Thursday, January 8, 2015

GHOULA's Annual Report 2014

(Alhambran F.E. Ormsby, creator of the 13 month calendar, 1929)


GHOULA has many great things planned for the upcoming year.

But first, let's take a last look back at 2014.

The question that we were asked most often last year was "When is SPIRITS with SPIRIT coming back?" So, let's address this first... We took a break from our monthly meet-ups in historic (haunted) bars to concentrate on other events we wanted to do, namely off-beat ghost tours of our city. The temporary hiatus will continue thru 2015, so that we can focus on other events in mind for 2015. This is not the end however, "SPIRITS with SPIRITS" will return (most likely in 2016), since there are still so many haunted restaurants/bars we haven't been to yet.

That said, it should be mentioned that if a special opportunity arises this year, we might break from form and do an impromptu SPIRITS with SPIRITS. For example, last year, the Magic Castle opened their doors to GHOULA for a special SPIRITS with SPIRITS, which included a discussion of the "Castle's" many ghost, a walking tour of the haunted areas led by magician/author Tom Ogden, some eye-witness accounts from the staff, and of course drinks and socializing. Obviously, if another amazing opportunity presents itself, we will do our best to make it happen.

The big news of last year was our unique "one-time-only" ghost tours of Los Angeles, where we picked a topic, and talked about everything one would want to know about that subject. Despite the very niche nature of these tours, surprisingly just about every tour sold out. Thus, we want to thank everyone who came out and supported the obscure ghost-lore of our city. These tours includes topics such as Houdini, Valentino, Ghostbusters, Laurel Canyon, haunted buried treasure, and haunted mirrors. The second most asked question this year was when are we going to bring back these tours. Unfortunately, there are no plans at this time to repeat those tours (there are too many new events coming).

GHOULA also finally did our ghost tour of Griffith Park throughout the summer months. If you have been following our group for the last couple of years, you know we have wanted to do this tour for the last couple of years, but for some reason we always had to cancel it. Since forces seem to always be against this tour, we called it "The CURSED Tour of Haunted Griffith Park." This year we did it (despite a few new challenges and obstacles).

Last October, GHOULA collaborated with our friends at Captured Aural Phantasy Theater to create a tribute to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion (which had its 45th anniversary last year) called "Tales of the Lonesome Ghost." For the first time ever, performers acted out the original (but never used) script for this beloved attraction when it was intended to be a guided tour of a haunted house. Concept art for that incarnation was also presented throughout the show, and the event was held in a haunted venue that may have a connection to the famous dark ride. Look for more GHOULA/CAPT collaborations next year.

Also in October, GHOULA also brought back the ghost-themed "walking" tour, we initiated two years ago, the "Haunted Red Line Tour," where we take groups along the Metro's Red Line. stopping at various stations to talk about the ghosts and haunted sites at that spot.

Because of our group's LA-centric interest in the phantom folklore of this city, GHOULA participated in Los Angeles' Halloween Convention, ScareLA, where other groups and companies that create spooky content and events in October, got together under one roof to share (and promote) what would be happening in October with each other and the public. It was so much fun, GHOULA plans on returning next year.

GHOULA was also invited to participate in the annual "Archives Bazaar : LA as Subject" event at USC to discuss the connection between our city's history and its ghost folklore.

Last, but not least, last year GHOULA published "Hollywood Ghost Comix," a collection of ghost-themed comic strips created by local artist Victor Avila.

2014 was a great year for GHOULA, and judging from the surprises that are in the works, 2015 will be even better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


When: October 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th,
(Every Sunday in October)
JUST ADDED... November 2nd (Day of the Dead)

Time: Tour starts at 6 pm (tour is about 3 hours)

Meeting Place: The palm tree-lined island in front of Union Station
800 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (map)

Price: FREE TOUR + Metro "Day Pass" ($7 + $1 for a "Tap Card")
Please purchase the Metro Pass (not a "Metrolink" ticket) before the meet-up to save time. The machines can be confusing, so look for metro day fare and not "add fare."

Parking: See below.

Los Angeles' lore is filled with tales of secret tunnels. Whether its supposed opium dens, rum-running passages, discontinued "Red Car" tunnels, munchkin transports, celebrity/mistress escape routes, or simply chambers belonging to a race of subterranean lizard people, many buildings and homes claimed to be connected to other buildings and homes below street level (if only we could find their openings).

