Celebrities and Their Haunted Homes
Generally, A-list celebrities enjoy a sweet life of luxury, power and pampering, so when their time is up on earth, it’s no wonder they don’t want to leave it. In no particular order, here are some celebrities and the homes they like to haunt.
(Flickr photo: Loren Javier)
1. Lucille Ball’s House (above)
1000 N Roxbury Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Our darling Lucy is still reportedly stirring up trouble at her old house on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, which looks like it had a considerable makeover since her death on the morning of April 26, 1989 from a ruptured aorta.
While Lucy was considered the Queen of Comedy, business was no laughing matter to her — she was as tough as they come. Along with her strong business acumen, she was a bit superstitious and had some uncanny spiritual powers:
- She reportedly did not want to be anointed the “Queen of Comedy,” or continue doing her “I Love Lucy” shows — that is, until her idol, the late Carole Lombard, visited her in her dreams and told her to “give it a whirl.”
- Later in the day on the morning Lucy died, her good friend, Carol Burnett, received flowers from Lucy for her 56th birthday.
- Lucy is also a distant relative of the Sprague Family of Rhode Island (see entry #6), who had their own set of interesting hauntings.
Lucy’s body is interred in Jamestown, NY, but her spirit reportedly frequents her old Beverly Hills home as well as the Hart building at the Paramount Studios, where DesiLu Studios was located and the “I Love Lucy” show was produced. The night watchmen report the spirit of a woman who haunts the upper floors, giving off a strong scent of an old, flowery-like perfume. Lucy! You have some ‘splainin’ to do. (Photo of Lucy: Village Voice)
2. The Pickfair Estate (above)
1143 Summit Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Way before Brad and Angelina, Hollywood’s celebrity power couple in the 1920s was silent film actress Mary Pickford and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks. The couple purchased an 18-acre parcel in Beverly Hills in 1919, in which only a hunting cabin existed on the property. Renowned California architect Wallace Neff designed a glorious 22-room mansion where Pickford and Fairbanks entertained their Hollywood friends and celebrities of the time. They dubbed it “Pickfair.” Dinners at the mansion included such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Pickfair legend goes that the spirit of a female servant was witnessed on several occasions by the couple. When they divorced in 1936, Pickford kept the estate, and eventually married Charles “Buddy” Rogers. After Pickford died in 1979, Rogers was reportedly visited by a woman in a long, white gown that he believed was Mary. Rogers soon moved out, subdivided the Pickfair estate and put it on the market. It sat for a while until L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss bought it in 1980. Reportedly, the spirit sightings increased. In addition to the woman in white, a male spirit was seen in the entrance hall, as well as an apparition carrying sheet music. In 1988, Pickfair was sold to Pia Zadora and her husband, Meshulam Riklis, who promised to restore the mansion, but instead demolished it and built a new home in its place. The Hollywood community was not happy with losing the historic mansion, but the demolition supposedly exorcised the spirits of Pickfair — at least, for now. (Photo of Pickford and Fairbanks: Wikimedia).
(Photo courtesy Los Angeles Morgue Files)
3. Virginia Hill’s house (where gangster Bugsy Siegel died) (above)
810 N Linden Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210
On the evening of June 20, 1947, gangster Bugsy Siegel sat reading the LA Times in the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, when an unknown assailant fired nine shots at him through a window, two striking him in the head. Siegel got whacked, gangster-style, probably for cost overruns, skimming from the budget and other fraudulent activity during his involvement building the famed Flamingo Hotel and Casino, which is the oldest remaining casino in Las Vegas. Siegel’s spirit has been seen in the house, reportedly ducking for cover from bullets, but the strongest sightings are in the place that probably did him in — the Flamingo Hotel.
According to Prairie Ghosts:
Bugsy is believed to haunt the Presidential Suite of the hotel, where he lived for several years before his death. Guests in this room have reported a number of strange encounters with his ghost, from eerie, moving cold spots to items that vanish and move about the suite. They have also seen his apparition in the bathroom and near the pool table. Those who have encountered him say this spirit does not seem unhappy or distressed and in fact, seems content to still be around. Perhaps he is just happy to see that Las Vegas has turned out the way he had planned after all!
