Haunted Hollywood and the Ghosts of Old Hollywood, Part II

The Mysterious Death of "The Sheik"

Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino | Source

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

Rest in Peace, Harry
Rest in Peace, Harry | Source
Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini | Source

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:

Rosabelle

answer

tell

pray

answer

look

answer

tell

answer


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

Paul Bern, in death
Paul Bern, in death | Source
Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate | Source

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.


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Comments 36 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

J marint, thank you fo ryour comment. I'm really kinda thrilled that your grandparents remember Valentino. I don't have any memories of him at all, though my mother does. He was something else!

I always felt a certain sympathy for Sharon Tate, and am still so sorry for her untimely demise with her unborn child. It is so sad.


jmartin1344 profile image

jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

I remember my grandparents talking about Valentino. I don't think I've ever seen any of his films though.

The Paul Bern story is crazy - I know all about the Manson murder of Sharon Tate (those documentaries are always genuinely scary, just the thought of unprovoked violence and how there are people in this world who have that in them) but I had never heard this side of it. That one is really creepy.


Pinkplum 4 years ago

Paul Bern did not commit suicide, he was killed by his common-law wife, Dorothy Millette and the true story was covered up. Dorothy then committed suicide. Sharon was not murdered at Jay's house. They were both murdered on Cielo Drive, about 5 minutes away from the Bern-Sebring house.

I can't believe no one noticed these errors before as this is such a famous case.

The Cielo Drive house they were killed in was torn down in the 1990s and a huge mansion was built in its' place.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I'll have to find you on Facebook, and make a friend!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Okay, epi, thank you for asking. How is your fine self?


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

..I just posted this wonderful hub which I have always enjoyed - both parts 1 and 2 ......to my new FB group called Let's just talk music or cinema - and it would be lovely and an honor if you would care to join - my name is Colin Stewart with the same profile photo on FB and on my homepage you will find the link to click - really do hope you can make it there - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 11:58pm it's been like late spring here by the lake during the last week - whatever happened to winter?


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...back to revisit a classic and sincerely wondering how you have been feeling lately .... lake erie time 11:54pm


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comments, Red Elf and Epi.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

Very spooky! I hadn't ever heard about the background to the Sharon Tate murder, though we heard much about the case. Very interesting and spooky threesome.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....back for part 2 and I love it - must post part 2 as I did with part 1 to my FACEBOOK page with a direct link back here and yes I was fascinated with the Bern/Tate connection .....lake erie time ontario canada 1:59pm


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, ewelz!


ewelz51 profile image

ewelz51 5 years ago from Somewhere in the South...

Lovely, creepy hub, great for the season!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comments Jemma, Saddlerider, and A Evans.

Jemma, I wish I could have seen the "ghost avatar". I'm sorry they fixed it so fast! Really spooky! A haunted hub! Thanks for the link. I appreciate it!

A: It is so sad that Sharon couldn't make use of the warning to change her terrible fate.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

As you can see, the Profile Glitch is fixed, but you probably had a big upswing in traffic in the last hour since I included the URL to this hub in the forum when I reported the problem. (You're most welcome!) ;D


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

bethperry, I believe George Reeves, Hercules and superman comitted suicide and shot himself, not 100% certain, but I think I'm correct, he may have been very despondent and depressed with the ending of his career, maybe booze had something to do with it as well. Spooky indeed Jama, maybe he is sending you a message, beware. Yikes.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

These details sent chills down my spine. Amazingly he tried to warn Sharon Tate and sadly she succumbed to another heinous crime. Well written and it gave be the eebie jeebies because it was real.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Thought you'd want to know someone else's profile pic...a gentleman I don't recognize...is next to MY comments. And this is only happening on THIS hub, and my profile isn't affected. So is it a glitch in HP or is this hub HAUNTED?????

Verrry spooky. (I reported it to the Team, btw.)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

You're very welcome and thanks for the comment, donate timeshares.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, kitty. I'll put a link in my hub to yours.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

I wrote a hub about the house of Paul Bern and his estranged young wife, Jean Harlow. It is believed by some that Paul Bern was trying to warn Sharon Tate of her death...but others believe that death sort of was inevitable in that house...that the house itself contained some form of evil energy. My hub is called "Is jean harlow's old hollywood home haunted? you decide"...you might find it intriguing, as it is related to your hub here.