So, is there a better way to explore the haunted history of Los Angeles than by traveling underground from location to location via our very own (dead) Red Line Metro Subway with the other living dead of this city?

We will meet-up at Union Station (the starting point for the Red Line) and then travel through 13 stops to the North Hollywood Station (at the end of the line), getting off and on along the way. In addition to Union Station and the North Hollywood Station, we will stop at few other stations, step off the train, rise to street-level, and discuss the ghosts and haunted sites visible from that spot before going back aboard to the next stop on our tour.

Come out and hear spooky tales about a spirit solider, a vanishing padre, and a ghostly car. As well as many other phantom figures from our past that haunt our present.

(see a review of this tour here...)

Parking: Since everyone participating in the tour will need a Metro Day Pass to ride the subway, it is advisable to park at one of the FREE lots provided by the Metro at either the North Hollywood Station (our end point) or the Universal City Station (or any of the other free lots on connecting Metro lines), and then just take the Subway to Union Station to meet-up with the group (The lots around Union Station are expensive and they may close early).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


GHOULA presents...
The CURSED Tour of

NOTE: This tour will be coming to an end in September. These are the last tours of the year. It is uncertain whether this tour will return next summer, because GHOULA has another project planned for next summer. This may be your last chance to see it.

Not only is Griffith Park one of the largest urban parks in North America, it is also the most haunted public space in the United States, and the site of some of the oldest ghost stories our city has to offer, including the infamous 150 year old curse! Even today, it is said that there are so many sightings still, that the ranger's office has a "special occurrence" form just for citizens that want to report their ghostly encounters.

Those of you that regularly attend GHOULA events may already know that we have been talking about doing (and attempting to do) this tour for the past few years, but due to circumstances beyond our control... it never happened. Its almost as if the "Los Feliz curse" itself was preventing us. Well this summer, GHOULA is defying the curse, and finally making good on our promise.

So, come join us if you dare... for this unique bus tour as we explore 4,310 acres of haunted history.

DATES: September 28, 2014
: 12:30pm, 3:30pm, (7:00pm SOLD OUT)
(tour runs 1 1/2 to 2 hours each)
PRICE: $35.00
MEET-UP LOCATION: The Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
(follow signs up the fire road to Lot #1 next to the Merry-Go-Round) (map)

Eventbrite - The CURSED Tour of Haunted Griffith Park

For more ticket info...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3rd Annual Peg Entwistle Memorial Hike

Due to the high temperatures and limited access, everyone is on their own for this. We recommend that if you plan on going, bring water, and hike with a buddy. Otherwise, there is a great alternative FREE event honoring Peg Entwistle tonight at 7:30 PM at the Beachwood CafĂ©, where her ghost also haunts (check link below)..

On September 16th, 1932, Peg Entwistle committed suicide by hiking up to the Hollywood sign, and jumping of the "H," not only ensuring her name would live on in infamy, but likewise becoming Hollywood's most famous spirit. Come out and join us for a self-guided hike along that haunted trail to Hollywood's most famous haunted landmark (which celebrates it 91th anniversary this year), and meet-up behind the "H," if you dare...

THE DATE: September 16th, 2014 (
(on the anniversary of her death)
THE PLACE: Behind the "H" of the Hollywood Sign
(Directions to the "H" are below)
THE TIME: 5:00pm - 7:00pm (Sunset)
(meet us at the top)

NOTE: Since everyone goes at their own speed, and everyone will be arriving at different times after work, there is no set meet-up time. We will just be hanging out at the sign during the time mentioned above. The hike is normally about 3-4 miles (round trip) and takes about 1-2 hours (round trip), but see "NOTE" (and updated directions) below. Also, there is no organized paranormal investigation included in this hike, but local ghost-hunters are welcome to bring their own equipment, and investigate on their own if they wish.