(Photo of Siegel: Hollywood USA)
(Photo courtesy Armand’s Rancho Del Cielo)
4. George Reeves’ home (above)
1579 Benedict Canyon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Did George Reeves really take his own life with a single gunshot to the head or was his death part of a more sinister plot? Reeves, who is best known for his portrayal of Superman in the 1950s television show “Adventures of Superman,” died June 16, 1959 in his home at 1579 Benedict Canyon Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210 — just days before he was to marry socialite Leonore Lemmon. The night he died, he reportedly drank heavily and fought openly with Lemmon as witnessed by friends William Bliss, writer Robert Condon and Carol Van Ronkel. He went upstairs in a foul mood and shortly after, Lemmon and the guests say they heard a single gunshot from his bedroom. Though ruled a suicide, many people refuse to believe he killed himself, due to strange findings in the crime scene.
There have been reports that the Reeves’ house being haunted with inexplicable noises in the upstairs bedroom and the smell of gunpowder, plus belongings being moved around. There are also stories of dogs standing in the doorway barking and refusing to enter the room as well as lights flickering on and off. Some even say George Reeves appears at the foot of the bed every now and then, dressed as Superman. (Photo of Reeves: Wired.com)
5. The Mansion (above)
2451 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Known simply as “The Mansion,” it is currently owned by music producer Rick Rubin (photo), who uses it as a recording and production studio where bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, the Mars Volta , Slipknot and Linkin Park have recorded.
Rumor has it that the mansion has been haunted since 1918 when the son of the owner (a furniture store owner) pushed his lover from the balcony. The current mansion is built on the grounds of the original mansion, which burned to the ground in the late 1950s during a fire that swept Laurel Canyon. The rebuilt mansion has been used as a recording studio during the 60s and 70s by artists such as Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and The Beatles.
Artists who have stayed in the Mansion while recording have reported strange happenings such as sightings of orbs, doors opening when they had been firmly closed, and other odd occurrences.
Some reports concerning the Houdini House, which was located nearby, conflate the two residences and similar stories are told.
(Photo of steps: Pinball History)
6. Harry Houdini House (above)
2400 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
The exact location of Harry Houdini’s home or whether he even owned a home in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon has been as mysterious as the magician himself. But, what appears to be the case is Houdini became friends with a man named Ralph Walker (also referred to as “Ralf”) who built a large estate in 1915 at the corner of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Willow Glen Road. Walker was a department store magnate who spared no expense and oversaw construction of a magnificent , three-story, Mediterranean-style home on four acres. It had a grand masonry staircase that connected the lower grounds to the mansion and the property contained stone terraces, grottoes, walkways, fountains, and springs. Walker also built a four-bedroom guest house on the knoll across the street from the mansion. This guest home is probably where Houdini stayed when he visited the area in 1919 while making movies for the Famous Players-Lasky Corp (precursor to Paramount Studios). An elevator in the guest house went to a tunnel under the road, connecting the two properties. Due to Houdini’s celebrated status at the time, Walker’s property became known as “Houdini’s House.” Shortly after Houdini died on Halloween 1926, his wife, Bess, and her manager, Edward Saint, lived in the guest house until Walker’s death in 1935.
Walker’s mansion was then sold to a real estate broker, Charles Wilson, who reportedly leased it to an ex-con-turned-evangelist who used the mansion as a retreat for his followers. Wilson died in 1954 and the home was then purchased by Fania Pearson, who lived there until a brush fire swept through the canyon in 1959, destroying the mansion and leaving behind only the beautiful masonry work. The land sat this way for many years, occupied by vagrants and visits from Houdini fans. In 1997, the property was purchased by an antiques dealer, then three other owners had possession until Jose Luis Nazar purchased it in 2006. He is now renting out the home (the former chauffeur’s cottage) and grounds as “Houdini Park,” where it is used for charity events, film shoots, weddings, and special occasions. See the grounds as they appear now (video). One thing confirmed is the tunnel between the homes really did exist, but was flooded and has not been used.
