Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Haunted Places in Hollywood

Hollywood, haunted places. Here are some of the most haunted places around Hollywood.
Haunted Hollywood Places
Haunted Movie Theater
Haunted Los Angeles
The Comedy Store
The Silent Movie Theater
Grauman's Chinese Theater
Pantages Theater
Vogue Theater

The Comedy Store

The Haunted Comedy Store : The paranormal hauntings at this famous Sunset Strip comedy club are no joking matter. Formerly known as a hangout for gangsters Ciro's in the 1940s, reported regulars from the hereafter include murdered victims of mobsters in the basement as well as stand-up alumni who play pranks on the staff.

The Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, California is reportedly haunted by prankster ghosts that will reset a room prepared for the evening or stack a mountain of chairs within seconds if no one is in the room. It is also claimed a dark entity exists in the basement that comedians Blake Clark and Joey Gaynor claim to have witnessed manifest.

Ciro’s opened in 1940. Today, it is called the Comedy Store, world-famous laugh club; but late at night, the ghosts of Ciro’s rule the roost.

I was a cocktail waitress at “The Store” for one extraordinary year of my life during 1981 and 1982.  After the laughter died out and the last glass was washed, another kind of show began. At that hour, the club was in the hands of Blake Clark, a charming, funnyman who doubled as security.

One night on his way out the back door, he heard banging on the piano in the Belly Room, a small venue on the second floor.  Some of the waitresses had already reported odd occurrences in there — pranks, really.

One of the young women would open the room, light candles, arrange tables and leave. Five minutes later, she’d return to find the candles out, the lights off, the door locked. When she returned with the key, she’d find the door open and the room set up again. Clark rushed upstairs when he heard the piano, thinking someone was locked in.

As soon as he unlocked the door, the noise stopped. He flipped on the light. No one was in the room. He checked all corners, then locked up. As he turned to leave, he heard it again... someone deliberately banging the keys of the piano. Clark heard the piano on numerous other occasions. There was never anyone to be seen in the room...just a playful spirit with a tin ear having a laugh.

Another night, Blake made the final rounds in the large showroom which had been Ciro’s main room. He moved to lock up, but stopped in his tracks. A chair on one end of the stage began to slide across to the other side. He stood frozen, watching as the chair glided effortlessly three feet, ten feet, twenty. In a flash, he found his feet and got out of there. Still another night, he went to the rear of the empty stage to turn off a light. Seconds later, he turned around to find 40 chairs silently piled center stage, ten feet away.

Clark’s wife had her doubts when she first heard the stories, but she got all the proof she wanted one evening waiting in the car for him by the back door.  As Clark turned the corner and walked toward her, he saw her go pale, her mouth open. She pointed and he spun around. A ghostly form, a transparent male figure was peeking around the corner of the building at him, making sure the coast was clear.

Sightings weren’t limited to night. One afternoon, as Clark played a video game in an annex off the kitchen, he felt a man watching from several feet behind. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a guy in a brown leather bomber jacket. Clark reached a break in the game and turned to acknowledge the guy. “He disappeared right before my eyes,” Clark said. “I didn’t even wait for my bonus man, I just ran.”

Later that afternoon, the same “man” was seen in a third floor office, crouching in terror in a corner.

Psychics believe ghosts often recreate the moment of their deaths. If that’s true, then it would appear this man met his maker here. The mob had fingers in this club in the ’40s and ’50s. Gangster Mickey Cohen shook the place down every week. Chances are someone got bumped off.

There were so many occurrences at The Store, we called the parapsychology department at UCLA in the summer of 1982. One of them, Dr. Barry Taff, gained fame with the “Entity” case. The moment he entered the basement, Taff fell to the ground, struck with agonizing pain in his legs. His powerful psychic ability tapped into excruciating pain that someone sometime had suffered in that spot. He felt very strongly that this pain was no accident, that it was purposely inflicted.  The basement, to him, felt like the “heart” of the building, where the mob carried out evil deeds.

