With Halloween fast approaching, it's time to get festive by swapping out your road bike and water bottles for a single speed and thermos full of mulled wine. Then round up your friends and head out under moonlight in search of Los Angeles' spookier side. But be warned! Because as you pedal down urban boulevards and explore the chilling world of La La Land's restless spirits, shocking scandals, murder mysteries, and unexplained sightings, this ride won't be for the faint of heart!
Start off at Blue Bottle Coffee's Culver City location and warm yourself up with a nice pour-over before you begin your evening escapade. Once you're highly caffeinated and ready to take on the night, cruise over to your first haunted locale, Culver Studios.
Culver Studios was founded by filmaker Thomas Ince in 1918. One evening in 1924 Mr. Ince died while on board the famed newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst's yacht under some very mysterious circumstances. Despite officially dying from heart failure at age 44, there has been much speculation that Hearst actually shot and killed Ince, accidentally mistaking him for Charlie Chaplin, whom Hearst thought was having an affair with his mistress. To this day Ince is now said to lurk around haunting his old movie studio.
The Silent Movie Theatre
From Culver Studios hop back on your bikes and head across town to the Silent Movie Theatre, now known as Cinefamily. The Silent Movie Theatre is said to be haunted by the ghosts of its first two owners. John Hampton was the first owner who opened the theater in 1942 and dedicated his life to preserving silent film. However, during film preservation he used toxic chemicals which eventually caused him to die of cancer. In the early 1990's Lawrence Austin reopened the theater. And in 1997 Lawrence was fatally shot in the lobby in a twisted murder for hire plot. Hampton is rumored to haunt the upstairs lounge while Austin roams through the lobby. It's also said that a dark red blood stain sometimes appears on the ground where Lawrence was shot.
The Comedy Store
Just a short jaunt from the Silent Movie Theatre is The Comedy Store. Once known as Ciro's restaurant during the 1940's and 50's, its owners had a close affiliation with the mob. And mob boss Mickey “The King of the Sunset Strip” Cohen used the club as his base of operations. To this day the building still has peepholes in the walls of the main room that once allowed gangsters to keep track of those who were coming and going. In true mob fashion the basement of the club was where they would "take" care of problem people. Some employees have since claimed to hear voices and chilling cries coming from the basement.
The Roosevelt Hotel
Now that we've really got the goosebumps, lets keep the spook factor rolling. Easily taking the A-Lister cake, the Roosevelt Hotel plays host to many a celebrity ghosts, including non other than Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was known to stay in her poolside suite where she loved spending her days basking in the sun. According to many guests Monroe's ghost appears in the full-length mirror from her former poolside suite which now hangs on a wall on the hotel's lower level next to the elevators. A host of other celebrities like Montgomery Clift and Errol Flynn are said to have been spotted. While other paranormal activity involve a little girl dressed in a blue dress named Caroline, and reports of cold spots.
The Hollywood Sign
Last, we climb our way up into the Hollywood hills. Recognized the world over it almost comes as no surprise that the Hollywood sign would serve as a suicidal launch pad for failed and dejected starlets. Enter Peg Entwistle. As a budding actress in the 1930's Entwistle was cast in a number of rolls including one along side Humphrey Bogart. However, her inability to truly break out and hit super-stardom led her to climb atop the 45 foot "H" and jump to her death. Ever since that fatal jump people have reported seeing a woman near the Hollywood sign resembling that of Entwistle and wearing period clothing from the 1930's. While others even say they've seen a female figure actually jumping from the sign.
So there you have it! From ruthless gangsters, conniving assassins, depressed starlets and secret wielding tycoons, visiting these 5 haunted LA locales are sure to make the hairs on your neck stand up. Just remember to travel along with a friend, and by friend, I mean preferably the less ghostly type that's actually alive!
For Strava route on where to start and end click here.