Does the ghost of Houdini appear here? Some say yes and some say no, but it’s hard to believe he does — especially when he failed to live up to his promise of contacting his wife, Bess, despite 10 years of trying. “Ten years is long enough to wait for any man,” Bess said during the last unsuccessful seance to contact Harry. (Photo of Houdini: Mondo Lizzie Borden)
(Photo courtesy The Errol Flynn Blog)
7. Errol Flynn’s Mulholland Farm (above)
3100 Torreyson Pl. Los Angeles, California 90046
Farther up the canyon, away from the glitzy Beverly Hills homes where other actors lived, was a house built by actor Errol Flynn, who was known for his roles as a swashbuckler and leading ladies man. He was also Hollywood’s original bad boy. Flynn bought 11.5 acres on top of a ravine off dry and dusty Mulholland Drive in 1941 and had a modest ranch-style Colonial built that he called Mulholland Farm (must-watch video). It had a pool, tennis court, barn, and even a casino (shown in forefront, above). He also had some other amenities installed such as secret passageways, two-way mirrors and peepholes so he could spy on his lady friends. Flynn threw many spectacular parties for his friends — “live dance bands, nude divers, fencing exhibitions, and plenty of girls” — which made Flynn’s home the talk of Hollywood. Things turned on Flynn in 1942 when two underage girls accused him of statutory rape. He was acquitted, but within the decade, Flynn would leave Mulholland and the U.S. to make movies in Europe, but also to avoid back taxes and alimony to two ex-wives.
Flynn’s hard-driving ways caught up to him in 1959 when he died at age 50. Mulholland Farm was then purchased by Stuart Hamblen, who was one of American radio’s first singing cowboys. There were no reports of oddities during Hamblen’s 20 years of ownership, but things got interesting again in 1980 when singer-songwriter Ricky Nelson and his family bought Mulholland Farm. Nelson’s daughter, Tracy, felt a presence in the house and would recount strange happenings such as sounds of people throwing things at the walls, breaking chairs and breaking glass, but no one was there. Ricky’s response for these eerie events was, “Oh that’s only Errol.”
Ricky Nelson died in a plane crash in 1985 and afterward, Tracy theorized that Flynn’s ghost was trying to warn Nelson of impending disaster. Eventually, a real estate developer bought the property and demolished Flynn’s notorious home in 1988. Fast forward to 1997 when actress Helen Hunt purchased the property and built a home that she never lived in, selling it in 2002 to a modern swashbuckler of another sort — pop star Justin Timberlake who bought it for $8.2 million.
8. Nicolas Cage’s LaLaurie House (above)
1140 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Actor Nicolas Cage has always had a penchant for the offbeat in real estate, so it made sense that he came to own this notoriously haunted New Orleans property, the LaLaurie House, telling the NY Daily News “… You know, other people have beachfront property; I have ghost-front property… ”
The story goes that Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a socialite of great wealth and prominence in New Orleans in the early 1830s and her husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie, would host elaborate parties at the house. But, she had a reputation as someone who abused the slaves who worked for her. In one tale, Delphine was whipping the child of a slave when the child broke away and ran to the roof, falling to her death. Legend goes that the turning point for Madame LaLaurie occurred when a fire broke out in the mansion and when help arrived, they witnessed horrific scenes of punishment and torture inflicted on the slaves. Delphine fled, never to be seen again.
The home has undergone many changes and owners over the years, including Cage, but the actor fell on hard financial times and lost the property in a foreclosure auction. Some other homes Cage purchased include an 11th-century castle in Germany, a huge English Tudor estate in Bel Air, an English Country Manor in Rhode Island, another another historic New Orleans home, and two more “contemporary” homes: one in Las Vegas and one in Newport Beach.
