|Posted: 18/November/2005 at 10:11am | IP Logged
Laurie Jacobson “Hollywood Haunted”
Pat and Brian of the BIM Team interviewed Laurie Jacobson, author of “Hollywood Haunted” on the K-BIM Paranormal Talk Radio Show about her book. Laurie had a lot of very interesting information about old Hollywood and the stars that shined during the early years. As we find out, some of the stars weren’t as bright and shiny as they seemed on the big screen.
BIM: First off Laurie, thank you for coming on the show. Laurie Jacobson is the author of… Let me make sure I get this right… “Haunted Hollywood”… Wait, no, it’s “Hollywood Haunted,” right?
LJ: It’s “Hollywood Haunted” … There is a very old book out there called “Hollywood Haunted”, no wait, now I’m confused… “Haunted Hollywood”…
LJ: Ok, so mine starts with Hollywood.
BIM: Unlike most of the books Pat gives me to read for the radio show that I just skim over, yours I read cover to cover. It was actually fascinating, the way it was put together there is a lot of ghost information but also a lot of history.
LJ: You have to know who populated these sites, buildings, restaurants and nightclubs in order to know who is haunting them now.
BIM: What is your background? Are you a southern California native?
LJ: No, I’m a Midwest girl. I was born and raised in Saint Louis Missouri. I moved to Hollywood in the 70’s in pursuit of an acting career. I did some stand up and comedy improv with some people who were also undiscovered at the time… Let’s see, what is that one guys name? Robin… ummm… Williams.
BIM: Laughing, he’s not very popular though.
LJ: But Robin Williams, John Laroquette, John Ritter, Julie Brown, it was really an amazing time. I was literally walking in the footsteps of those I had so admired… And here I thought I had missed them, but some of them are still hanging around.
BIM: Lets’ talk about the Oban Hotel… Well, first off, is it still there?
LJ: It is, and they just recently changed names, they must have changed ownership. I’m not sure what the new name is. I would go back every year after I wrote the book and beyond what happened in the book, more stuff would happen… (laughs)…. I just never went there alone, lets just say that.
BIM: Oh man, we want to go.
LJ: The Oban is a tiny, well when it was the Oban, was a tiny little dump. A tiny little hotel that was built in the 30’s for cheap living for the people that were flooding into Hollywood to try and get into the movies. A lot of big bands that would come in for one night would stay there. James Dean supposedly stayed there… All kinds of people on their way to Hollywood, but by the 1980’s it was pretty raunchy.
BIM: I can imagine.
LJ: But I heard that it was haunted, so I went…. I spoke to the owner, and the owner told me that when he was a little boy, he used to deliver groceries to the people that lived in the building…. And he saw a ghost in the basement of the hotel. It was a brownish shadowy figure of a man in a hat. Over the years of going to the hotel, he would continually go down there and sometimes he would see it and other times he wouldn’t. He could never get the figure to come out when he wanted and never get it to speak. As the years went on, he found out his brother had the same experiences and they had been afraid to tell each other.
BIM: What happened on your first visit?
LJ: So the owner takes me down there, and I’m there with psychics and parapsychologists, and the psychic says out loud “We are not here to scare you or drive you away. I know what was written about you.” … We found a small article about a man that shot himself in the hotel in the 30’s, and that’s who we thought it was. She instantly got a hit that it was not a suicide but a murder and that is why he is sticking around, seeking justice. So she said “I don’t believe what was written about you. We will be back with more people. If what I say is true, please give me some kind of sign.” We left and came back, the place was filled with the most putrid odor. People were gagging and running from the room and within three minutes the odor was gone from a room with no windows or ventilation. And that was pretty much a sign for me.
BIM: This was Hollywood Laurie, so stench in Hollywood is nothing new…(laughing)
LJ: Now that’s true… (laughing)… But we scoured the room… Did something spill? Did something knock over, some kind of solvent in the basement and there was nothing? We looked for anything that would explain it away but we couldn’t explain this away.
BIM: Another place written about in your book is the Beverly Glen.
LJ: Well, every good ghost book needs it’s headless ghost story, don’t you think?
LJ: Beverly Glen was on the main thoroughfare over a hundred years ago from the valley to the city. It was such an arduous trip down this canyon that there were roadhouses along the way for people to stay. This particular one, some people were living in it in the 60’s. It was three stories and the person in the middle floor never heard anything. The women on the ground floor had a lover living with them… A ghost of a man that would curl up in bed with them, spoon with them. He would hide their keys when they were leaving. He would stroke their hair and was very loving and protective of them. The couple in the top floor would be lying in bed and hear sobbing and crying. They would hear heavy footsteps rushing upstairs (that are no longer there) and a door sounded like it would fly open (which has been sealed) and the room would instantly get chilled.
BIM: Did you get to go into that building too?
LJ: No, the building was actually boarded up by the time I heard the story. I actually found a former resident. So I found out that back in the 1800’s the couple that owned the house, the husband found his wife upstairs in bed with a lover. So the husband beheaded the gentleman involved and that is the guy that is hanging around downstairs with the two ladies.
BIM: Isn’t there something about the clothes the lover wore?
LJ: oh, the yellow? … (laughing)
BIM: yellow, that was it… (laughing)
LJ: He was a fashionly man… (laughing)
BIM: I believe that is called a dandy… (laughing)
BIM: If I remember correctly, you touched on the Roosevelt Hotel.
LJ: Oh of course, the Hollywood Roosevelt. Now that’s one place that is proud of their ghosts.
BIM: Exactly, that’s like the haunted hotel that loves to advertise that fact.
LJ: And they are very crowded because of it.
BIM: Did you stay there as well?