"I was hiking near the Hollywood sign today, and near the bottom I found a woman's shoe and jacket. A little further on I noticed a purse. In it was a suicide note. I looked down the mountain and saw a body...."
--- Anonymous call to the Hollywood Police Station

82 years ago, this September, a sad, depressed, possibly drunk, unemployed actress left her home on Beachwood Drive and started walking up the road to the Hollywood sign. She had be completely cut out of a RKO movie that was to be her big break in Hollywood. (Incidentally, there will be a free outdoor screening of that film in the parking lot of the Beachwood Market at 7:30pm). On that treacherous hike, that probably took her most of the night, she eventually made it to her destination, the fifty-foot letter "H" at the beginning of the internationally recognized Hollywood sign (then the Hollywoodland Sign). She climbed a ladder that was attached to the backside of the flat metal structure, and leaped to her death once she reached the top. It is thought that she did not die instantly, but instead lingered for hours in the brush below, where her corpse was eventually discovered by hikers. For a short time she was simply known as "The Hollywood Sign Girl," until her published suicide note was recognized by her uncle. Her name was Peg Entwistle.

When people tell her tale, they always point out the ironic twist that occurred shortly after her death, a letter arrived at her address, stating that she had landed the lead role in a new play about a woman who commits suicide.  However, there's the bigger (more obvious) irony. This act of desperation over the lack of a show-biz career, ended up making her more famous (or infamous) than any of her working contemporaries. Not everyone can easily name the stars of the early 1930's, but most people know the Hollywood Sign Girl.

Her legend seems to grow with each passing year, and as it does, so do the stories of her restless ghost near the famous landmark. Most people describe her apparition as a young woman dressed in a 1930's style white gown walking along a trail (sometimes dazed). She is most commonly seen by hikers (not unlike those that originally found her body) and dog walkers in the very early or very late hours. Witnesses claim that she is accompanied by the strong scent of the gardenia flower (her favorite perfume). Some accounts even describe her reenacting her final moments stepping off of the top of the "H" only to vanish as she falls. She seems doomed to repeat the last moments of that last night over and over again, just as we also seemed doomed to repeat those last moments with each retelling of her story. (for more info about the ghost of Peg Entwistle...)

NOTE (and updated directions): Because the surrounding neighborhood has complained about traffic, the city has cut off the closest access points to the public trails (even for pedestrians). As a result, currently one can not access the Hollywood Sign from Beachwood Canyon, so please consult a map. It appears the next best way to get to the Hollywood Sign is to follow Canyon Dr. up the hill to the end, and park in the lot (as if you were going to the famous Bronson Cave). That paved road turns into a trail. Follow the trail extension from Canyon Dr up the hill til it dead-ends at the Mulholland Hwy (trail), and go left on this trail as it zigs-zags across the mountains until you get to a split in this trail. Follow the right-side trail that goes up hill (and not the left downward one). Once on that new trail, follow it (going towards the Hollywood sign) until it dead ends at a paved road (Mt. Lee Drive). Turn right on the paved road, seemingly away from the Hollywood sign. The road will take you up the backside of Mt. Lee, offering great views of the San Fernando Valley and Forest Lawn, to the top of the mountain and a dramatic reveal of the Hollywood sign, the same view Peg Entwistle had before she jumped (incidentally Peg's studio, RKO, is dead center in this view). Below is a link to a map, which you should study, before going out there, since its very easy to get turned around out there on the trails (and there is limited cell reception up there.) There's another route that's shorter but more difficult... Park on Lake Hollywood Dr. (at Wonder View Dr.). Walk up Wonder View Dr. to Trail Head, and take the "Tree of Life" Trail along the ridgeline to the Hollywood Sign. Again, consult a map before attempting.
(for more info on alternate ways to the Hollywood Sign...)

DIRECTIONS:  (See "NOTE" and updated directions above) Follow N. Beachwood Drive up the hill to the end (just before the "Sunset Ranch Hollywood" stables). You'll see cars parked around a trail head, so park anywhere you can. Follow (on foot) the dirt trail up and along the ridge adjacent to the stables. Cell phone reception is not very good up there, so note the directions before you set off on foot. This trail will merge into a larger trail (Mulholland Hwy). Make a hairpin turn left (South-West) on this new trail, and follow it (going towards the Hollywood sign) until it dead ends at a paved road (Mt. Lee Drive). Turn right on the paved road, seemingly away from the Hollywood sign. The road will take you up the backside of Mt. Lee, offering great views of the San Fernando Valley and Forest Lawn, to the top of the mountain and a dramatic reveal of the Hollywood sign, the same view Peg Entwistle had before she jumped (incidentally Peg's studio, RKO, is dead center in this view). Below is a link to a map, which you should study, before going out there, since its very easy to get turned around out there on the trails.

View Larger Map