Graumann’s Chinese Theater has been a landmark on Hollywood Blvd. since 1927. Since then it has played a part in many motion picture premieres. In 1973 it became Mann’s Chinese Theater until Ted Mann divorced the wife, Rhonda Fleming. A year later he went bankrupt. It reverted to it’s original name until TCL, a Chinese electronics company purchased the naming rights 2013, renaming it the TCL Chinese Theater.
West Side Story, Mary Poppins and even Star Wars all premiered at the Chinese Theater over the years. Today it is still a hot property that Motion Picture Studios still try to book the theater for new movie premieres.
One of the most famous features of the theater is the celebrity handprints immortalized in cement. There are a number of stories about how they came to be, but the most widely retold, involves an actress, Norma Talmadge, accidentally stepped in wet cement.
Here you can see the handprints of John Wayne along with his fist. Whoopi Goldberg pushed a dreadlock into her cement and Mel Brooks wore a sixth finger on his right hand. Not all of the handprints are on display at any one time. With several hundred prints having been done, there are always some being repaired and just in storage.
Like many historic landmarks, The Chinese Theater is also haunted. In 1982, actor, Victor Killian was bludgeoned to death in his nearby apartment in 1982. He is purported to search the streets looking for his murderer. Employees have also reported strange noises and movement behind the theaters heavy curtain.
You can’t pay a visit to California without catching a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. For the more adventurous among you, you can hike close to it via several trails. Be aware it could be a three hour undertaking. There are a number of stories about the sign and how it came to be. The publisher of the LA Times had the sign erected to advertise his upscale subdivision.
In 1923, the Hollywoodland Sign was erected on Mount Lee overlooking Lake Hollywood. Each letter is 30 feet wide and 43 feet tall. It was originally meant to last about a year and a half to advertise the new subdivision. It has been in place for over 80 years.
In the spirit of Halloween, the sign is said to be haunted by the ghost of an aspiring young actress. Peg Entwistle. On Sept. 18th 1932, a hiker found a woman’s shoe, jacket and purse under the sign. When she opened the purse, she discovered a suicide note signed P.E. Having climbed up a workman’s ladder, she threw her self off of the letter “H”.
Numerous hikers have reported seeing the figure of a beautiful blonde woman in 1930’s clothing. She is often seen on very foggy nights. Some say, they were overwhelmed by the aroma of Gardenias in the air. They were Peg’s favorite perfume.
Check out this website for more information about the Hollywood and how you can visit it.
One thing London does not have a shortage of is haunted places. On my sprint through the city, I mapped out a few spooky locations. Due to the pandemic and the hour of my journey, I wasn’t able to venture into any of them, but they still have that sense of something other worldy lurking in the shadows.
In St. Martin’s Lane, it was originally called The New Theater in 1903. The Noel Coward Theater has the distinction of being the home of it’s original manager, Sir Charles Wyndham. Sir Charles managed both the New Theater and the Wyndham Theater, which sits behind it.
If you see a debonair gray haired man walking the hallways or entering the dressing rooms, say hello to Sir Charles.
Towards the end of WWI, a group of friends were enjoying a performance at The London Coliseum. They noticed a friend of theirs walking down the aisle. Strangely, he disappeared into thin air. On his last day before being deployed, this young soldier had seen a production at The Coliseum. Later, the friends were notified that he had been killed in battle. There were sightings of the young soldier for many years after.
For more stories about Haunted London check out this book by my good friend, Rob Gutro.
Francisco Marrero, a cigar maker from Cuba, built a beautiful home at 410 Fleming Street, Key West. He hoped that it would to lure his love, the beautiful Enriquetta to join him on the island. They lived happily married for many years having 8 children together. Unfortunately, Francisco had already been married in his home country. After his death, his first wife found out about the second marriage and the mansion in Key West. Six months later, she arrived on the island with her lawyers and Enriquetta was evicted from the mansion with her children. Standing on the street as she was thrown out she cried “Esta es mi casa para siempre y nunca me voy a ir” “I will always remain in spirit.” The first wife, Maria Ignacia Garcia de Marrero sold off the house and all its contents and returned to her home in Cuba. Within a few years of being tossed out on the street, Enriquetta and all 8 children died of Tuberculosis or diphtheria.
I stayed at the Guest House with a small group of friends, we had asked specifically for haunted rooms. I was in Room 18, Enriquetta’s old room and my friends were in the front room that had been the children’s nursery. A doorway between the two rooms had been plastered over and a large Armoire stood on my side of the wall. When I first entered the room, I noticed a strong smell of a very flowery perfume. The basket of potpourri on the dresser was old and had no scent left. I took this as a sign that I was welcome in her home.