LJ: I have but I have not had a lot of experiences in the hotel, but I have spoke to many that have experienced things there.
BIM: So does that mean you don’t think it is haunted?
LJ: No, it is, oh it is… And the hotel went under a huge renovation in the 80’s and ghosts, just like most of us, don’t like renovations. It’s a pain in the butt…
BIM: I don’t like doing it… (laughing)
LJ: (laughing)…. They prefer to remember the place as it was when they lived there. Which is why you see or hear about ghosts walking through walls and things like that because those weren’t there when they lived there. During the renovation, they had an old fashion switchboard still on the main floor. You know, the kind that they stuck the plugs into… They constantly got calls from rooms that were empty or rooms that were under renovation where the phones had been disconnected and the switchboard would light up. Now that’s nothing compared to the employees being pushed into closets, being shoved, rooms bolted from the inside when no one was in there. The swimming in the pool that you could see on the security cameras and they would go out there and no one would be there. Other times one guard would go out while the other guard would watch the screen and tell the other that he’s right in front of you, and the guard would move his arms through the person and say no one is there. Of course there is the most famous ghost there…
BIM: Marilyn Monroe
LJ: Yes, Montgomery Cliff sightings there and I always feel something in the room that he stayed in… Room 928, and people all around the world book that room to experience things.
BIM: The Saint Francis Hotel…
LJ: UGH!!!… Oh my God..
BIM: (laughing) The question I had was there a place in Hollywood that made you feel so uneasy that you never want to visit again. Is that because of the service or was it because something else? (laughing)
LJ: (laughing)… Ummm, well, the area is very bad. So a comic friend of mine invited me over and he proceeded to tell me that when he first moved in, he was cleaning the kitchen drawers and found a brown paper bag and in it was a woman’s scalp.
BIM: Ohhh, ugh!!! So don’t order room service is what you are saying?
LJ: Even if no one had ever told me about the ghosts there, I would still feel the black, dark, evil feeling that place has.
BIM: A question from a listener for you Laurie… How did get involved in seeking out and writing about ghosts?
LJ: I have been writing about Hollywood for over 20 years now and much of Hollywood’s history involves unsolved mysteries, murders, missing people, people dying before their time tragically. I just filed the stories away until I experienced a ghost at Grumman’s Chinese Theater, now Mann’s Chinese Theater. That’s one place that does not like to talk about their ghosts. I was there as a historian along with other historians and we all saw things moving, handprints… There was a ghost there and I found out later it was an unhappy employee that took his own life and was not happy with us being there… I set a land speed record that day… (laughing)
LJ: But that started it. I thought, well, there is really something to these stories. So I contacted Dr. Barry Taff who is a world renowned parapsychologist and went back through my files that I had saved and really took the best people and,…. I love it!
BIM: Have you visited any of these other haunted sights with investigators of any kind who went looking for explanations rather than just following the lore? To try and see if they were really haunted to not?
LJ: Oh yes, we dispelled rumors and then conversely we had some really fascinating experiences. Everything from smells, perfumes, old lavender perfumes, people being shoved, bells and buzzers being set off. Of course Dr Barry Taff has had a lot more dramatic experiences and Barry comes with a lot of equipment, were not just walking through with our feelings.
BIM: We are well aware of the equipment that can go along on an investigation… It takes an RV to carry our equipment and setup time can take up to 4 hours for us. Is Dr Taff still investigating, researching the paranormal?
LJ: Oh yes, he’s around and he would make a fabulous guest for your show.
BIM: We would love to have him on.
BIM: One story from the book that I was told by my wife to ask about was the Lucille Ball story about her home. My wife said that was the saddest story she has ever read.
LJ: People ask why are ghosts around? Why do they stick around? They stick around for very human things. Their lives were cut short, they weren’t ready to go, they were murdered, they are seeking justice. Now in the case of Lucy, she had passed on. Her home in Beverly Hills is a landmark and everybody knew where she lived (tour buses, etc…) and her husband sold the place and it was torn down. Everyone was sad about it and no one more than Lucy. So one day a comic friend of mine (that I am not allowed to say his name) was driving by the house and he had been a guest at the house many times. He pulled over to look at what was left and he saw a women walking around the property and as he looked at her, she was a tall redhead and when she turned around he said it was definitely Lucy.
BIM: Another question we are getting from the listeners is “Do you think that having a disbeliever or skeptic in the room during an investigation, will they show themselves less if there are skeptics around?”
LJ: Dr. Barry Taff will tell you that spirits feed off of our emotional energy. So if you are terrified, you will be feeding the spirit and if you have no emotional energy, you won’t feed the spirit.
BIM: Going back to what you said earlier that when a place was renovated since the person died, they walk the halls that used to be there.
LJ: We actually had once place that the spirit was always seen from the knees up and we later found out that the spirit was walking on the original floor before it was remodeled.
BIM: Would you say that something like that is a residual haunting?
LJ: I think the play-backs where it plays over and over with no notice of people coming and going over the decades indicates that.
BIM: Another question asked by a listener… If two people died in the same location but over a long period of time in between the deaths, will the spirits be aware of each other?
LJ: I’m going to say that spirits are as individual as the humans that they once were. Very often we find that people that do not believe in anything after death, they do not know what to do after they died. There are supposed to be cross over spirits, spirits that help you make the transition into the next place. If you don’t believe in them, you have trouble seeing them.
BIM: Laurie thank you so much for coming on the radio show with us and we would love to have you back on the show again. And thanks for putting up with a couple of obnoxious fat guys.
LJ: I had way too much fun and I’m sorry it’s over.
Laurie’s book can be purchased at www.amazon.com, and http://www.lauriejacobson.com
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