1. The Cecil Hotel
This place is so terrifying that an entire season of American Horror Story was based around its lore. Two serial killers (Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. the Nightstalker, and Jack Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer who murdered women in multiple countries) spent time at the Cecil Hotel. In fact, Unterweger killed three people while he was staying there.
But that’s not even close to the whole story of why the Cecil is so creepy. In 2013, a guest of the hotel named Elisa Lam went missing. More than fifteen days later, patrons of the hotel began complaining that the water coming from the taps and showers was discolored and tasted funny. A maintenance worker went to check the hotel’s rooftop water tank, and guess what he found inside of it? The body of Elisa Lam, which had been in there for, you guessed it, more than fifteen days. There’s even creepy security camera footage from the night she disappeared, showing what appears to be her talking to someone who the camera can’t see—or isn’t there at all. The police ruled her death an accidental drowning, but many people believe she was murdered.
The Cecil moved most of the guests staying there at the time to a different hotel, but 11 people chose to stay. They had to sign a waiver acknowledging the health risks of using the contaminated water, which begs the question, if water contaminated by a decomposing dead body couldn’t get these people to move to a new hotel—free of charge, I might add—then what would?
The hotel has recently rebranded itself as The Stay on Main to try and shake its creepy image, but it’s probably a safe bet that there’s more than one ghost still haunting its halls.
2. Rancho Los Amigos Hospital
There were several facilities that made up the Rancho Los Amigos hospital, though only the main hospital is still operational. But the grounds used to hold a dairy farm and a mental institution as well, which have since been abandoned. And oh boy, is the abandoned mental hospital scary. In 2006, some Marines who were using the empty building for practice drills found body parts, including legs, feet, and pieces of brains in a freezer in the morgue. Who knows how long those had been down there? And who knows how haunted that terrifying place must be?
By the way, in case you’re wondering what that creepy picture up above is, it’s the hospital’s old iron lung ward. Just normal hospital stuff, NBD.
3. Elizabeth Short
You probably know Elizabeth Short by another name: the Black Dahlia. Her ghost purportedly haunts the Millenium Biltmore Hotel, the last place she was seen alive before she was murdered. Guests have seen a black, ladylike figure floating down the 10th- and 11th-floor hallways.
4. The Colorado Street Bridge
Over 100 people have jumped to their deaths from Pasadena’s Colorado Street bridge. The bridge, which was built in 1912, is known as “the suicide bridge.” Several ghosts now haunt it. Supposedly, you can see a woman in a white flowing robe jump to her death. Homeless people who live under the bridge have heard someone—or something—whispering “your fault.” And then there’s Myrtle Ward, a woman who committed suicide and attempted to kill her three-year-old daughter. Ward threw her daughter off the bridge and then jumped. She died, but her daughter’s fall was broken by thick trees, and she survived. Some people claim they have seen her walking the bridge, looking for the daughter she was never reunited with in the afterlife.
5. Rockhaven Sanitarium
If you’re anything like me, the word “sanitarium” calls to mind images of dirty, crumbling institutions where the mentally ill were locked up and given dubious treatments. Which is why the history of Rockhaven Sanitarium is such a surprise.
In 1923, a nurse named Agnes Richards opened Rockhaven as a women’s mental health facility. She worked on building up her patients’ self-esteem and treated them with respect and dignity, something she felt was lacking at other hospitals that treated women for mental illness. Marilyn Monroe’s mother, Gladys Baker Eley, was a patient there, along with Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, and many other famous women.
Rockhaven is no longer open, and its former buildings are abandoned. Preservationists have reported that many of the former residents’ belongings are still in there. They have experienced odd happenings in the buildings, like intense feelings of anger, and sensed otherworldly presences in some of the rooms.
6. Griffith Park
There are so many terrifying things about Griffith Park. There’s the abandoned zoo. Supposedly, there’s the ghost of Peg Entwistle, who jumped to her death from the Hollywood sign in 1932. But the creepiest thing in Griffith Park is a picnic table. It’s known as picnic table number 29, and in 1976, a 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were crushed to death on top of it when a tree fell on them while they were having sex. Numerous park maintenance workers have reported strange occurrences near the table, and attempts to remove the tree have been sabotaged. It still lays on top of the picnic table to this day.
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7. The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary is haunted by so many people. Like, literally. So many. There are ghosts of dead sailors in the engine room. Ghosts of dead children in the swimming pool. A ghost of a dude in a 1930s-style suit in one of the first-class staterooms. A ghost of a lady dressed in a white gown dancing by herself in the Queen’s Salon. The former luxury cruise ship is now docked permanently in Long Beach and is used as a floating hotel. After it was a cruise ship, and before it was a hotel, the ship was used as a troopship in World War II, ferrying soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean. With so many passengers aboard the ship over the years, it’s no surprise that it’s super haunted.
8. The Knickerbocker Hotel
Harry Houdini’s wife used to hold séances on the roof of this hotel, trying to contact the spirit of her dead husband. She never succeeded, but the Knick’s got enough ghosts kicking around that it doesn’t even need to add Houdini to the mix. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio spent their honeymoon here, which explains why Monroe’s ghost has stuck around. It doesn’t quite explain why she chose to haunt the women’s bathroom, but hey, to each their own. Silent film star Rudolph Valentino is also known to haunt the hotel’s bar.
9.The Hollywood Tower
When your hotel has inspired a theme park ride called the Tower of Terror, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s majorly haunted. The Hollywood Tower was once a luxurious apartment building that catered to the wealthy. It’s still an apartment, just less luxurious than it once was. But residents have reported many ghost sightings. Tenant April Brooks told The Hollywood Reporter, “There are many spirits here. A lot of people report the ghost of a man standing on the seventh floor, in ’30s period clothing, staring at the Hollywood Hills. Then he disappears.”
10. George Reeves
In 1959, George Reeves, best known for playing Superman on The Adventures of Superman, was found dead in his home. He had been shot in the head; the police ruled it a suicide, but friends of the actor believe he was murdered. Since then, tenants in his former house have reported that he haunts the bedroom. Several times, the room has been found a mess—pillows and sheets tossed around, furniture knocked over—right after the occupants had cleaned it. One couple even claimed that Reeves’ ghost appeared to them in the living room, dressed in his Superman costume.
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