Monday, March 2, 2015

Beneath the STRINGS That Go Bump in the Night!

GHOULA presents
Beneath the...
STRINGS That Go Bump in the Night!

THE DATE: April 18, 2013 (Saturday)
THE PLACE: The Bob Baker Marionette Theater
1345 W 1st St Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Downtown) (map)
THE TIME: 7:30pm - 9:30
$13.00 SEATS (Chairs)
$6.66 CARPET (Floor)
+PLUS a handling fee
(for ticket info...)
Eventbrite - Beneath the STRINGS That Go Bump in the Night!

horror-themed show about ghostly marionettes, a screening of local artist/filmmaker Kevin McTurk's new puppet horror film THE MILL AT CALDER'S END (pictured above), a performance from puppeteer Eli Presser, an appearance by the famous Bob Baker Marionettes, some personal ghost stories about this historic theater, and... a few surprises.

Two years ago, Bob Baker welcomed GHOULA into his historic theater (the oldest puppet theater in the country), for our first "STRINGS" night of "movies, marionettes, and mayhem." We screened BLUEBEARD (1944), and Bob spoke, even bringing out the original marionettes used in the film. We did a second "STRINGS" night months later, but Bob was too sick to attend. Sadly, Bob Baker past away last year, but luckily his theater is still here, and still carrying on his legacy of putting on great puppets shows every weekend.

Please come out to this enchanted oasis (while it lasts) that has been entertaining and inspiring the children (and adults) of our city for over fifty years, for this rare spooky night-time event that tempts the spirits... if you dare.

About the film: THE MILL AT CALDER'S END (2014)
In the remote village of Calder's End stands an old windmill, a repository of dark secrets. Nicholas Grimshaw has returned to this haunted place, his childhood home, intent on breaking a generations old family curse. Grimshaw's journey takes him deep below the decaying mill, into mysterious, forgotten catacombs, where upon he confronts the very source of the evil that has corrupted his family. "The Mill at Calder's End" is a Gothic tale inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and M.R. James and is told with the use of 36 inch tall bunraku rod puppets operated by puppeteers dressed in black.
(Watch Trailer...)


Although people generally associate ghosts with violent/sudden deaths, there are many other theories as to why a ghost will haunt a certain location. Some believe that spirits will return to places that (in life) gave them great pleasure, or perhaps sites where (in life) much time was spent. There is also a theory that confused ghosts sometimes seek out humanoid objects to possess like wax figures, mannequins, or dolls, and thus gravitate to spots where these objects can be found (old wax museums, children's bedroom's, etc.)

So, naturally (or super-naturally) the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, the oldest continuously-operating puppet theater in the United States, is said to have a phantom of a former puppeteer lingering around (seen by staff), watching the staff from his favorite seat on the east side of the theater (last row against the wall, three seats from the aisle). Perhaps he just doesn't want to leave this happy place, or maybe he just likes being around puppets. Additionally, he is seen in the backstage area. On the wings (on the West side of the building), there are mirrors so that performers can check their puppets, or practice moves. While doing this, they will see the ghostly puppeteer (in the mirror's reflection) watching them.  When they turn around, no one is there. Plus, whenever something goes wrong during a performance such as a string breaking or a set falling, it's always blamed on the resident spook, presumably unhappy about something in the show.

In ancient times, the "illusion of life" created by marionettes was thought to be work of other-worldly forces. Who knows, maybe this resident "ex-puppeteer" still lends a hand during performances, animating the inanimate objects, and making them move in realistic ways. Is it possible that old habits die hard,... even if the ghost didn't?

(for ticket info...)

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...