Clark agrees. Around 3 am one morning, he heard a guttural growling coming from the basement. He stood in horror as the padlocked gate across the entrance began to bulge out into the hallway under tremendous weight. The gate groaned, then suddenly snapped back in position. But standing in the hall was a hulking blacker-than-black amorphous figure, almost seven feet tall. “I got a tremendous feeling of malevolence from it,” Clark told me, vowing never to go to the basement again.

As the fates, and owner Mitzi Shore would have it (Mitzi is the mother of Pauley Shore)  Blake did have to go to the basement again. To be safe, he took 2 friends. The trio was no sooner downstairs than one of them saw a black shadow rising from a corner. “No! No, stay away!” he cried, holding up his hands. Blake didn’t see anything this time, but he didn’t have to.

He grabbed his friend’s hands; they were burning hot as if he’d held them against a stove. And yet, they could see their breath like it was freezing. As they clambered up the stairs, a piece of cardboard fell from out of nowhere and hit Blake on the hand. He picked it up.  It had his name written on it.

The Silent Movie Theater 

The Haunted Silent Movie Theater : John Hampton opened the Silent Movie Theatre in 1942, 15 years after motion-picture sound had been introduced in Hollywood.

He started the theater with his own personal collection of silent films and sought to collect and restore the silent classics during a time when most studios were destroying their leftover silent prints.

Hampton preserved thousands of films using toxic chemicals in his bathroom tub above the theater and in film labs around the Hollywood area. In the process of saving many of these classic titles from extinction, Hampton exposed himself to dangerous toxins that would eventually prove fatal. In the late 1970s, Hampton and his wife Dorothy announced that the proprietor had contracted cancer from many hours of chemical exposure. Hampton died in 1990.

The theater reopened in 1991 under a new proprietor, Lawrence Austin, but it wasn't long before tragedy struck the Silent Movie Theatre again.

In 1996, Austin became the target of a murder plot, which was conspired by his live-in companion and theater projectionist James Van Sickle, also a beneficiary of the theater corporation. Austin was shot and killed on Jan. 17, 1997, in the lobby by 19-year-old gun-for-hire Christian Rodriguez during a screening of a Larry Semon, comedy short. Rodriguez and Van Sickle were both convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Ghosts of the Haunted Silent Movie Theater : Now under the operation of a third proprietor, Charlie Lustman, the Silent Movie Theatre is known to be haunted by the spirits of its two former owners.

"The first proprietor (Hampton) regularly haunts the upstairs lounge, which used to be his and Dorothy's apartment for over 45 years," Lustman said.
The second proprietor, Austin, has also made the theater his post mortem stomping ground.

"He is regularly seen in the lobby by many confused employees after hours," Lustman said.

Lustman said the Silent Movie Theatre has a special connection to Halloween.

"I reopened the theatre on Halloween night in 1999, after John Hampton, the original owner, spoke out to me while I was riding by one day on my way to a falafel sandwich" he said.

Grauman's Chinese Theater

The Haunted Grauman's Chinese Theater : Among the many ghosts is the murdered actor Victor Killian who moves objects around inside the theater, still in search of the culprit who took his life at his apartment, which was once right down the road from Grauman's. Others have reported seeing the impressions of hands in the velvet drapes and witnessed them violently shake.

The theater has secret rooms behind a wall.  Grauman built them for private parties after a premiere or the Oscars where he and his famous friends could celebrate comfortably. He hid buzzers near lamps in the lobby to signal people inside to open the secret panel. Sadly, these rooms have long been sealed and all buzzers disconnected.

The Pantages Theater

The Haunted  Pantages Theater : In 1949, millionaire-aviator Howard Hughes turned studio owner when he took the reigns of RKO Studios, including its flagship theater.  Hughes loved the Pantages and set up plush offices on the second floor.  In the early ‘50s, he invited the Academy to hold two Oscar ceremonies there before he sold RKO and retired from public life.

Today, Hughes is seen time and again in the executive offices and his footsteps are heard throughout the building. Assistants in the outer office know he’s approaching when the room fills with the smell of cigarette smoke – which Hughes despised. Then, the young Hughes, tall, lanky, dressed in a plain suit, strides around a corner and walks through a wall that was the original doorway to his office. Karla Rubin, a former executive assistant, felt a presence primarily in the conference room, which had been Hughes’ office.  “There’s something about the temperature of the room — a coldness.