9. Ozzie and Harriet House (above)
1822 Camino Palmero St, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Before we had reality TV shows like “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” or “The Osbournes,” we had a real family playing themselves in a scripted TV show back in the 1960s called “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” The show was a huge success and featured Ozzie and Harriet Nelson and their sons, Ricky and David. Their real home (above) in the Hollywood Hills was used for the exterior shots, but interior scenes were filmed in a studio. As a matter of fact, the show was so good that it helped propel the career of their teen-idol son, Ricky. Yup — that’s the same Ricky Nelson who bought Errol Flynn’s notorious home (#7) above.
Although Ricky is not haunting the Flynn home, Ozzie’s apparition has been seen in various spots in the old Nelson house. Witnesses also report the sound of footsteps, faucets and lights turning on and off and doors opening and closing.
And, guess what? This home could be yours for $4,995,000 since it just hit the market! Maybe the owners are hoping for a quick sale so they don’t have to face Halloween and the looky-loos that come calling — like the owners of the Amityville Horror House. (Photo of Nelson: NNDB).
10. Marilyn Monroe’s Home (above)
12305 5th Helena Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Maybe Marilyn Monroe’s early death at age 36 is the reason her ghost seems to be hanging around in several locations throughout the Hollywood area — she has unfinished business. Monroe’s presence has been felt at her Brentwood home in LA (above) where she allegedly committed suicide in 1962 from a drug overdose.
She is also reportedly seen in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where she stayed often in the 1950s. She preferred the Cabana Room Suite #246, which overlooked the pool. Inside her room was a full-length mirror that a hotel employee was dusting one day when she saw the reflection of a blonde woman in the glass. When she turned around, she wasn’t there. The mirror is now located in the hotel lobby so everyone can have a chance to capture a glimpse of Marilyn. Another popular actor who still hangs around the Roosevelt is Montgomery Clift, who died in 1966 at age 44 — again, another early death. Clift reportedly paces up and down the ninth-floor hallways rehearsing his lines.
Monroe’s ghost is also reportedly seen near crypt (#24) where she is buried at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park. And just to show you how real estate moves quickly around Marilyn, a crypt located directly above her sold for $4.6 million and just this past August, her Brentwood home sold in 24 days ABOVE asking price. Ah, the power of Marilyn. (Photo of Monroe: Top News).
(Photo courtesy of Flickr’s wifeofvolsfan)
11. Loretta Lynn’s Haunted Home (above)
44 Hurricane Mills Rd, Hurricane Mills, TN 37078
Coal Miner’s Daughter-turned country music star, Loretta Lynn, claims to have psychic powers and has come in contact with many ghosts, including that of her father. Her home is located in Hurricane Mills, TN which is about 73 miles west of Nashville, TN. She found it back in the 1960s when she and her husband Oliver Lynn (aka “Doolittle” or “Doo,” or “Mooney” for moonshine ) went on a drive in the country to find a larger home for their growing family. According to town lore, it is an old plantation with a dark history — 19 Confederate soldiers are buried on the property, and the home is haunted by the original owner of the plantation, plus a woman in white (isn’t there always a woman in white?) and slaves that worked the plantation and were kept in the “slave pit.”
A few years ago, Loretta brought in spiritual medium James Van Praagh to try help her rid her home of spirits and during the filming for the TV show “The Insider,” Van Praagh said he could see blood everywhere. He was supposed to spend the night, but decided to leave when spirits told him to “‘Get out.” He thought, ‘I should probably get out…’ It feels like I’m in somebody’s place and they don’t want me to disrupt it.”
For all you Loretta fans, here’s a song she wrote for her gal pal, the late Patsy Cline, who was her inspiration and reason for her success. The song? “This Haunted House,” recorded from a wonderfully scratchy album. Here are the lyrics. (Photo of Lynn: CMT)
> See Top 10 Haunted Homes in the U.S.