‘There's something in the air in Hollywood'.
Madonna's song, ‘Hollywood' is a catchy retro dance number that extols the benefits of working and living in Tinsel town and in extension, the global entertainment industry.
Yet a deeper look at the lyrics shows that not all that glitters is gold.
Many strange things have and continue to happen within and outside Hollywood. As the global entertainment industry is a shaper of social norms and trends, strange and tragic occurrences are sometimes hidden but other times, glamorised.
These stories are numerous and most hint of dark and horrific surrounding events.
In this article, we'll take a look at some houses presumed to be haunted by dead celebrities and one that's become a celebrity in its own right;
5. Benedict Canyon home, Los Angeles (George Reeves)
Before Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill, there was George Reeves.
He was TV's first Superman - a role that propelled him into the limelight faster than a speeding bullet.
Yet, unlike his larger than life, stalwart character, Reeves was well known to partake in illicit nightlife activities found throughout Hollywood.
At that time, Reeves were openly having an affair with Toni Mannix, the wife of then MGM executive, Eddie Mannix; a man rumoured to have ties with the Irish mob and was also renowned as a ‘fixer' in Hollywood.
It was her who bought the ill-fated house for him.
His death was ruled as a suicide by gunshot although the evidence did not stack up. Even Toni Mannix had allegedly confessed to a priest that a hit-man had assassinated Reeves. Since then, people that moved in have encountered ghostly sightings.
They've heard shouting, gunshots and even saw George Reeves himself, in costume, standing before them. Apparently, being Superman was a big deal for Reeves since he's been giving guests and homeowners live reruns of his old TV show.
4. Camden flat, north London (Amy Winehouse)
Amy Winehouse has had a tragic and tumultuous life - one that is mirrored by countless celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe to Britney Spears.
Posthumously inducted in ‘Club 27', she was merely one of the 44 individuals who died mysteriously at the age of 27. This ‘club' consists of popular icons like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.
Before her untimely death, Amy had at one point fled from her house, claiming that a ghost of a little boy was haunting and scratching her. She was scared to death of him and avoided renovating the spare room in the flat.
According to interviews she gave, the room's aeroplane wallpaper was creepy to her and made her feel uneasy.
Several witnesses heard screaming and animal howling coming from her apartment the night before her death. One woke up to the sounds at 2am and said his son heard some kind of drum beatings.
After her death, her friend, Pete Doherty fled to Paris from London, saying he was haunted by her ghost. Others have claimed seeing her face staring out from the window of her old flat.
3. 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville
Spawning several books and Hollywood sequels, The Amityville house, while not located in Hollywood has become the basis for haunted house portrayals in Hollywood.
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo shot his entire family, including four younger siblings at 3:15am with a rifle.
He claimed he heard voices telling him to do it and that his family was plotting to kill him. He was imprisoned for life. The ill-fated family - The Lutzes - moved in 13 months after the heinous murder and their lives changed forever.
Over the years many have said nothing strange ever happened in the house and that the Lutzes were faking it. Their stories of swarms of flies, a room painted in blood, odd smells, cold spots, demonic creatures and numerous poltergeist activities were crazy concoctions.
Yet, nearly 38 years later, Daniel Lutz, the boy who lived in the house with stepfather George Lutz, mother Kathy, brother and sister broke his silence.
Even though they fled from the home only 28 days after moving in, Daniel bears the psychological scars of his life there.
Citing a traumatic relationship with his stepfather whom he revealed dabbled in the occult and Satanism, Daniel spoke of having nightmares of living in the house. He also talked about how George physically and verbally abused him.
Many assumed that the haunted house stories were fabricated because the Lutzes could not afford to pay the mortgage or were out to make money through publicity. Perhaps the best judge of this was the lie detector test George and Kathy were subjected regarding the hauntings.
2. Benedict Canyon (Paul Bern)
Paul Bern, born Paul Levy, emigrated from Germany in 1889 to the USA where he got a job as a supervisor at MGM studios working with Eddie Mannix.
Well loved and known as a gentle and unassuming guy, Bern had helped many actors and actresses with their problems.
In 1932, he married starlet Jean Harlow and gave to her the Benedict Canyon home.
For Paul, this was his dream. Jean however, hated the house and wanted to sell it. Bern refused. Unfortunately, just four months after they were married, Bern shot himself in the house.
Despite the death, the house was eventually bought by Jay Seabring who was friend to Sharon Tate, another Hollywood starlet.
Sharon was staying there when a ghostly male appeared in the bedroom. He ignored her and instead rummaged around the room.
When he disappeared, she headed for the stairs where she then saw an apparition tied to the staircase with his throat cut. She then apparently found a hidden bar, made a drink and had torn out a piece of the wallpaper.
None of this struck her as real until she woke up in the morning and saw the torn wallpaper in her hand. Who the ghost was, she did not know. At least, not until she looked through a book did she finally identify it.
It was Paul Bern.
1. Benedict Canyon (Jay Seabring)
This is the first time a house has been featured twice in this list. The sheer amount of dark history which cannot be covered adequately here is overwhelming.
Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski was again at a party at Jay Seabring's house when they became victims of a massacre orchestrated by the infamous Manson Family.
Polanski was abroad filming Rosemary's Baby - a film about a pregnant woman kept drugged and hostage in her apartment for the devil - when Tate, Seabring and two other guests were brutally murdered.
Tate was stabbed 16 times out of which five wounds were fatal. The word ‘pig' was written in Tate's blood next to the front door. She was heavily pregnant at that time.
Polanski garnered much criticism for not only showing these photos to the public but allowing and posing for a photo shoot by Life magazine next to the bloodstains of his dead wife.
Since then, many strange things began happening even during the demolishing and rebuilding of the house.
When popular TV show, Ghost Hunters (TAPS) visited the house for an overnight stay, they allegedly caught audio evidence of the ghosts that were haunting the home.
The investigators encountered cold spots, loud unexplainable bangs and spikes in electromagnetic energy. At one point, the temperature in the room dropped progressively when one of the investigators requested.
They also caught audio evidence of a woman speaking or crying.
The voice was hard to make out but one thing was certain; she was in extreme distress while potentially screaming out, ‘Why do I have so much blood?"
Using sophisticated equipment, they ‘communicated' with the spirits and learned that two of them were indeed Jay Seabring and Sharon Tate.
Celebrity deaths in and outside of Hollywood are some of the strangest and most tragic. With the weight of the industry and the fate of the studio in the balance, many of these deaths have suspicious outcomes.
When Paul Bern was found dead, the person who found him called the studio executives but they waited several hours before reporting to the police. One of them even took the suicide note he left for his wife only to return it eventually.
George Lutz, according to his stepson, practiced black magic and had studied ritual sacrifice and mind control techniques even before moving into the Amityville house.
When George Reeves went upstairs and presumably shot himself, the three guests waited a few hours before contacting the cops. The woman he was involved with after Toni Mannix, Lenore Lemmon, stole $5,000 from his room after the incident. Although she returned $4,000, she disappeared soon after with the missing $1,000.
The strange occurrences surrounding Amy Winehouse's death and the tragic death of Sharon Tate while her husband was, ironically, filming a movie about the ritual sacrifice of a mother all have more to the story than meets the eye.
Even if some of these homes weren't haunted to begin with, the sheer intensity of the trauma that occurred in the premises serve as the perfect trigger for a haunting to start.
Disclaimer: It is very easy, during your own research to come across crime scene images of the above mentioned celebrities. These images can be very disturbing and are not suitable for young viewers.
Written by: Christopher Chitty
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