I had no idea that Houdini died in such a horrible way. That's so sad. Great hub, though. Voted up and awesome!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

So true, Rob. Thanks for the comment.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

The Manson murders have always fascinated me. Poor Sharon and those other people were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The killers would have murdered anyone in that house. She was one of the unlucky ones who happened to be there. And she was pregnant, too.

Rob


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

There's NO amount of $$$ that could make me spend a night in the Benedict Canyon house where Sharon Tate and the others were so viciously murdered!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comments, Jamma and Gypsy. No one has seen Houdini that I know of...I think that Benedict Canyon house must surely be haunted by ghosts; murdered souls of Sharon and Jay and Amy and the other guests...


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Another great hub about Haunted Hollywood! Voted UP nd Awesome!


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Great job! Now tell me we have all of these great old stars running around Hollywood which is OK. Houdini said he would return but only managed to give messages. Where is he? Has no one seen him? And what I would like to know does the tragic Sharon haunt the house she was murdered in? Besides I don't know how anyone could live in that house afterwards. Keep up the good work.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comments, Flora, BEth and Dr. B.

Flora--I found the info about the veiled lady especially interesting. Thank you!

Beth, if you visit my Part I hub, the answer is there. George Reeves died in his home from a gunshot wound to the head.

Dr. B., I just don't know. I think even Jay, the owner at the time of the Manson murders, found it a "bad lucK house", but wasn't daunted for some reason. If I was Sharon, after the incident on the stairs, wild horses couldn't have dragged me back there. Those people seem fearless to me, or foolhardy.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

More creepy scary tales about the strange deaths of celebrities. Verrrrrry interesting! What I don't understand is why did so many famous people want to stay in Sebring's home when it already had a scary reputation.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

This may be off topic just a wee bit, but does anyone know where George Reeves (original Superman) died and what the "official" explanation of his death was? Thanks much for any details.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I see I left out an important piece of information of when Valentino met his veiled lady-she was ill in the hospital and knowing she was a fan he came and visited her-bringing her a single rose.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

The original Lady who visited Valentino's tomb has died and the mantle has been passed more than once. We can't have that tradition end simply because the original one died. By the way, it was later revealed that she was the woman who when she was as a child Valentino told her that expected her to outlive him. The current one, I believe, works at the cemetery -she's been interviewed by TCM

Sharon Tate and the others in the house were never the intended victims beyond the fact that the killers wanted to kill, period. Manson had wanted to kill the music producer who refused to produce his music-terry Melcher. He was staying in the house and moved out days before the murders. Melcher is the son of Doris Day and for years afterwards she had a bodygaurd.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, kerlynb. I read those stories about Paul, too, but his death was officially ruled a suicide. There were some other eerie facts surrounding his death, the wet bathing suit, and the suicide of his former lover just one day after he died. I thought the hub was getting a bit long as it was, so I cut a bit there. That Jean harlow house is definitely haunted--two other people died in the indoor swimming pool there; it's a "bad luck" house--even Jay Sebring said so, before he met his gruesome end there.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Wow, read it from start to finish. Gave me the creeps but absolutely interesting nonetheless.

How I pity Sharon Tate. Of course, she wouldn't have thought that it was her who was going to be murdered. She was just probably too spooked to make sense of what she saw.

Also, Paul Bern's death was really tragic. I had to look up his life on the net and read that there are actually two theories behind his death. He could either have committed suicide or was murdered by his common law wife Dorothy Millette, who then committed suicide by drowning.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comments, Fashionista and Beth. The Houdini story really seems true, to me. They used a code that the psychic could not possibly have known about.

Beth, I think Paul was one of the ultimate good guys, even after death. I'm sure he was desperately trying to warn Sharon away from the Benedict Canyon house.


The Fastionista 5 years ago

Very creepy and very cool! I think if anyone could "escape" the great beyond long enough to get a message across, it'd be Houdini! Thanks for the hub - voted up!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

Wow, I didn't know about Paul Bern and the details gave me chills! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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