All Hallows' Eve Countdown: Hollywood: Bones in the Foundations

Article about the haunting of 'Falcon Lair,' the last home of Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) (click on page to enlarge). Motion Picture Magazine (November 1928, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4). Image Source: Media History Digital Library.

Hollywood, city of lights, art and artifice, takes its toll on the lives of those who work there. It is home to plenty of ghost stories, to a sense that there are many bones in its foundations. Perhaps ghosts reflect the price paid, and ghosts are sometimes said to be old screen legends themselves. Here, from the Media History Digital Library, see a 1928 report of the haunting of Rudolph Valentino's beautiful house, Falcon Lair, in Benedict Canyon, two years after the star's death. The house was reported haunted - possibly by Valentino himself - by subsequent inhabitants, and even sat empty for several years. Part of the Falcon Lair compound was the neighbouring property to the house on Cielo Drive in which Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson's followers in August 1969.

Article about the haunting of 'Falcon Lair,' the last home of Rudolph Valentino (click on page to enlarge). Motion Picture Magazine (November 1928, Vol. XXXVI, No. 4). Image Source: Media History Digital Library.

Remainder of Motion Picture Magazine article on Valentino's haunted house (click to enlarge). Images Source: Media History Digital Library.

Falcon Lair, front and back views and a later view of the house's situation in Benedict Canyon. Image Source: My Love of Old Hollywood.

Rudolph Valentino at his home, Falcon Lair. Image Source: My Love of Old Hollywood.

Joan Crawford was famously accused by her adopted daughter, Christina, of obsessive, controlling abuse in the 1940s and early 1950s. What is less discussed in relation to this disputed depiction of the star is Christina's assertion that Crawford's house was haunted. Later inhabitants, up to 2005, also claimed that it was haunted:
Extreme punishments involving wire hangers, outbursts, a razor sharp tongue and a dark shadowy side that the public rarely witnessed. That tongue now quieted, Joan Crawford's daughter Christina tells of the dark supernatural events that were naturally drawn in and manifested themselves within her family home, despite the many exorcisms that were performed to remove the ornery and cantankerous spirits. The movie Mommy Dearest rattled the nation with tales so horrendous that even the most open-minded person questioned the possibilities of such terrifying acts against innocent children. Joan Crawford was a force to be reckoned with and her iron fist told volumes when it came to the star's personality. Not surprisingly, Joan's Brentwood, California home possessed a sea of rumors where the paranormal was concerned, and reports of haunting manifestations and exorcisms held in the home came to light in 1989 that are far too vivid to Christina even still today. Apparitions were literally everywhere you looked. Frightened by them as a child, there was no help as Christina and her brother were always shushed. Dark, cold spots in the home where no frightened child dare to cross were easily explained away to the children as active imaginations by their mother. The movie star's strange dealings with the dark side remained up until her last breath was taken when Christina claims that just before Joan's death, she spoke to a ghost at the end of her bed, taunting it in her arrogant way, to dare not ask her for God's help.
Joan eventually sold the estate and years later it was purchased by a family that shared similar experiences in the home. Distraught, they sought the help of the Reverend Rosalyn Bruyere, a family friend who by all accounts claim that there were so many spirits living in the home, including underworld connections and ritual abuse that it literally gave her goosebumps. Every family that had ever lived in the home had suffered from some sort of illness, disease, death, divorce, addiction or mental instability. Christina claims that she wouldn't be surprised if the ghost isn't Joan herself, due to the nature of her being capable of the realest evil you can imagine. The family living in the Brentwood home during the 90's allowed HBO to film a segment on Haunted Hollywood, adding their own personal experiences to the growing list of ghostly adventures. They claimed that the cottage by the pool was the center for paranormal phenomenon and that they had seen a host of ghosts and other entities parading through the house. The couple eventually moved. A new decade has brought new life to the Crawford estate, as there have been no more reports of ghostly activity until renovations on the estate began in 2005. The general overall feeling from those involved is that Joan is very angry that her wallpaper is being torn to shreds and thrown into the dumpster. Location: 426 N. Bristol Avenue, Brentwood, California.
The idea that Hollywood is haunted, or that people drawn to Hollywood are haunted because they are sensitive and artistic, is so common that it became the basis of a television series, Celebrity Ghost Stories. Joan Rivers's account of her haunted New York City abode is probably the most well-told story on this series and therefore convincing (see it here).
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