Haunted Houses in Hollywood

Who doesn’t like a good haunted house story? We found some good tales to tell where hauntings still exist. Just ask the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Pickfair Estate
1143 Summit Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Born in Toronto, Mary Pickford began acting in plays at an early age. She eventually moved on to Broadway and then to Hollywood where she starred in many feature films during her time as a silent film actress.

Pickford acted with Douglas Fairbanks in “The Mark of Zorro” in 1920 — the same year they were married. The couple was often referred to as “Hollywood royalty” and foreign heads of state visiting the White House would request a visit to the couple’s Beverly Hills mansion located at 1143 Summit Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210. The Pickfair estate is currently for-sale for $60 million.

Dinners at the mansion included such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The constant attention, activity and strain led to divorce in 1936. Pickford kept the estate and spent her final years there. While the original Pickfair was torn down and transformed, some say Pickford still lives there, waiting to reconcile with Fairbanks who has also been spotted appearing under an archway.

Virginia Hill’s house (where Bugsy Siegel died)
810 N Linden Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, born in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, was part of the East Coast mob from an early age. He joined a gang on the Lower East Side as a boy, first committing thefts and then moving on to create a protection racket. In the early 1930s he built ties to the future leaders of the Genovese crime family and became a bootlegger, covering territories in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

In 1937,  the East Coast mob saw an opportunity to expand and sent Siegel to California with instructions to develop syndicate gambling rackets with Los Angeles mobster Jack Dragna. Shortly after the move, Siegel was involved in the hit on Harry “Big Greenie” Greenberg, who had become a police informant. Siegel was tried for the Greenberg murder and, although he was acquitted, his reputation was in ruins. Newspapers began to refer to him as “Bugsy” a nickname he would not allow in his presence.

On June 20, 1947, Siegel was sitting in a room of his girlfriend Virginia Hill’s Beverly Hills home, when an unknown assailant fired nine shots at him through the window. He was hit multiple times and died instantly. No one was ever charged with his murder.

His ghost is said to still haunt Hill’s old home, some say because he is seeking revenge, while others think he is still broken-hearted because he was sold out to the mob by Virginia Hill, who moved to Paris earlier that year.

George Reeves’ home
1579 Benedict Canyon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

George Reeves is best known for his portrayal of Superman in the 1950s television show. The television program became wildly popular and he was recognized everywhere, but he was typecast as Superman and as a result, it was difficult for him to find other roles.

George Reeves died June 16, 1959 in his home at 1579 Benedict Canyon Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210 from a gunshot wound to the head. Reports of that day conflict slightly, but it seems that he went to bed sometime around midnight, but was awoken when friends arrived and began an impromptu party. He came downstairs to complain about the noise, and then had a quick drink before going upstairs in a foul mood. His fiancée, Leonore Lemmon and the two guests heard a single gunshot shortly thereafter.

Though ruled a suicide, many people refuse to believe that assertion and think instead that he was killed by an ex-lover Toni Mannix or her husband, Eddie Mannix. There is little evidence to support this claim. There are however, reports of the Reeves’ house being haunted. Reports include inexplicable noises in the upstairs bedroom, the smell of gunpowder and belongings being moved around. There are also stories of dogs standing in the doorway barking and refusing to enter the room as well as lights flickering on and off.  Some even say George Reeves appears at the foot of the bed every now and then, dressed as Superman.

The Mansion
2451 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Errol Flynn, left and Rick Rubin, right, are the previous and current owners of “The Mansion”

Known simply as “The Mansion,” this haunted house is located at 2451 Laurel Canyon Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90046 and is currently owned by music producer Rick Rubin, who uses it as a recording and production studio where bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, the Mars Volta , Slipknot and Linkin Park have recorded. Originally built in 1918, it was also once owned by swashbuckling film star Errol Flynn in the 1930s.

Rumor has it that the mansion has been haunted since 1918 when the son of the owner (a furniture store owner) pushed his lover from the balcony. The current mansion is built on the grounds of the original mansion which burned to the ground in the late 1950s during a fire that swept Laurel Canyon. The place was rebuilt a few years later and used as a recording studio during the 60s and 70s when it was visited by artists like Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and The Beatles.

Artists who have stayed in the Mansion while recording have reported strange happenings such as sightings of orbs, doors opening when they had been firmly closed, and other odd occurrences.

Some reports concerning the Houdini Mansion, located nearby, conflate the two residences and similar stories are told.

Harry Houdini House
2400 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

It’s difficult to ascertain the exact location of the home magician Harry Houdini allegedly rented in 1919 for one year: 2435 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA or 2400 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. The home, along with others in the Hollywood hills, was destroyed in 1959 when a brush fire rushed through the canyon.

Though Houdini held séances at his home in an attempt to contact his mother, he also spent a great deal of time discrediting supposed “mediums” by proving that what they did on stage was mostly sleight-of-hand and showmanship.

Before Houdini’s home was destroyed by fire, it was said to have been a castle with parapets, battlements, towers and a foundation with tunnels, secret passages and chambers, including a deep-water pool where he would practice his underwater escapes.

Houdini died on Halloween of 1926 from a ruptured appendix. His wife stayed in the Laurel Canyon home until her death some 20 years later.