My friends decided to hit the pool upon checking in and went to my room for a nap. It’s a long drive from Orlando to the Keys. The bed was comfortable and I fell asleep with no problem. When I awoke a short time later, the armoire at the end of the bed was standing wide open. It had been locked shut when I entered the room. Upon further inspection, I was locked in my room. The privacy lock wouldn’t open and the host was unable to unlock it from the outside. He ended up crawling across the small roof form the next room and climbing through the window. After forcing the door open I was able to join my friends downstairs on the porch.
We met the housekeeper who informed us that we had just missed a television crew. They had been filming a haunted travel documentary and Enriquetta was not happy about it. She told us that when Enriquetta is upset, she likes to walk through her. This feels like a freezing cold spasm through her body that only lasts a moment. The housekeeper had a special relationship with Enriquetta and was very careful to try and keep her happy at all costs.
On my last night in the room, after hearing the sound of empty bottles being dumped from a nearby bar, I drowsily looked up to see a figure standing in the window. I can only imagine that it was Enriquetta. The clattering bottles pouring into the dumpster had disturbed her and from the scowl on her face, she was pissed. I was still too sleepy to comprehend what I was seeing, but it didn’t strike me as odd at the time, that the woman in the room was only visible from the waist up. Even more so, when she dissolved into the early morning, I simply rolled over and went back to sleep.
Enriquetta’s spirit can be gentle and playful. Sometimes, playing pranks on her guests or softly brushing up against them. The sound of her children crying was also reported during our stay. I can safely say that, Marrero’s is HAUNTED. Check out these links for reservations and more of Enriquetta’s story.
Key West, the Southernmost city in the United States. Known for it’s nightlife, Ernest Hemingway and roaming chickens, Key West has something for everyone.
The Artist House is a Bed and Breakfast on Eaton Street right off of popular Duval St. This was the home of local artist, Robert Eugene Otto, called Gene. When Gene was a little boy one of the family’s servants gave him a rag doll. Gene and the doll, called Robert, were inseparable, and everywhere they went strange things happened.
When ever Gene got into trouble he would say “Robert did it”. His parents weren’t concerned until one day, they heard there son screaming in his locked room. There was a loud commotion coming from behind the door, the sounds of furniture being upended and thrown about. When they got the door unlocked, the room was a complete mess and Gene was cowering in a corner. This was not an isolated incident and at times, people heard Gene talking to Robert … and Robert would answer!
In later years, Gene’s wife relocated Robert to the attic, but passerby’s would often see Robert peering out of different windows in the house. Today, Robert now lives comfortably at The Martello Museum. If you visit Robert, be aware that many times when guests try to take his picture, the photos come out overexposed. Inside his glass enclosure, Robert changes positions.
You can visit and even stay at the Artist’s House today. Check out their website below.
Near The Tower of London, All Hallow’s Church shared in the bloody history of it’s neighbors. Legend states that the beheaded victims of Tower executions were sent there for temporary burial. Among it’s happier memories are the baptism of William Penn and the marriage of John Quincy Adams. Being so close to The Tower of London, one may expect All Hallow’s to have it’s share of headless spirits. This is a different kind of ghost story.
In 1920, the choir noticed a grey haired old lady in old fashioned dress watching them as they practiced Christmas Carols. The choirmaster was surprised to see the woman as he had locked the church’s door. Once they choir rehearsal had ended, the mysterious woman had vanished. The boys heard a strange sound “as if a cat was in the building and was trying to get out.” One of the boys shouted to the choirmaster, ‘There it is sir! I saw a cat rush out of the room and go down towards the south aisle!’ The group searched the aisles for the cat and found nothing, even noting that the front doors were still locked. Several years later, an old man approached the choirmaster. He explained that he thought he knew who the mysterious woman was. As a choirboy at that very church almost 60 years prior, there was an eccentric lady organist with a strong passion for cats. He told him that cats would follow the woman everywhere and she would pay him to help feed the cats.
The Atheneum Club, The Traveler’s Club and The Reform Club are located off of Pall Mall. On our last night in London, we took part in a ghost tour. As we stood in front of these old men only clubs once frequented by the likes of Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, we listened to the story of a phantom dog that caused car accidents. It has been reported that several accidents were caused when a dog ran out in front of one of the drivers. No sooner than the end of this tale, two cars next to us got into a fender bender. The first driver said she saw something jump in front of her car.
Tucked away in this square lies the grave of a German Shepherd named Giro. Giro was the companion of the German Ambassador who resided in the area. It is considered the only Nazi memorial in the UK and in recent years there has been discussion of removing it. Could Giro be running around the Mall after dark just trying to be a real dog?
Louisville may be one of the most haunted cities in the South. The spirits of an overcrowded graveyard, A theater patron from long ago and winged monster all hang around the city.