I would feel a wind go past me when there was no air on.” She also heard a lot of bumping and banging and the clicking of the brass handles on the desk drawers.  She’d run in only to find the room empty and very cold. After vandals broke in and damaged the upper balcony area, the ghostly activity increased. “It seemed like someone was really mad or upset.  Things were really banging around.”

A female presence also calls the theater home. Back in 1932, a female patron died in the mezzanine during a show. After some time passed, when the auditorium was dark and quiet, the voice of a woman could be heard singing…sometimes in the day, other times late at night after everyone had gone home. Employees at the Pantages developed a theory about the voice. The unfortunate young woman who died in the theater may have been an aspiring singer who’d come to see one of the musicals so popular in the early ’30s.

She watched her favorite star in this most glamorous of theaters, dreaming that she, too, might be seen on this stage. With these thoughts in her head, she succumbed to death; but she lives out her dream of performing at the Pantages. And she’s lost her stage fright. Her voice has been picked up on microphone on stage and carried over the monitor during a live performance.  Engineers actually picked up the voice of someone who was not visible on the stage.

Whoever the ghosts are at the Pantages, they love and protect this magnificent theater and the people who take care of her. Recently, a wardrobe lady was the last to leave the darkened theater. As she walked toward a side exit in the auditorium, the emergency lights along the aisles went out. Thrown into complete darkness, she stumbled, bumping into something. Completely disoriented, she couldn’t find her way out. In the darkness, someone took her elbow and helped her up, then, with a firm hand, guided her toward the door.  She opened it, letting in some light. The grateful woman turned to thank her rescuer, but no one was there.

The Vogue Theater  

The Haunted Vogue Theater : In the late 1800s, Hollywood Boulevard was known as Prospect Avenue. The Prospect Elementary School stood at the site where the Vogue Theater, which opened in 1936, now stands. In 1901, tragedy struck the four-room schoolhouse, and it burned to the ground killing 25 children and the teacher, Miss Elizabeth.

The movie theater remained in operation until the spring of 1992, when the Vogue closed its doors and was left empty until 1997. At that time, the International Society for Paranormal Research, headed by parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz, acquired the property and moved in to set up shop.

When ISPR moved into the Vogue Theatre, the team had no idea the property was haunted by nine resident entities, including six children and three adult ghosts, Montz said.

"When we took over the Vogue, we were intending to use it for offices and a place to do screenings," he said. "When it turned out to be active, it turned into a research center. Now, there have been literally thousands of accounts of people who had paranormal experiences there."

Montz said the Vogue was so active with paranormal occurrences that the ghosts developed relationships with members of the ISPR team.
The children, Montz said, all died in the 1901 fire at Prospect Elementary. One of the adult ghosts was Miss Elizabeth, the schoolteacher who also died in the fire.
Two other adult ghosts identified as Fritz and Danny also took up residence at the Vogue.

Fritz, a German immigrant, was the Vogue Theatre projectionist for 40 years, and he died of a heart attack in the projection room in the 1980s.

Danny was a maintenance engineer for Mann Theatres who also worked at the Vogue from time to time. He died of a drug overdose in the 80s.

For four years, the Vogue Theatre was the home of ISPR and its ghost expeditions, which allowed visitors to participate in a paranormal field investigation combining both scientific and clairvoyant methods.

Among the reports of paranormal activity occurring in the Vogue were accounts of full-form apparitions, poltergeist activities when objects move around the property, strange odors and visits from outside entities who did not regularly haunt the theater. "It was one of the most active sites I've ever worked on," Montz said.

Paranormalistics is the study of all things paranormal using investigative, scientific and spiritual techniques to better understand paranormal phenomena. Most situations have logical explanations, but there are others that defy reason and are paranormal.

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Contact us to schedule an investigation for your residence, property, business or if you want to report, study or need help with paranormal activity. This is a free service. All consultations are confidential.


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