
 

The Everything Ghost Hunting Book: Tips, tools, and techniques for exploring the supernatural world  

This book has been recommended to us may times as THE definitive recourse on paranormal, and we have also had people ask about The Everything Book on our tours. Recently it came up on Amazon as a suggestion and we decided to give it a try.
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“The Everything Ghost Hunting Book” is part of a series, and is similar to the “Idiot’s Guide” or “For Dummies” series. This installment is written by Melissa Martin Ellis, a member of the Rhode Island Paranormal Research Group and a skilled spirit photographer, some examples of her work are peppered throughout the book.

The guide is very useful for groups that already know basic paranormal phenomena. It excelled at teaching investigators how to cover their assets and protect form liability and keeping client interaction professional. The Everything Book includes good questions to ask potential clients and examples of liability wavers, with plenty of ideas for groups to keep in mind when creating their paperwork. Ellis did a great job stressing the importance of proper research and the need for a paper trail, to protect everyone.

When it came to explaining phenomena and theories, The Everything Book fell flat. The paranormal field is huge and everyone has their own theories and methods, the authors way of dealing with this was to advise newbie’s to join an existing group and do as they say. This may sound like a good idea, but it could also lead to confusion and dependency in a world that requires free thought. Consistently a large problem, such as spirit attachment, is brought up only for the reader to hear that the resolution lies in the expertise of a team member. This can be frustrating to people who are trying to expand their knowledge or build a team that can deal with these types of cases.

Sometimes Ellis attempts to explain a large concept with many solutions or answers, with a vague story of someone’s personal experience that will only touch on one extreme instance. Other times she will over explain every nuance of how to deal with something in the field, such as interviewing a client, which is usually left up to a team on a case-by-case basis. She even at times glosses over important phenomena, such as poltergeist phenomena.

Her chapter on protection includes a great description on how to perform a house cleansing, an often overlooked area that can provide a great sense of closure to a client in an uncomfortable situation. Also included is a chapter on the mundane side of investigation, which contains a great guide to safety from the non-paranormal.

Some chapters feel out of place, for example, there’s a description of an EVP session and The Ghost Box in the wrap-up section, instead of in the gear chapter. This was weird and disorienting to us multiple times. The reader must finish the entire book before rushing into the paranormal because information is hidden in every nook and cranny of the book. Ellis puts a great emphasis on organized note taking during investigations, even though her own book on the matter feels convoluted.

Who should read: Teams looking to streamline and organize their existing process, especially those interested in beginning private home investigations.

Who can skip it: Somebody new to the Paranormal that is looking to get a grasp on the basic process and different phenomena.

Click on the book cover to be taken to Amazon!

 

Jan 202014
 

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In the last week, Scott Markus and I finally made the trek to Forrest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. This Gorgeous and massive 300 acre cemetery is the final resting place of many of the movers and shakers in Los Angeles history. The hilly grounds offering an incredible views of the city they helped build.

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The cemetery was founded in 1906, and operated as a non-profit. The grounds hold three non-denominational chapels. Forrest Lawn was the first “Memorial Park” getting rid of the “unsightly” standing headstones (there are still a few). For a long time they refused black, Chinese, and Jewish internments, now all are welcome. Surprisingly, more than 60,000 people have been married on the cemetery grounds. Forrest Lawn is unique for many reasons, the cemetery holds an art museum, the largest mosaic depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and it the only place in the world with a complete set of reproduction Michelangelo statues, made from the same quarries as the originals.
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It is also a place that has an insane amount of respect for the privacy of their departed tenants.

It is this amount of privacy that makes enjoying the grounds, and paying respects, very difficult. Forrest Lawn does not allow pictures of graves, or anywhere in their many mausoleums’ out of “respect of the property owners”. Many of the crypts and graves are roped off and concealed from those who wish to visit them.

Scott and I both felt this was a little over-dramatic.

The Great mausoleum had more security cameras than an airport, and out of all of the “greatness” only about 10% is open to the public.

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Even crypts that were open-air were locked off. Walt Disney, a resting place I was sincerely looking forward to a moment of silence with, was gated off, his name completely obscured by small trees.

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The cemetery does provide maps of the grounds, which are sprawling and confusing. We defiantly recommend picking one up in the front building. That being said, out of respect of privacy, none of the graves are marked on the map. So you have to do your research ahead of time on who you want to visit, because unless you are very lucky, no one will tell you.

On the lawns, knowing which section a person is buried in is not sufficient. As I said, the grounds are massive; some individual areas are as big as football fields. If you have a crypt number things get a bit easier, but the numbering can be confusing. Scott spent 20 minutes looking for Tom Mix grave, with the proper number. Tom Mix is a silent era cowboy with a connection to one of Scott’s favorite Chicagoland haunts, the Great Escape.
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The confusing layouts and steep hills made me give up on seeing my hero. After seeing Scott’s luck with Mix, I gave up on hoping to find Oscar winning costume designer, Edith Head’s plot. As some of you know I also work as a costume designer and Edith is the designer I would like to aspire to be like. Unfortunately I will have to wait to see where she rests, since this time we only a lawn name and not a crypt number, we felt we had little chance of locating her.

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Directional clues are a must for finding an interment location! Finding, It’s a Wonderful Life star, Jimmy Stuart’s grave was easier once we found the clue that the “statue of the man with the arrow” located him with ease!
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Our experience in the Great mausoleum was a little better. Elizabeth Taylor does have a very impressive, very public, and very easy to find monument, a beautiful, tall, Etruscan style angel, right at the end of the hallway at the entrance to the great mausoleum.

The Different sections in the mausoleum are well labeled. However they are also roped off, so the closest you can get to the tragic couple of Clark Gable and Carroll Lombard is peering down the hallway and knowing that they are somewhere in the wall just out of your sight. Many others share the same fate.
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After only a few hours of this frustration, Scott and I left. As seasoned cemetery goers, we were both surprised by the off limit-ness and difficulty to navigate Forrest Lawn offered. We also found it hard to believe that people like Michael Jackson and Jean Harlow would want to be buried in a place that discouraged their admirers from seeing them. It felt to us that the original intention of a cemetery- to celebrate the lives of those interred there- was lost within the gates. Perhaps Forrest Lawn felt that in, death, they could provide the isolation and security, it’s patrons never had in life.
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We do still recommend a visit to this cemetery. Not for the graves, but for the beautiful views of the city and amazing art collection. Some pieces which belonged to William Randolph Hearst. The collection includes an actual Easter Island head, over 1,000 pieces of stained glass, and many American historical artifacts. As well as quite a few replicas of things found in museums all around the world. Check the schedule to see what the traveling exhibit is!

 

 

 

http://forestlawn.com/

Jan 202014
 

On our tours over this weekend our haunted road trip videos came up a few times! This one is a favorite! Turn one of the most boring drives, into an exciting one! Here are some haunted stops on the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas!