- Religion and Philosophy
Ghost Stories of the Famous or Infamous
In the wee hours of the morning well past midnight when the fog rolls in from the Pacific, Mount Lee in California is peaceful. The famous landmark upon it, the Hollywood sign is undisturbed by visitors. This is the quiet time of night when few are up and about. It is at this time when the mist roils around the famed letters that strange things are sometimes reported by park rangers who protect the sign from vandals. A pretty blonde woman is seen in an old fashioned dress walking around the sign as if in a daze. When the rangers approach her she vanishes, however the scent of gardenias is often noticed where she appeared.
It is said to be the spirit of Peg Entwistle who committed suicide by jumping off the giant letter H in the Hollywood sign in 1932. If the sign represents the glamor of Hollywood, the tragic end of Ms. Entwistle perhaps symbolizes the darker side of the industry. She had arrived in Hollywood as thousands of other young hopeful aspirants had come. However Entwistle unlike many of the others had a Broadway pedigree and a fair amount of success on the stage behind her. She quickly landed a contract with RKO and had just finished her first film when she took her life. It was released posthumously.
Rangers are not the only ones to spot the Hollywood sign ghost. A couple who were walking their dog down the path by the letters suddenly were startled to see a woman in a 1930s style dress walking in front of them. They stated that she looked disoriented and unsure as she slowly moved along the path toward them. As they got closer the woman vanished as if she was never there. Over the years dozens of people claim to have seen the ghost of Peg Entwistle. Unlike other ghosts that seem to fade with time, her spirit seems to be making more appearances than ever.
A forthcoming biography of Peg Entwistle.
The Most Beautiful Ghost in the World
In the New Amsterdam theater in New York, a security guard walks on his appointed rounds making sure everything is secure. It is the middle of the night and the theater is quiet. Only a few lights around the seats are lit, plus the "ghost light" which lights up the stage. The guard walks up onto the stage, looks around, and is about to leave when he hears a noise behind him.
He turns and sees a beautiful woman in a white dress with a green sash walking across the stage. She holds a square bottle in her hands as she smiles at him. As he begins to ask her how she got in the theater, she blows him a kiss and then walks through the wall. The guard unsurprisingly refuses to work overnights again.
The ghost that the man saw is reportedly Olive Thomas, at one time a famed actress and Ziegfeld Follies performer. She was once dubbed "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" after winning a well publicized contest. Thomas became an artists model and then worked in the Ziegfeld Follies. A motion picture career followed making Olive internationally famous. At the time of her death in 1920, she was one of the most popular stars in the business.
Olive Thomas died in Paris on September 10, 1920, after ingesting bichloride of mercury liquid probably by accident. In the decades after there were a few reports of her spirit being seen at the New Amsterdam, but it wasn't until Disney purchased the property and began making renovations that the sightings really began increasing.
Her ghost is seen in the main theater and also in the upstairs rooftop area that once hosted the risque Midnight Frolics. During that show there was a glass stage situated over the tables. The men would be seated underneath the stage and get an eyeful as the beautiful young women paraded overhead. Olive's ghost has been seen walking in midair where the glass stage had been. The last sightings recorded were a few years ago.
Biography of Olive Thomas. includes a chapter on her ghost sightings at the New Amsterdam.
Return of the Singing Cowboy
In the small town of Willcox Arizona, a local resident was walking along the sidewalk past a number of businesses including the Rex Allen Museum which houses memorabilia from the late singing cowboy of movie fame. A park across the street features a life size statue of Allen.
It was late enough at night that all the businesses and the museum had been long closed. As she walked by the museum suddenly music began blasting through the outdoor speakers. The witness saw no one in sight, and there was no one in the building to turn the sound system on. It is one of many experiences with what residents feel is Rex Allen himself.
Rex Allen was born and raised on a ranch just outside of Willcox. After stints as a rodeo rider and vaudeville performer, Allen found his niche as a singing cowboy in 19 films. He also found work narrating films and commercials for Walt Disney studios among others. Allen received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his popular film career. He died in 1999.
After his death numerous visitors reported feeling a presence right next to them even when they were alone. One startled visitor saw a cowboy leaning against a display saddle before melting away. People have heard voices and seen a figure in the park across the street as well. Perhaps not surprising since Allen's ashes were scattered here, and his famous horse Koko is buried in the park as well.
George Reeves as Superman
The Afterlife Adventures of Superman
On a warm evening just after the sun went down a ten year old boy named Jimmy rode his bike towards a house on Benedict Canyon Road. He was there to see the home and possibly get a memento from his idol George Reeves. However the Superman star had died a short time before. Police still kept a close eye on the house to discourage the curious. But Jimmy quietly moved around the house and found a way in. The house creaked as Jimmy walked through the living room, and in the dark it seemed like shadows were moving around. A minute later the boy came racing out of the house and ran into the policemen who were driving by..
He claimed to have seen Reeves himself in his Superman costume. The ghost admonished him for trespassing with a smile on his face. The kid stuttered an apology and got out of the house as quickly as he could. Imagination? Perhaps, but there is one jarring note in the boy's story. He stated to the cops that the ghostly figure had on the Superman suit but it was gray and brown, not blue and red. The boy had no way of knowing that in the first years of the TV series Reeves wore a gray and brown costume. The normal blue and red costume didn't film well in black and white.
George Reeves was born in Woodstock Iowa, and moved to Los Angeles as a youngster. Before being cast as Superman, Reeves had acted in numerous movies including Gone With the Wind and So Proudly We Hail. In 1951 he was offered the role he would be remembered for. Reeves initially was going to turn it down feeling as many actors did that television was a fad and that his show would be ignored.
Instead it became a hit making Reeves a celebrity, and hopelessly typecast. On July 16, 1959 after having some drinks with friends, Reeves went up to his room and reportedly shot himself. There was a great deal of controversy over whether he committed suicide or was murdered. He was 45 years old.
Since that time many visitors and residents of the old Reeves house have seen his spirit. Sometimes he is in his Superman outfit, other times he appears in his bathrobe holding the gun in his hand that killed him. One couple who had just purchased the house and moved in that day, moved out later that night after claiming that Reeves ghost had appeared to them in their bedroom. George Reeves ghost is reportedly still sighted in the house.