I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to anything haunted. Do I necessarily believe in ghosts? No, but you couldn’t pay me any amount of money to spend the night in a supposed haunted house. And while I have braved the haunted hayride at Griffith Observatory, I absolutely refuse to do those walk-through mazes where people wearing Jason masks come at me with chainsaws. But just because I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to that sort of thing doesn’t mean that I’m not adventurous. I live in downtown Los Angeles, which is filled with historical landmarks from Angeleno culture. I go out downtown every week with friends, trying new restaurants, clubs and bars, so in the spirit of Halloween I decided to channel my inner Sherlock Holmes and do a background check on some of the places that I like to go to.
I was shocked when I learned that there’s actually quite a bit of a haunted history in downtown LA.
One Eyed Gypsy
With a long bar, dim lighting and Bohemian-inspired décor, this bar definitely gives off a different kind of feeling when you walk in the door. According to the Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles, the One Eyed Gypsy is haunted by a female ghost who was either a former madam or the spirit of 26-year-old waitress who was murdered here years ago. The bar has been around since 1899 and used to be a brothel, among other things. Supposedly numerous instances of foul play have occurred on the grounds (including several murders). Employees claim that they hear voices, feel invisible hands and even see objects move. Apparently the men’s restroom is one of the more haunted areas here, so we ladies are off the hook on that one.
Pacific Electric Lofts
This historical building used to serve as the terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Line and now it has been converted into loft residences for the young and hip. But according to several sources, the fifth floor of the building is allegedly haunted. Numerous residents and the building’s maintenance crew have complained about whispers and banging noises, and since 2005 five deaths that have occurred in the building. And that doesn’t include the numerous dogs that have apparently committed suicide by leaping out the windows.
The former hotel now serves as low-income apartments, and went from being the fanciest join in town to a rundown slum. The second-floor ballroom is said to be haunted by several dancers, the spirit of an angry teenager supposedly hangs out in Charlie Chaplin’s old suite, the basement is occupied by ghostly mobsters, and Rudolph Valentino’s spirit likes to divide his time between the Knickerbocker Hotel and his old twelfth-floor suite.
The ghost in question here is Elizabeth Short – better known as The Black Dahlia, the unfortunate victim of an unsolved homicide. She was last seen alive in the hotel lobby, where she was making a phone call. Even after the grisly discovery of her body in a vacant lot, hotel guests and employees continue to see her apparition pacing by the phones in the lobby wearing a black dress.
Other haunted spots in downtown: Los Angeles City Hall, Dodger Stadium, Pico House, the LA Times Building, Union Station