Haunted Hollywood and the Ghosts of Old Hollywood, Part II
The Mysterious Death of "The Sheik"
If you like spooky stories, then come with me...to Haunted Hollywood and the ghosts of the Hollywood greats of the past.
Hollywood is haunted by beautiful people long dead, who died tragically, famously, after living a life we can only dream of. The stars of the silver screen brought us heat, passion...images of love; they inspired us with hot desire; many died tragically young under iffy circumstances. These larger-than-life people haunt the place that made them famous--Hollywood.
The Death of the "Great Lover", Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino, Hollywood and the world's "Great Lover" died under mysterious circumstances on August 23, 1926, at 31 years of age, and the very height of his fame.
Rudolph was born in Italy in May of 1895, son of a military officer. His birth name was (in part) Rodolpho di Valentina d'Antonguolla. He was brilliant, bilingual, a college graduate, and had the most astonishing good looks, so he was very confident he could find his fortune in America.
He immigrated to America in 1913, working first as a gardener's assistant, then, with his svelte and exotic grace, landed a much better paying job at Maxim's, as a dancer. From there he toured with a show that took him to California, where in seven short years he made 14 films, and was soon an international sensation. He danced the tango right into the hearts of American women everywhere, who would swoon in the movie theater. His dark, handsome, exotic good looks, with those burning bedroom eyes, made his movie "The Sheik", and brought him international celebrity.
He died of peritonitis in New York's Polyclinic hospital, and rumours immediately began spinning. The hottest theory was the "arsenic revenge" of a disappointed society woman who was prominent in the New York 400; when Rudy rejected her she exacted the ultimate lover's revenge.
Millions mourned Rudolph Valentino, all over the world. The scenes outside the funeral home were chaos; a mob of over 100,000 women fought, scratched, kicked, and resisted the police who were attempting to keep some order, in the desperate search for one last glimpse of the Great Lover. There were suicides by fans who couldn't live on without Valentino in the world.
Rudolph Valentino's crypt is mysteriously haunted by a "Lady in Black", who faithfully brings him flowers and is still doing so since 1926. And Rudy walks--oh, yes, he certainly walks. His former home, "The Falcon's Lair" in Beverly Hills, is notorious for sightings of the Sheik. Actress Millicent Rogers spent only one night there before being chased away by the ghost of the Sheik. Another famous actor, Harry Carey, who subsequently owned the house, found Rudy haunting the darkened upstairs corridors, the master bedroom, and the stables.
A caretaker who once stayed there ran away screaming when he met Valentino's ghost. And there have been many sightings elsewhere in Hollywood.
Rudolph Valentino still haunts Hollywood. The Great Lover still shows his elegant form, and fans swoon...for an entirely different reason!
Houdini in the Afterlife
Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, Hungary on March 24, 1874, the son of a prominent rabbi. The family emigrated to Wisconsin, in America, early on, and Harry Houdini (whose birth name was Erich Weiss) spent most of his growing-up years in a peaceful, comfortable home in Wisconsin.
Like many young men, Harry dreamed of a stage career. His whole personality and personal presence cried out for the larger-than-life thrills of stage performing. Harry was apprenticed to a locksmith at one time; it is there he learned the skills which would launch him as the most famous and daring escape artist of all time. Harry dedicated his life to his performances, developing many special skills after hours of labor. He was double-jointed in both his fingers and toes, and used this attribute to escape from impossible confines. He also developed a rack of muscle in his torso, arms and legs; his daily work-out regiment was rigorous in the extreme. He would escape from a straight-jacket suspended high in the air, strung between New York's highest skyscrapers. He did many dangerous and daring underwater escapes, where he was in imminent danger of drowning. Harry Houdini became an international sensation and his shows sold out everywhere. To this day, no one knows how he manged to perform several of his feats. They seem impossible!
Harry was much troubled by the death of his mother. He turned to Spiritualism for comfort, and in the hope she might contact him and he could see her again. Harry was disappointed to find many fake mediums in the field and debunked quite a few of them. He was desperate for the genuine article; he wanted to believe. He arranged with his wife, Bess, that if he was able to, he would contact her after his death using a special code that only they knew. Harry made a similar pact with a friend of his, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who also believed in Spiritualism.
Harry died on Halloween, the last day of October, 1926. A few days earlier, he was punched in the abdomen by a student, a fan, actually, who had no intention of hurting the famous magician but had heard that Houdini could withstand terrible blows to his muscular torso with no injuries.
The punch took Harry by surprise; he had no time to brace himself; this wayward punch was the incipient cause of his untimely death from appendicitis.
In November of 1926, Harry Houdini came back to Bess. He sent a message to her through a famous medium, Aurthur Ford. The message was:
and spelled out the word "believe" in their special code.
And I "believe". Hollywood is haunted by the ghost of Harry Houdini.
The death of Paul Bern and his warning to Sharon Tate
Did Paul Bern warn Sharon Tate of her fate?
This is one of the strangest andmost chilling of the tales of haunted Hollywood.
Paul Bern was born in Germany, in 1889. His birth name was Paul Levy. He came to the United States, where he found his niche in the film industry. The man was a genius, and soon became the supervisor at MGM studios. He was a very gentle, quiet and unassuming individual; he had no taste for public life...his many friends called him the "Father Confessor", because he helped many actors and actresses out of a jam. People came to him with their problems, which he handled with grace, tact and dispatch.
He married Jean Harlow, a famous beauty of the silver screen, a fabulous blonde bombshell, in July of 1932.
The marriage didn't last. Their personalities were so incompatible--Jean loved the limelight and Paul was a homebody, a family man to the roots of his soul. Jean didn't like the home he gave her in Benedict Canyon; she wanted to sell it. For Paul, this home was to be the enchanted castle where he should have lived happily ever after with his beautiful princess. Their differences soon became irreconcilable; Paul was very distraught.
He shot himself on September 5, 1932, just four months after wedding Jean Harlow. He died for love, in the most tragic way...
In 1966, Sharon Tate, the wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, was staying at her friend Jay Sebring's house, which was the former home of Jean Harlow and Paul Bern. She was alone there, house-sitting while Jay was away. Suddenly, a man materialized in her bedroom! Sharon got up instantly and headed for the stairs, where she was shocked to see a human being tied to the banister with its throat cut! The figure was in shadow, and before she could see it more clearly, it vanished. She later found that the man in the bedroom, the "creepy little man" was the deceased former owner of the house, Paul Bern, when she recognized his picture in a book.
In 1969, Sharon Tate was one of the most famous of the Manson family murders. Her brutal slaying shocked the nation. She was so very young, so very beautiful, and vastly pregnant at the time of her death.
She was staying once again at Jay Sebring's house (former home of Jean Harlow and Paul Bern), while her husband, Roman Polanski, was away filming. Jay died trying to save her...Paul Bern had come back to warn her, but alas, her death which was foreshadowed three years earlier came true.
The former home of Jean Harlow and Paul Bern, and the death scene of Sharon Tate and her friends, is one of the most haunted places in Hollywood.
More about Jean Harlow's Old Home from Kitty the Dreamer...
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