The Louisville Palace Theater first opened in 1928. The spirit of a young woman, known as The Gray Lady is often seen walking down the auditorium aisle looking for a seat. The sounds of children playing can be heard near the upstairs bar and the ghost of a projectionist named Bernard often walks in front of the spotlight. The story goes that he had a heart attack and fell down the projection booth stairs.
In Old Louisville, you can find “The Pink Palace”. A spirit named Avery haunts 1473 St. James Court. Local author, David Domine, has written several books on Haunted Louisville that we highly recommend. If you happen to run into him at the Louisville Welcome Center be sure to ask him about the time that saved a woman’s life by scaring her out of the bathtub. You can also visit these haunts and others on one of his Ghost Walks.
The Church of Christ The Scientist on S. Third St. is where you might see the “Lady on the Stairs”. After deciding to elope with her boyfriend, a soldier stationed at Fort Taylor, she waited and waited for him on the steps. He never showed up, as she waited for several nights, she grew despondent. The year was 1918 and her soldier boy was one of many inflicted with the Spanish Flu. He died several days later, she also became infected and passed away. Some say she still paces the stairs every night waiting for her intended.
Venture past the parish graveyard for the Fourth Street Methodist Episcopal Church and you may catch a glimpse of shadowy figures in the chapel or the apparition of a woman that tends to the graves of infants. In 1858, the company that owned the cemetery began to resell burial plots by removing headstones and labelling the plots as “old graves” on their records. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that rumors began to spread that coffins were buried so poorly buried that they stuck out of the ground. The graveyard owners were taken to prison and experts began to investigate the burials. They estimate that 7 or more bodies were interred in each burial plot.
Walnut Street Baptist Church is home to a different type of haunting. In the late 1800’s, Two men saw a man flying above them in a strange contraption. The Courier-Journal reported “He worked his feet as though he was running a treadle, and his arms seemed to be swinging to and fro above his head, though the latter movement sometimes appeared to be executed with wings or fans”. By the early 1900s, the neighbors began spotting something lurking atop the building. Witnesses described the creature as human with bat like wings. This gargoyle was dubbed the Demon Leaper.
For more information on David Domine and his Haunted Ghost Tours check out…
Halloween is the perfect time of the year to experience a ghost tour. The city of London has a vast array of these tours, you can choose The Theater District, Jack The Ripper or any of a number of cool locations.
The Cathedral of St. Paul may be known the spot where Mary Poppins and the children meet the bird woman. But by night, the location takes on an eerie appearance.
The Whistler is St. Paul’s most well-known haunting. Many have seen the visage of an elderly clergyman accompanied by a tuneless whistle. Your best chance of meeting the clergyman is to visit the Cathedral’s west end. On the ground floor of the northwest tower. When the tower was rededicated after WWI, a previously hidden door was uncovered. This is the exact spot where the whistling cleric appears to fade into the wall.
There are 2 other ghost stories captured by Irish writer and Ghost Hunter, Elliott O’Donnell. In one story an American couple experience a “great black cloud” that rose out of the floor and climbed 20 feet into the air before disappearing. They described the cloud as “alive'”.
O’Donnell’s second story involves a woman who was resting in the cathedral one afternoon. This woman spotted another woman in a pew in front of her. She seemed to be frantically looking for something. The first woman got up to help the woman, but on her way down the aisle she felt a tap on her shoulder. She spun around to find no one behind and when she resumed her walk, the other woman had vanished.
Several days later, at the same time of day, the woman saw the figure of the woman once again. She rose to offer assistance but was once again stopped by a tap on her shoulder. Just as before, there was no one behind her and in front of her the woman was gone.
No trip to Tallin, Estonia is complete without a visit to the Danish King’s Garden. Watching over the medieval walled garden are statues of faceless monks, Ambrosius, Bartholomeus and Claudius. The legend goes, that during a losing battle, the monks prayed for divine intervention on behalf of the Danish King. Out of the sky fell a large flag, which became the national flag of Denmark.
Estonia is also considered one of the most haunted places in Europe. The King’s Garden is said to be haunted by a monk, perhaps a former executioner having a change of heart.
Legend has it that Shakespeare wrote his masterpiece Hamlet, with Kronborg Castle as it’s setting. The mystery remains as to whether or not he actually visited Denmark. In 1816, on the 200th anniversary of his death, the soldiers garrisoned at Kronborg performed his play for the first time.
When you arrive at the castle, make a point of checking out the days schedule as in the Summer months, Hamlet is performed live on the castle grounds.I arrived just in time to head to the King’s Chamber for Ophelia’s mad scene.
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
“Good-night, ladies, good-night, sweet ladies, good-night, good-night.”In between scenes, Queen Gertrude works on her crewel in her chamber.
“One woe doth tread upon another’s heel, So fast they follow. Your sister’s drown’d, Laertes.”“But to know a man well were to know himself.”“The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.”“No, no! the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.”“It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain”