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Haunted in Los Angeles County

Miguel Leonis Adobe, Calabasas, built 1844, 1960 photo. Courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress.

Editor's Note: the Almanac includes the following as folklore - not history. Although some elements of the story may indeed be historical fact, we offer these stories as a part of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles County.

Most "haunted" houses in Los Angeles County are privately owned or inaccessible to the public.

Hollywood Park Memorial

Strange lights and sounds have been reported in the vicinity of the Abbey of the Psalms, a mausoleum in Hollywood Park Memorial Cemetery. The mausoleum is said to be haunted by a glowing specter thought to be the late actor Clifton Webb of the original Mr. Belvedere series. Webb died in 1966. He is also said to haunt his old house in the Hollywood Hills.

The Queen Mary

Lights flicker and doors slam on "G" deck - thought to be the location of the ship’s morgue. A ghost of a middle-aged woman in an old-style swimsuit dives into the empty ship’s swimming pool. A young woman in a mini-skirt paces around the pool area and disappears behind a pillar. Unknown sounds of shouting and splashing have been heard from the deserted poolside deck. A mysterious elegantly dressed woman in white has been seen around the salon’s piano. A ghostly ship’s officer has been seen walking near the ship’s bridge. Lights mysteriously turn on and off, dishes move and utensils vanish from a ship’s gallery where a cook was killed in a brawl when the ship ferried troops during World War II. A mysterious black-bearded man in coveralls has been seen riding the engine room escalator. The engine room seems to be the most haunted location on the ship. Ship’s staff and tour guides have reported strange sounds, chains dangling in mid-air and balls of light moving slowly across the walls. No "ghost" on the Queen Mary has yet been identified.

Tom Hennessy, a Long Beach Press-Telegram writer, and ghost story skeptic, spent a night near the Queen Mary’s engine room to see for himself. He reported strange movements of objects, some sort of presence, noises and voices.

337 South Main Street, Los Angeles

Now a skid row parking lot, the site was once the most famous theater in Los Angeles-the Belasco. It declined through the 1960s when it became a stripper theater. About 1965, there were reported sightings of a red-haired young woman clad in white negligee who wandered the back stage of the theater. Since the demolition of the theater, the ghostly person has not been seen.

Calabasas - The Leonis Adobe

Miguel and Espiritu Leonis originally inhabited the restored adobe. Miguel was a Basque immigrant who aggressively ranched much of the western part of the San Fernando Valley. He acquired a bad reputation for his harsh treatment of any perceived intruder or squatter on his land (much of which was legally in the public domain), hauling them to court and jail or allegedly just shooting them on the spot. He became one of the most hated men in the county. He died in a wagon accident in 1889, but it was rumored that he had been murdered. His Indian wife, Espiritu, was left with almost nothing in Miguel’s will, forcing her to fight Miguel’s relatives in court over possession of the adobe and lands. After her death in 1906, her son from a previous marriage acquired the property and sold it in 1922. Shortly thereafter, reports of strange noises and untraceable odors began to occur.

Source of above accounts: Mysterious California by Mike Marinacci; Panpipes Press

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, built in 1927, has been the scene of many ghostly experiences, especially around the time the hotel was refurbished and reopened in 1985 (some suggest the spirits were disturbed). Among the haunted locations in the hotel is room 928 where Montgomery Clift lived for three months while filming From Here to Eternity. There is also a mirror located in the lower level elevator landing where Marilyn Monroe’s sad-faced reflection has allegedly been seen. There were also reports of a cold spot in the Blossom Room that could not be traced to a draft or air conditioner. The reports of unusual events in 1985 became so numerous (such as phone calls from an unfinished room that had not yet had a phone installed), that the Security Manager began to keep a log.

Source: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel